House Bill 111, Maryland Del. Judith Toth's amendment to state pornography laws, would impose fines and/or jail sentences on record retailers for selling what Maryland defines as "obscene" records to minors. It isn't focused strictly on objectionable lyrics, but includes cover art and ads as well.
The amendment states that retailers may not "willfully or knowingly engage in the business of selling, showing, advertising for sale or distributing to any person under the age of 18 a still picture, photograph, book, pamphlet, magazine, video disc, video tape, phonograph record, magnetic tape, compact disc the cover or content of which is principally made up of the descriptions or depictions of illicit sex which consists of pictures of nude or partially denuded figures posed or presented in a manner which the average person applying contemporary community standards would find, taken as a whole, appeals to prurient interests and lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value."
Toth said she thinks support for the measure, which is expected to go to the floor of the House of Delegates today, is "very good." That support, she adds, "is based on my showing them the file" furnished by the Parents Music Resource Center, the Washington-based group that has led the fight against explicit "leerics."
"All I had to do was show them the lyrics and everybody says, 'You're kidding, I never knew that was in there.' My file is absolutely fascinating," Toth says, though she keeps it under wraps. "I don't reproduce it, let's put it that way."
The PMRC's Tipper Gore says she thinks "you're going to seeing more and more" activity on what some feel are objectionable lyrics, but, other than providing research materials, "as a policy decision, we're not going to get involved at the local level. We have our work cut out for us here, simply talking to parents about becoming involved with their children, becoming familiar with what they're listening to."
Toth, the parent of a 19- and a 23-year-old, says she "probably spent a fortune subsidizing their purchases of some of this." Trucks for Music Fans
Lee Iacocca ,-2 sk,3 ld,10 reportedly offered Bruce Springsteen several million dollars to put his name on a truck but got turned down, which didn't stop Chrysler from co-opting the sound and the waving-flag image of "Born in the U.S.A." for its "Born in America" ad campaign. Now, Chrysler has made its obvious blue-collar connection in another camp, that of country star Hank Williams Jr. Dodge will be marketing a "Bocephus" truck (Williams' nickname, given to him as a baby by his legendary father). The truck will be a limited-run and available mostly in the South, unless the demand is high. Charlie Daniels' Stories
Charlie Daniels has beaten good old buddy Johnny Cash to print with a collection of short stories, "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" (Peachtree). Among the stories are "Trudy," "The Legend of Wooley Swamp," "Honky Tonk Avenue" and the title tale, all of which had their initial runs as Daniels songs. Daniels started writing stories three years ago. "A friend of mine said you write story-songs, why don't you write stories? I was on the road, so I went in a motel room and sat down and wrote one and everybody seemed to enjoy it, so I went back and wrote some more."
"Uneasy Rider" was the first of 17 stories. "I tried to expand on songs, but then I decided to try without a song to prop up on, to kind of pull one out of the air." Daniels, who was born in North Carolina and now lives in Tennessee, says, "The Southeast was way behind with most things, including television, the great robber of conversation. People tended to entertain themselves more in the South by telling stories, and a good storyteller was revered in the community. It was a thing that just carried over from generation to generation, though I never thought of it as 'storytelling.' I just thought Old John was fun to listen to. And country music is, in large part, storytelling."
This has been a busy week for Daniels. He made his acting debut (if you don't count Skoal commercials) in the "WonderWorks" program "The Lone Star Kid," about an 11-year-old who became the youngest mayor in America. Daniels also wrote the score and title song. Tomorrow he'll fly into Washington to be a guest on the Larry King radio show. Odds and Ends
The Musical World of Stephen King: AC/DC will provide the sound track for his upcoming directorial debut, "Maximum Drive," and now one of his early successes, "Carrie," is headed for Broadway as a musical. The harrowing tale of a troubled and telekinetic teen has already made a successful transition to the silver screen. The rock score will be provided by Dean Pitchford and Michael Gore ("Fame") . . . Barbra Streisand's return-to-roots "Broadway Album" holds at No. 1 on the charts for a fourth straight week and has now racked up about 5 million sales worldwide.