Though the battle against the PMRC (Parents Music Resource Center) ended roughly 30 years ago, the remanence of ill will towards Tipper Gore and the ladies of the PMRC remains in the rock and metal community. Musicians from across the music world spoke out against censorship throughout the mid-80s to mid-90s, resulting in the destruction of the PMRC’s arguments.

The PMRC is responsible for that Parental Advisory sticker that adorned any piece of music found to be objectionable via references to sex, violence, the occult or drug and alcohol use. Tipper Gore, wife of former U.S. Senator and Vice President Al Gore, often appeared on TV to speak about the corrupting influence of music on young people, but failed to actually show proof beyond inconclusive studies and general hearsay.

The best arguments against the PMRC came from musicians who preached parental accountability over broad-stroke censorship. “If I was a father and my kid brought home something I really, really objected to like a skinhead record or a toy uzi or even a Guns N’ Roses record with those [offensive] lyrics on it, I would not immediately go crawling to the phone to call the cops or call Tipper Gore. I would not put my kid in a mental hospital for the kind of music they listen to. I would not send them to some deprogramming center and blame it on the music,” Dead Kennedys vocalist Jello Biafra said on an episode of Oprah.

“What I would do is sit down with the kid … Tell me why you like it and I’ll tell you why I don’t like it,” he continued. “I think the most evil part of the PMRC and people like Tipper Gore and Jesse Helms is they play on the fears of parents who are too chicken to talk to their own kids.”

In a lost video from the mid-80s, an unknown singer for a band called Sleaze attended a talk show that discussed censorship in music. With spiked up, glam metal hair, Layne Staley addressed the show’s host in favor of freedom of expression. “I don’t feel there’s anything objectionable about our songs,” Staley said about Sleaze’s music. “But I don’t feel anyone else has the right to rate our songs. I’m the only one that has the right to rate my album; you don’t have it.”

Even pop stars of the age like John Denver and Donnie Osmond defended rock and metal music in the public square, so see all those video clips and more in the Loud List below.

The Verbal Destruction of Tipper Gore & the PMRC

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