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WRIR’s Cause and Effect – Satanic Panic and the PMRC

I recently hosted “Cause and Effect” on WRIR.   The show highlights connections and influences between bands, artists and subjects.  The subject I chose to explore was something I remember from my childhood and probably went a long way toward cementing my love for heavy music.  I love all music, naturally, but the heavy stuff has always resonated with me, often literally.

The Satanic Panic is a term that’s been used throughout history whether it’s the Salem Witch Trials or the moral panic surrounding certain  works containing perceived evil influences in the 70s, 80s and 90’s of the 20th century.

The Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) was an organization formed in 1985 by a group of prominent American women, including Tipper Gore, the wife of future Vice President Al Gore. The PMRC’s primary concern was the explicit content found in some popular music, particularly in rock and heavy metal genres. They believed that such content was harmful to children and teenagers and needed to be regulated.

Click WRIR’s logo to see the show post with the playlist on WRIR’s website.  Listen to the show by clicking the link “Play show”.






Here’s a Spotify playlist with a few additional songs that didn’t make the show due to time.  The playlist could have been hundreds of songs long.

Full playlist with notes and background on some of the songs.  Click on the album name to read more on AllMusic.

  1. Slayer – Raining Blood (SP)

Album: Reign In Blood


  1. Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath (SP)

Album: Black Sabbath

In 1988, a Geraldo Rivera documentary called Devil Worship: Exposing Satan’s Underground aired which depicted metalheads as blood drinking, grave robbing, sacrilegious hooligans.  It then went on to discuss a series of murders involving young people linked with devil-worship.  The most notorious of them all was Thomas Sullivan, a 14-year old who stabbed his mother to death, and just so happened to be a fan of Black Sabbath (a common theme among the crimes of this ilk Rivera used for his agenda).  Ozzy Osbourne would also appear as a guest via satellite, and when asked about the connection between his music and a number of the crimes that had been mentioned, he was more or less cut off before he could give a substantial defense.


  1. Robert Johnson – Cross Road Blues

Album: King of the Delta Blues

According to legend, as a young man living on a plantation in rural Mississippi, Johnson had a tremendous desire to become a great blues musician. One of the legends often told says that Johnson was instructed to take his guitar to a crossroad near Dockery Plantation at midnight. (There are claims for other sites as the location of the crossroads.) There he was met by a large black man (the Devil) who took the guitar and tuned it. The Devil played a few songs and then returned the guitar to Johnson, giving him mastery of the instrument. This story of a deal with the Devil at the crossroads mirrors the legend of Faust. In exchange for his soul, Johnson was able to create the blues for which he became famous.


  1. ACDC – Let Me Put My Love Into You Babe (PMRC-Filthy15)

Album: Back In Black


  1. Iron Maiden – The Number of the Beast (SP)

Album: The Number of the Beast


  1. Frank Zappa – Porn Wars (PMRC)

Album: Frank Zappa Meets the Mothers of Prevention

Zappa took the audio recorded at the PMRC hearing and loaded bits into a sampling machine called a synclavier.  He then created a composition using the audio from the hearings and overlaid musical insturmentation and programmed music over it to create a soundscape. 


  1. Ozzy Osbourne – Mr Crowley (SP)

Album: Blizzard of Ozz

This song is about Aleister Crowley (1875-1947), a British practitioner of black magic. Known as “The Wickedest Man Alive,” Jimmy Page based some of the Led Zeppelin album covers on his work.  Bob Daisley, who was the bass player on the album, wrote some of the lyric for this song. Daisley explained: “I wanted to look at the darkness and question Aleister Crowley. ‘Aleister, what were you thinking?’ You know. All this darkness and negativity. So that was a snag that I put on it.”  This was common in Ozzy’s lyrics.  Often, while listeners thought he was praising a dark subject, he was questioning it. 


  1. Judas Priest – Eat Me Alive (PMRC-Filthy 15)

Album: Defenders of the Faith


  1. Prince – Darling Nikki (PMRC-15)

Album: Purple Rain

American social issues advocate Tipper Gore reportedly co-founded the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) in 1985 because she witnessed her daughter Karenna, who was 11 years old at the time, listening to “Darling Nikki”. As examples of what they meant, PMRC published a list of 15 popular “filthy” songs, with “Darling Nikki” first. The PMRC would later become known for leading to the use of the well-known Parental Advisory sticker on album covers.


  1. Queen – Another One Bites The Dust (allegations of backmasking)

Album: The Game

In the early 80s, “Another One Bites the Dust” was one of many popular rock songs that Christian evangelists alleged contained subliminal messages through a technique called backmasking. It was claimed that the chorus, when played in reverse, can be heard as “Decide to smoke marijuana”, “It’s fun to smoke marijuana”,or “Start to smoke marijuana”.A spokeswoman for Hollywood Records (Queen’s current US label) has denied that the song contains such a message. The song does, however, contain a backmasked piano, which can be heard clearly when it is played backward.


  1. Mercyful Fate – Into The Coven (SP, PMRC-Filthy 15)

Album: Melissa

Ironic that the only song on the PMRC’s “Filthy 15” witchhunt against supposedly suggestive music list that is actually about witches and is essentially an instruction manual for how to join a witches’ coven. “Howl like a wolf/And a witch will open the door,” King Diamond sings. “Undress until you’re naked/And put on a white coat/Take this white cross and go to the middle of the ring.” 


  1. Megadeth – The Conjuring (SP)

Album: Peace Sells…But Who‘s Buying

One of several Megadeth songs referencing the occult, witchcraft or black magic.  In an interview, Dave Mustaine said, “I used to do black magic when I was a kid, and I put a hex on a dude and his leg kind of got messed up. The other one was, I put a sex hex on this girl and the next night she was in my bed, so I think that it worked.”


  1. John Denver – Rocky Mountain High (PMRC) (targeted for promoting drugs)

Album: Rocky Mountain High, Greatest Hits


  1. WASP – The Heretic (SP, PMRC)

Album: The Headless Children

Their song “Animal (F*uck Like A Beast)” was one of the PMRC’s Filthy 15.


  1. Venom – Possessed (PMRC-Filthy 15)

Album: Possessed

Targeted for promoting the occult

Written by lead singer Conrad “Cronos” Lant and guitarist Jeff “Mantas” Dunn, this piece of British speed metal is about a man who is possessed by the Devil. Satanism is a common theme in Venom’s oeuvre, but it’s all in good fun. Cronos said in Kerrang!: “I don’t preach Satanism, occultism, witchcraft or anything. Rock & roll is basically entertainment and that’s as far as it goes.”


  1. Twisted Sister – Under The Blade (PMRC)

Album: Under The Blade

Ee Snider got the idea when guitarist Eddie Ojeda needed surgery, and was afraid of going “Under the Blade.”  Said Snider: “It was about the fear of operations. I think people imagine being helpless on a table, the bright light in their face, the blade coming down on them, and being totally afraid that they may wake up, who knows, dead, handicapped. There is a certain fear of hospitals. That is what, in my imagination, what I see the hospitals like.”

In 1985, the newly founded Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) accused Twisted Sister of promoting rape, bondage, and sadomasochism in this song. Dee Snider took a stand against their agenda at a Senate hearing, pointing out that the lyrics to this song have absolutely nothing to do with any of the offenses, and that the “Washington Wives” who comprised the group were projecting their fantasies into their interpretation.


  1. Lil Nas X – Montero E (Call Me By Your Name) (2021)


Since Lil Nas X released the music video for Montero (Call Me By Your Name) it has turned him into one of the most controversial pop stars on the planet. The video, which features the rapper sliding down a pole to hell before giving the devil a lap dance, has garnered criticism from conservative politicians and commentators, who say the song encourages devil worshiping and scandalizes young fans.  In a note written to his younger self about the release, Lil Nas X (whose real name is Montero Lamar Hill) said he had created the video hoping to further normalize queerness. “I know we promised to never be ‘that’ type of gay person, I know we promised to die with the secret, but this will open doors for many other queer people to simply exist,” he said.


  1. The Beatles – Helter Skelter

Album: The White Album

Charles Manson told his followers that several White Album songs, particularly “Helter Skelter”, were part of the Beatles’ coded prophecy of an apocalyptic race war.  According to Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Vincent Bugliosi, who led the prosecution of Manson and four of his followers who acted on Manson’s instruction in the Tate-LaBianca murdersCharles Manson told his followers that several White Album songs, particularly “Helter Skelter”, were part of the Beatles’ coded prophecy of an apocalyptic war in which racist and non-racist whites would be manoeuvred into virtually exterminating each other over the treatment of blacks


Black metal (these dudes have actually professed to digging the devil):


  1. Mayhem – Deathcrush

Album: Deathcrush

A band that actually lived up to the evil reputation.  It’s Swedish black metal which is on a whole other level.

Took name from the Venom song “Mayhem with Mercy”

Influenced by Venom, Death, Motorhead, Black Sabbath, Slayer, Celtic Frost

One of the members (Euronymous) used Dead’s suicide to foster Mayhem’s ‘evil’ image and claimed Dead had killed himself because black metal had become ‘trendy’ and commercialized


  1. Gorgoroth – Destroyer

Album: Album: Destroyer

Self-described Satanic band who have drawn controversy due to some of their concerts, which have featured impaled sheep heads and mock crucifixions. The band is named after the dead plateau of darkness in the land of Mordor from J. R. R. Tolkien‘s fantasy novel The Lord of the Rings

Front man (at the time of this album) Gaal featured in the films:

2005: Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey (documentary)

2007: True Norwegian Black Metal (documentary)

2012: Flukt (“Escape”) (drama) – as “Grim”

2022: Heavy Metal Saved My Life


  1. Bathory – A Fine Day To Die

Album: Blood Fire Death

Bathory was a Swedish black metal band formed in Vällingby in March 1983. Named after Hungarian countess Elizabeth Báthory, they are considered pioneers of black metal (alongside Venom and Mercyful Fate) and Viking metal.  Their first four albums have been described as “the blueprint for Scandinavian black metal. 

The album Blood Fire Death, although mostly black metal, includes some of the first examples of Viking metal.  The band was named for a Hungarian Countess who was a Hungarian noblewoman and alleged serial killer from the family of Báthory, who owned land in the Kingdom of Hungary (now Slovakia). 


All the bed music is from these horror movie soundtracks:



A Nightmare On Elm Street

The Omen


Friday The 13th

The Exorcist

And here’s the full list, the PMRC’s “Filthy 15” and their offenses.

Good Eye Podcast – Trey Dunnaville – RABA

Trey Dunnaville is the president of RABA, the Richmond Area Bicycling Association.  In this episode we talk about how he got into cycling, what it means to him, the good that he’s able to do through it and other aspects of cycling such as long-distance rides, riding on virtual trainers and the risks associated with cycling.


RABA’s Heart of Virginia Bike Festival Ride

Trey’s podcast – The Wheel Community Podcast

Go Forward Together Ride

Good Eye Podcast

River City Limits on WRIR – recent episodes

I haven’t posted RCL episodes in a while so here are a few from the last few months.  River City Limits features local artists and bands from Richmond, Virginia.  I usually host the first Saturday of the month and fill other open shifts.  I like to drop in music from nearby sometimes as well so you might hear music from around Virginia, DC, maybe North Carolina as it’s relevant such as when they have new music out or they’re coming to town.  Click the links to see the full playlists posted on WRIR’s website and support local music!  #rvamusic

New music from Tangent, Dogwood Tales, Ninth Realm, and The Pollocks (Charlottesville), more.

New music from Shy/Low, Scott Clark, Shane Cooley, Gnawing, more.

New music from Thunderchief, Bio Ritmo, Flashlight Tag, Gold Connections, Merciful Zero, Murdersome, Lance Bangs, Ten Pound Snail, Weekend Plans, more.

New music from Butcher Brown, Ostraca, Baroness (orig. from Lexington VA), Murdersome, Matt Colvin, No Moniker, Steve Ashby, more.

New music from Erik Larson, Keep, Moossa, The Mitras, Sincerely Iris, more.

Send Bandcamp links or music to

Bike MS: Colonial Crossroads 150 Ride 2023, Update

The header image is my brother Jeff and me after our “make-up” ride last year.  We both got Covid the week of the ride so we did our own ride a few weeks later by doing a century ride on the Virginia Capital Trail.

We made it back to the official ride this year.  It was year 20, and it was another great weekend in support of an amazing cause and some of the bravest people you’ve ever met.  I’m speaking, of course, of all the people fighting MS every day.  Progress has been made, but there’s still no cure for this son-of-a-bitch of a disease.  It’s slow, progressive, and insidious.  Riding a bike from Richmond to Williamsburg and back is easy by comparison.

Thank you to the MS Society, all organizers, supporters, donors, vendors, partners and riders.

There’s still time to support the effort.  Go to or click the image below to sponsor me.  It’s my brother Jeff and me at the start line in Richmond on Saturday, June 3.






Short clip from the ride from Richmond to Williamsburg on Saturday.

Jay Smack VO – Mack Trucks

What says tough, capable, legacy and hard work more than Mack Trucks?  Before you answer consider also what says modern, forward-thinking, intelligent, environmentally-friendly and EV more than Mack Trucks?  It was a pleasure working with the team at Colle McVoy to bring this project to life as Mack powers into the future.

Pets – More Human Than You, Man

(ABOVE: My furry friends, Jackie and Frankie, LOVE their time at the park. Jackie rides in the trailer in the background. She also wears a sweater sometimes because she gets chilly. Yeah, I know.)

Storytelling. It’s everything. EV-ER-Y-THING. Whether you’re voicing a one-day-only sale for a single location furniture store in a tiny off-the-map town or a national Super Bowl spot or narrating a documentary.  Whether you’re sound designing a YouTube video that might get 50 views. Whether you’re creating a motion graphics piece for Microsoft that the world will see.  Whether you’re selling Girl Scout cookies door-to-door.  (Is that still done or do they do what happens in my town which is to set up outside Publix or on the sidewalk in Carytown?)  It’s all storytelling.  And storytelling is about connection.

A common list of elements that go into storytelling include:

1. What is it about?

2. What do they want?

3. What do they do to get it?

4. Why does it or doesn’t it work?

5. What do they do about it?

Plot, setting, characters, point of view and conflict or tension.

Common formulas vary a little, but that’s essentially it. But the thing(s) that pulls us in more than almost anything else is when the elements matter to us.  Can we relate to the story?  Can we see ourselves in it?  That’s the human element.  And what makes us feel more human, more vulnerable, more emotional, more real, more alive than kids and pets? Let’s put the kid part aside for a moment since, well, kids are actually human. This space is not conducive to a debate on parenting or ethics so we’ll confine our narrative to pets. And when it comes to pets, pet owners know in the back of their minds, no matter how much they push it away that their time together is very, very limited. It’s temporary. So the love between pets and owners often burns white hot.

The APPA (American Pet Products Association) reports that pet industry sales rose to nearly $137 billion in 2022 and that pets are present in 66% of U.S. households. Many of those households likely had a tv on and tuned to the 2023 Super Bowl when everybody’s favorite Super Bowl spot aired – the Farmer’s Dog spots in which the loyal family dog joins the family as a puppy,  becomes a full-fledged and very loved member of the family, shares experiences shown in montage as he grows up, and inevitably, grows old.  We’re spared the emotional nuke of seeing the dog pass or any hint of it, but we surmise that it’s coming; sooner rather than later.  And it’s something we ALL relate to.  Cue the waterworks. Connection made.  Bam.  We all immediately think of our own pets and work hard to push out of our minds any notion of them not being with us forever.  It’s powerful storytelling.  And it’s all based on a true story.  Director Goh Iromoto tells that story figuratively in the spot and literally in the article linked below.

No matter how big the budget of a movie telling stories about CGI superheroes or wizards or space villains and heroes, the stories that lean into and embrace their human-ness are the ones that grab us firmly and unrelentingly by the heartstrings and do not let go.  We relate to the purity, simplicity and complexity of actually being human.  And isn’t it funny that the creatures on this planet that make us feel most human – are animals?  Animals that share our homes, our lives, our experiences and our hearts.  And when we tell our stories, they’ll be some of the main characters.

Read the full article and comments from director Goh Iromoto

Jay Smack VO – new spot for GameDay Collections

It’s funny how things turn out sometimes.  Funny “interesting”, I mean.  I first approached this copy with an NFL Films, John Facenda-type of read in mind.  That was based on the direction and the subject matter.  But the client actually directed me away from that a little. And the end result was much better and more appropriate than what I had envisioned.  That’s the beauty of collaboration and highlights the subjective nature of creativity.  There’s never one answer, but when you work together to find what best serves the project it’s win/win. #voiceover #jaysmackvo

Good Eye Podcast – RJ Zimmerman – Untapped Keg Podcast

RJ Zimmerman has been sober from alcohol, drugs, gambling and other addictive substances and activities for 8 years.  He started the “Untapped Keg” podcast to address and create a community of people who are trying to life a fuller life without the barriers that certain substances and activities can create.  But also included in that community are people who want others to live according to what is best for them and choose to indulge in certain substances and activities within reason and responsibly.  He talks about a culture that all but requires people to partake lest they suffer exclusion and how it makes living a sober life by choice that much more difficult.  He talks about the importance of connection with one’s self as well as family and friends.

Untapped Keg website

On Apple Podcasts

On YouTube

Good Eye Podcast

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