American rock band Drowning Pool is famous among ardent heavy metal fans. Their song “Bodies” made waves globally and is still played as one of the favorites. However, it was also reportedly used to torture the detainees at Guantanamo Bay.
“Let the bodies hit the floor” was played repeatedly at loud volumes by interrogators, who used flashy lights to break down prisoners. The prison officials reportedly used the heavy metal track to keep prisoners awake during long interrogation sessions.
The lyrics “Beaten why for? Can't take much more” was a nightmare for scores of prisoners.
Some detainees even lost their hearing ability owing to the loud music.
And then the naval base decided to invite the very band who sang this song to perform at this year’s 4th of July “Freedom Fest.”
The gig was reportedly happening outside the Officer's Club which is far enough from the Detention Center Zone, so the inmates did not hear the music.
However, the song has scarred many prisoners for life.
David Peisner who avidly writes on music mentioned in a 2006 story in Spin that most of the interrogators and soldiers he spoke to mentioned “Bodies” as their preferred song for “psyching out enemies and captives.”
“Futility technique included the playing of Metallica, Britney Spears, and Rap music,” revealed a 2005 internal review report. “On a few occasions, detainees were left alone in the interrogation booth for an indefinite period of time while loud music played and strobe lights flashed.”
But Southern Command spokeswoman Army Col. Lisa Garcia told HuffPost the event was planned by the Naval station’s recreation office and not the joint task force that oversees the prison at Guantanamo.
“The link between past interrogations using music was not on the forefront on the planners’ minds,” she asserted. “It is likely that leadership was not informed of the potential for negative connotations because individuals were more familiar with the song ‘Let the bodies hit the floor’ than the name of the band that performed it or its past history with detainees.”
So, no one at the base knew of the song’s lurid legacy? Didn’t the band think about informing the officials about the torture history related with their infamous song?
Mohammedou Slahi, who was transferred from a CIA black site to Guantanamo in 2002 despite never being charged with crime and was released last year after 14 years of detention, revealed how he was tortured with that song.
The former inmate called the choice of calling the band to play at the Independence Day celebration “quite the coincidence.”
“To this day ... because of the lengthy exposure to very loud music that I had to endure, alone in the interrogation room,” he lamented. “I love art and good music and feel much pain for music to be used as a tool of torture,” he wrote in an email published by the Herald. “This is so twisted on many levels. Because music is supposed to make you happy and make you a better person; sometimes.”
Some bands objected to the military using their music as part of torture in interrogations in the past. “Just as we wouldn’t be caught dead allowing Dick Cheney to use our music for his campaigns, you can be damn sure, we wouldn’t allow him to use it to torture other human beings. Congress needs to shut Guantanamo down,” The Roots said in 2009.
As for the mosh pit anthem singers, they were honored to perform at the naval base for the troops. “Words can’t describe what an honor and privilege this is,” band manager Paul Gargano posted on Instagram.
Getting a tour of #guantanamobay before @drowningpoolofficial headlines the base's #independenceday celebration on the #fourthofjuly -- words can't describe what an honor and privilege this is... #4thofjuly #honorbound #letfreedomring #cuba #northgate #drowningpool #marines #usmc #navy #army #coastguard #jtf #jointtaskforce #supportourtroops #freedom #respect #tko #dtrc #dtrc#streetsmartmanagement
Their manager did not comment on their performance at the naval base, but in the past one of the band members accepted he had no issues with the military using their music to torture people.
“People assume we should be offended that somebody in the military thinks our song is annoying enough that, played over and over, it can psychologically break someone down,” bassist Stevie Benton told Spin in 2006. “I take it as an honor to think that perhaps our song could be used to quell another 9/11 attack or something like that.”
He later apologized claiming his comment was taken out of context.