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The Evil Powers of Rock 'n' Roll Reflections on music, theater, and crime.

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The Supersuckers' most recent CD is titled "The Evil Powers of Rock 'n' Roll," and some of it's song titles, like "I Want the Drugs," "Dead Meat" and "My Kickass Life," aren't what you'd call gospel either.

The group's raucous, irreverent persona gave its members pause as they contemplated releasing an album aimed at helping men convicted of murder. "A concern I've had," Eddie Daly admits, "is insuring that when the record comes out, it does not do more harm than good."

The question illustrates the dilemma at the juncture where art -- be it music, movies, or books -- and violent crime now often collide. It is no longer uncommon, for instance, for defense lawyers to claim that a song or fictional character influenced a defendant accused of a crime. And many performers, especially of rap and heavy metal, are criticized for lyrics that seem to condone, or even promote, violence.

The Supersuckers take an opposite view. Daly, who is thoughtful, polite and rather quiet in person, sings loud, rough rock on stage. He thinks that there, just as in books by writers like Stephen King, giving vent to some notions that would be socially inappropriate in other settings is what rock has always been about. The group's manager, Danny Bland, agrees.

"It's just music, for God's sake," he says. "A lot of it is comedy based. You're using tongue-in-cheek sarcasm to show some of the idiocy going on around us. It's entertainment. Arnold Schwarzenegger can blow up things in a movie, and yet we're pretty sure he's not a bomber. People can see Madonna on stage, and know that doesn't mean she lives her life at home as a prostitute. People are capable of making distinctions."

Daly adds, "We need to give kids more credit. They know what's facetious and entertaining. They know that just because a person sings about killing and drugs or whatever, that doesn't mean that that's what their life is all about. And just because a person listens to music by Metallica, that doesn't make him a murderer."

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