In 2003, “Bodies” by Drowning Pool was famously used during the torture of at least one prisoner in the Guantanamo Bay detention camps, as was revealed in a Pentagon report the following year. If you’ve heard of Drowning Pool or “Bodies,” you likely know this–the anecdote is at least as famous as the song itself. Still, when the U.S. Navy booked the Texas jock-metal crew to play its 4th of July celebration this year, and people got understandably angry about it, the Navy claimed ignorance. “I’m sure they didn’t know the details [of the use of “Bodies” in torture at the base] when they scheduled the performance,” a spokesperson for the U.S. Southern Command said after the mini-controversy.
As a Fusion investigation revealed, however, officials at Gitmo knew full well what they were getting into booking drowning pool. Fusion obtained emails between employees at the complex in advance of the performance, discussing the “interesting” connection between artist and venue, which “might garner media interest.”
The emails, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, show that Guantánamo officials (their names are redacted) discussed the fact that Drowning Pool’s Wikipedia page noted the use of “Bodies” in torture: “The band ‘Drowning Pool’ will be our entertainment for July 4,” a civilian working on the base wrote in a May 15 email which included a link to the band’s Wikipedia entry. “Interesting note about Guantanamo in the Wikipedia article, although I would say they are ‘supportive’ of Guantanamo based on their statements.”
According to the emails, Drowning Pool was picked from a group of potential acts that also included Sum 41, Tony! Toni! Toné!, and Buckcherry lead singer Josh Todd. Any of those acts–save maybe Josh Todd–would have made a better choice.