Punk popsters rock out for Gitmo guards

By Ron Brynaert
Thursday, September 9, 2010 15:23 EDT
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Update at bottom: Band members posed in Reagan, Death Squad t-shirts at Gitmo

“I smoked a Cuban in Cuba,” Bowling For Soup guitarist Chris Burney tweets, “Fuck all y’all.”

Oi! Nothing’s more punk rock than enjoying a cigar after rocking out for the guards who work at an infamous military prison where torture was allegedly practiced.

Well, maybe not the rocking out part, exactly, but since — technically — Americans are legally prohibited from smoking or purchasing cigars from Cuba even outside the states it’s definitely not something a poseur would do, right?

And nevermind Henry Rollins, Jello Biafra, Johnny Rotten and the late Joe Strummer, only dirty hippies would care about foreigners getting diapered, waterboarded or insected anyway. (Let the former Black Flag frontman wear orange, since he’s a fan of websites that don’t always substitute the word “torture” with the US-approved term “enhanced interrogation tactics”).

Reporting for the Miami Herald, Carole Rosenberg writes, “Guantánamo may be remote, shrouded in security clearances and off limits to most Americans. But the pop-punk band Bowling for Soup, made famous by its 2003 ‘Drunk Enough to Dance’ album, can now boast a celebrity visit to the Pentagon’s notorious prison camps.”

The Texas-based band and their roadies toured the camps Sunday, hours ahead of a concert, and signed autographs for guards inside the rotunda of the 100-cell maximum-security lockup for uncooperative captives at Camp 5.

Prison camp commanders have said they no longer blare AC/DC and Barnie to soften up uncooperative captives for interrogation. And there’s no reason to believe the prisoners heard the 8 p.m. show — at the U.S. Navy base’s Tiki Bar, an open-air hangout once popular with interrogators. It’s miles away.

In his 2006 book, “The Prisoner of Guantánamo,” Dan Fesperman noted, “THE TIKI BAR offered the military’s idea of tropical island ambience — a little palm thatch, a few paper umbrellas for the fancier drinks and enough cases of beer to sink an outrigger canoe.”

So the Tiki Bar had become the locus of evening social life for Gitmo’s chattering class—its interrogators, linguists, and analysts—although there were few more disorienting experiences than spending six hours in a bare room pumping a stubborn old Saudi about life among the sand fleas, then kicking back with a Corona beneath a palm frond while your buddies rehashed an old episode of Seinfeld.

Rosenberg reports that “the prison’s spokesman confirmed the band’s Labor Day visit to southeast Cuba included a camps visit similar to those given to reporters afforded a glimpse of captives in their communal surroundings.”

“Bowling for Soup toured Camps 4/5/6 on Sunday — standard tour, same as the media receives,” Navy Cmdr. Bradley Fagan told the Herald. “The purpose of the tour was to give the troops on duty that day, who were not able to attend their show that evening, the opportunity to meet and interact with the band.”

The concert was set up by Morale Welfare and Recreation (MWR) at Gitmo, who, according to their Facebook page, “is in the business of FUN!”

At his Twitter account, lead guitarist Chris Burney bragged to the Herald journalist — whose intrepid reporting on Gitmo critics charge led to her getting banned for alleged sexual harassment — that his band got a “meet-and-greet” at the prison camp, “oh, I also played a rockin’ show there. Miss Universe did not do that.”

Earlier tweets by Burney included boasts about enjoying an illicit cigar alluded to and depicted above — “I smoked a Cuban in Cuba. Fuck all y’all” — and his sexual prowess: “I love pussy! If any of you ladies need it licked, then look no further than me. I clean that for ya and give you a happy ending.”

A blogger connected to the support bands for Bowling For Soup’s tour, wrote a few days ago, “Bowling For Soup are playing a show in Guantanamo Bay (think of that what you like) so they’ve been hitting the beach every chance they get. Lucky so-and-so’s.”

This isn’t the first show the band has done for US troops. In March, Bowling For Soup played for the crew of the USS John C. Stennis in San Diego and last September co-headlined a show with Everclear at Fort Carson Special Events Center in Colorado.

Update: Band members posed in Reagan, Death Squad t-shirts at Gitmo

Carol Rosenberg updated her Twitter account with a few more posts regarding Bowling For Soup’s visit late Thursday afternoon.

Update on punk pop band’s Labor Day visit to #Guantanamo: Prison spokesman has “no idea” how many captives in the compounds they got to see.

Punk Pop band’s souvenir photo from #Guantanamo prison camps tour shows them posing in Reagan, Death Squad T-shirts http://bit.ly/baeD2j

Burney Tweeted back, “thanks for the lovely press! I haven’t been quoted in years!”

The Reagan shirt worn by Burney appears to be the Old School one at www.foulmouthshirts.com RAW STORY was unable to find a clearer picture of the ‘Death Squad’ shirt.

Warning: More photos of the band can be viewed at the Joint Task Force Guantanamo website on the “Bowling for Soup rocks GTMO” page, but clicking on the link might give you this message:


You are accessing a U.S. Government (USG) Information System (IS) that is provided for USG-authorized use only.

The USG routinely intercepts and monitors communications on this IS for purposes including, but not limited to, penetration testing, COMSEC monitoring, network operations and defense, personnel misconduct (PM), law enforcement (LE), and counterintelligence (CI) investigations.

At any time, the USG may inspect and seize data stored on this IS.

Communications using, or data stored on, this IS are not private, are subject to routine monitoring, interception, and search, and may be disclosed or used for any USG-authorized purpose.

This IS includes security measures (e.g., authentication and access controls) to protect USG interests – not for your personal benefit or privacy.

(Editor’s note: Author confesses to being madly addicted to Bowling For Soup’s 2004 hit song 1985 after being forced to hear it every day for a month at a job six years ago.)

This video was uploaded to YouTube by the Joint Task Force Public Affairs Sept. 8, 2010.

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