Music As Torture
A group of musicians and performers has teamed up to demand that the U.S. government release the names of all songs used to grease the interrogation wheels (a.k.a. torture) at the GW Bush Sleepaway Camp (a.k.a. the Gitmo prison in Cuba). It had previously been announced that interrogators were blasting all sorts of music, sometimes for days on end, in an effort to disorient prisoners and get them to tell implicating lies about their involvement with terrorists just so they never have to hear another note of Rage Against the Machine’s music ever again (a.k.a. “the truth”).
Members of morally-superior bands like R.E.M. and Pearl Jam want to know if their music was ever used to inflict pain at Gitmo. (The RIAA undoubtedly also wants to know … in order to collect royalties). A White House spokesman said music is no longer used as torture. Someone please tell that to the program directors at every Top 40 Pop radio station in the country.
There has been a common practice for many years of oldies and Classic Rock groups “reforming” and taking to the road years past their prime, only to show up at the venue sporting, at best, one or two original members, usually the least significant ones.
In an effort to make anyone born after 1980 feel really old, this practice has now transitioned to the ’90s “AltRock Revolution” generation. Glossy Grunge band Alice in Chains has somewhat successfully been reconstituted with a new singer replacing the late Layne Staley, and now Ska/Pop trio Sublime appears to be back with a new vocalist/guitarist replacing deceased frontman/songwriter Brad Nowell (like Staley, a heroin casualty), much to the dismay of the singer’s family.
Just prior to Sublime’s “reunion” appearance at the SmokeOut music fest in California, Nowell’s family released a statement insisting that Nowell, who owned the trademark to the band’s name, had expressed that he would never want the name used in a project that didn’t include him. The band played the show as Sublime anyway, and the 15,000 fans didn’t seem to mind (given that Sublime’s popularity has only gotten larger since Nowell’s death, drawing new, young fans to the band’s albums consistently, it’s possible that most of the audience didn’t even know it wasn’t Nowell). Given Nowell’s vital importance to Sublime, if this “reunion” is lucrative, don’t be shocked if Nirvana gets back together to tour with a 23-year-old bartender as Kurt, with opener Elliott Smith (the role of Elliott Smith being played by an American Idol cast-off).
In a disappointing act of missed opportunity, rapper The Game announced that, from the release of his upcoming album in December until forevermore, he is going by a new name. Exciting, right? The chance to reinvent oneself! The prospect of having CDs in two separate bins at the record store! The thrill of coming up with an MC name that is both confusing and tough-sounding (why would any rapper want to be called “Lil” anything?)! Alas, creativity apparently isn’t The Game’s game. His new Rap name? Just “Game,” no “The.” Um, OK. Thanks for the press release, Mr. Game.
Given the recession, we wonder if this has anything to do with some sort of customized, personalized rope-chain necklace he was in the process of ordering. Four letters has to be way cheaper than seven. Which is, coincidentally, also why Minimum Gauge is changing its name as well. Tune in next week for the first edition of “/.”