Influence of Heavy-Metal Rock

September 15, 1985

I am a 21-year-old rock 'n' roll fan. I am not a parent. I don't live in the so-called Bible Belt. I am not even a member of any religious group. I used to enjoy the music of the heavy-metal group, AC/DC.

I must take great exception to the comments made by Robert Hilburn in Ralph Cipriano's article (Sept. 2) on AC/DC and the possible link with devil-worshipping.

Hilburn is quoted as saying that "kids know that AC/DC is kind of a gag." That may be. But the subtle, unconscious influence of the band's lyrics and album covers simply cannot be overlooked. When young people are taught that a woman lying dead on a concert stage with an electric guitar protruding her back in a pool of blood is just a "gag," I want to vomit. This image is found on the back side of the AC/DC album, "Highway to Hell." Is the kid down the street going to pull that "gag" on me?

And to say that the song "Night Prowler" is just meant to be fun makes me really wonder. The words are frightening, and it makes me nervous to think that young people hear these words without any indication by parents or anyone else that they are not indicative of normal functioning human beings' value. If "Night Prowler" is fun, I think I better move to another planet where things are a little more "serious."

Hilburn says that they (heavy-metal bands) try to "shock parents" to gain allegiance of junior high and high school students. These lyrics shock me, and a lot of other people I know my age.

I don't believe AC/DC fans are walking around in a trance. That's just the problem. If they were in that state, they could be easily identified and helped. The sickening reality is that these lyrics and images are being readily accepted by "normal" people. The message sinks in, and without any qualifications, are accepted as "fun."

The influence is there, but we can't see its effects singularly. It is the collective influence of many of these so-called "fun" messages that reach the small minority of easily influenced people who, for whatever reasons, must feed off these ideas for psychological or emotional fulfillment.

I feel sorry for those people. They need help. But so do many rock bands. With the great influence they exert over young people, they need to choose their words very, very carefully.

I don't blame AC/DC for the gruesome actions that Richard Ramirez is being accused of doing. He has a mind of his own, and I'm sure he used it. But maybe he was one of those few that needed to feed off the violence depicted in the words and images of the group's songs. KATHY CROUCH

Van Nuys

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