How would you react if you discovered your music was being used as an instrument of torture? I like to think that if, in some mad parallel universe, my cat-wail of a singing voice was being piped into prison cells to torment detainees, I’d have the same reaction as the Canadian industrial rock band, Skinny Puppy.
According to CTV News, Skinny Puppy learned that its music was being played to prisoners at Guantanamo Bay during interrogations to “inflict damage”. Understandably, the band was “offended” when a fan, who happened to be a guard at Gitmo, told them this was happening. “Because we make unsettling music, we can see it being used in a weird way. But it doesn’t sit right with us," the band’s keyboardist Cevin Key told the Phoenix New Times.
But then, Key hatched a plan. Initially they intended to design an album cover with an invoice to the US government, but then they discovered they could sue the Defence Department for using their music without their permission. Skinny Puppy says it has now invoiced for $666,000 in compensation, although the BBC reports that a US military spokesperson said no invoice had been received. Skinny Puppy says if it receives no response, it says it will consider suing.
Hats off to them (if it’s true) – it’s certainly a bolder move than that of Metallica, who simply asked the US military if they could refrain from using their music during interrogations in Iraq.
And if you want to hear some of the band whose music is allegedly being used to extract information from Guantanamo Bay prisoners, here's a treat for you: