German Police Seize Moonspell Album, Irreligious, in Backlash of "Opium" Ban From MTV

by Todd Wiese

A video from well-known Portuguese band, Moonspell, has fallen under the axe wielded by the exec's at MTV.  The video for the song, "Opium" from the Irreligious album, is the victim this time.  Its crime? Advocating drug use.  Moonspell's singer, Fernando Ribeiro, as quoted from the official Moonspell web site describes the true meaning of the song's lyrics, "The lyrics to this song are quite simply a personal variation around a very intense poem written by Fernando Pessoa, the most known character of Portuguese modern literature....I do not think that our song Opium is playing a major part in leading people into drug dependence, there is not a single line on the lyric that someone, even with a very wild interpretation of it, can come up with an explicit or implicit invitation or stimulation to get people into drugs."

Pessoa is so well-known in literary circles, in fact, to have been paid a tribute at the European and Portuguese Book Fair, the largest fair of its kind in the world. While we at R.O.C. can hardly say we're up to scratch on our Portuguese literature, we find it irresponsible of MTV to have taken NO research steps whatsoever concerning "Opium" and its lyrics. The MTV exec's need only read the Irreligious album's liner notes to find Fernando Pessoa's credit clearly listed.

Even if "Opium" were a direct invitation to take drugs, it is the opinion of Rock Out Censorship that MTV viewers, should they find the video offensive, are intelligent enough to decline the invitation and to CHANGE THE CHANNEL. Apparently, the big wigs at MTV saw the title of the song and decided they had little incentive to investigate any further. Drug War fever has already been on the rise in the United States for some time; it seems now the same hysteria is spilling over into Europe! And Portuguese Moonspell fans are finding that little is being reported on this story.

But the headaches don't end there. After the MTV ban, a German teacher/moralist took it upon herself to sue the band based on her opinion that the song "Opium" invites kids to take drugs.  Soon, the offices of Century Media, Moonspell's record label, had some uninvited guests--namely the German Police! The politzei seized a copy of the Irreligious album and corresponding "Opium" lyrics. They also took material related to other Century Media recording artists, Rotting Christ and Samael.

"Where does she get all this time to pick on small bands' lyrics?" Ribiero wants to know. "Instead of [informing] people and to help them to grow their own horizons, she is dragging her students into a herd mentality, cloning intellects into a even more desolate view of art and of the world and preventing them from the only thing that can indeed help them to stay out of problems (namely drugs): [art]...My fear for her students grows..."

Censoring videos or songs is already, in our opinion, an insult to the intelligence of video music lovers and shows little expertise and professionalism in running a music video network channel, especially pioneers like MTV. But ignorantly motivated actions like those of the German police only promotes drug-war insanity and adds to the growing ill-effects of drug prohibition, i.e. gangs, poverty, lawlessness, death etc.

"Censorship is a clear violation of the basic principles of any democratic state, freedom of speech can not be overcome by politically correct Puritanism. This is a dangerous reminiscence of dictatorship environment, we had that in Portugal for 50 years, you had that in Germany for almost two decades." We couldn't have said it better, Fernando.

The last update R.O.C. has on this story has it that the moralist/teacher in question has not continued with her legal action against Moonspell. When details or further information becomes available, R.O.C. will post, via this mailing list, names and addresses of those you can contact should litigation proceed. Stay tuned!

Meanwhile, you can still tell MTV you're tired of having your tastes in music evaluated before you even have a chance to complain. Call or write MTV and let them know Moonspell fans and music fans in general are intelligent enough to watch whatever videos they damn well please!

(Tell 'em to bring back Headbanger's Ball too!)


Be sure to check out Moonspell's Wolfficial Homepage:

To learn more on how to fight against drug prohibition, contact these

DRC Net (Drug Reform Coordination Network):

NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws):
1001 Connecticut Ave. NW
Suite 710
Washington, DC 20036
tel: (202) 483-5500
fax: (202) 483-0057

The lyrics to "Opium" have been reprinted here so that you can draw your own interpretations and conclusions.



Opium, desire or will?
Inspiration bound from an elegant seed
Subversion, through smoke I foresee
Erotic motions of lesser gods in ecstasy

Opium, bring me forth another dream
Spawn worlds of flesh and red,
little jewels of atrocity
Opium, I sleep in debauchery
And burn with you
when you burn in Me
Opium, we fantasize
as we fuse with your root
You are a strange flower,
we are your strangest fruit

Opium, it burns in me and you
Opium, it burns for me and for you

"Por isso eu tomo ópio. É um remédio.
Sou um convalescente do Momento.
Moro no rés do chao do Pensamento
E ver passar a vida faz-me tédio."

Your Name:
Your E-mail:
Friend's E-mail:
Go Back to homepage

Sponsored internet services provided to Rock Out Censorship by DANDY NET
This site and its contents are copyrighted (c) 1997-2003, Rock Out Censorship. All rights reserved.