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Green day article stirs debate

 

 

Frank Parlato Jr. published an article, "Parents should check out punk band's lyrics" in the Buffalo News on 10th April, 1996. A reader responded to that article 10 years later. Below are Frank Parlato's responses to the letters by the reader, the reader's letters and the original article, as well as the original lyrics of the group that prompted Parlato to critique them.

Green Day

Coward lyrics provokes Parlato's criticism.

 

Jam

Thanks again for your comments . . . I have to admit there are songs I like by green day-- only some of the lyrics aren't much to my liking.

While it is true that punk is about rebellion - or rather, maybe - thinking for yourself- as a young developing individual - the failure of much of punk and indeed much of commercial music is that the message to the young mind is not always that of a strengthening nature.

When a record company deliberately promotes things that they know are harmful to children - with the goal of making money- knowing that young minds are impressionable and eager to accept new ideas – and add the delicious soul stirring concoction we call music – when they deliberately mislead children with ideas of premature and unnatural sex, drugs, violence, unfair and selfish behavior, and unhealthy thinking, then these people should be exposed for what they are: moral criminals…. Using the bait of music and rebellion to seduce children into things that will ultimately retard their progress…

Their karma is undoubtedly quite bad, and, ultimately, I believe, all actions undertaken for money - without concern whether the consumer of the product will be injured or not is injurious to the doer...  after the first golden taste of fame and success…. Comes the digesting of fame. Any fool arrives to fame in eager excitement, having done almost anything to get there- and will do anything to stay there. In the end, he leaves in disgrace- if not public- then disgraced in his own heart and conscience. It is not how one arrives to  fame – but how one exits which is important.

In the case of green day - far, far from the worst offender...  I asked my now 18 year old son about it – prompted by your letter. He said at the time he knew nothing really at all about getting stoned or other noxious things contained in the lyrics of dookie and some  earlier cd’s of green day he got his hands on - but he naturally was curious and since the lyrics were printed on the insert accompanying the cd, he set out to read and study the words and try to find out what they meant.  he admired green day, loved their music, did not understand what the secret experiences that these great guys of green day were singing about – but he suspected they were really cool and with a child's naturally curious mind wanted to know more about - for example "getting stoned" and going to "whores" which at the time he pronounced "wars".... in a sense green day taught him the word “whores”… and that people do indeed go to them.

I told my son that green day, although musically very attractive, wrote songs that, if people imitated the actions of the singer, as if everything he did was knowing and right - would be destructive.... for instance, I told him, going to whores make a person weak and potentially disease- ridden… that some unfortunate people, degraded by low self esteem – sell their personal rights to their body at various times (to be touched or not touched, to have various cavities of their body entered and etc.) sold to strangers, and together commit acts that are normally reserved for people who know each other intimately – and have some kind of affection for each other. These acts with and by whores easily lead to disease, because of the nature of exchanging various bodily fluids etc.– with unknown individuals – many of whom are already afflicted with contagious diseases - and so green day – by blithely singing about going to a whore – who then provides him with some apparently useful information (he said my life’s a bore) gives a stamp of “this is normal activity”. He didn’t sing “I went to whore and he/she gave me the clap”… and hence green day was at least indirectly promoting a questionable practice. In any event, it got me to expend, as a parent, considerable effort explaining things I might have otherwise postponed a year or two, and to discrediting green day – which included publishing the article criticizing green day which you objected to….

Ultimately my son discerned that while green day had fun songs- they were kind of childish (this from an eight year old) and that maybe the group lacked good adult guidance….

In any event, I am glad for your criticism and your subsequent reply… best of luck…

Frank

 

Firstly, I want to thank you for the reply. I never expected you to have the same email address let alone even remember the article, but I felt annoyed enough upon my first reading to email anyway. Your reply has let me understand your point of view when the album ('Dookie') was first released. I have always seen Green Day as for older teenagers, such as 17 and 18, but I can understand your concerns at the time if the marketing was aimed at pre-adolecent kids and your son was interested at the time;
any normal parent would have these worries. I was unaware that the album was being marketed that way (possibly because I'm from the UK and it was not as popular here). The whole message of Punk is about rebelling and 'saying what you want' so I can appriciate what you say if it was being marketed to kids who are too young to fully understand the messages and parents who are not aware of what thier children are listening to.

I'm also glad you are writing about gangster rap and understand that its messages are worse than Punk, especially now it appeals to a wide range of ages.

I'm still a fan of Green Day and always will be, despite other peoples opinion on the band. But, I apologise for my rash and somewhat arrogant email to you. Thanks for your point of view even though it was a longggg time ago.

Thanks,

 

Dear Jam

 I published that green day article about ten years ago, (April 10th, 1996) inspired by my then eight year old son's interest in that particular band.
 What I found interesting at the time was the way the promoters of the band marketed the band to pre-adolescent kids.
 A few points you made might be worth clarifying

 You wrote "
You listed the lyrics of 'Basket Case', capitalizing the 'SHE' and 'HE'  sections. To me, it's as though you're saying it's appalling because it's a male whore. Are you saying if it was a female whore that It'd be ok? Sounds a bit homophobic to me...."
 I think that a singer singing songs for children - going to a whore - male or female is perverse. Not so much for going to the whore, but for singing about it. Next, whereas I am not afraid of homosexuality, I do not like to see it promoted to children. And while I believe that it is the right of every individual to choose their own lifestyle, I personally believe that some of the practices normally employed by male homosexuals are not conducive to good health."


>>" Why do you pick on Green Day and Punk Rock in general? You think it's wrong  to have a cartoon gun on the front of an album cover (which can easily be  viewed in cartoons such as Tom and Jerry) but be ok with black gangsters with real guns on the front? Almost every rap song includes something about  killing and prostitutes and is still bought by people of the same age. Which is why it confuses me that you chose Punk Rock to pick on for the hell of it."<<


I am not of course picking on Punk for the hell of it. I am currently writing a series of article on Gangster Rap - which is far more hideous than Green Day.... At that time, 10 years ago, my eight year old son asked me about "what being stoned" meant? That's when I started looking into their lyrics. I found it pretty convincing when I observed that their concerts had mainly early teens and pre-teens in the audience, and at one concert, they had an adults area- where they served the parents alcohol and provided entertainment - while their children were inside listening to lyrics about going to whores, getting stoned, having your girlfriend beat you up, and masturbation.

 I asked a number of parents about these lyrics and none of them even had a clue until it was brought to their attention.... Is that picking on Punk, I don't know.... It deserves to be mentioned that parents are not always aware of the hidden messages that media foists upon their children. That
 was the point of the article. Ten years later, I know the problem is worse- and there are worse genres than punk- but I stand by what I wrote...

Thanks for your comments...

 

 

January 12, 2007

I just finished reading your highly amusing article "Parents should check out punk band's lyrics". First off, you try and come off all clever, as though you have done your homework into the subject matter, when in fact, you can't even spell the "psychologically damaged" persons name correctly.
Shows how much you researched your information. This concerns me as I no longer believe what I read as it all could all just be.....made up. It especially worries me that other will believe that everything your writing is fact.

 You listed the lyrcis of 'Basket Case', capitalising the 'SHE' and 'HE' sections. To me, its as though your saying its appaling because its a male whore. Are you saying if it was a female whore that I'd be ok? Sounds a bit homophobic to me....

 Why do you pick on Green Day and Punk Rock in general? You think its wrong to have a cartoon gun on the front of an album cover (which can easily be viewed in cartoons such as Tom and Jerry) but be ok with black gangsters with real guns on the front? Almost every rap song includes something about killing and prostitutes and is still bought by people of thesame age. Which is why it confuses me that you chose Punk Rock to pick on for the hell of it.

 So basically, I don't understand what your article means..... you've
 decided to choose a genre just because you don't like that style of music and criticise every aspect of it when other genres are worse on the topics you brought up.

 Parents be warned.....don't believe everything you read on the internet as they probably haven't done thier research.

Jam

 

 

 

 

Parents should check out punk band's lyrics

Words from Western New York

By Frank Parlato Jr.,
Special to The News

April 10, 1996, Wednesday, CITY EDITION

MY VIEW

I wonder how many parents, when they buy their children Green Day CD's or concert tickets, are actually aware of what their kids are listening to. This immensely popular alternative punk band seems to have a widespread appeal to the under-15 crowd and is often marketed specifically to that group.
Personally I am convinced that no moral parent in the world would knowingly allow adolescent or pre-adolescent children to listen to, sing along with, or subliminally absorb the sort of lyrics, messages and images contained in songs sung by Green Day and successfully promoted by their super-mega-buck corporate sponsors Time-Warner. Most parents, I believe actually don't know, despite warning stickers that may appear on the albums.
I've done some research.
The cover of a recent Green Day CD, "Kerplunk," depicts a teen-age girl holding a gun with smoke coming out of its barrel.
The liner notes are particularly interesting. "My Adventures with Green Day" by Laurie L??? is a 1,300-word article written in the style of what one hopes is a fictionalized diary entry.
It was included prominently in the liner notes but did not appear on either cover — apparently it was meant to be read only after the CD had been purchased.
To synopsize briefly, it seems that Lauric L. has won a chance to go on tour with the band Green Day for four days but her parents won't let her. She says:
"For once I decided not to put up with (my parents') crap. I'd die to go on tour with Green Day ... but (a friend) asked 'would you kill'? ... and I said 'yeah, I guess I would'... That night I offered to help my mother with dinner. Then, when she wasn't looking, I emptied all of Claude's (poison) capsules into the mashed potatoes. Then I said I didn't feel like eating and went upstairs and listened to all of my Green Day records five or six times. After awhile I stuck my head out the door.
"'Yuck!' I heard my father saying.
"These are the worst mashed potatoes I've ever tasted in my life!'
"But my mother yelled at him, 'You eat those potatoes or I'll dump them over your head and shove the plate up your —'
"I went downstairs and they were both flopped out on the floor like totally dead
. . . Luckily we have a brand-new garbage disposal, so I took a butcher knife and cut mom and dad into pieces and put them down the garbage. It took a long time, and it was kind of messy, but I kept singing all my favorite Green Day songs and it made the work easier."
Later, Laurie tells Green Day's Billy Joe she killed her parents to be with the band. Billy Joe laughs. "Killed your parents, huh? That's pretty cool."
Kerplunk has a track entitled "Dominated Love Slave":
"I want to be your dominated love slave/I want to be the one that takes the pain/You can spank me when I do not behave/I want you to slap me and call me naughty/Put a belt sander against my skin."
Green Day's most popular disc to date, "Dookie" was backed by Time-Warner and sold 8 million copies. There's much to choose from in this sick, warped and successful disc, but here is a selection.
(The tape is available at every music store and probably almost any child between 10 and 15 can sing the lyrics to you.)
The song "Pulling Teeth" is about a boy who is repeatedly beaten by his girlfriend.
"Basket Case" includes the lines: "I went to a shrink to analyze my dreams/SHE said it's lack of sex that's bringing you down/I went to a whore HE said my life's a bore/And quit my whining 'cause its bringing HER down."
By no means are Billy Joe Armstrong or Green Day the sole or worst offenders in the category of corporate-produced trash. The band's earliest recordings, though no less controversial, seem to be more of an exploration of the psychological damage suffered by one sick individual and, possibly, his attempts to heal himself through music.
But between the prodding of corporate sponsors and perhaps the band's own desires to pander to perverse tastes, Billy Joe and the boys from Green Day have become unfit for children. Parents be warned.

FRANK PARLATO JR., a real estate developer and social activist, lives in Tonawanda.

 

 

The lyrics below were promoted by adult men and women to children.

 

Album: Dookie

Green Day

Burnout

I declare I don't care no more
I'm burning up and out and growing BORED
In my smoked out BORING room
My hair is shagging in my eyes
Dragging my feet to hit the street tonight
To drive along these shit town lights

I'm not growing up, I'm just burning out
And I stepped in line to walk amongst the DEAD

Apathy has rained on me
Now I'm feeling like a soggy dream
So close to drowning but I DON'T MIND
I've lived in this mental cave
Throw my emotions in the grave
HELL, who needs them anyway

I'm not growing up, I'm just burning out
And I stepped in line to walk amongst the DEAD (3x)

 

Having A Blast

 

I'm taking all you down with me
Explosive duct taped to my spine
Nothing's gonna change my mind

I won't listen to anyone's last words
There's nothind left for you to say
Soon you'll be dead anyway

Well no one here, is getting out alive
This time I've lost my mind and I don't care
So close your eyes
And kiss yourself goodbye
And think about the times you spent and what they've meant
To me it's nothing (several x)

I'm losing all my happiness
The happiness YOU pinned on my
Loneliness still comforts me
My anger DWELLS inside of me
I'm taking it all oujt on you and all the shit you put me through

So no one here, is getting out alive
This time I've lost my mind and I don't care
So close your eyes
And kiss yourself goodbye
And think about the times you spent and what they've meant
To me it's nothing (several x)

Do you ever think back to another time?
Did it bring you so down that you thought you lost your mind?
Do you ever want to lead a long trail of destruction and mow down
any BULLSHIT that confronts you?
Do you ever build up all the small things in your head
To make one problem that adds up to NOTHING

To me it's nothing (several x)

 

Chump

I don't know you
But, I think I HATE you
You're the reason for my misery
Strange how you've become my biggest enemy
And I've never even seen your face

Maybe it's just jealousy
Mixing up with a VIOLENT mind
A circumstance that doesn't make much SENSE
Or maybe I'm just DUMB

You're the cloud hangin out over my head
Hail comes crashing down welting my face
MAGIC MAN, EGOCENTRIC PLASTIC MAN
Yet you still got one over on me

Maybe it's just jealousy
Mixing up with a VIOLENT mind
A circumstance that doesn't make much SENSE
Or maybe I'm just DUMB

 

Longview

Sit around and watch the tube but, nothing's on
Change the channels for an hour or two
Widdle my thumbs just for a bit
I'm sick of all the same old shit
In a house with unlocked doors
And I'm fucking lazy

Bite my lip and close my eyes
Take me away to paradise
I'm so damn bored I'm going BLIND!!!
And I smell like shit

Peel me off this velcro seat and get me moving
I sure as hell can't do it by myself
I'm feeling like a DOG IN HEAT
Barred indoors from the summer street
I locked the door to MY OWN CELL
And I lost the key

Bite my lip and close my eyes
Take me away to paradise
I'm so damn bored I'm going blind!!!
And I smell like shit

I GOT NO MOTIVATION
WHERE IS MY MOTIVATION
NO TIME FOR MOTIVATION
SMOKING MY INSPIRATION

Sit around and watch the phone but no one's calling
Call me pathetic call me WHAT YOU WILL
My mother says to get a job
But she don't like the one SHE's got
When masturbation's lost its fun
You're fucking breaking

Bite my lip and close my eyes
Take me away to paradise
I'm so damn BORED I'm going blind
And loneliness has to suffice
Bit my lip and close my eyes
Slipping away to paradise
Some say, "Quit or I'll go BLIND"
But it's just a myth

 

Welcome To Paradise

Dear mother,
Can you hear me whining?
It's been three whole weeks
Since I left your home
This sudden fear has left me trembling
Cause now it seems that I am out here on my own
And I'm feeling so alone

Pay attention to the cracked streets
And broken homes
Some call it the slums
Some call it nice
I want to take you through a wasteland I like to call my home
Welcome to paradise

A gunshot rings out at the station
Another urchin snaps and left dead on his own
It makes me wonder why I'm still here
For some strange reason it's now
Feeling like my home
And I'm never gonna go

Pay attention to the cracked streets
And broken homes
Some call it the slums
Some call it nice
I want to take you through a wasteland I like to call my home
Welcome to paradise

Dear mother, can you hear me laughing
It's been six whole months since
I have left your home
It makes me wonder why I'm still here
For some strange reason it's now
Feeling like my home
And I'm never gonna go

Pay attention to the cracked streets
And broken homes
Some call it the slums
Some call it nice
I want to take you through a wasteland I like to call my home
Welcome to paradise

 

Pulling Teeth

I'm all busted up
Broken bones & nasty cuts
ACCIDENTS WILL HAPPEN
But this time I can't get up
She comes to check on me
MAKING sure I'm on my knees
After all she's the one who put me in this state
.
Is she ULTRA-VIOLENT?
Is she DISTURBED?
I better tell her that I LOVE her
Before she does it all over again
OH GOD, SHE'S KILLING ME!!!

For now I'll lie around
HELL, that's all I can really do
She takes good care of me
Just keep saying my LOVE is TRUE
.
Is she ULTRA-VIOLENT?
Is she DISTURBED?
I better tell her that I LOVE her
Before she does it all over again
OH GOD, SHE'S KILLING ME!!!

Looking out my window for
Someone that's passing by
No one knows I'm LOCKED in here
All I do is cry

For now I'll lie around
HELL, that's all I can really do
She takes good care of me
Just keep saying my LOVE is TRUE

 

Basket Case

Do you have the time to listen to me whine
About NOTHING and everything all at once
I am one of those
Melodramatic fools
Neurotic to the bone
No doubt about it

Sometimes I give myself the CREEPS
Sometimes my mind plays tricks on me
It all keeps adding up
I think I'm CRACKING UP
Am I just PARANOID?
Am I just STONED

I went to a shrink
To analyze my dreams
SHE says it's lack of sex that's bringing me down
I went to a whore
HE said my life's a bore
So quit my whining cause it's bringing HER down

Sometimes I give myself the CREEPS
Sometimes my mind plays tricks on me
It all keeps adding up
I think I'm CRACKING UP
Am I just PARANOID?

Grasping to CONTROL
So I BETTER hold on

Sometimes I give myself the CREEPS
Sometimes my mind plays tricks on me
It all keeps adding up
I think I'm CRACKING UP
Am I just PARANOID?
Am I just STONED

 

She

She screams in silence
A sullen riot penetrating through her mind
Waiting for a sign to smash the silence with the brick
of self control

Are you locked up in a world that's been planned out for you?
Are you feeling like a social tool without a use?

Scream at me until my ears bleed
I'm taking heed just for you

She's figured out all her doubts
Were someone else's point of view
Waking up this time to smash the silence with the brick
of self control

Are you locked up in a world that's been planned out for you?
Are you feeling like a social tool without a use?

Scream at me until my ears bleed
I'm taking heed just for you (2 x)

 

Sassafras Roots

Roaming 'round your house
WASTING YOUR TIME
No obligation, just
WASTING YOUR TIME
So why are you alone?
WASTING YOUR TIME
When you could be with me
WASTING YOUR TIME

I'm a WASTE like you
With nothing else to do
May I WASTE your time too?

Warding off regrets
WASTING YOUR TIME
Smoking cigarettes
WASTING YOUR TIME
I'm just a PARASITE
WASTING YOUR TIME
APPLYING myself to
WASTING YOUR TIME

So why are you alone?
WASTING YOUR TIME
When you could be with me
WASTING YOUR TIME

I'm a WASTE like you
With nothing else to do

May I WASTE your time too?

 

When I Come Around

I heard you crying loud,
all the way across town
You've been searching for that someone,
and it's me out on the prowl
As you sit around feeling sorry for yourself
Don't get lonely now
Dry your whining eyes
I'm just roaming for the moment
Sleazin' my back yard so don't get so uptight
you been thinking about ditching me

No time to search the world around
Cause you know where I'll be found
When I come around

I heard it all before
So don't knock down my door
I'm a loser and a user so I don't need no accuser
to try and slag me down because I know I'm right
So go do what you like
Make sure you do it wise
You may find out that your selfdoubt means nothing
was ever there

You can't go forcing something if it's just
not right

No time to search the world around
Cause you know where I'll be found
When I come around (2 times)
When I come around (sev times)

 

Coming Clean

Seventeen and strung out on confusion
Trapped inside a roll of disillusion
I found out what it takes to be a man
Mom and Dad will never understand

Secrets collecting dust but never forget
SKELETONS come to LIFE in my closet

I found out what it takes to be a man
Mom and Dad will never understand
WHAT'S HAPPENING TO ME

Seventeen and COMING CLEAN for the first time
I finally figured out myself for the first time
I found out what it takes to be a man
Mom and Dad will never understand
WHAT'S HAPPENING TO ME

 

Emenius Sleepus

I saw my friend the other day and I don't know
Exactly just what he became
It goes to show
It wasn't long ago
I was just like you
And now I think I'm sick and I wanna go home

How have I been, how have you been
It's been so long
What have you done with all your time
And what went wrong

I knew you back when
And you ... you knew me
And now I think I'm sick and I wanna go home

Anybody ever say no?
Ever tell you that you weren't right?
Where did all the little kid go?
Did you lose it in a hateful fight?
And you know it's true

It wasn't long ago
I was just like you
And now I think I'm sick and I wanna go home

 

In The End

All brawn and no brains
And all those nice things
You FINALLY got what you want
Someone to look good with
AND light your cigarette
Is this what you really want?

I figured out what you're all about
And I don't think I like what I see
SOOOOO ...
I HOPE I won't be there in the end
if you come around.

How long will he last
Before he's a CREEP in the past
And you're alone once again?
Will you pop up AGAIN and be my
"SPECIAL FRIEND" 'till the end?
And when will that be?

I figured out what you're all about
And I don't think I like what I see
SOOOOO ...
I HOPE I won't be there in the end
if you come around.

 

F.O.D.

Something's on my mind
It's been for quite some time
This time I'm on to you
So where's the other face?
The face I heard before
Your head trip's boring me

Let's nuke the bridge we torched
2,000 times before
This time we'll blast it all to hell
I've had this burning in my guts now
for so long
My belly's aching now to say

Stuck down in a rut of dislogic and smut
A side of you well hid
When it's all said and done
it's real and it's been fun
But was it all REAL fun

Let's nuke the bridge we torched
2,000 times before
This time we'll blast it all to hell
I've felt this burning in my guts now
for so long
My belly's aching now to say

You're just... a fuck,
I can't explain it 'cause I think you suck.
I'm taking pride
in telling you to fuck off and die.

I've felt this burning in my guts now
for so long
My belly's aching now to sing
I'm taking pleasure in the doubts that
may still grow
So listen up cause you might miss it

You're just... a fuck,
I can't explain it 'cause I think you suck.
I'm taking pride
in telling you to fuck off and die.

And die.

(long silence, hidden track)

I was alone, I was all by myself
Now I was lucky, I was thinking of you
Oh yeah, did I mention I was all by myself
All by myself (sev times)

I went to your house, but no one was there
I went to your room
I was all by myself
We had such wonderful times
When I'm all by myself, all by myself...

 

 

 

 


 

 

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