Contemporary composers of
rock music all agree that their creations have immense power (The majority of
facts and references quoted later, have been drawn from the book The Facts
on Rock Music, John Ankenberg and John Weldon, Harvest House Publishers,
Eugene, Oregon USA 1992). For example, Frank Zappa wrote in Life
magazine: "The ways in which sound affects the human organism are myriad
and subtle... the loud sounds and bright lights of today are tremendous
indoctrination tools" (Life magazine, June 28, 1968). Slash, the
lead guitarist of the Guns n' Roses declares, "I mean, this is serious.
It's my music affecting the lives of people you don't even know, which is
definitely a scary thing. To have that much power" (Eric
Holmberg, The Hell's Bells Study Guide, Gainesville, Fl Reel to Reel,
1990). One of the first distributors of rock music, Hal Ziegler wrote in
the 50's "I realize that this music got through to the youngsters because
the big beat matched the great rhythms of the human body. I knew it and I knew
there was nothing that anyone could do to knock that out of them. I further knew that they would carry this with them the rest of
their lives" (Life magazine, June 28, 1968).
Parents should not ignore the enormous influence of rock music on their
children. A person's system of values is formed during childhood and
Psychologists that specialize in the field of music's influence on humans
are unanimous in their warnings concerning rock music. Noted psychologist John
Kappas, showed that people "are truly susceptible to conscious messages on
a record and that excitation and melancholy can be created by music/sensory
overload... `Any time you overload the mind, the person becomes very
suggestible. They will take in anything that you suggest at that time because
they have no defenses against it. People can walk out of concerts in a
hyper-suggestible state ... Music has a tendency to defuse thinking and create
moods. And in turn, the messages seep in" (Ted Schwartz and Duane Empey, Satanism:
Is Your Family Safe? Gran Rapids, MI, Zondervan, 1989 p. 151-52; Allan
Bloom, "The Closing of the American Mind, "
N.Y. Simon and Schuster, 1987, pp. 68-81).
Doctors are concerned about rock and roll's negative influence on youth.
Recent research, concluded that young people from a
very early age must work out standards of behavior that equate with the
standards of adults. In this context, music - a powerful stimulus in a young
person's life - has gone in a precarious direction. The words of some songs,
satiated with immoral and violent content, enters into open conflict with the
precepts of the adult generation, regarding restraint and sensible behavior.
Doctors must take into account the importance of music in the lives of youths
and utilize their musical tastes as indicators as to their emotional and mental
health. (Elizabeth F. Brown and William Handee,
"Adolescents and Their Music: Insight into the Health of
Adolescents," Journal of the American Medical Association, 22/29th
Sept. 1989, page 1659).
In his book The Closing of the American Mind, sociologist Allan Bloom
expressed his concern regarding the influence that rock music has on children,
teenagers and students. Dr. Bloom confirms that young people
who have immature ideas about sex, will not be able to develop normally. On the
contrary, rock music bombards them with messages of adult sex and even
deviation, pushing them into corrupt sensual behavior. They adopt these
tendencies when their understanding is still developing. In the opinion of Dr.
Bloom, rock music in the American culture undermines the parents' authority
with regard to the moral upbringing of their children (Bloom Closing of the
American Mind, pp. 73-76).
One school specialist with vast experience in dealing with difficult
children confirms: "The influence of rock music continued to surface in my
counseling sessions with students. Time after time I saw them pattern their
actions after the immoral behavior of their rock stars. The kids showed their
allegiances by the vocabulary they picked up, the song titles printed on their
book jackets, by the posters they hung on the walls of their rooms at home, by
the music they listened to in their cars, and by the clothes they wore" (Media
Update, Nov/Dec 1989, pp. 2-3).
School consultant and specialist in rock music Al Menconi,
stated: "The sad thing is that the majority of "Christian" kids
I come in contact with have a stronger commitment to their music than to Jesus.
Music is the language of today's generation... I thought I understood peer
pressure until I observed it first hand with my 12-year-old daughter, Ann. The
pressure on her to conform to Bon Jovi - Guns n' Roses - Bobby Brown - Madonna
- George Michael lifestyles is unbelievable... Every day kids identify who they
are by their rock stars. Their heroes influence their values. And their values
influence who they are. Today's young people don't listen to rock music, they
experience it. It is their identity" (Media Update,
Sept/Oct 1989, pp. 1-2).
A very instructive source of documented data can be found in a collection of
interviews on MTV "Rockumentary" of leading rock groups. Here the
self-destructive lifestyle of the leading figures of rock can be seen in all
its clarity - abuse of narcotics, sexual permissiveness, alcoholism, nihilism,
hedonism, insubordination, anarchism and predilection towards occultism. For
example, on Aug 3, 1991 the
musicians of Motley Crew acknowledged their debauched lifestyle, which has
become normal for them. Their lifestyle had degraded them to such an
animalistic level that they eventually realized quite clearly that they would
need to decide on one of two courses: either change their lifestyle or prepare
for death... Unfortunately, far too few understand this, while the
self-destructive lifestyles of rock stars continue to infect the youth.
The influences of some forms of rock music are so serious that many states
in the USA
require that all potentially dangerous records and cassettes carry an
authoritative evaluation of their contents. (Howard C.
Nielson, member of Congress, letter dated April 19, 1990). Some 19
states are considering laws requiring the necessary warning to the user to be
carried on the album. Organizations like the National Parent Teacher's
Association, the American Academy
of Pediatrics, and the US
Surgeon General, have voiced concern over the negative influence this type of
music has on children and adolescents. Legislation submitted to the House of
Representatives provides a useful summary of what people are concerned about:
1. "the media of music, lyrics and visual
images, separately and especially in combination, have a profound influence on
society and its individual members for both good and ill from the beginning of
2. "Certain music and music videos promote
negative thought and behavior by suggesting, advocating or encouraging
violence, vandalism, rape, murder, drug abuse, suicide, human sacrifice,
degradation of women, children and human life, bestiality, sadism, masochism
and other perversions."
3. "Such indecent and negative material too
often targets youth in the impressionable teen and even pre-teen years."
4. "Such material is almost universally
available to anyone regardless of age with sufficient money
." (Copy of legislative proposal, 101st Congress,
2nd Session, with concurrent resolution attached by Howard C. Nielson, member
of Congress, 42390-1).
In principle, whichever way a person treats rock music, one cannot deny its
domineering influence on the world view and behavior of the young. Video-rock,
their concerts and journals are powerful sermons that are hungrily absorbed by
teenagers. In the next few sections we will outline facts concerning the
influence rock music has on the feeling, behavior and religious frame of mind
of our youth.
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