Published Feb 01, 2000Throughout history, music has been accused of being a bad influence on innocent youth, corrupting minds too naïve to properly understand the implications of what emanated from booming stereo speakers. There's no denying that music can be a powerful force, but the biggest threat to civilised society, maybe even to human sanity itself, comes not from the incomprehensible lyrics of "Louis Louis" or Satanic backward messages found in the grooves of 1970s hard rock records. No, the ones most responsible for making people insane in the brain with loudness are the responsible adults placed in powerful posts, who throughout history have manipulated the masses with music of mass destruction.
In fact, investigations by J. Edgar Hoover types into the harmful nature of rock'n'roll are nothing more than a smoke screen to cover up the fact that music has been kept in the war chest since the Israelites fled Egypt. After escaping the wrath of the mighty Egyptians by wandering around the desert, the Israelites came upon the walled city of Jericho, where they were instructed by God to take the city. Using nothing more than trumpet blasts and the first instance of hardcore punk shouting, the Israelites smashed the wall and proceeded to slaughter the deafened heathens who couldn't hear what hit them.
Heading into battle, Scots would scare the bejesus out of their enemies with eerie bagpipe noises that filled the moors with a deafening sound that engulfed their enemies with fear and ringing ears. Drums too have often been used to put the fear of God into one's enemies, as well as to communicate command instructions. To signify how important the drummer was to the infantry, they would outfit him in a more colourful uniform. This made him an easier target to the opposing forces - perhaps the first occurrence of drummers as the bravest, but not the brightest of musicians.
More recently, swords have been hammered into CDs, and power chords are the shots that ring out across battlefields - and we're not talking about harmless squabbles between parents and children. No, it's the FBI and CIA that have led the charge, having armed themselves with wagonloads of screeching hard rock favourites.
During the 1989 American invasion of Panama, General Manuel Noriega fled to a nearby Catholic Church. The CIA and U.S. Department of Defense then blasted loud rock'n'roll music at the church - reportedly AC/DC - continuously for three days until church authorities protested. CIA spokesperson Enya Gellshire would neither confirm nor deny that agency exposed Noriega to the metal stylings of AC/DC during "Operation Just Cause." "Maybe you should call the Pentagon," Gellshire sputtered when asked why the CIA went with foreign-made weapons; no reasons were given for the CIA's decision to overlook Van Halen's "Panama."
Home-grown talent would be put to good use four years later during the siege of the Branch Davidians' Mount Carmel enclave outside Waco, Texas. After the failed search and destroy manoeuvre by Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) agents, the FBI rolled in and rigged up a sound system and light show that would make ravers drool with envy. Special Agent DJ Waco spun a relentless 24-7 groove of Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" while dropping in Tibetan monk chanting and slaughtered bunny noises in an effort to dislodge the Davidians and their leader David Koresh from their spiritual home.
Much like the CIA, the FBI declined to divulge the reasons behind their choice of musical weapons. According to one spokesperson, "We aren't answering any Waco-related questions due to a pending legal investigations." Let's hope inquiries into the massacre will reveal how music played an important roll in disrupting the lives of the Davidians trapped inside.
Young people have long suffered through endless discussions of why their particular music would lead them down the path to ruin, but it's not kids today that we need worry about - it's their parents. Next time an adult shows an interest in what you're listening to, point them to the Kenny G section. It's just safer.