WHAT'S HAPPENING: NEWS BITS YOU CAN USE

* In the April 1990 issue of ROLLING STONE, Kim Neely reports, "Fears that efforts of the PMRC would lead to label imposed censorship of artists have apparently proved well founded. Henry Droz, President of WEA Distributing, the sales organization for the WARNER, ELEKTRA and ATLANTIC labels has informed A&R heads at those recording companies that they must screen lyrics before artists enter the studio." Since these are the labels for such groups as METALLICA, MOTLEY CRUE, AC/DC, SKID ROW and SAVATAGE we wonder if they are going to surrender their lyric sheets, or will the tell WEA to "fuck-off" and move on to another label?

* Here in Ohio, a self-proclaimed "minister" from Tippecanoe (a small village in Harrison County) has become so irate at the letters by R.O.C. members in the local press concerning censorship, that he claims to have personally threatened THE TIMES REPORTER, THE HARRISON NEWS HERALD and THE EASTERN OHIO INDEPENDENT with getting sponsors to drop ads if R.O.C. doesn't stop getting so much publicity. "It's all the work of Ol 'Slew Foot' himself," claims "Reverend" Armstrong.

* Punk Rock & Heavy Metal: The Problem/One Solution, is a 20 page training manual being used by the Union City, California, Police Department. Printed over the signature of Sgt. M. Shelton, the manual proves the ultimate aim of the censorship forces is political, reports ROCK & ROLL CONFIDENTIAL. The manual likens rock & roll to Hitler's Nationalist Socialist Party (NAZIS) and points out that the music can be used as a very effective medium of rebellion against the government. A list of bands to avoid includes the normal targets such as OZZY OSBOURNE, SLAYER, and W.A.S.P. but also puts the kibosh on HUSKER DU, RUSH, and VAN HALEN. Publications cited as deserving of censorship include CIRCUS, CREEM, and HIT PARADER. This manual is currently being used by several other California Police Departments.

* It seems that some fundamentalist Christians want to establish their own country. The only problem is, the country is already ours! As reported in NO MORE CENSORSHIP, Annetta Conant from Arizona, is the chief architect of this movement. She authored a proclamation stating that "AMERICA IS A CHRISTIAN NATION" and then got the Republican Party to put their stamp on it at the last Convention. She presented her proclamation to the Convention along with a letter from Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Conant had written O'Connor asking if there were any high court rulings that stated that United States is a Christian nation. O'Connor's reply stated that their were 3 cases. Constitutional scholars were confused. Two of the cases she quoted made no such claims and the third, dated 1892, makes only a passing statement, "This is a religious people." Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard law professor, had this to say about the situation, "It should surprise no one that a small number of bigots would be trying to turn the US into a Theocracy like the Ayatollah Khomeini's Iran. But it should surprise and outrage most Americans that these reactionary do-badders seem to have an ally in Supreme Court Justice O'Connor."

* On the surface, METALLICA had a great year in 1989: another platinum album, their first single, their first video, instant sellouts in many cities on their "And Justice For All" tour. But, according to ROCK & ROLL CONFIDENTIAL, behind the scenes, the censors were conducting a guerrilla war against the band. In April, their show at Notre Dame University was cancelled by the school because of "bad publicity." (Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz is an active supporter of music censor Jesse Helms). In June, there were more problems. At the instigation of the PMRC, city officials in Rapid City, South Dakota, went to great lengths to block a METALLICA/CULT show. Several ticket agencies refused to sell tickets. The show did go on, but only after great efforts were made to block the censorship moves of the District Attorney. Yet METALLICA drew the largest white/Indian audience in Black Hills history. There was no happy ending in Ames, Iowa, the same month. Radio stations refused to carry ads for METALLICA's concert, forcing promoters to resort to yard signs to get the word out. Only 2800 people showed up. The censors are determined to still the anti-war, anti-government voice of METALLICA. If they can disrupt the tour of a band that sells millions of records, what chance does a band just starting out have?

* As head of the PMRC, Susan Baker has never been shy about telling others how to raise their kids. Yet in TIME's February 1989 cover story about her husband, Secretary of State Jim Baker, Baker describes himself as "not exactly the best father." Susan Baker adds that her husband's inattention to his family is "a good part of why I've become so involved in my own things." If Motley Crue are to be judged on their fitness as role models, shouldn't politicians? (Please Jim, stay home more and take care of your old-lady.)

* Speaking of politicians, Senator Albert Gore, who called music executives "pornographers" during the 1985 anti-rock congressional hearings, was observed in September 1989 escorting his 15 year old daughter to see A THREEPENNY OPERA in Washington, D.C. The show features several murders, a whorehouse scene, and Sting, all things he allegedly disapproves of in music videos.

HAVE YOU GOT ANY NEWS ITEMS OR LITTLE TID-BITS OF INFORMATION? IF SO, SEND THEM IN AND WE'LL INCLUDE THEM IN OUR "WHAT'S HAPPENING" SECTION...

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