September 30, 2004

Don't Stand So Close To Me

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This week: a non-stop, no holds barred, rough and tumble interview with the lead singer of the most infamous band in Ithaca. The Rapists have caused controversy and calamity in their fight to be the top dog roaming the Tompkins County Region. Lead singer Johnny Rapist talked in our interview about some of the ‘haters’ this band has attracted since emerging on the scene: ‘It”s like, I just don”t get it. Everybody has this big problem with our name. It”s like, why don”t you Feminazis get over it? It”s a free country, right? Yeah we”re the Rapists. Deal with it. It”s not like we actually rape people. Not on stage. Well, we rape your ears.’ I, however, strongly disagreed with Johnny Rapist. I told him that he should put himself in the place of someone who has experienced a horrible tragedy. It is outrageous and insensitive to use such a horrendous crime as a band name. He could hurt real people”s lives. Johnny shrugged me off: ‘Eh, what do you know? Have you ever been raped?’ I told him no, but that, frankly, it didn”t matter: ‘Johnny, what would you do if I called my band The Kill-Johnny”s-Brother Band? Wouldn”t that hurt you, even if I don”t actually want to kill your brother?’ He looked at me and scrunched up his face: ‘But I don”t have a brother, man. You can”t kill someone that doesn”t exist.’

I decided to turn the conversation to the Rapists” music. Johnny described the Rapists” songwriting methods: ‘Well, I go over to my boy”s house and we draw up a couple lines, you know, a few bumps of Bolivian marching powder. Then I grab my guitar, and Bill [Billy Rapist, The Rapists” Drummer] bangs away at the skins. I just sing whatever I think. It”s so true, you know, because it”s so authentical.’

Nevertheless. The Rapists” lyrics are, without exception, horrible. Here”s a sample from their typical opener, ‘Xxxcessive’: ‘Stop starin” at my sluts / Start starin” at my cuts / Innit excessive? / Stop carin” “bout my bitches / Start carin” “bout my riches / Innit excessive?’ Perhaps the Rapists simply don”t understand how offensive their image and lyrics are. I think the blame lies partially on us as a community. How can we allow such a band to achieve increasing heights of regional fame? The next time the Rapists play the ABC Cafe, I suggest an anti-Rapist demonstration. If Republicans draw our fury when they invade our state, must we not protest Rapists invading our city?

Archived article by Will Lanier