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Industrial band Skinny Puppy bills the US government for torturing prisoners with its music

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Skinny Puppy
Skinny Puppy

A few years ago, it was revealed that the US was using loud music as part of its torture techniques in Guantanamo Bay — and now one of the acts wants to be paid for what it sees as unauthorized use of its music. The Canadian industrial act Skinny Puppy has sent a bill for $666,000 to the US Department of Defense and is also investigating ways to bring a potential lawsuit against the government if it doesn't pay up. "We sent them an invoice for our musical services considering they had gone ahead and used our music without our knowledge and used it as an actual weapon against somebody," bandmember Cevin Key told CTV News.

The band was alerted to its music being used for torture by a former guard who was also a Skinny Puppy fan. "I think he was coming at it from the fact that he was shocked that our music was being used," said Key, "because although he was a guard at Guantanamo Bay, he also happened to be a fan of our music." Originally, the band considered designing an album cover out of an invoice to the government, but eventually decided to send an actual invoice and potentially consider a full lawsuit.

Skinny Puppy is just the latest in a long string of bands who have taken issue with the US government using their music for torture. In late 2008, Trent Reznor said that "it's difficult for me to imagine anything more profoundly insulting, demeaning and enraging than discovering music you've put your heart and soul into creating has been used for purposes of torture" after it was revealed Nine Inch Nails music was being used in Guantanamo Bay. A year later, NIN and other acts including REM, Pearl Jam, Rage Against the Machine, and others campaigned to try and have the infamous detention center closed down. The chances of Skinny Puppy having its invoice recognized are probably not good — but there's little doubt that the band's main goal is to make a political statement more so than actually getting paid.