Military uses David Gray against terror detainees

The song that put ATO Records (formerly based here) on the map, is also apparently one song that drives terror suspects crazy. According to Mother Jones magazine, David Gray's "Babylon" is one of several ditties used in military prisons and on bases to deprive prisoners of sleep, disorient them during interrogations, or "drown out their screams." The list was compiled from leaked interrogation reports, previous news articles, and firsthand soldier and prisoner accounts.

When Dave Matthews and Coran Capshaw founded ATO Records in 2000, "Babylon" was the first hit single for the fledgling label, receiving repeated play on MTV, VH-1, and Top 40 radio, and propelling Gray's ATO debut album, White Ladder, to sell 6 million copies.

According to the article, Gray is in eclectic company on the so-called "Torture Playlist." Interrogator tastes range from hellish rockers (AC/DC's "Hells Bells," Metallica's "Enter Sandman," Drowning Pool's "Bodies"), to songs draped in the stars and stripes (Neil Diamond's "Coming to America," Don MacLean's "American Pie," Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A."), to insidiously catchy pop tunes (the Bee Gees' "Stayin' Alive," Christina Aguilera's "Dirrty," Prince's "Raspberry Beret"), and, of course, to annoying TV theme songs (Barney, Sesame Street, the song from the Meow Mix commercial).

Calls to Gray's representative at ATO Records and to Mother Jones were not returned at the time of this post.

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3 comments

wow - I would not be happy to know the US was using my music for that... you know they aren't paying fees - maybe they can get it nixed for busting them on improper use, or whatever you call illegally using music for business purposes.

This is stretching the limits of things related to Charlottesville.

Who cares? When it's that awesome, I think people want to know.