Canadian industrial electronic band Skinny Puppy is making headlines for invoicing the US government for reportedly using their music for torture.
“We heard through a reliable grapevine that our music was being used in Guantanamo Bay prison camps to musically stun or torture people,” founder cEvin Key told the Phoenix New Times. “We heard that our music was used on at least four occasions.”
“We never supported those types of scenarios. Because we make unsettling music, we can see it being used in a weird way. But it doesn’t sit right with us. So we thought it would be a good idea to make an invoice to the US government for musical services,” added Key. “Thus the concept of the [band’s new] record title, Weapons.”
Artistic statement or publicity stunt? Let us know what you think in the comments.
51 thoughts on “Skinny Puppy Invoices US Government For Using Their Music For Torture”
That would totally be my first choice, too.
Invoicing the US govt for their use of your music is tantamount to profiting from the torture itself. “While we don’t like that you used our music as an instrument of torture, we should at least get paid for it.” I suppose if that is how strongly they feel about it (i.e., “it doesn’t sit right with us”), well, that is not that impressive of a stance, IMO.
On the other hand, suing the U.S. govt for associating your music with the one of the most despicable human activities there is– I think there’d be a pretty strong case. But I suppose they would have to prove that such use has negatively impacted their brand or sales. With the intense nature of that music and its fan-base, I wonder what effect it has had on sales, reputation, etc.
If I thought my music was used in such a way, I would lose my mind.
Just to clarify, according to the interview, the band never actually sent an invoice but instead made it their album cover (second question of the interview): http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com/uponsun/2014/01/skinny-puppy-guantanamo-bay-torture.php.
I agree though, while it’s clearly a successful stunt with headlines all over the music journalism world, it’s a very weak stance on what is actually a serious issue that requires more than just a cheeky album cover.
“tantamount to profiting from the torture itself.”
Maybe to someone who doesn’t really know Skinny Puppy. They have always been vocal against all forms of tortures and vivisection. Its been their theme and their “social cause” since their beginning.
“we should at least get paid for it”
I don’t think they expect the US government to respond to them, and even less to receive money from them. I think they just took the opportunity to shame the US governement and receive a little publicity at the same time.
“If I thought my music was used in such a way, I would lose my mind.”
Well what could you do that would not look like you are trying to profit from it?
In the beginning it was intended to be experimental,so it should be used in such situations.
A better way to torture is to give them only Roland Keyboards for making music.
“Well what could you do that would not look like you are trying to profit from it?”
Um. How ’bout not sending a bill– or even joking about sending a bill?
So, just keep letting them do it?
If you read enough interviews with SP, you’ll find out that they were being sarcastic. It’s already been documented by Rage Against the Machine’s dismissed lawsuit that artists are powerless when it comes to stopping the government from using their music for torture. SP was actually followed around and investigated during their Greater Wrong of the Right tour by the Secret Service.
Yea. I’ll admit I’m just reacting to the above post. I don’t know the first thing about SP.
i thought it had be well established already that the story being circulated is link bait. I’m actually surprised it’s being reported on here. Half of what cEvin Key said was left out of the story:
” What became of that invoice? Did they respond to it?
We never sent it. The album cover is the invoice. The original impetus of recording the album was those two concepts: the torture and the invoice.”
I think if it is being used as a deterrent – and the money is then donated to an organization like Amnesty International – then this is a fair complaint and in good taste. If the band took the money and kept it, however, then it would be two wrongs not making a right. Especially if the government chose to continue using the music and paying the band.
However, invoicing is a different thing than objecting, ot at least try to stop the US Government stop using their music, since they don’t want to.
Invoicing may sound a bit more funny, but the tortures issue is not funny at all.
Asking money does not express their dissagreement to tortures, but their disagreement for using their music without paying them.
Completely different things
They didn’t invoice them, not even allegedly. This interview is missing the other part where they say something to the effect of “Of course we didn’t actually invoice them,” prior to, ““Thus the concept of the [band’s new] record title, Weapons.” Click-bait.
Who do you think the “reliable grapevine” is? Maybe it’s a former detainee who, after being subjected to tortue at Guantanamo for several years, became a Skinny Puppy fanatic and wrote the band some fan mail about their experiences. I’m sure for an industrial band that would be the best damn fan mail they could ever receive.
If this is a serious payment request, and factual account, it would be interesting to see if they pay up, or shit all over music licensing laws.
More political statement than artistic statement, methinks.
I personally love Skinnypuppy, but I can see how someone unfamiliar with the band could find their music torturous. It’s definitely an acquired taste.
We had raccoons in the attic at one time, so we set up speakers at varying places near the ceiling and played SP, Ramones, Jim Thirlwell and other tender love ballads. They were gone in 2 days. We cleaned up the attic and patched the holes, saving big bucks on exterminators and carpenters. SCIENCE! ART! MADNESS!
That’s a brilliant way to do it. Thirwell seems almost too melodic for such an experiment. I’d have thrown in some Nurse with Wound, TG or Birthday Party. :^)
This maniacal government don’t give a fuck. Do you get it yet?
Hell has been unleashed. To be honest, I’m surprised Skinny Puppy isn’t enjoying it.
Skinny Puppy have already been sonically torturing people for thirty years now.
Maybe I missed something, but everyday radio tortured my ears, each time I enter in a shop there is Erh Gaga or Wafen P.Diddy or Commander Rihanna that gives the best to tortured my brain and my ears.
If the US government found that those kind of music is a pretty efficient tool to torture people in Guantanamo bay you should ask to yourself what kind of freak you are to inflict it to yourself.
Ludwig van Beethoven is more appropriate……
more appropriate when you have to shoot a movie…
I wonder if it has anything to do with their recent US border patrol problems…
I fail to see what’s wrong about profiting from torture.
So SP claims that their music was used for torture purposes, and SP claims it doesn’t support torture…but they’ll certainly accept a paycheck for the use of their music as a torture tool ?
I think that’s despicable.
If my music was being used for torture purposes, I wouldn’t ask for money, I’d contact a lawyer and stop the government from using it…but accepting money for the act…is just wrong ! Lost a little respect for SP
they didn’t invoice the government. there never was an invoice. see above.
8 thumbs down ? LOL…why ? because I’m not praising SP ?
The US government has the same responsibility as any business that uses “intellectual content” for commercial purposes… and that is to pay royalties for its use. I would think any music used as a tool should be considered a commercial use of such works. Same with photographs, paintings, etc.. Now if there is any legal standing in controlling the use of such work (such as where and how it is used) that would be a lot tougher to enforce. But it would be nice if one could have a say in such, especially in the instance referenced in this article.
As a huge Skinny Puppy fan, there are a lot of good CDs to torture someone with, particularly someone not familiar with western music. My weapon of choice would be ‘Too Dark Park,’ but there a lot of “awesome” songs from individual albums that would pry a confession out of someone after several plays. I’d start off easy with “God’s Gift (Maggots)” from ‘Mind the Perpetual Intercourse.’ 🙂
I see it another way. Just as Tom Waits successfully sued the crap out of Frito-Lay for using a soundalike when he refused to do a commercial, it’d be interesting to see a case based on misuse here. The government is riddled with sociopaths. Suing for a great chunk of cash is almost self-defense and if you win, hand it out to Amnesty International and things like Bill Maher’s Flip A District venture, where people will actually suggest the ouster of a gerrymandered conservative who is a bad or non-performer. This is a small issue in the real world, got it, but hurting the Evil can be amazingly good business. SP have solid moral grounds upon which to rage against being used for torture in any way. I think I’d respect them even more if they did raise a tangible stink. Lately, we need more protection from our own unscrupulous government than from outside threats. Holding the line and yelling NO! BAD DOG! once in a while almost seems like a moral obligation.
I’d much rather be tortured with Skinny Puppy than the cotton-candy French tickler of Daft Punk. How about a loop of an old Backstreet Boys LP? How about some pitch-shifted Bieber? How about just running “The View?” The military is wussing out to not know what REAL torture would be.
Torture is just plain wrong…instead, they should just get to the point: stick people on a chair, make them read a confession of guilt and western condemmnation, and either chop off their head or fire a round or two into the base of their skull. I totally understand how inhumane it is in the alternative route of sound and water torture. Hell, maybe public stonings aren’t a bad option either…but subjecting someone to music from Canadians, definitely the work of an evil empire.
Anyway Ministry, KMFDM, and co-conspirator Lily Allen have beaten SP on the bandwagon of American/Bush bashing. Why don’t they get creative, grow some balls and take a stand against the push over Wests kowtowing to trade partners, regimes that DO announce their wishes for death and destruction on “mortal” enemies and utopian carpetbaggers that run a country based on insular university Marxist theory? Nah, just keep on being wusses and self-deprecate…it’s what the last few generations have been indoctrinated in school and on TV.
they must be using new skinny puppy
Oh yeah, the not-so-secret service is following them around; what is this, the girls bath “i said, she said” confidentials…if that is the case SP better mind their Ps & Qs or they might end up like Elvis, Biggie, Tupac, and Kurt Cobain…you know accidents happen when you push the envelope. Anyway, the President seems to be doing just fine with secret service crawling all over the place….just look at his ratings and policy triumphs. Well, back to grind with my dreadlocks, organic non-GMO flaxseed compost, and acoustic…next stop…mees-a-thinking one of the Stans would be sweet…do I need a letter of invitation and a visa?
Oh, I hate my mother for being born in America
whats wrong with u ppl?
dont u get it?
the point is there r still holding ppl in guantanamo and they r doing it as they please
but lets not talk about that
lets talk about how bad sp wants PR
lol so many confused people
Please, Skinny Puppy doesn’t need the PR. They’re certainly not going to get any more fans out of this. It’s not like they’re an easy-to-listen band like Coldplay that you go “You know, those songs are pretty catchy, I’m going to have to download some of their music.” This is yet another headline that turned out to be something different once you actually read the article.
well whtever peeps say its actually got a debate going, so thats a good thing
crucifix were made to torture…..(see the photo)
It isn’t our government any more. We have the right to destroy it.
To be accurate, the latest release by Skinny Puppy is titled ‘Weapon’ (singular). Thank you.
I agree. LIstening to them is torture.
Skinny Puppy finally gets a mention on synthtopia and it’s completely inaccurate. One of the best electronic tours happening right now but let’s not talk about the talent of Cevin Key or how influential Puppy was on everything that followed.
honestly, i’m a fan. most of my teenage career in the late 80’s and through the 90’s was spent listening to Skinny Puppy and i have been seen at a few concerts of theirs’ in my hay day. to understand this action, you must know the crowd that Key runs with… Ogre, Jourgensen, Jello Biafra to mention a few.
this is neither an artistic statement or a publicity stunt. this is the voice of a disgruntled anarchist making a bold political statement. while using the “system” to hit the government with it’s own bureaucracy. this is anarchism in it’s purest form, wrought with irony.
I listen b4 I go to sleep more of a lullaby for this guy.
They should change the name of skinny puppy, because puppies are more beautiful then them
They should be honored. Can’t think of a better cause. Those fuckers do exponentially worse things to us when they capture us. And we’re considered the in-humane ones?
I support the torture of hostile detainees, but can I sue radio and tv networks for torturing innocent Americans with Miley Ray Cyrus, Beiber, Beyonce, etc?