For years their music was used by interrogators at Guantanamo Bay as part of a sleep-deprivation programme to break the will of prisoners.
This week, the heavy metal band Drowning Pool appeared at the US military base in person, performing at the Fourth of July Freedom Fest for service personnel, provoking accusations that their slot – ahead of a fireworks display – was in poor taste.
Where once their song Bodies, with its refrain of “Let the bodies hit the floor”, was blasted by prison guards between interrogation sessions, this time they played for the pleasure of US troops, far enough away from the detention centre that prisoners would not have heard the music.
Paul Gargano, the band’s manager, posted on Instagram pictures of the group getting a tour of the naval base. “Words can’t describe what an honour and privilege this is,” he wrote.
The band’s music has a notorious place in the American armed forces’ post-9/11 interrogation techniques.
The song was singled out in a 2009 Senate Armed Services Committee report into prisoner abuse, which described how it was used on Mohammedou Slahi.
“On July 8, 2003 Slahi was interrogated by Mr. X and was ‘exposed to variable lighting patterns and rock music, to the tune of Drowning Pool’s Let the Bodies Hit [the] Floor’,” said the report.
The band was aware of their song’s role. In 2006, bassist Steve Benton described it as an honour.