Controversial rock musicians Frank Zappa and Twisted Sister’s Dee Snyder are expected to clash with representatives of the Parents Music Resource Center today at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing as the high-volume debate over rock ‘n’ roll lyrics moves to Washington.
The hearing is the latest development in what has become the most publicized debate over popular music yet. The hearing’s purpose, according to a spokeswoman for the committee, is to discuss the “content of sound recordings and suggestions about warning labels.”
The PMRC, a group led by a number of well-placed Washington spouses, contends that rock music has become offensively sexually explicit and that record companies must take steps to both caution consumers--through album warning labels--and reduce the frequency of such “offensive” music.
The parents center is headed by Susan Baker, wife of Treasury Secretary James Baker, and Tipper Gore, wife of Sen. Albert Gore (D-Tenn.).
The loudest and most consistent critic of the parents center is Zappa, who has said the campaign “was generated by a group of bored Washington housewives.” Zappa will be accompanied in Washington by daughter Moon, 17, and son Dweezil, 16, who plan to speak out as concerned teen-agers. “Who are these select few who have decided what we will or will not listen to?” Moon has asked. “This whole thing is preposterous.”
Those scheduled to testify include Sen. Paula Hawkins (R-Fla.), chairwoman of the subcommittee on children, families, drugs and alcohol; at least two representatives of the Parents Music Resource Center; recording artists John Denver, Zappa and Snyder; Millie Waterman, national PTA vice president for legislative activity; Eddie Fritts, president of the National Assn. of Broadcasters; Stanley Gortikov, president of the Recording Industry Assn. of America and a panel of radio broadcasters and members of the psychiatric profession.