This week means back-to-school for kids across the country, a time of reluctant learning and forlorn wistfulness for the summer that vanished all too quickly. But did you know learning can not only be fun, but cool? We at the Weekly believe in doing our part to kick truth to the youth and have assembled five Public Service Announcements from some of music's biggest stars!
Gene Simmons – R.A.D. PSA
Starting things off we have KISS frontman Gene Simmons, doing his best to make us feel stupid for even entertaining the thought of engaging in illegal substances. They're not only not required for rock-and-rolling all night and partying everyday, but they're only for the most deceptive of latex monsters.
Barenaked Ladies – “The Ballad of Gordon”
From the wonderful world of the early '90s Fox Kids Network's “Totally For Kids” collection come a pre-famous Barenaked Ladies teaching us about racial harmony through a fable about
a Canadian an alien being persecuted during his visit to Earth. You may notice the alien, “Gordon,” shares the name of the group's celebrated debut album. Coincidence? It's also indicative of the fun early '90s atmosphere that they get away with the Michael Jackson nod near the end.
Everclear – Drug Free America PSA
There's no smiles or melancholy melodies here as Art Alexakis breaks down his experience with drugs in the most unglamorous way possible. Its gritty bleakness actually works, making for an unsettling, unforgettable spot.
The Murmurs – “Individuality”
From the later years of the Fox Kids line-up comes the Lilith Fair-for-kids “Individuality” clip from The Murmurs. Here the duo, featuring a pre-“L-Word” Leisha Hailey, sing about coming together and loving your truth while chasing geese, or something. The earworm harmonies really slowed things down between “X-Men” and “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.”
Lou Reed – R.A.D. PSA
Finally, and most perplexingly, is the baffling Lou Reed Rock Against Drugs PSA that somehow make drugs look like the absolute coolest video game in the world. While this clip and Metal Machine Music may give you the impression that Lou Reed's message doesn't translate well to the digital age, years later he delivered much more poignant words of wisdom in comedy magicians Penn and Teller's Sega-CD game.