Here at Rocks Off, we've been keeping an eye on the calendar in order to celebrate some of the more obscure holidays that you might not be familiar with. The United Nations is indispensible in this cause, because it seems like the UN will make damn near anything a holiday. They've topped themselves this time, though, because day is the... deep breath... International Day Against Intolerance, Discrimination and Violence Based on Musical Preferences, Lifestyle and Dress Code.
Now, before the anti-PC crowd puts down their guns long enough to type us a poorly-spelled comment - and by the way, thanks for reading - there actually is something behind this. In 2007, a British goth girl named Sophie Lancaster and her boyfriend Robert Maltby were attacked as they walked through Stubbylee Park in Lancashire. A gang, apparently provoked by their dress, followed them into the park and attacked them.
Maltby was knocked unconscious, and Lancaster was stomped on while she tried to protect him while cradling his head. Both were in comas after the attack. Maltby recovered two weeks later. Lancaster never woke up, and died when her life support was switched off on August 24, 2007.
Eyewitness reports mentioned the pair's assailants celebrating the good deed they had done by attacking the pair of "moshers." After Lancaster's death, her mother started the Sophie Lancaster Foundation in hopes of helping to stamp out the kind of senseless prejudice and violence that killed her daughter. Two years after her death, the International Day Against Intolerance, Discrimination and Violence Based on Musical Preferences, Lifestyle and Dress Code was first celebrated... if that's the word for it.
So today we thought we'd mention some other people who have been physically attacked because of their taste in music. There are some famous ones, like...
The Sex Pistols birthed a whole new genre, and pretty much pissed off everybody else. Lead singer John Lydon, aka Johnny Rotten, was attacked twice in 1977 by people angered by the Sex Pistols' song "God Save the Queen." The incident led to one of our favorite movie quotes ever from the film Sid and Nancy, "John got beaten up by fascists."
Matthew Perry was a guest of Conan O'Brien's earlier this year, and discussed his musical tastes. These are basically centered around any woman singing her heart out over her emotional distress, particularly Tori Amos. He was apparently regularly beaten up for this while still a student for his love of such music. We don't know what Perry's favorite Tori tune is, but ours is "Tear in Your Hand" from 1992's Little Earthquakes.
Note: Perry was 23 when Little Earthquakes came out... so either he feels Tori best sums up the music that used to get him beaten up, or he went to a really backwards college.
Having grown up in the heavily Hispanic East side of Houston, we're here to tell you that you are more likely to hear Danzig coming out of Hispanic stereos than an emo band. Apparently inspired by a Chilean TV personality named Kristoff, angry young hardcore fans took to the streets beating up a bunch of Jimmy Eat World aficionados. We imagine a song like "Hear You Me" was among the tracks inciting violence.
Houston's own Larry Rainwater of Ex-Voto and Stage Fright fame has relayed more than a few stories to Rocks Off about bigoted imbeciles doing drive-by bottle-peltings at him and other goths while out and about on the street. "They'd try and hit you with the bottles," he said, "but they never seemed to have the guts to actually get out of the car." Here's Larry himself with "I Can See Right Through You."
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In June of last year, a 22-year-old Caucasian man named David McKnight was just chilling out listening to Gucci Mane's "Wasted" when a 14-year-old African-American teenager named Joshua Lamb started punching him in the face. Backed by seven friends, Lamb confronted McKnight before attacking him, saying that he shouldn't listen to rap because he was white. Lamb later faced felony and hate-crime charges for the attack.