Monster Mash legend fights to save areas under Bush attack

Music Review

WASHINGTON — The song that defines Halloween for many — “Monster Mash” — is being brought back to life today with the help of the original recording artist.

A new web-based appeal (www.monsterslash.org) from the Campaign to Protect America’s Lands (CPAL) and Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund (DWAF) opposes the Bush administration’s controversial plan to permit logging, mining and other commercial exploitation of roadless federal forest areas. The comment period on the administration’s widely criticized bid to repeal forest protections ends Nov. 14.

The new song — “Monster Slash” — was recorded by Bobby “Boris” Pickett, the co-creator of the 1962 hit “Monster Mash” and also the vocalist on the original recording. “Our goal here is to make sure that people understand that the scariest thing to happen to our forests in a long time,” said CPAL Director Peter Altman, “is the Bush administration’s plan to surrender vast quantities of virgin wilderness areas to the logging, mining and oil industries.”

DWAF President Rodger Schlickeisen said: “While the big timber companies get all the treats from President Bush, the American public gets nothing but tricks. ‘Monster Slash’ gives people a chance to laugh, share something fun with their friends, and then get active to protest the Bush plan and restore some balance in our national forests.”

Explaining his decision to release a new version of the rock hit with which he is most closely identified, entertainer Pickett said: “I decided to do this new recording because, like millions of people, I think this president has the worst environmental record in the history of our great nation.”

The Bush administration’s scheme to repeal the federal roadless rule would eliminate existing federal protections for 58.5 million acres of wild national forests, and allow road building that assists clear-cut logging and other commercial uses.

On his first day in office, President Bush suspended the Roadless Area Conservation Rule, which was enacted after three years of public and scientific input that included 600 public meetings and record-breaking citizen input. Of the more than 1.6 million comments submitted, an overwhelming 95 percent favored the strongest possible protection for roadless areas.

Recorded by Pickett and the Cryptkicker Five, “Monster Mash” still gets a substantial amount of air time every Halloween. The song has been described as “arguably the most popular novelty song ever.” Over the years, “Monster Mash” has sold over 4 million copies and received three gold records.