Perhaps In Maryland
Bruce Bereano: Thank you Chairman Miller, members of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.
My name is Bruce Bereano, I'm an attorney here in Annapolis, Maryland.
I am here on behalf of the Recording Industry Association of America, which is a trade association out of New York city, which hired me to represent their interests after this bill passed The House of Delegates ah to seek the defeat of this legislation.
RIAA is a trade association of the manufacturers of records and tapes um ah in the United States.
Ah, with me um ah, at my invitation is my guest ah ah is Mister Frank Zappa ah, born and raised here in the State of Maryland ah, a recording ah, musician ah, songwriter and entertainer for some thirty [?] years.
Ah, I'd like to make a few remarks before I ah turn the microphone over to ah Mister Zappa.
Ah, this legislation, like other legislation, unfortunately considered in legislators [?] their state and other states, deals with trying to have Government intervene in the development, the establishment and the dealing with matters that should be and should remain within the responsibility, the committment and the obligation of the family structure.
Ah, I will not spend a great deal of time ah going over lyrics that I could sight ah as well.
Ah, let me just ah indicate one note:
"Love for sale.
Appetizing young love for sale.
Who's prepared to pay the price for a trip to paradise.
Love for sale."
— Cole Porter, 1930.
I'd like to ask Mister Frank Zappa to please comment on this legislation, Mister Zappa.
Frank Zappa: Thank you. First of all, I wanna make it very clear I do not represent the RIAA.
Nowhere they wish me to.
These are my personal views, ah these are opinions, I'm not a lawyer, I'm a guy with a high school education, I did not go to high school in Maryland... I escaped.
And ah this- wh[ere]-
[FZ fixes his microphone]
This is working here?
Hello. Which one's working?
This is censorship!
All right, I have to talk louder.
Ah, I oppose this bill bec[ause]- for a number of reasons. Ah, first of all, there's no need for it.
The idea that the lyrics to a song are going to cause antisocial behavior, and is an exclusive cause of antisocial behavior, I think it is not supportable by science.
In spite of the fact that the psychiatric just s[at]- sat here and told you - ah and I don't know w[here]- where he gets this - that this exposure to this type of material will keep young people from thinking or impair their thinking process is a fascinating theory.
In looking at the bill, and in spite of the fact that I'm not a lawyer, I see some u[nusual]- unusual em, did you guys read this?
And you read this in [?].
Ah, in the part where it talks about em, the... it says, "In this section the following words have the meanings indicated"
The- the bill seeks to ah keep you from ah seeing or renting, buying or listening to material described as ah depicting "illicit sex."
And the description of what illicit sex, as per this bill, here is the descriptions:
- "Human genitals in a state of sexual stimulation or arousal"
Is that illicit sex? Perhaps in Maryland!
- "Acts of human masturbation"
Not "animal masturbation". This is talking about "human masturbation", you can't see that.
But, in the other kind that's supposed you could see.
"Mechanical masturbation" perhaps? Or "acts of government"?
- "Sexual intercourse, or sodomy"
Why- why do they indicate that "sexual intercourse" is illicit sex and put it next to "sodomy" in the same line?
The next line:
- "Fondling or other erotic touching of human genitals."
That is illicit in the State of Maryland according to the law as already written?
- "'Distributing' includes renting."
- "(3) 'Nude or partially denuded figures' means: Less than completely and opaquely covered human genitals, pubic region, buttocks, or female breast below a point immediately above the top of the areola;"
Now, I like nipples, I think they look good.
And I- and if you are going to look at a woman's breast, if you take the nipple off, which is the characterizing determining factor, what you got is a blob of fat there.
And then- and I think that when you're a baby, probably one of the first things that you get interested in is that nozzle right there.
And you get to have it right up in front of your face, ok?
And you grow up with it, so to speak, and then you grow up to live in the State of Maryland and they won't let you see the little brown thing anymore.
There it says: "Human male genitals in a discernibly turgid state, even if completely and opaquely covered."
Now, I thought "turgid" was like, you know, water swirling around and ah, you know, like ah maybe [appendix?] or something like that.
I don't know whether it's really the right word for describing the- the ah male genitals.
Now this is talking about, you can't sing about or look at human male genitals with water swirling a bath then?
Even if completely and opaquely covered.
I think you have problems in the law as it already exists, let alone amending it to include audio references to the things that are already in this document.
Then, because it talks about not being able to advertise matter containing these objectionable topics, it opens up the possibility for this: a person wearing a Mötley Crüe t-shirt.
If Mötley Crüe was a- adjudged - by whatever form is gonna make this decisions to be a pornographic act - if the person is wearing the t-shirt, theoretically he could be fined a thousand dollars or go to jail for a year for his wardrobe.
And if he wore it twice, it's five thousand dollars or emprisonment not to exceed three years or both unless otherwise provided.
Some people, when they start talking about pornography and saving the children and the rest of this stuff, in the desire to help the child, sometimes choose some strange ways to express it.
And, what I know about this bill basically is what I see on this paper and things that I've read in clippings sent to me from Baltimore papers.
And some of the statements made in support of the bill for example, ah I hope I'm not in[correctly]- incorrectly quoting you, delegate Toth, in the reference to ah, "rock music being the major cause of incest in the home."
Did you say that?
There, I'm sorry if I'm misquoting you, somebody reported to me that you had said that, now I've, you know, been baffled by it ever since.
But if you had said it!
You know, well, I won't even bother to answer it since you didn't say it.
But ah, is it true that someone has said, I believe it was ah, Delegate Owens, that rock music is "the worst form of child abuse?", "big mass child abuse?"
Then somebody in the newpaper's quoting him wrong because that's from the Maryland papers, ok?
?: Mister Chairman
?: Ok, sorry, is Mister Zappa testifying for [?] in the ah sponsored bill.
FZ: Well, if I'm ah ah, are you accusing me?
? [interrupting]: Could ah you keep this testimony to testimony? I would appreciate that
?: Okay, thank you.
FZ: Well, see, I have- I don't do this very often, so I don't know the protocol. But I thought it would be fair to ask before I accused somebody of saying something they hadn't ah said. So if you want me to just [?] all, I'll do it.
?: people [?] the court please proceed.
FZ: Okay. To say that "rock music is the worst form of child abuse" and that it's "mass child abuse", I would call that sky high rethoric. Because, if you've ever seen a photograph of which I have on CNN, or other news shows that show stories about abused children with bruises over their body [?], you know, they were really badly injured, that's an abused child.
There's a difference between that photograph and the photograph of a kid with some earphones on listening to a heavy metal album, I don't [?] to it all.
It is my personal feeling that lyrics ah will not h[arm]- harm you.
There is no w[ord]- sound that you can make with your mouth or word that will come out of your mouth that is so powerful that it'll make you to go to hell.
It's not gonna do it, it's also not gonna turn you into a social liability.
Disturbed people can be set off on the disturbed course of actions by any kind of stimulus.
If they are prone to being antisocial [?] or whatever, they can be set off by anything including my tie, or your hair, or that chair over there, or anything.
Anything can set it off, you can't point to statistics of people em doing strange things in the vicinity of rock music.
Because all you got to do is look around at all the normal kids who listen to it and live with it everyday, who do not commit suicide, they don't commit murder and they grow to be in some cases legislators.
So I'd- I would hope that the ah State of Maryland would send a- a message to the other States that's reconsidering this type of legislation.
I- I would hope you kill it here so the other States will not continue with this kind of foolish stuff.
Because, you know, it feels like a [?].
And that's something you should stop here, and I hope you can stop it here.