When Skinny Puppy’s members found out their music was being used in sleep deprivation torture of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, rather than filing a cease and desist, they took another path – they sent the U. S. Government a bill.
While the Canadian band isn’t exactly thrilled their music is being used to torture people, they felt that a bill for the unlicensed use of the music would underscore their position better than legal action.
Under U. S. law, anyone using music in any endeavor other than personal enjoyment is subject yo pay BMI and ASCAP fees. Apparently the government did not follow its own laws.
Big shock, that.
“We heard that our music was used on at least four occasions,” Evin Key, one of the band members, said. “So we thought it would be a good idea to make an invoice to the U.S. government for musical services.” When Key was asked how they felt about their music being used to torture people, Key said, “Not too good. We never supported those types of scenarios … Because we make unsettling music, we can see it being used in a weird way. But it doesn’t sit right with us.”
As protest to the use of their music being made a torture device, the band will name their next album, “Weapons.”
What else is on the playlist at Gitmo? Glad you asked! Here’s a short list of hits:
1. Anything by Barry Manilow
This wouldn’t be torture for me. Mr. Manilow is one of my guilty pleasures. I especially love his disco hits while house-cleaning.
2.Rock the Casbah – The Clash
Chosen as the first song to be broadcast by US military radio during the launch of the 1991 Gulf War. Joe Strummer, the Clash’s late singer, was said by friends to have been appalled that it was used.
3. Killing in the Name – Rage Against the Machine
Used by interrogators against prisoners in Guantanamo Bay. Prompted protests by the band, who took to performing in orange jumpsuits associated with Guantanamo bay prisoners.
4. Baby One More Time – Britney Spears
Played by British naval officers in an attempt to scare off Somali pirates along the east coast of Africa.
5. Christmas Sing-Along – Mitch Miller
Played by the FBI during the 51-day long siege of the Branch Davidian sect at Waco, Texas, in 1993, which ended in a fire that caused the deaths of 76 people.
6. Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American) – Toby Keith
Patriotic song written by American country singer Toby Keith in the wake of his father’s death and the 9-11 attacks. At first, Keith refused to record it and only sang it live at concerts for military personnel. He then changed his mind after being told by a marine commander that it was “his job as an entertainer to lift the morale of the troops.”
7. Enter Sandman – Metallica
Played at a detention center on the Iraqi-Syrian border, described by one Iraqi prisoner as “an unidentified location called ‘the disco’.”Discussing the matter on a chat show, Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich, said: “If there are people that are dumb enough to use Metallica to interrogate prisoners, you’re forgetting about all the music that’s to the left of us. I can name, you know, 30 Norwegian death metal bands that would make Metallica sound like Simon and Garfunkel.”
8. “I Love You” – Barney the Dinosaur
The last in the list can only be described as “cruel and unusual”. So horrific is this arguable ‘song’ that parents everywhere have been known to throw speakers out high-rise windows, and drive off the road int heir attempts to silence the noise NOW. We can only say that every legal step possible should be taken to ensure this unspeakable sound is never uttered again. Not. One. Note.
9. Paragun – Skinny Puppy
There’s been no official list of which Skinny Puppy songs were used, but we grabbed something more recent from them to give you an idea of their current sound.
h/t: Death and Taxes