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Coming Under Fire

I'm torn today, glam fans. I hate to bring attention to the media fixation on the Virginia Tech shooter...but I feel like I have no choice.

You see, Cho Seung-Hui was an English major just like me. He took creative writing classes just like me. Apparently, he loved classic Guns n' Roses the way I still do. While at Virginia Tech, he wrote two plays and one of them is entitled Mr. Brownstone.

When this crossed the newswires yesterday, I immediately thought of Guns n' Roses. It took my colleagues in the media a few more hours to make the connection. Then again, I'm guessing most members of the media don't read and write about Metal music several hours each day.

As any GnR fan knows "Mr. Brownstone" is about heroin addiction. When addiction starting ripping the classic Guns lineup apart, Axl Rose would make statements from the stage about band members dancing with Mr. Brownstone. Axl, at least in his mind, was able to control his addiction enough so he could build a music empire. For others, the challenge at bit more difficult.

Still, it's now 2007 and we've gone through so many music trends since Appetite for Destruction was released in 1987. Think about that. It's been 20 years since one of the best Metal albums of all time was produced.

Back when Metal music was getting huge mainstream radio airplay during the early 1980s, liberal Tipper Gore and others formed the P.M.R.C. (Parents Music Resource Center).

That committee went before Congress and lobbied for music censorship. In the end, Congress ruled that parental advisory stickers be placed on all releases deemed inappropriate. These stickers probably fueled album sales but still chipped away the rights of an artist.

Now, this latest tragedy will shove Metal music right into the media maelstrom one more time. I wouldn't even be writing about this at all, except every music forum I frequent has threads on the subject. In each instance, music fans are deploring the actions of Cho Seung-Hui, but defending the rights of musicians.

Why is it always Metal music that gets a bad "rap"? I'm pretty sure that most genres of music today talk about drug use, depression, death, suicide, and mental illness. Has anyone listened to emo recently?

There's a great debate on this subject going on right now over at

I can give you this promise: no where in any news broadcast I produce will there be mention of Guns n' Roses as a motivation for this killing spree. I've had enough and judging by comments all over the Internet, I think many of you are also fed up.

Here's a video of Guns n' Roses performing "Mr. Brownstone" back in 1988. Amazingly, no one gets shot during the performance.

Reader Comments (3)

Good Grief! I can see it now, the PMRC will try to pin this tragedy on Guns N' Roses music somehow.
April 18, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterHard Rock Hideout
If anyone is interested, an excellent synopsis of the whole shameful PMRC episode can be found in "Al Gore: A Users Manual" by Alexander Cockburn & Jeffery St.Clair.

What I can't understand is how anyone of reasonable intelligence can believe that listening to certain types music can not only trigger a psychotic episode, but actually be a root cause of mental illness.
April 18, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterSean
Very well written & well said blog!
GnR rules! That video is pretty cool!
April 18, 2007 | Unregistered CommenteraXe mAn

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