Monday, June 28, 2010

Night Ranger (and more) at Gitmo!

"How Rock Bands Got Backstage at Gitmo Prison" = fascinating article about music acts performing at Gitmo and getting a tour of the prison facilities (and sometimes a reverse shot stare from the prisoners themselves). Most of the info comes from Craig Basel, the base's former Morale, Welfare and Recreation chief. Relevant passages:

"(In 2003) Basel retired as a Marine and accepted a civilian position as Guantanamo's head of Morale, Welfare and Recreation. It was now his job to keep 11,000 people entertained.

To do so, he had a budget of $150,000 to $300,000 per year. He booked everyone from Jimmy Buffett to pro bass fishermen. If the troops requested a particular act, he'd try to get it, either by calling the agent directly or by going through an office in the Pentagon known as Armed Forces Entertainment.

Armed Forces Entertainment is the Department of Defense's official booking agency. It's run by the Air Force and got its start making travel arrangements for USO concerts. Now, though, its director, Air Force Col. Edward Shock, works full time with a staff of 10, organizing tours all over the world and scouting talent at festivals like South by Southwest.

Shock said it's rare for a musician to refuse an invitation to tour with Armed Forces Entertainment. The gig doesn't pay, but all expenses are taken care of: airfare, room and board."

One Margot B. (who?) has performed there:

"As far as Margot sees it, the detainees 'have an awesome lifestyle. You know, as good as it's going to get for a terrorist. There are little houses that are completely furnished. It's almost amazing to know that it's their jail. So some of the stuff you see on TV, that these terrorists are living these hard lives and they're being tied up or whatever, that's a bunch of bull...'

She played the soldiers "Redneck Woman." She played them "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk." They loved it. They didn't want her to leave.

'If I had the choice, I'd go back every year,' Margot B. said."

Artists right (Charlie Daniels) and left (State of Man [?]) have performed there. Even Drowning Pool has taken the stage, notable due to allegedly showing up (along with Nine Inch Nails and Rage Against the Machine[!]) on the "Gitmo Playlist" of songs allegedly used to torture prisoners.