North Carolina Officials Contemplate Pulling Plug On CANNIBAL CORPSE Gig, Cite 'Obscene' Lyrics

The following article appeared in the Dec. 11 edition of Morehead City, North Carolina's The Carteret County News-Times:

Officials dismayed at nightclub's choice of bands
BY BRAD RICH, NEWS-TIMES

ATLANTIC BEACH - Some town officials are upset that an amusement circle nightclub has scheduled a trio of "hardcore" rock bands Friday night [Dec. 13] that feature offensively named songs and at least some potentially obscene lyrics.

But Mayor Joe Stroud, who last Easter weekend convinced Ziggy's-By-the-Sea owner Thomas "Jack" Jackson to pull the plug on a scheduled show by similar band — GWAR — said Tuesday he doesn't plan to make a similar request in advance of this weekend's appearance by CANNIBAL CORPSE, MALEVOLENT CREATION and CEPHALIC CARNAGE.

"Last time, we asked them not to do GWAR and they (Ziggy's) pulled them out immediately," Mayor Stroud said.

"But I really don't think there's anything we can do to control this type of thing. We probably trampled on their First Amendment rights last time, in fact.

"The saddest thing, to me, about this is that there is an audience at all for these types of bands," the mayor added. "In our (generation's) day, parents were all up in arms about THE BEATLES and the ROLLING STONES.

"But that was nothing compared to what these bands today are all about. And, from what I've heard, they (Ziggy's) have already sold something like 300 tickets."

Councilman Doug Harris, who admitted he was very upset and concerned about the bands' appearance at Ziggy's conceded the mayor is probably right that the town can do nothing to stop the show.

He also agreed that the very existence of an apparently large audience for bands of this type is probably the saddest commentary.

But, Councilman Harris said, an important question is, "If we continue to allow this, what's next?

"I suspect that if the obscenity laws we operate under today we're rewritten today, they'd be quite different," the councilman added.

"I don't think lawmakers even only 20 years ago had any concept of what we'd be facing now.

"The problem, or one of the problems, is that there apparently is not a lot you can do about it. Can the taxpayers in a little town like Atlantic Beach afford to be saddled with the cost of carrying something like this (an obscenity suit or something like it as far as it needs to go?"

CANNIBAL CORPSE, Councilman Harris, said, lists on its website the names of albums like "Worm Infested", "Gore Obsessed" and "Butchered at Birth".

The latter compact disk includes song titles like "Meathook Sodomy", "Living Dissection", and "Vomit the Soul".

But, Councilman Harris added, it's even more telling that many of the bands' other song titles can't even be printed in the newspaper.

"We would sit idly by and be quiet, and this (show) might come and go quietly, and it may still," the councilman continued.

"But I just feel that someone, at some level, has a responsibility to at least let parents in this county know what type of stuff is being brought in here as 'entertainment' so that if they can at least check out what their kids might be going to see and hear."

Mayor Stroud said he was at least somewhat surprised that Ziggy's would bring in these bands after agreeing to pull the plug on GWAR earlier this year.

But, he added, "We do live in the U.S., not Afghanistan" and business owners and individuals do have First Amendment rights."

Mr. Jackson, the Ziggy's owner, said he "wouldn't pay to see" CANNIBAL CORPSE or those types of bands. But, he added, Ziggy's has always tried to bring in a wide variety of bands, wide enough to at one point or another satisfy the tastes of most potential listeners.

And he disagreed with Mayor Stroud's "Afghanistan" comparison.

"We (U.S. forces) have been over there in Afghanistan fighting for freedom," he said. "Some of the kinds of things people talk about doing here are similar to the things the Taliban did there."

He noted that the fundamentalist Muslim leaders of the Taliban prohibited freedoms of expression and speech and even countenanced "stoning to death" women who they said strayed from the dictates of their radical brand of Islam.

Mr. Jackson, a preacher's son, added that some members of the so-called "Christian right-wing" in the U.S. fail to realize that they often attempt to limit the very freedoms the U.S. Constitution was written to protect.

Further, he said, it seems odd that people spend so much time worrying about others' entertainment preferences when "people in the U.S. and all over the world are dying from diseases (for which research) is under funded and, kids are going to school without breakfast."

Mike Farrell of Ziggy's put the decision to bring in the bands in business terms but emphasized that no one has to attend a show at the club.

"They're just a band," he said of CANNIBAL CORPSE. "If people don't want to come they don't have to.

"But this is a time of year when there aren't many people here, no tourists, really, and this is about the only kind of music that draws at this time. These kids will come out."

The bands' stage shows, he said, are not all that far removed from the shows by similar bands from previous eras, such as KISS.

KISS, whose members entertained millions of fans over the years while "disguised" in garish make-up, was known for such antics and theatrics as spitting blood and fire.

And, Mr. Farrell said, KISS was considered mainstream enough to be broadcast live during the most recent Winter Olympics in Colorado.

"If it's OK for the whole world to see…" he noted rhetorically.

"At least everyone will be inside they (Atlantic Beach) won't have to deal with anything outside."

But Councilman Harris saw things more in terms of the impact such acts have on impressionable youth and on the values of society as a whole.

"I know someone will say this (his statements) is anti-business," he said, referring not only to his statements about the Ziggy's bands but also to some comments about the town's recent attempts to devise and implement ordinances to limit outdoor commercial lighting and to restrict noise from amplified music.

"But we're trying to be a small family beach, or at least that's what everyone says."

If it's anti-business to try to keep bright lights out of people's homes, to limit noise so people can enjoy their properties and sleep at night, and to want to keep out music that performed by bands like those scheduled Friday night, the councilman continued, "Well, I guess you can say I'm anti-business."

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