Afternoon Inquisition

AI: The Prison Torture Playlist

I remember when U.S. troops used high volume rock music during Operation Just Cause to flush Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega from the Vatican embassy in Panama City in 1989. They cranked out some Van Halen tracks, among other artists, and everyone happily rocked out until it was over.

In contrast, a coalition of musicians, including R.E.M. and Pearl Jam, want to know if their music was used by the U.S. military as part of controversial interrogation methods at the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. They are upset that their music might have been used on detainees, and it appears some might be thinking of taking legal action if it was.

Would you be upset if your creative material was used as part of controversial interrogation methods? Do these musicians have a right to be upset? Isn’t R.E.M. music torture, whether your detained at Gitmo or not? What songs would be on your prison torture playlist?

The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear daily at 3pm ET.

Sam Ogden

Sam Ogden is a writer, beach bum, and songwriter living in Houston, Texas, but he may be found scratching himself at many points across the globe. Follow him on Twitter @SamOgden

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145 Comments

  1. R.E.M. as torture? Excuse me? I’ll give you everything post-1996, but anything before then is golden! Amanda, I hope you’re certainly not implying that R.E.M. is country.

    My skeptic feathers have been ruffled. *grumble grumble*

  2. Whoa. All this R.E.M. hatred makes me a little sad. But as long as you folks don’t insult CCR we’ll still be cool.

    Anyways, if I had to torture someone, I would do it with Coldplay, Nickelback, or Avril Lavigne if I’m feeling particularly spiteful. However, if I wanted to torture a metalhead like myself, I’d play nothing but Pat Boone’s swingband powered covers of classic metal songs… [link]

    Come on, you know you want to click that link…

  3. I mock my partner for loving REM and Beck all the time. They seem to cast this strange hold on people that makes everyone think they’re much better then they actually are.

    @Imrryr: Wow, Coldplay. Not sure anyone should ever stoop that low for torture.

  4. I think the usual permissions should be required (whatever those might be) for any sort of public broadcasting or replaying of material. Especially if it’s for something with which the creator wholeheartedly disagrees… But if there aren’t any legal requirements to fulfill before we blasted Pantera from the 4th floor out into the quad at college, then I’m wonder what legal technicality they’ll use…

    That said, my torture playlist would have to include: Four Non-Blondes and Evanescence.

  5. As a musician, I’m bothered that any music is used in this way. It isn’t anything inherent to the music itself that causes the pain, it is the fact that it is played at such high levels for such long periods of time. They could easily use synthetic sounds that would accomplish the same thing (perhaps even be more effective, as they could target specific frequencies) without co-opting someone’s creative work for uses they might not agree with.

    I’ve heard a number of stories about how emotionally damaging this sort of torture is, and how even years later victims still have terrible reactions if they accidentally hear the song again. I wouldn’t want to be associated with that, even by proxy.

  6. Love Shack by The B-52s. I would crank The Dukes of Hazzard theme song to 11 if it meant drowning out Love Shack.

    As I get older, I feel my mortality on me more and more. I don’t fear death, but I can’t say I’m happy about it.

    However, the sting of death will be salved by the knowledge that I have heard “Love Shack” for the last goddamned time.

  7. To answer the question. Of course they have right to be upset. Wouldn’t Ghandi pitch a fit if someone was beating people with his sandals?
    They should have only used music designed as torture such as Toby Keith or Randy Newman’s.

  8. I’d be pissed if someone used my work to torture. From an artist’s standpoint it’s perversion of the work.
    But that said. There was a scene in an old spy spoof movie of someone being tortured with Yellow Polka-dot Bikini played on a vinyl record with the hole drilled off center. Priceless.

  9. Oh, hey, look, there’s some questions to answer!

    Yes, I would be upset. Generally if I produced any intellectual content worth anyone’s time, I’d be pretty liberal about its use so long as I was attributed, but would have to draw the line at, you know, causing discomfort to others. So I think they have a right to a) know if it was used and b) to be upset. But unfortunately I’m not sure they have any legal recourse: I think public performances are fair use, so long as you’re not charging for it.

    On my torture list: Limp Bizkit and smooth jazz.

  10. What about that fucking Kid Rock song… the mash-up one with Werewolves of London and Sweet Home Alabama to talk about his love of Michigan… where he rhymes “things” with “things”? I imagine that song playing over and over during a Tijuana donkey show. Then I feel bad for insulting the girls fucking the donkeys by saying they have no taste.

    You could also try to failed mash-up soundtrack of Happy Feet… have you heard? I hate that movie.

    I think I’m in some kind of rage spiral today… I’m going to listen to Pomplamoose’s Single Ladies. Nothing cheers me up like Pomplamoose… for real.

  11. Yes, I would be upset if my art was used as torture. Not pissed at them, but apparently, I’m pretty bad. Do I think I should use legal action? No. What would be on my play list…funny you should mention that…

    Dwight Yokum
    Garth Brooks
    Spice Girls
    Just about the entire genre of rap/hip hop
    A lot if indie stuff
    George Hrab

    Now, I’m going to run away before large, heavy item start getting thrown at me.

  12. @Amanda: Yep. Country music. Except for Johnny Cash. And Charlie Feathers.

    @Imrryr: Yep. CCR is right near the top of my list of torture music.

    @jtradke: Coldplay would be right next to CCR.

    For me Christmas music is unbearable. I used to work in retail, which was difficult on many levels, but mostly on the Christmas music one. And my store played songs I didn’t really hate. It was walking through the mall to get there that was hell.

    The absolute WORST song would be It’s a Small World After All. Argh, even writing it evokes the tune. ARGH!

  13. I don’t think they should be seeking legal action… Nor any musician. If you have an opinion against interrogation methods of a certain kind, that is one thing. In general, you’d argue the degree of harm or torture the detainees experienced as a result of loud music or the type is inhumane or whatever.

    But I feel, getting all upset that it was YOUR music is a misled sentimental thing. Then there is the fact that these bands are probably using it as a ploy to show how damned humanitarian they are, for sales and attention… pft.

    To say “you didn’t have the right to use my music in that way,” is a bit selfish and egotistical in a weird way.

  14. Answering in order of importance:

    “What songs would be on your prison torture playlist?”

    “Songs”? Whole music styles! It is widely known that, particularly over certain time/volume exposure levels (although not only then), salsa or merengue can be lethal to human life. Alternatively, the music from The Godfather would scare the shit out of any terrorist.

    “Isn’t R.E.M. music torture, whether your detained at Gitmo or not?”

    Rather, is R.E.M.’s music?

    “Do these musicians have a right to be upset?”

    Probably yes. But for the reasons they are? Probably not.

    “Would you be upset if your creative material was used as part of controversial interrogation methods?”

    Only if it yielded no results :D

    In a more serious mood, not any more than a toolmaker would feel disappointed by the use of his hammers. Actually, any music could be used, and if they had played Liszt’s utterly depressing Danse Macabre, even the toughest of the bad guys would probably have started crying like a baby.

    Also, that goodies/baddies strike against each other with X music at X place does not necessarily mean that the music is bad, it may only speak about the personal taste of the torturer, or their limited musical knowledge.

    And even more seriously, it may not have to do with what the tortures consider bad, but with what they consider will annoy the detainees. Gitmo’s guards may actually like the music they play (the same as nazis liked playing Liszt’s music to their victims as a symbol of their supposed intellectual superiority as expressed in that music) and just think that it’s going to be as poisonous to criminals as an injection of liberty or tolerance may be.

  15. I woke up this morning, tortured by the Black Eyed Peas song about the lovely lady lumps.

    Apologies to any now hearing it.

    Yummy yummy yummy I’ve got love in my tummy would also qualify as torture.

    Basically, any song known as an ear worm – one you just can’t get out of your head – is and should be considered torture. That said, my 80’s flashback to Living in Video is helping to mute Fergie. Who wooda thunk music could get even worse?

  16. I thought I had logged onto the Westboro Baptist webpage for a moment. How can you call R.E.M music torture? Down with hate, Down with hate, up with boobies, up with boobies.

    I guess I would put barney’s songs on the torture list.

  17. I’d rather volunteer to turn off the lights and play the game “Who’s In My Mouth” with the cast of Hee-Haw, instead of being forced to listen to Coldplay & Nickleback over and over again.

    I love Canada, but Nickleback is the one time Canada should have worn a condom and saved us all from that band’s banality.

  18. @Sam Ogden:

    Whoa! I had just flipped to a CCR song as I read your comment. Spooky.

    No, Classics IV did “Spooky”. CCR did “Bad Moon Rising”. (sorry, couldn’t resist)

    I’d expect any music could be used, depending on the circumstances. I remember a (probably apocryphal) report of someone having a car accident and being trapped in their car for hours before help arrived. Meanwhile, the car stereo played endlessly played the Madonna CD they’d been listening to. The report went on to explain that the accident victim recovered but was no longer a Madonna fan.

  19. @Steve: That reminds me of a story I heard years ago (pre-internet) of a British guy who kept playing I Will Always Love You (the Whitney Houston version from Bodyguard) over and over in his flat until the bloke next door knocked his door down and beat him to death with a bat.

    Personally, I think that was justified.

  20. Music that would torture me… christian contemporary. I’d be batshit crazy after a few hours.

    And it’s not always the volume – play Deicide or Bloodbath to someone very religious who’s never even heard Western music before, and I’d bet money they think they’re actually listening to satan himself.

  21. @Gabrielbrawley: Hellz yeah! I’ll admit they lost something when they went to a trio (REM, not boobies), but their first 5 albums are excellent music. So suck it, haters. Yeah, boobies.

    There is one song I consider ultimate ear torture, and unfortunately I heard it at a restaurant just a few days ago after going years without hearing it.

    “Total Eclipse of the Heart” – Bonnie Tyler

    Oh Dog, please make it stop!!!

    Oh, and that song from the Geico commercial where the cavemen are bowling. Is that Nickelback? @Tim3P0: I could not have said it better. I bow to your wordsmithery.

  22. @Tina:

    But I feel, getting all upset that it was YOUR music is a misled sentimental thing.
    … To say “you didn’t have the right to use my music in that way,” is a bit selfish and egotistical in a weird way.

    An overwhelming amount emotional and other resources go into creating a piece of art. A work of art does ‘belong’ to its creator, not necessarily in a property sense, but in a sense that it is a part of them, something they outwardly and inwardly identify with (regardless of who owns the copyright). No one would want their name identified with something they strongly believe against, but especially something as personal as art. Why are artists egotistical, selfish, and misguidedly sentimental if they don’t want their creation used to inflict pain? And why is being egotistical and selfish about something they create so bad? After all, they created it, not you or anyone else.

    Then there is the fact that these bands are probably using it as a ploy to show how damned humanitarian they are, for sales and attention… pft.

    Just a tad cynical, no?

  23. @VoxMachina:

    It’s just that, what it was used for had nothing to do with them.. If someone used any of my art for something bad, I would be like “wtf, why are they doing bad things?!”
    Beyond making me sad that I can guess they didn’t like what I made, I wouldn’t feel I had the right to retribution.

    Cynical? Of overpaid, bloated rockstars? Forgive me.

    I just thought… about the only thing my art can be used for to cause harm would be to make canvas board ninja stars. in which case, I might actually think that was cool..

  24. @Tina:

    It’s just that, what it was used for had nothing to do with them..

    But they will still be identified with it. Shouldn’t they at least be asked whether or not they are OK with that?

    And not all musicians (and other artists) are overpaid, bloated rockstars. Many spend long hours trying to communicate what it is to be human. I feel sorry for anybody whose listening library doesn’t contain some music that hasn’t impacted their life for the better and isn’t just pretty sonic wallpaper.

  25. Hey, ya’ll, back off! If’n it weren’t for country, I wouldn’t be here right now. See’n as the country band I used to sing fer introduced me to the purty lady who tole me ’bout Skepchicks.

    (Whether it could have been used for torture is not debatable, it is certain.)

    Songs that could make me long for an ear-hole sized icepick include:
    *The aforementioned ‘Lady Lumps’
    *Insane in the Membrane
    *That horrifically gleeful “I get knocked down! And I get up again!” POS that defines my scorn for all things commercial

    But if you really, really wanted to make someone weep for mercy, might I suggest a compilation mash-up of every pop-music polka by Weird Al Yankovic.
    Here’s one – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xY-oili63QQ

    Don’t get me wrong, I love Al with the deep platonic love felt by nerds of a feather. But those polkas, strung together could cause some mental damage.

  26. @VoxMachina:

    But they will still be identified with it. Shouldn’t they at least be asked whether or not they are OK with that?

    The only reason I knew about the fact that their music may have been used is because THEY filed a law suit.. I don’t think anyone assumes they endorsed the usage.

    And not all musicians (and other artists) are overpaid, bloated rockstars.

    True, but I am of the opinion that these artists are.. and that anyone who genuinely worries themselves about expressing the human condition, would not be seeking a lawsuit like this. Making a statement seems sufficient; getting a payout seems self-important.

  27. Hmmm. Nope. I have considered all the arguments, and I would rather have every one of those awful songs downloaded directly into my brain via a rusty coax cable than listen to the opening chords of “Love Shack.”

    It is amazing how wrong all of you can be.

    As for Sam’s other question about my art used as a torture device… well, since my artistic medium is car bombs, I don’t think it’ll be effective torture for Al Qaeda prisoners. In fact, my most recent work (Sunrise at Wal-Mart) could be a Taliban-Approved Viagra Substitute.

    But if I did something more conventional, like make music or even B-52s covers, I would be happy to know that it was reviled by terrorists.

  28. @Amanda: Yes, having to listen to John Mayer (or Coldplay or Nickelback) is the equivalent of wearing a straight-jacket and being locked in a small private room w/ David Tennant for a week and not be allowed any physical contact……

    Now that is torture.

  29. @Bookitty:

    *That horrifically gleeful “I get knocked down! And I get up again!” POS that defines my scorn for all things commercial

    Rather interesting a position to take on a song about alcoholism and resistance written by a bunch of anarchists. Find it rather entertaining.

    While this might inspire some scorn I’ve always enjoyed Weird Al’s polka medleys.

    Yay! Viking Metal!

  30. @Tina:
    According to Sam’s linked article, they haven’t filed a lawsuit, just signed on to an existing FOIA request. The article mentions that “It is unclear if any of the artists plan to pursue legal action”, note that it doesn’t say “sue for millions.” Not all lawsuits are for monetary compensation. You can sue for the release of information, as I suspect is the case here. Compensation would be extremely hard to pursue in a case like this anyway.

  31. Seriously, do you have to take crack shots at bands some people like? I could probably offend several of you with bands I can’t stand that you love. So cool it!

    My least favorite genre of music is Country… I can’t stand it. My favorite rock (and yes, I mean rock…) band is R.E.M. … mostly the later stuff, although their early stuff is growing on me.

    And I think I would feel offended if I wrote music and it was used for that purpose, but I would probably also feel offended if someone listened to it while murdering kittens. The legal for using music for such a thing is still a minor issue compared to the fact that such events happened in the first place.

  32. Yeah, ha ha, “now THAT’s torture”….

    As was already pointed out, the torture factor comes with volume and repetition.

    Think of your favorite song, played at earsplitting volume, for a week straight. Won’t be your favorite song anymore. To say the least.

    What would be on MY music-torture playlist?

    Well, assuming that it would be at the same volume and repetition, something far less consonant than R.E.M. , John Mayer, or whatever other hilariously snarky attempts at musical snobbery I skimmed here would be more effective.

    Whitebird’s High-Decibel-Torture-Playlist:

    Pick three measures of Bartok, two of Ornette Coleman, on a loop, played simultaneously with some Philip Glass, with all three tracks skipping unpredictibly (without regard to tempo).

    I give anyone about five minutes.

  33. Torturers would merely have to threaten to play simpering effing Rush and I would: tell all my own secrets, tell every other secret I know, and fabricate lies just to keep them from turning on the hell storm.

    (for clarification, I’m referring to the band called Rush, but either Rush would break me)

  34. As a music therapist, I really don’t like the idea of using music as torture. Anecdote: I’ve seen some strong negative reactions to music from war veterans decades later. Hearing the music again, no matter what it happens to be, can instantly take you back. Add a diagnosis of dementia in an elderly person and it can be a terrifying experience.

    And I can’t believe no one has mentioned “Macarena” yet.

  35. Whilst I don’t enjoy some kinds of music like heavy metal and Nashville Country as a music lover the thought of music as torture is just horrid.

    I am interested to see if the Pentagon will release the songs that were used in Gitmo and if they do, I hope the artists sue their asses.

  36. Ever since I can remember, I’ve always had peculiarparticular taste in music. I was probably no older than 13 when I developed the ability to ignore whatever crap was playing loudly wherever I happened to be. Believe it or not, this habit has led to the untimely end of more than one relationship. (Apparently, there’s a world of difference between “Your favorite band sucks” and “I’m sorry; you were playing something?”)

    The only music that drives me absolutely nuts is “relaxing” music — you know, synthesizers and soprano sax with rainforest sounds and whale songs. Whenever I’m around that stuff I go into John Cage mode and listen to the subtle, random sound of automobile traffic miles away.

    @ voxmachina: Actually, that would probably have me asking the Red Cross to provide music manuscript paper, so I could do a transcription. But then, I have Gyorgi Ligeti’s works for electronic tape and soprano on vinyl.

    @ whitebird: Pick three measures of Bartok, two of Ornette Coleman, on a loop, played simultaneously with some Philip Glass, with all three tracks skipping unpredictibly (without regard to tempo). Dude, throw in some Morrocan street musicians, and I am there, man. I think I own that album.

  37. @whitebird: Actually the Bartok, Coleman, and Glass example brings up an interesting point: those recordings even at their sonic peaks might not be the most tortuous. Classical, jazz, and other acoustic recordings are generally uncompressed (sonically, not storage compression like MP3s) while most current popular music is *heavily* compressed, generally to make it “pop out” more when played on the radio. This is a pretty good demonstration thereof. So as much as a Schoenberg/Penderecki/Cage mashup might be aesthetically unpleasing, almost any track off FM radio would be drastically harsher at similar volumes.

  38. @killyosaur:
    Yeah… sorry. I’m pretty stressed out right now. It’s just there’s a difference between saying “For me, listening to R.E.M. would be torture, even if I wasn’t at Gitmo,” and “Isn’t R.E.M. music torture, whether your detained at Gitmo or not?” The first one is just an opinion, but the second one implies that there’s some kind of music that is always unbearable, regardless of who you are. It’s not true, and I’m still hurt by that comment. It really made me feel excluded from the conversation.

    Sorry if it seems I’m overreacting, but really there were better ways to have this conversation.

  39. I actually used to get migraines at work when they played country music on the radio. Migraines. Even I was surprised. I mean, I hate country consciously, but even my uncontrollable automatic body processes reject it painfully?
    As far as R.E.M. or Pearl Jam taking legal action if their music was used in torture activities… meh. It’s kind of a whiny way of dissenting. Don’t take me the wrong way, I don’t like torture, but there are ways to argue against it without looking like a whiny douche. It should be a sign to both bands that their musical skills have not yet reached any kind of pinnacle. It’s, you know, kind of like constructive criticism!

  40. Can’t help but think of the kidnap/torture scene from Space Is the Place with Sun Ra tied to a chair with headphones playing Dixie.

    This case just seems to be an attempt for the bands to use their fame to highlight FOIA filings and exert some pressure.

    @killyosaur: Wow, when did Napalm Death start playing songs that long. I don’t think I’ve ever heard them break the 20 second mark.

    Yay! James Joyce Metal!

  41. @Trotter Jelly: Well they did cover DK’s Nazi punks F**k Off which is almost 2 minutes long, so I suppose for a while.

    @malendras: Yes, technically, Opeth is categorized as Black Metal but I have always seen them as more than. My all time favorite song of theirs is Black Rose Immortal. 20 minutes of pure bliss. In contrast to Napalm Death, they rarely play songs less than 5 minutes in length. And yes I am extremely jealous that you have seen both Tyr and Opeth live.

    Not always well liked by everyone (partly because some people think the lead singer is a douche, including the bands former drummer), but they were my first Black/Symphonic Metal band and they will always have a special place in my heart:
    Yay! Symphonic Metal!

  42. Jack White of White Stripes and Nirvana. Sorry Cobain but the fact that I can’t understand a fucking word of you’re whiney-mumble singing makes me insane. White’s pitch sounds like small rodents are nesting up his ass. It just makes my sphincter tighten (which might be a good thing if I’m ever imprisoned someplace like “Gitmo”) Oh, and anything Florence Henderson ever did.

  43. @baiskeptic:

    Dude… how do you think I feel? Actually I feel fine, even though I DO like Coldplay, because I don’t really care if other people don’t like them or don’t even respect them. I’m sure everyone’s aware that there’s no accounting for taste, and therefore it’s all in good fun.

    Except for Nickelback, man. They are objectively bad.

  44. @Mowgli:
    Smells Like Nirvana

    What is this song all about?
    Cant figure any lyrics out
    How do the words to it go?
    I wish youd tell me, I dont know
    Dont know, dont know, dont know, oh no
    Dont know, dont know, dont know…

    Now Im mumblin and Im screamin
    And I dont know what Im singin
    Crank the volume, ears are bleedin
    I still dont know what Im singin
    Were so loud and incoherent
    Boy, this oughta bug your parents
    Yeah

    Its unintel-ligible
    I just cant get it through my skull
    Its hard to bargle nawdle zouss(? )
    With all these marbles in my mouth
    Dont know, dont know, dont know, oh no
    Dont know, dont know, dont know…

    Well, we dont sound like madonna
    Here we are now, were nirvana
    Sing distinctly? we dont wanna
    Buy our album, were nirvana
    A garage band from seattle
    Well, it sure beats raising cattle
    Yeah

    And I forgot the next verse
    Oh well, I guess it pays to rehearse
    The lyric sheets so hard to find
    What are the words? oh, nevermind
    Dont know, dont know, dont know, oh no
    Dont know, dont know, dont know…

    Well, Im yellin and were playin
    But I dont know what Im sayin
    Whats the message Im conveyin?
    Can you tell me what Im sayin?
    So have you got some idea?
    Didnt think so — well, Ill see ya
    Sayonara, sayonara
    Ayonawa, odinawa
    Odinaya, yodinaya
    Yaddayadda, yaaahyaaah
    Ayaaaaaah!

    Yay! Thrash Metal!

  45. @malendras: I think you’re quite right about that. A few years ago I saw a news report from Iraq where a reporter was asking some American troops about their favorite music. This one soldier said he liked to blast black and death metal songs for everyone to hear. I can only imagine what the Iraqis must be thinking when they hear King Diamond for the first time.

    @killyosaur: I think you’ve named every style of metal that I’ve ever heard of. So, Yay! Heavy metal covers of classic rock songs!

  46. To quote Chad Kroeger “…Hey! I like bands that sound like Nickleback…”

    I will leave you Philistines with the ultimate earworm….”now sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip…”

  47. @Mark Hall: Regarding Rush, I will just say this. EVERY musician who I’ve taken to a Rush concert has come away saying things like, “I never knew how good those guys really were until I heard them live.” If you have seen them live and still don’t think they are some of the best rock musicians on the planet, then there is no hope for you. If you have not, please refrain from commenting.

    nuf’ said

  48. @killyosaur: Wait did you alredy cover that LARP-y Slavic Pride metal? I guess it would be “Pagan Metal”? and there are sub categories…or would whatever that is just fall into whatever it sonically resembles? The stuff I’ve heard utilizes traditional folk instruments among the guitars and usual stuff…Isn’t Runedance like that – or is that more like ambient? And how does one categorize that Burzum album Hildskjarf (I think that’s the one), IIRC, it’s pretty New Age sounding..

  49. @killyosaur:
    That’s the song where I first realized that Weird Al is a genius. Particularly, I was watching the video, and where he starts gargling my head exploded.

    He had a lull in the early-mid nineties, but Running with Scissors-Poodle Hat-Straight Outta Lynwood may be the best trio of albums since DSOTM-WYWH-Animals. (or Meddle-DOTM-WYWH. or WYWH-Animals-The Wall. Take your pick)

    By the way, It is Al’s birthday today. He’s 50.

    I am a Hedge

  50. @Garrison22:
    Right on. You don’t have to like Rush, but they really are that good.

    Listen to a live recording of Rush and keep in mind that they are a three piece. I’ll make it easy for you: just listen to Xanadu from Exit…Stage Left. It’s just the three of them. Although, Neil has that third arm, so it is cheating a little bit.
    (Much better, of course, would be to catch them on their next tour. Please let there be a next tour. Snakes and Arrows was so good.)

    You could still use them for torture. After all, there is Test for Echo.

    I am a Hedge

  51. @Im a Hedge: Yeah, I’ve been a Weird Al fan for years. I even watched his television show. Saw UHF (which was bad, but the album was entertaining), and have gotten every album except his 2 most recent though I have heard several songs from them. I recall a college friend who did the late night metal show for the college radio station stating in no uncertain terms that the best live performer he had ever seen was Weird Al. Someday, I will see him live.

    Yay! Celtic Punk!

  52. @Im a Hedge: “DSOTM-WYWH-Animals. (or Meddle-DOTM-WYWH. or WYWH-Animals-The Wall. Take your pick) ”

    All of the above? I even like the Final Cut.

    And nice to see that Rush has another supporter (I’m surprised there aren’t more…I thought we were nerds here!).

    RE: Weird Al: I once saw him in a bowling alley (of course. where else would he spend his time?)when I was 16 and he was extremely nice. Somehow I think that he’s good friends with Victoria Jackson, though…

  53. Weird Al puts on an excellent show. I’ve seen him 3 times, and each one was very good. His band is very good, and highly underrated. That they can cover all these different songs, as well as Al’s (sometimes very challenging) original work is very impressive.

    killyosaur, I would highly recommend both Poodle Hat and Straight Outta Lynwood, if and when you have the funds. Straight Outta Lynwood may be his best. Al deserves the genius label just for this line from Pancreas:

    My pancreas attracts every other pancreas in the universe with a force proportional to the product of their masses, and inversely proportional to the distance between them

    Done in the style of the Beach Boys, no less.

    @whitebird:
    Al is friends with Victoria Jackson. She was in UHF and helped AL get permission from Kurt Cobain to parody Smells Like Teen Spirit when Nirvana was appearing on SNL.

    “It’s not going to be about food, is it?”
    “No, it’s going to be about how no one can understand a thing you’re saying”

    I am a Hedge

  54. @whitebird:

    And nice to see that Rush has another supporter (I’m surprised there aren’t more…I thought we were nerds here!).

    Funny, I never thought of Rush as a band for nerds. When I was in high school, they were the band of choice for white, middle-class, smart but under-achieving boys. That’s what me and my friends were anyway, and we were the only group really digging the band. BTW, I’ve seen them every tour since the New World tour, and would recommend the show to anyone.

  55. @Sam Ogden: Huh, ok…

    I had lots of friends in HS who were borderline nerds – they would have been full-blown if it weren’t for being good-looking and getting into a reasonable amount of sex and drugs. Their hearts were full of Carlin and Python quotes, their bookshelves rife with Sci-Fi, and mountain dew coursed through some of their veins. And they all listened to Rush.

  56. @killyosaur: “Glenn Beck is an asshole, and he’s wrong on everything…but I like him”

    I get it. He compares him with Abby Hoffman, which I think is a very valid juxtaposition.

    Hell, I even like Glenn Beck because of the freak factor (though, like Rush Limbaugh, I can’t take too much). what I don’t like is the thought of people watching that show,nodding in agreement, loading their guns.

  57. @whitebird:

    Hehe . . . Nice!

    Yeah, I don’t doubt that at all, but the truth is, you couldn’t, in good conscience, call us nerds and be true to nerds. We just weren’t part of that that scene, man. We had a whole other approach to cerebral music and pop culture in the works.

    But I will say, there is definitely some overlap.

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