Z-Pack - Variety article

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Henry Schipper, Variety, February 12, 1984

The Parents Music Resource Center, which last year wrested a "porn rock" record labeling agreement from the major diskeries, is still intact and active. Indeed, instead of resting on its laurels and closing shop, the group has quietly set about pursuing a grass-roots campaign to alert localities nation-wide of the allegedly pornographic dangers of rock.

In place of a high-profile media-intensive effort, which climaxed last September in Congressional hearings on the subject, the PMRC has been sending speakers, armed with an up-to-date "porn rock" slide show, to parents groups around the country.

Thus far, the PMRC has been receiving approximately 20-25 requests a week for its speaker/show, but those requests - and the PMRC's overall campaign - could intensify greatly as the group tries to work its way into the 24,000 branch network of t he Parents Teachers Association.

The PTA, main ally of the PMRC in last year's labeling fight, has agreed to cooperate with the latter group in its "educational" drive. PTA president Ann Kahn recently met with PMRC leaders and subsequently sent a letter to the 50 PTA state chapters asking them to tell all local PTAs that the PMRC slide show is "available without cost ... to any PTA council which requests (it)."

A second letter, this one sent to the PTA's vast network of local branches, will inform them directly of the PMRC's "continuous awareness program," a PTA spokesperson said. Second mailing is set for March.

"We're working in conjunction with the PTA, trying to get a system where the slide show will be available all over the country," Susan Baker, founding member of the PMRC and wife of treasury secretary James Baker, told DAILY VARIETY.

"That's how we hope to get the slide show around. The PTA has 5,600,000 members, and there's a real interest and commitment on their part that parents be aware."

Only hitch in the widescale PTA-PMRC program is funding, with money for reproduction of the slide show and traveling expenses as yet uncertain, Baker said.

According to Baker, PMRC's ongoing efforts are aimed at educating parents about the "violent and explicit lyrics in rock music," and building a ground-up movement to pressure record companies, radio stations, artists and corporate sponsors to create, sell and support inoffensive product.

"We're trying to activate 'em (the parents). We're telling them to listen to rock stations in cars when they drive and if they hear something offensive, to call the stations. This needs to be done on a grassroots level," Baker said.

One apparently direct result of the PMRC's ongoing efforts is the recent introduction in the Maryland Senate of a bill that would make it a crime to sell state-defined X-rated records to a minor (DAILY VARIETY, Feb. 11). Bill was introduced last month by Democratic Delegate Judith Toth after she received a packet of material, including allegedly porn lyrics, from the PMRC.

Latest update of the PMRC slide show includes recent releases by death metal group Exodus and WASP, latter of which, Baker noted, recently landed a lucrative pact with Capitol Records, and an LP by the California-based punkish Dead Kennedys. LP contains a poster, graphically depicting the sexual act, that Baker described as "shocking" and "obscene."

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