April 16, 2014

"A song like 'Under the Bridge,' really loud, on a loop, is torturous... Maybe some people think our music's annoying. I don't care, but you know...."

The Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith was confronted in a parking lot and pushed to opine on a news report (which you can read here) that the CIA used Red Hot Chili Peppers music — looped and loud — to torment the Guantanamo detainee Abu Zubaydah.

This is my own transcription from the video at the first link. Smith starts out slow and inarticulate:
"I heard that they they they like used like more you know like industr- like hard rock like metal you know like like or just you know that's that's I'm mean that whole thing just..." 
The reporter gets him to talk straight with the question "Do you approve?"
"No! Of course not! Our music's positive, man, it's supposed to make people feel good and that's that's that's it's very upsetting to me. I don't like that at all."
The reporter pushes him to go on the offense against the government, perhaps in a copyright infringement mode, with "You guys should have to sign off on something like that." Smith is merely resigned:
"It's the government."
The reporter tries another angle: "What song could they have possibly used?"
"A song like 'Under the Bridge,' really loud, on a loop, is torturous... Maybe some people think our music's annoying. I don't care, but you know, it's a poor use of..."
Smith stops in the middle of his thought, nods his head about 5 or 6 times, and concludes:
"They shouldn't do that, they shouldn't be doing any of that shit. It's horrible. Ugh. I just ate. I don't wanna like throw up."

27 comments:

Ann Althouse said...

I love that Warner Brothers Music put up the official video, embeddable, and without an ad. Thanks!

285exp said...

Should have used ABBA,but that's probably too cruel.

Tibore said...

Would playing Miley Cyrus like that have been a crime against humanity?

madAsHell said...

Cock puppets!!

MadisonMan said...

Two posts in a row with male nipples in them. Is this today's theme?

MadisonMan said...

I have to wonder, though. The reporter is lying in wait, waiting, waiting, for the drummer to appear. And then he spends time writing this article.

Why is the opinion of the drummer important? Is the reporter just a fanboy?

Anonymous said...

From Wiki Re: RHCP's Californication':

The album received criticism for what Tim Anderson of The Guardian called "excessive compression and distortion" in the process of digital mastering. Stylus Magazine labeled it as one of the victims of the loudness war and commented that it suffered from digital clipping so much that "even non-audiophile consumers complained about it".

Really loud IS tortuous, and they have already done it to themselves...

Ann Althouse said...

I see 2 ways to torture someone with "Under the Bridge":

1. Make a loop of a couple seconds of that high pitched stuff at around 3:30 and play it for hours.

2. Play the whole song. Assuming the listener understands English and is currently deprived of human interaction, it could make you feel terribly sad and lonely.

Ann Althouse said...

"Two posts in a row with male nipples in them. Is this today's theme?"

Remember, there's always a theme. It's just a matter of you pulling it all together.

Jim said...

Shocking! Musicians don't like their music being used for "torture"! Newsflash! This is completely unprecedented!

Really? This is actually considered newsworthy?

When you find the musician that admits that his music is actually torturous and SHOULD be used for that purpose, THEN it'll be newsworthy.

Anonymous said...

RE: "I see 2 ways to torture someone with "Under the Bridge"...

Only two ways? You need to do more work developing your Evil Impulses.

Bob Ellison said...

"Remember, there's always a theme."

That drives me away from this blog.

Ann Althouse said...

Ironically, the theme of the day is often "How to Make Bob Ellison Go Away."

EDH said...

RHCP, like the Beastie Boys, had to undergo a rebranding early in the course of their careers.

Both started out as agressive, male party-type bands with sexist overtones.

To broaden their appeal and please the PC police, they had to become sensitive if still overtly sexual.

Buddhism to the rescue!

Chad's reaction here made me thought he was running the question through his PC algorithm while formulating his response.

Bob Boyd said...

Woody Guthrie had "This machine kills fascists" on his guitar.
I guess "This machine makes terrorists come to Jesus" doesn't quite have the same ring to it.

sydney said...

Ha! When we were young marrieds with a new baby we had neighbors who played the Red Hot Chili Peppers from 12 midnight to 3AM, every freaking night. I can guarantee you, it is torture.
On the other hand, my now 23 year old son is a Red Hot Chili Pepper fan.

Paco Wové said...

Lou Reed's "Metal Machine Music". Just put the LP on, don't even have to put it on a loop.

Uncle Frank said...

The first 60 seconds or so of AC/DC's Thunderstruck.

David said...

Another way to torture with it would be to make them watch the video.

Michael said...

Nothing better than the ability of our artistic heroes to articulate their strongly held beliefs. We should base all of our policies on what rock musicians, hip hop artists and actresses believe.

Sigivald said...

I've never been able to stand RHCP, myself.

But there's no music that isn't annoying on repeat, very loud.

(Of course, I've also always liked Skinny Puppy, and they were a better pick for annoying prisoners, assuming the reports of it are accurate.)

Robert Cook said...

"Lou Reed's "Metal Machine Music". Just put the LP on, don't even have to put it on a loop."

I find MMM to be relaxing; it can put me into a meditative mood such that the abrupt end of each of the four sections, where there is sudden transition to instant silence without a fadeout, is more startling to me than the music itself.

But then, I don't play it at high volume.

Robert Cook said...

"We should base all of our policies on what rock musicians, hip hop artists and actresses believe."

Couldn't be any worse than what we have now: decisions made by sadistic murdering assholes in uniforms and power hungry murdering sociopaths in formal wear.

Joe said...

Just play "It's a Small World" over and over. Amazingly, people "voluntarily" take that ride at Disneyland. (Scare quotes used since many parents didn't really volunteer.)

Richard Dolan said...

"music — looped and loud — to torment the Guantanamo detainee ..."

Jay Nordlinger has a piece at NRO about the over-amplification of America -- it's not just the occasional detainee that is being driven crazy. As Nordlinger notes, it's now regarded as normal to be subjected to very unpleasantly loud music at restaurants, theatres (where everyone is miked these days), weddings and other social gatherings and on and on.

Time to turn it down, and get rid of amplification where it's not needed.

Alex said...

Just put Steely Dan on a loop.

grackle said...

I have to be a bit sympathetic to the musician. What's he supposed to say – that his music is torture?