As you might know, we're in the process of looking for a new drummer for our rock cover band. (Actually, we might have found one, but that's a story for later.)
The other day I overheard my husband's speaker phone call with one of the guys who answered our Craigslist ad. When he got to the standard question about whether the drummer liked the material we're doing, the guy said, "Actually, I'm uncomfortable with the language in some of your songs like 'Highway to Hell' and 'Hair of the Dog,'" (which contains the line, "Now you're messin' with a son-of-a-bitch").
I walked out of my office, made eye contact with my husband and shook my head to indicate that he didn't need to bother to book an audition with that one. Imagine how the delicate flower would have reacted when we got to one of the songs with the word "fuck" in it. And he wasn't even going to be the one singing the lyrics!
Rock music is about rebellion and rule-breaking. I may be a 40-something with a desk job, but when I'm singing with my band, I'm still the 17-year-old who used to piss off her mom by cranking up her Rush records all evening long. We're playing this stuff in bars, not kindergartens.
Which brings me to another of my pet peeves: the bleeping of songs on the radio. Even classic rock songs that escaped unexpurgated for 30 or more years (like "Who Are You" by The Who, for example), have now been neutered for broadcast. Yesterday I heard "Life in the Fast Lane" by the Eagles on the radio and the entire line "haven't seen a goddamned thing" was just crudely removed from the song, making it skip at that spot. Who are we protecting here? Does the classic rock station really have that many elementary school listeners in its demographic?
Back in the heyday of the PMRC, I wore a t-shirt with their silly warning label printed on it when my band played. Then and now, I thought that music censorship was stupid and wrong. But even back then they didn't try to completely sanitize the airwaves.
Am I going to play a Buckcherry song in front of children? No. And parents can easily wait to listen to the hard rock station in the car until they've dropped off their kids. But I'm against infantilizing the entire populace because a few people get the vapors over the occasional "bad word" in popular entertainment.
My iTunes collection is liberally bedecked with red "Explicit" labels because I automatically buy the songs in the version the artists originally intended. Because music is art and art - like it or not - is about unfettered expression. So let's all just grow up and keep that in mind.