by: Maureen Benedict
As music lyrics become more outspoken and controversial, censorship has become a topic of debate.
What is censorship? "Censorship is the control of what people may say or hear, write or read, or see
or do. In most cases, this kind of control comes from a government or from various types of private
groups. Censorship can affect books, newspapers, magazines, motion pictures, radio and television
programs, and speeches. It also may influence music, painting, sculpture, and other arts." (Lieberman).
The founding fathers of this country thought people should have freedom of speech, and they gave that to
the country in the first amendment to the Constitution. Over the years, many groups have tried to control
the words and ideas found in music, because they did not like what the music was saying. There are
many methods of censorship, such as putting parental advisory labels on CDs, blocking out certain words
on the radio, putting censor bars over inappropriate things in videos, and some cities even ban certain bands
from performing. It is a difficult issue, and there are pros and cons to music censorship.
Parents often find certain groups objectionable because of the ideas they think the groups are putting into
their children's heads such as suicide, drug use and violence. They also, many times object to the language
found in songs. Church groups have also found music they think is objectionable. Any group sings about or
relates to things that do not have to do with God, for example magic, witchcraft, Satan, suicide, or drugs,
church groups do not like. Many times, musicians use religious symbols in objectionable ways in songs and
in videos. For example musician Marilyn Manson rips up Bibles on stage at his concerts. "Legislators in
several states are proposing laws which would require labels on certain heavy metal and rap records warning
parents of lyrics which are sexual, violent, degrading to women, or promote drug use, suicide and satanism.
Critics of proposed label laws say it is a first step toward government-enforced censorship." (Harrington). In
1985, voluntary record labeling started. Legislators in Missouri, Pennsylvania and Florida said they were trying
to tell parents of objectionable lyrics. Community leaders have been trying to cancel shows of certain groups
due to inappropriate language, ideas in the songs, or inappropriate behavior or actions on stage. In some cases
they have been successful, in others they have asked groups not to play certain songs. For example, in Georgia,
church groups and community leaders were trying to ban a show because they thought Silverchair's "Suicidal Dream"
and "Israel's Son", and The Offspring's "Beheaded", "Cool To Hate" and "Kill The President" had inappropriate lyrics
or ideas in them. The result of that was that Silverchair and The Offspring were asked not to play certain songs.
"Music activists are taking on parental advisory stickers--those little black and white labels that appear on CDs
marketed to young listeners. The stickers read PARENTAL ADVISORY: EXPLICIT LYRICS and are put in place
by the CD manufacturer under agreement reached in 1989 between the Parents' Music Resource Center and the
Recording Industry Association of American." (Desrosiers). If parental advisory labels are placed on a CD it is
either because of lyrics that are found objectionable, or may be found objectionable to some listeners. If it was
placed on the CD because of the artwork, the artwork was found or could be found objectionable.
The first amendment of the Constitution was made to protect people's freedom to express themselves. It says,
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or
abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or of the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to
petition the Government for a redress of grievances." Many countries in the world do not have freedom of speech,
and freedom is an important part of this country. It is something that should be valued and should be protected.
At the same time, they may expose children to words, thoughts and ideas that may offend. Censorship is a
violation of this amendment. It allows one group of people to control what the community sees and hears.
It lets one group of people speak and think for all people and it prevents everyone from making
their own decisions. If censorship is allowed in music, will censorship spread to other areas of life?
There are many groups and organisations that are trying to fight censorship. Mass M.I.C. is a non-profit
organization trying to promote and preserve free speech in music. P.O.A.A.F.A. is a group that deals with
issues like censorship, first amendment issues and defamation. These organizations were formed because people
got fed up with censorship of music and want to fight against it.
There are many pros an cons to censorship. Censorship is meant to keep children away from inappropriate
thoughts, ideas and language that may be found in the music. Censorship is also a violation of the first amendment,
which gives everyone the freedom of speech and freedom of expression. Censorship takes those freedoms away
by telling people what they can and cannot listen to. Censorship is a violation of our rights and should be watched
The quotes came from:
"Censorship" in the World Encyclopedia Volume 3 by Jethro K Lieberman
"The New Wave Of Lyric Laws" by Richard Harrington - January 28, 1990
"Rock Fans Fight Censorship" by Mary Desrosiers - June 1999
Van's Warped Tour
Darien Lake Performing Arts Center
August 7, 2003
by: Maureen Benedict
The Warped Tour for 2003 had a great line-up that included bands like Simple Plan, Rancid, The Used, The Ataris,
Bowling For Soup
and The Starting Line to name a few. This year the Warped Tour was held at Darien Lake instead of LaSalle Park
it had been for so long. Kids had been lining up to get in to Darien Lake since really early that morning to see their
favorite bands. Around noon they opened the gates to let the kids in. The Starting Line was one of the first bands to
go on that day. They played songs from their new EP titled Make Yourself At Home as well as some older songs like
and "The Best of Me". Frontman Kenny stopped in the middle of one of the songs because a crowd surfer got
and the band waited until security got the kid out of there before resuming the song. A few bands later Simple Plan
went on stage. They played their newest single "Perfect" as well as "Addicted", "I'd Do Anything" and other
favorites from their debut album No Pads, No Helmets...Just Balls. Simple Plan played an amazing set and really go
the crowd going. After their set fans headed over to check out Bowling For Soup on the Ernie Ball Stage. Rancid
on about mid-day and they put on a great set and got the entire crowd pogoing and moshing throughout their 30
minute set. They played old favorites like "Ruby Soho" and "Time Bomb" as well as stuff from their newest release
Indestructable like "Fall Back Down" and "Red Hot Moon". Rancid's set had to be one of the highlights of the day.
Throughout the day bands like Less Than Jake, Dropkick Murphys, Pennywise, Tsunami Bomb and Vendetta Red.
I actually did not get to check out any of those bands sets except a bit of Tsunami Bomb's
set. I wish I had heard the bands whole set because they sounded pretty good. Around 5:45pm The
Used hit the stage, lead singer Bert McCracken came on on stage wearing a ton of make-up and the band went right
into their first song. They played almost all the songs off their self-titled debut including their newest single
"Blue & Yellow". During the set Bert mooned the crowd and yelled things like "my ass and pussy are wet". Towards
the end of the set he climbed up on top of one of the speakers, gave the crowd and evil grin then jumped into the
crowd just missing the barricade. After The Used were done I went over to check out the last band of the day, The
I got over to the stage in the middle of the song "I Won't Spend Another Night Alone" and lead singer Kris Roe had
the chorus to "the things you make me wanna do, I would shoot the president for you". They played their singles like
This Diary" and their cover of "The Boys Of Summer" as well as old favorites like "Teenage Riot". This years Warped
was awesome and all the bands totally rocked! Definately a great line up this year!
with Diffuser, Gob & Madcap
Water Street Music Hall & the Sphere
May 28 & 30, 2003
Simple Plan's first headlining tour with three other awesome bands, Diffuser, Gob and Madcap, seemed to be their
best tour ever.
Both shows were completely sold-out. Madcap took the stage first and played a great set. Gob went on after them
like "I Hear You Calling", "Give Up The Grudge", "Ming Tran" and other songs from their cd Foot In Mouth Disease.
Diffuser was next
tearing up the stage with songs like "Karma", "Leaving With A California Tilt" and songs off their fourth-coming album,
The Grade such as "I Wonder" and "Get It On" and an amazing cover of Bon Jovi's hit song "You Give Love A
Bad Name". I had never heard of Diffuser before this tour and I thought they were an amazing live band. And both
nights it was drummer Dan Leo's birthday just like every night of the tour was and Tomas asked fans to buy
Dan some shots. Simple Plan finally took the stage playing every song off their debut album No Pads, No
including the bonus track from the re-release of their album called "Grow Up" as well as covers of Bad Religion's
"American Jesus", Vanilla Ice's "Ice Ice Baby", 50 Cent's "In Da Club" and Eminem's "Lose Yourself". At both shows
a bunch of funny stuff happened like fans making condom balloons and throwing them on to the stage and
Simple Plan bringing out a purple blow up alien. At the Buffalo show which was the final show of the tour,
Diffuser gave Simple Plan a squirt gun that looked like a penis and Tomas Costanza (Diffuser's frontman) and
Dan Leo (Diffuser's drummer) came out in their boxers and danced around on stage during Simple Plan's set.
After both shows all the bands came out and hung out with the fans for hours, signing autographs and taking
with Letter Kills & Snapcase
Water Street Music Hall
May 28, 2003
Letter Kills opened up the show and played the songs "Don't Believe", "Clock Is Down", "Radio Up" and
others. Their set was awesome and full of engergy. Definately a band worth checking out. Snapcase
went on after them and played a pretty good set. Finch took the stage around 9:30pm. Their set was full
of energy and the fans really got into the music. The band played almost all the songs off their album,
What It Is To Burn including their hit singles "What It Is To Burn" and "Letters To You". They also played
crowd favorites "Untited" and "Stay With Me" plus their newest song "Worms Of The Earth", from the
Underworld soundtrack and a cover of Hum's "Stars". They did a great job covering the song and
the crowd really seemed to enjoy it.
Rancid - Indestructible
It has been three years since Rancid released their second self-titled album. Now they are back with
their sixth album, Indestructible. The first single off it, called "Fall Back Down", is about wjem things
get tough you just keep going and you will making it through. The song "Arrested In Shanghai" is
about the desire to be yourself and "Memphis" is about touring and about how you forget everything
and just enjoy the time you are having. The songs "David Courtney", "Out Of Control", "Born Frustrated",
and "Otherside" are much harder compared to the rest of the album. "Back Against The Wall" has a
ska/reggae feel to it, while songs like "Stand Your Ground" and "Roadblock" sound like some of the
bands much older stuff. During the recording of the album, frontman Tim Armstrong's wife, Brody
Dalle, left himg and the song "Tropical London" was written about that. Rancid has come a long way
but they have always stayed true to punk rock. I gave this album 4 stars because they are one of the
truly amazing punk bands I have ever heard and each album they record is better than their last.
Diffuser - Making The Grade
Diffuser are back with their sophomore album, Making The Grade. The first single from the
album is "I Wonder" has recieved a lot of airplay in the past few months. The band has gained
new fans from doing amazing sets while on tour with Simple Plan and the Nokia Unwired Tour
with the All American Rejects and Hoobastank in cities across the US and Canada. The first
two songs on the album, "New High" and "Get It On" have very catchy lyrics and very upbeat
melodies. Making The Grade has to be one of the best albums I have heard all year. If you
have not heard of Diffuser before you are really missing out and I suggest you go pick up this
Mest - Mest
Chicago pop-punk band Mest returns with their fourth album which is self-titled. The new
album sounds much different, less poppy and more mature than their previous three albums.
Their first single "Jaded (These Years)", featuring Benji Madden of Good Charlotte, broke
Mest into the mainstream which gained them heavy rotation on radiostations across the
country, landed them a spot on this years Van's Warped Tour and even got them much
airplay on MTV2. Mest have come a long way in their career and people are finally starting
notice their talent. The second track on the album "Rooftops" is about how punk rock
music got them through the day and made them who they are now. "Chance Of A Lifetime"
is a very mellow song campared to the rest of the album. Things are going to get better
for Mest after this album and they are finally getting the recognition they have deserved.
This has to be their best work in their career and I highly recommend buying this album.
The Distillers - Coral Fang
Almost two years since the release of The Distillers' sophomore album Sing Sing Death
House, they release their new album Coral Fang. The bands guitar tech, Tony Bradley
joins the line-up replacing Casper Rose on guitar. Coral Fang is much different than the
bands past two albums and it seems like they are heading more towards hard rock than
punk rock now. On this album Brody sings a lot about death, blood, suicide and wombs.
Overall I still think it is a great album and is definately worth buying.
Simple Plan - "Perfect"
Directed by: Liz Friedlander
Like "Adam's Song" by Blink 182, Liz Friedlander took the main idea of the song and made an excellent
video out of it. Some videos nowadays don't even get along with the song (example: "Addicted" by Simple
Plan and others). I really liked this video because the song I can relate to and same with the video. The
video takes place on the top of a roof in a neighborhood you probably grew up in. The guys are playing
their instruments and every now and then cutting to a room with a kid, like any of us, sitting there upset.
Members if Simple Plan appear in the room with the teens, showing they went through the same thing.
the song picks up more they get drenched in rain. Oh Simple Plan wet, sounds hot, it is. The kids trash
their room and he band plays harder. They flash through a whole bunch of kids singing the song, along
with the guys in there as well, look quick you can see Patrick (yes the guy tha gets hurt in all their videos).
Liz did a great job putting the song into a video. One of my favorites.
The Used - "Blue & Yellow"
"Blue & Yellow" starts out with the band recording. Bert is playing piano in this part and when the vocals
start it shows the band playing live for fans. The Used love to horse around and skateboard and you see
plenty of that in this video. It's a real fun video to watch and has plenty of crowd surfing as well. John
Feldman, frontman of Goldfinger and The Used's producer, makes an appearance in the video. The
video is mostly the band playing live but it shows how much fun and energy they put into their live shows.
Any hardcore fan of The Used will love this video. The video ends with them recording again followed by
some live footage. If you missed this on MTV, the band released a dvd titled Maybe Memories and it has
the video on it as well as their three other videos.
Diffuser - "Get It On"
The video starts out with the band playing on the beach and then shows a guy named Ice Trey playing the
new Playstation game, Outlaw Volleyball. All of a sudden he gets sucked into the tv and ends up in
the game. He ends up playing volleyball with the girl from the game and tries to impress her without much
luck. They show parts of the actual game and the real people playing the game as well as going back and
forth with the band playing on the beach. The band's performance is very energetic like their live shows are.
Towards the end of the video, frontman Tomas Costanza does the moonwalk on the beach them attempts to
smash his guitar. At the end Ice Trey and the girl come back out of the tv and she acts more into him than she
did earlier in the video. In the background of the room you can see a Diffuser poster hanging up on the wall.
This is a really awesome video! If you have not heard of DIffuser yet, they are really worth checking out. You
can find this video on the bands official website, diffuseronline.com.
Mest - "Jaded (These Years)"
Directed by: Steven Murashige
"Jaded (These Years)" by Mest is a really awesome video. It starts out with Tony playing guitar on the couch
the morning after a big house party. Then it goes to the night before showing the party in progress and Mest
is performing at the party. It shows the band goofing off and just in general having a good time. Benji Madden
of Good Charlotte has a cameo in the video. The video shows Benji and Tony playing dice and gambling their
money in the corner of the kitchen. Nick Gigler (who's throwing the party) is passed out on his sofa and people
at the party cut his clothes off and move the sofa with him naked on it out into the middle of the street. The video
goes to a scene in the bedroom where Tony and Benji are playing guitar and singing the chorus to the song.
And it then goes back to the party with the band playing live. At the end it shows the morning after and the band
up their gear, getting in the van and driving off. As the van pulls away the cameras focus on Nick who is still passed
naked on the sofa in the middle of the street. This is the only Mest video to make it onto MTV. If you
love this video and want to see more go vote for it on MTV's TRL.