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The Anti-Drug Message Will Get a Rock Beat

July 16, 1986|KAI ITO | Times Staff Writer

The rebelliousness of rock music is one of its major appeals, and a new campaign by the state attorney general's office will attempt to use that spirit to get teen-agers to rebel against drugs, officials announced Tuesday.

The campaign, called Rock Against Drugs, will use rock stars in music video-like public service announcements for broadcast on cable's MTV, national and local television stations and in theaters, Atty. Gen. John Van de Kamp told a press conference at his Wilshire District offices.

Record producer Danny Goldberg, who will produce the spots for Van de Kamp's office, said Gene Simmons of the rock group Kiss; Belinda Carlisle, former lead singer of the Go-Go's, and Steve Jones, former lead guitarist with the Sex Pistols, have agreed to participate.

Goldberg, who manages the musical careers of Carlisle and "Miami Vice's" Don Johnson, among others, said he wants to do something other anti-drug campaigns have not--use artists, such as heavy metal acts, who appeal to the rebellious spirit of teen-agers.

"Heavy metal is one of the types of music that particularly appeals to teen-agers and especially teen-aged males," he said. "And if you want to reach that audience, that's the language that they trust and they speak."

Goldberg said he wants the spots for the new campaign to convey the type of energy, arrogance and defiance that typifies rock 'n' roll.

"Those attitudes have to be turned against drugs as well as against authority figures who they may resent," he said.

Van de Kamp agreed.

"If we can . . . get them to understand that saying 'no' to drugs is simply rebelling against their parents and the generations of the past, we'd make it an enormous success," he said.

Van de Kamp also unveiled a soft rock anti-drug television spot, produced in English and Spanish, that will be distributed to MTV, television stations and theaters as part of the existing Be an Original campaign.

The spots, done in the polished style and flashy colors of Lionel Richie's "All Night Long" video, feature a teen-age girl skateboarding around a city neighborhood to the refrain of "Don't let a friend push you into taking drugs. You've got the right to say 'No.' "

The first group of spots from the Be an Original campaign urged youngsters not to ride with a drinking driver and received millions of dollars worth of free air play on MTV and TV stations, Van de Kamp said.

He said a statewide survey sponsored by his office earlier this year showed that more than half of California's teen-agers experimented with illegal drugs by the middle of their junior year in high school.

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