"Aside from the ACLU, and except for ROCK OUT CENSORSHIP in Ohio, PARENTS FOR ROCK & RAP in Illinois and ROCK & ROLL CONFIDENTIAL there are few groups standing up for the First Amendment with regards to the current attempts to censor Rock & Roll and chill the creative community," said Dave Marsh, editor of ROCK & ROLL CONFIDENTIAL and author of several books on the music.
The occasion: a meeting just a scant week following the 214th anniversary of the American Revolution, in the shadow of the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, to plan organized resistance to those modern day heirs to King George's Tories, those would be tyrants at the PRMC, Jesse Helms, Jack Thompson and the rest of their uptight, blue-nosed ilk. This important event, out of which would be formed a new activist organization fighting censorship efforts in Pennsylvania, New Jersey & Delaware, was called by ROCK & ROLL CONFIDENTIAL contributing editor Steve Messick, and was attended by anti-censorship activists from Philadelphia and around the East Coast.
"This is an urgent situation," Marsh said, explaining that as in one recent example of reckless social hysteria, the American Medical Association (AMA) has now approved literature for distribution in doctors' offices comparing rock & roll to alcohol and tobacco as a potential health hazards for American youth. "People have to start talking to their friends and neighbors and start building coalitions around this issue of censorship."
As per the building of a group in the Philadelphia area, Marsh said such a group could be a strategic, leading force in the anti-censorship movement, "particularly if it links the Rock & Roll and art communities of the tri-state area."
Speaking to the practicalities of state & region-wide coalition building within the ranks of Rock and Rap fans and bands, ROC's Randy Payton laid down a summary of the Ohio group's efforts, including letter-writing campaigns to local newspapers, getting the ROC newsletter out to record stores and clubs and "dogging" the misinformation drives of a cult-like, anti-rock bunch from Indiana called Frontline Ministries as they slink from high school to high school auditoriums around Eastern Ohio with a message that all music, not just rock music, comes from Satan. ROC's John Woods described recent ROC activities setting up information tables at Kent State University and at various rock concerts around Northeastern Ohio. "Rock fans & musicians are where you have to build your base," said John Woods of ROC, who reported over 10 Ohio bands, "from Metal to Rockabilly," have agreed to playing upcoming benefits for the cause and that there have been "long lines of young people formed" to talk about what they can do to send the PMRC packing (and sign MUSICIAN MAGAZINE's anti-PMRC petition) wherever ROC has set up it's table.
The final third of the meeting consisted of discussions on the part of the packed gathering, chaired by RRC's Steve Messick. Among the decisions hammered out was: 1) that an organization be formed to fight the Gamble (music labeling) bill in Pennsylvania and fight music censorship in general in the tri-state area of Delaware, Pennsylvania & New Jersey, 2) the name of the organization would be the DELAWARE VALLEY ANTI-CENSORSHIP COALITION, and 3) that organization activists circulate anti-censorship literature at the Paul McCartney concert in Philadelphia that weekend, to which we hear they got great response.
The Delaware Valley group is off and running and wide open for participation from people in the tri-state area. To get involved see contact sheet on page 8.