During a recent conversation on The Fred Minnick Show, Anthrax’s guitarist Scott Ian talked about the censorship issue that metal bands had to face in the ’80s and stated that it actually increased the number of records sales instead of decreasing them.
If you are a passionate metal-head then you may recall the censorship battle against heavy metal initiated by religious conservatives in the ’80s. Heavy metal as a genre was accused of promoting drug and alcohol abuse, distorted images of sex, violence, suicide, and was consequently seen as a threat to the psychological well-being of America’s youth.
In 1985, PMRC (the Parents Music Resource Center) started acting as the representative group which supported that the growing popularity of heavy metal should be prevented and referred to the genre as ‘porn rock.’ It was during this time that influential metal figures such as Dee Snider and Frank Zappa testified in front of Congress because they wanted to put stickers on the albums.
However eventually, both sides compromised and the final decision was to put content warning stickers on the heavy metal albums so as to warn and protect the youth. Nonetheless, in his recent interview, Scott Ian revealed that this actually encouraged more youngsters to buy their albums because as you know, prohibiting something makes it even more interesting.
This ironic consequence was definitely a matter of amusement for heavy metal musicians and fans who enjoyed seeing this act backfire. Scott Ian jokingly thanked the social justice warriors for initiating this as it enabled them ‘to sell more records to kids that you were trying to protect from us.’
Here’s what Scott Ian said about whether he believes that heavy metal had a bad rap in the mainstream culture:
“Yeah. But even more so in the ’80s, when you had the PMRC — you know, Tipper Gore and housewives who decided that we were dangerous for the youth of America. That’s when Dee Snider and Frank Zappa went to Capitol Hill and testified in front of Congress and all that because they wanted to put warning stickers on albums – that whole thing.”
And the best part about it is that at the end of the day, there was some compromise made and the labels decided they would put content warning stickers on records, and that enabled us to sell more albums because every kid wanted the record with the content warning on it.
So, thank you, social justice warriors, for enabling us to sell more records to kids that you were trying to protect from us. They bought more of ’em.”
Click here for the source and you can watch the interview below.