By: John Woods

1995 is well on its way to being a bumper crop year for anti-music legislation around the country. So far, five states have bills pending all aimed at either outright outlawing or severely restricting access to certain forms of music. The automatic indictment of guilt that will determine what music is targeted in each of these bills is the "voluntary parental advisory sticker." Or, as we call it, the "Tipper-sticker," shamefully named after a certain blond Vice President's wife. Hmmm, I wonder who that could be?

The sad thing about this whole situation that we find ourselves in today, is that, it all could have been avoided. Five years ago, R.O.C., along with a few other groups and individuals were sounding the alarms about what these stickers would lead to. We were ignored, laughed at, and accused of being alarmist. Now we see that all of our predictions were right on the mark, and even though we hate to say, "We told you so...WE TOLD YOU SO!!!"

Today, we are reaping the seeds that were sown by an industry that was more concerned with appeasement, compromise and making sure not to offend any group of politicos, or any of their cronies in the Religious Right. Today we are seeing the results of a totally gutless industry that wouldn't muster up the chutzpuh needed to organize the industry, the bands, and their fan base to stand-up and fight back. Wheel and deal was the name of the game. And here we are today, exactly ten years after the formation of the PMRC, and the attempts to censor various forms of popular music are more furious and vicious than ever.

The major labels, the RIAA and the industry in general still have a chance to redeem themselves. But in order to do this before the thousands of music fans, all who have demanded an end to the "Tipper-stickers," there are two things they must do. First, they need to check between their legs and see that if somehow between 1985 and now they have miraculously grown a pair of balls. And secondly, if this miracle has indeed occurred, they then need to pull the "Tipper-Stickers" IMMEDIATELY off of EVERY recording they release. Yes, they would immediately be redeemed in the eyes of the fans, and every one of these pending bills would immediately become a moot issue.

Will this happen? Probably not. We're gonna hear a lot of talk about how Congress would immediately recall hearings like the ones held in 1985 if this was to happen. We're gonna hear them speculate about possible Federal legislation being proposed. And we say, "SO WHAT!" Let the politicians growl and grumble, and rattle their sabres all they want. Let them convene all the Congressional hearings they want, and let them attempt to pass all the legislation they want. We should march in, united as industry, artists, and fans (as it should have been done in 1985), look them all squarely in the eyes and say, "FUCK YOU! The Constitution and the Bill of Rights of the United States of America does not allow you to do any of this, and we're here to serve notice that we are no longer going to stand for these blatant attempts to stifle free speech and free expression." Then we walk out.

But this will not happen as long as appeasement and compromise is the order of the day. The only thing that appeasement and compromise accomplishes is that it makes the ever growing appetite of the censors to want more, and more, and more. Their hunger for intolerance is a craving that is never satisfied. We hope the music industry will wake-up and at last realize this. The line has to be drawn, and drawn NOW!!!

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