I love a good revenge story. Doleful Lions frontman Jonathan Scott will exact his revenge on moral crusader Tipper Gore and the PMRC (Parents Music Resource Center) throughout 2012.
The year-long project, Doleful Lions vs. the PMRC, will cover the so-called “Filthy 15” songs most harshly condemned by the PMRC during the 1980s.
The Doleful Lions will release up to one song a month throughout the year, with bonus tracks around the holidays. “I am already coming up with a lot of ideas for what I want to do. Some of the songs will be really straight and some won’t,” said Jonathan.
The Doleful Lions’ occult/gothic pop would likely be targeted by the PRMC if the organization was still active, but Jonathan’s motive is intensely personal. “I blame Tipper for fucking up part of my childhood so I guess I want revenge,” he said.
“In the mid-‘80s my mom read Tipper Gore’s book [Raising PG Kids in an X-rated Society] and came to the conclusion that the weird music I listened to played some part in my being bad in school and getting in trouble all the time. So she went through all my records and listened to the songs and wrote down all these lyrics that she said she objected to and wanted to know why I liked all this occult violent music — that is how she saw it anyway — and one day when I was at school she threw out all my records. My parents made some rule where I could only listen to music approved by them and all of it had to be from the 60s or something. It was a weird time.”
The Filthy 15 list was part of a Washington Post article in which the PMRC suggested (per Wikipedia) that the RIAA and the music industry “develop ‘guidelines and/or a rating system’ similar to the MPAA film rating system,” as well as “printing warnings and lyrics on album covers, forcing record stores to put albums with explicit covers under the counters, pressuring television stations not to broadcast explicit songs or videos, ‘reassess[ing]’ the contracts of musicians who performed violently or sexually in concert, and creating a panel to set industry standards.”
The article got rock music and magazines removed from from American stores including Walmart, J. C. Penney, Sears and Fred Meyer.
The moral crusade didn’t stop there. In September 1985, the Senate held a hearing on so-called “porn rock,” taking testimony from musicians Dee Snider, Frank Zappa, John Denver, as well as PMRC representatives and Senators Al Gore and Paula Hawkins. The Dead Kennedys were actually put on trial for violating obscenity laws (it ended in a mistrial).
It was a strange time to be alive.
Songs on the Filthy 15 (with their lyrical sins) include:
1 Prince “Darling Nikki” (Sex)
2 Sheena Easton “Sugar Walls” (Sex)
3 Judas Priest “Eat Me Alive” (Sex)
4 Vanity “Strap on Robbie Baby” (Sex)
5 Mötley Crüe “Bastard” (Violence)
6 AC/DC “Let Me Put My Love into You” (Sex)
7 Twisted Sister “We’re Not Gonna Take It” (Violence)
8 Madonna “Dress You Up” (Sex)
9 W.A.S.P. “Animal (Fuck Like a Beast)” (Sex/Language)
10 Def Leppard “High ‘n’ Dry (Saturday Night)” (Drug and alcohol use)
11 Mercyful Fate “Into the Coven” (Occult)
12 Black Sabbath “Trashed” (Drug and alcohol use)
13 Mary Jane Girls “In My House” (Sex)
14 Venom “Possessed” (Occult)
15 Cyndi Lauper “She Bop” (Sex)
“I am surprised no band has ever done these songs in this way before,” Jonathan said. “The Filthy 15… the whole concept was so ridiculous. I watched a couple of hours of the PMRC hearings on CSPAN the other night, it was really amazing to watch these Senators wasting time and money on such bullshit. I think the project will be pretty fun.”
Stay tuned. The first release will come out Jan. 30. Songs will appear on this page as they are released. In the meantime, check out the Doleful Lions’ other work. Their entire discography is now available through Bandcamp.