Music minded mother defends bands

By: Kevin Johnson

Mary Morello, 66, says rap musicians are getting a bad rap.

The Illinois mother, convinced that rap and hard rock are harmless, has launched a campaign to support groups like rappers 2 Live Crew.

The retired teacher of history and African studies in Libertyville, Ill., last month founded Parents for Rock and Rap. She claims 150 members.

Bands have First Amendment rights, too, she says.

She's listened to 2 Live Crew's controversial album, As Nasty As They Wanna Be, whose lyrics are mainly vulgarities about sex.

Her opinion? "Nobody speaks that way around me, but I think it's a person's prerogative to speak the way they want. There must be lots of comics in nightclubs who speak similarly and they don't get harassed."

She adds that critics may be prejudiced: "I think it might be partly a racial thing and I've always fought for racial justice."

Morello says rock performers aren't as bad as some say. Her son, Tom, 26, a Harvard grad, plays in Los Angeles-based Lock Up, a hard-rock band, and he's "a nice boy." [Editors Note: After his career in the band Lock Up, Tom has basked in anonymity and gone on to be the guitarist for a relatively obscure, unknown act called Rage Against The Machine]

She likes the bands Jane's Addiction--which created a stir with the cover of its debut album showing two nude female figures in flames--and Living Colour as well as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. "My son taught me to listen for good musicians," she says, "and I do."

She approves of her son's career choice. "You can't hide the world from young people. You give them a good ethical base for surviving and living. Then they choose and you support them."


Just to inform you that PARENTS FOR ROCK & RAP has been started. PFR&R is a watch dog for artistic freedom in the music industry. It will monitor legislation and work to expose and combat all forms of music censorship.

It came about as a result of my extensive research of the PMRC. There seems to be a need to counter some of the measures they use to suppress artistic freedom. It was a result of biased coverage of Rock & Rap in some of the press. Thirdly, from the material that I read I realized there were many parents who supported the First Amendment right to artistic freedom and this silent majority needed to be brought together to be heard. I hope for your backing.

Individuals interested in joining and/or in volunteering can send their name, address and telephone number to me. I am asking for a $3 donation to help cover printing, stamps and phone bills.


Mary Morello
P.O. BOX 53


--to have a center for a network where people can be reached to put pressure on governments on the local, state and federal level who attempt to take freedom away from artists.

--to respond en masse to other types of organizations bent on censoring or eliminating works of art.

--to boycott corporate and other organizations disposed to back those who censor or who themselves censor.

When you hear, read or see evidence of the above, let this center know and the network will reach out to help pressure the organization to back-off from their attempted suppression of artistic freedom.


Mary would like someone from each state to volunteer to be a representative of PFR&R in their state. Mary has asked John Woods of R.O.C. to be her OHIO rep. Any of you out there in other states who want to get involved, should contact Mary. R.O.C. supports PFR&R 100%, we hope you will also.

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