Tipper Gore was a co-founder in 1985 of the Parents Music Resource Center, which pushed for parental warning labels on music with violent or sexually explicit lyrics. The group drew the ire of musicians ranging from Dee Snider of Twisted Sister to Frank Zappa, who said warning labels were unnecessary and a danger to freedom.The Parents Music Resource Center was a group of women whose spouses were powerful members of congress, the executive branch, and etc. Through their spouses, they had a great deal of influence and power.
Tipper Gore later became friends with the late Zappa's wife, Gail, and played drums and sang backup on daughter Diva Zappa's album in 1999.
Tipper Gore and some of the other bluenosing biddies of the awful Parents Music Resource Center. They wanted to warn you about what you were putting in your ears.
And they didn't like that Prince used the word "grind" in one of his songs. They believed -- or claimed to believe -- that Prince singing about "grinding" was helping to cause the decay in the fabric of our American civilization. Ms. Gore also accused Ice-T of helping to increase the rates of violence against police officers in Los Angeles.
Because, you know, Ice-T was a rapper, and those rap songs encourage the kids to kill cops. It's something about the beat, I guess. It's hypnotic. The kids can't help it, when they hear those songs, they've got to go out and pop a cap in some poor cop's ass.
If not for those selfless women at the Parents Music Resource Center, Ice-T would have turned your children into gun-crazy cop killers.
Anyway. These busybody biddies managed to use their husbands' power to scare/coerce record labels into agreeing to "voluntarily" place warning labels on some of their records and tapes (this was slightly before CDs and mp3s). However, before the labels actually started appearing, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee (!) held hearings to determine just how much rap and funk (and also, let's be fair, heavy metal-- they went after Twisted Sister and Judas Priest as well) were causing our children to become amoral murderers.
A few artists-- Dee Snider of Twisted Sister, John Denver (author of "Annie's Song," one of my all-time favorites and I don't care what you say about that), and Frank Zappa-- agreed to lower themselves enough to appear before the grandstanding asshole politicians who had nothing better to do with their time than hold such hearings.
Frank Zappa, lowering himself to appear before a bunch of grandstanding politicians who weren't even fit to kiss his ass.
As part of Frank Zappa's statement, he said:
These are my personal observations and opinions. They are addressed to the PMRC [Parents’ Music Resource Centre] as well as this committee. I speak on behalf of no group or professional organization.Frank Zappa was a hero.
The PMRC proposal is an ill-conceived piece of nonsense which fails to deliver any real benefits to children, infringes the civil liberties of people who are not children, and promises to keep the courts busy for years, dealing with the interpretational and enforcemental problems inherent in the proposal’s design.
It is my understanding that, in law, First Amendment Issues are decided with a preference for the least restrictive alternative. In this context, the PMRC’s demands are the equivalent of treating dandruff by decapitation.
No one has forced Mrs. Baker or Mrs. Gore to bring Prince or Sheena Easton into their homes. Thanks to the Constitution, they are free to buy other forms of music for their children. Apparently, they insist on purchasing the works of contemporary recording artists in order to support a personal illusion of aerobic sophistication. Ladies, please be advised: The $8.98 purchase price does not entitle you to a kiss on the foot from the composer or performer in exchange for a spin on the family Victrola. Taken as a whole, the complete list of PMRC demands reads like an instruction manual for some sinister kind of “toilet training program” to house-break all composers and performers because of the lyrics of a few. Ladies, how dare you?
The ladies” shame must be shared by the bosses at the major labels who, through the RIAA, chose to bargain away the rights of composers, performers, and retailers in order to pass H.R. 2911, The Blank Tape Tax: A private tax levied by an industry on consumers for the benefit of a select group within that industry.
After reading just that short piece of Mr. Zappa's statement, it's profoundly depressing to hear that his wife "became friends" with Ms. Gore after his death. After all, this is a woman who directly targeted her* husband for purely political reasons.
It's even worse to think that Ms. Gore played drums on something recorded by Mr. Zappa's daughter. What the hell kind of person would do that to her late father?
And what kind of woman would exploit the surviving relatives of a man she so casually and opportunistically tried to destroy?
First PMRC pic source.
Frank Zappa pic source.
Ice-T pic source.