Robert Johnson supposedly made a deal with the Devil to obtain his blues licks and Elvis Presley was the televised Son of God. How appropriate that they share a death day at RockStarMartyr.net:
Even after the abolition of slavery, life in the Mississippi cotton fields was brief, brutal, and as boring as an aging preacher’s Sunday sermon. No wonder fieldworkers sought the fleeting comforts of cheap moonshine and loose women at the Saturday night juke joints.
Robert Johnson could mix it up with the best of them, but he was never one for hard work. His bizarre, spider-like fingers weren’t intended for cotton-pickin’ and penny-pinchin’. They were made for crawling across guitar necks, whiskey bottles, and the legs of middle-aged sugar mamas. If Johnson was going to suffer hell to make a dollar, it would be as a wayfaring musician. His road was full of adventure and ecstasy, but ended in hell just the same.… Read the rest
Site editor’s note: The following is excerpted from The Secret History of Rock ’N’ Roll: The Mysterious Roots of Modern Music by Christopher Knowles (Viva Editions, October 2010). Used with permission.
I like to think of the history of rock & roll like the origin of Greek drama. That started out on the threshing floors during the crucial seasons, and was originally a band of acolytes dancing and singing. Then, one day, a possessed person jumped out of the crowd and started imitating a god.
Most historians believe that the Mysteries began at the end of the Neolithic Age (also known as the New Stone Age, roughly 9000 to 4500 BCE), making them one of the earliest cultural developments known to humanity. Coinciding with the development of agriculture, the rituals were designed to appeal to the grain gods of the Underworld by acting out their myths, which celebrated the cycles of planting, growth and harvesting.… Read the rest
The Village Voice delves into the dark side of the jam band scene, profiling the “Nitrous Mafia” — a criminal gang that sells nitrous oxide-filled balloons to concertgoers at summer music festivals. Apparently, neo-bohemians can’t get enough of the addictive balloon huffing, casually known as “hippie crack.”
Every morning, the festival campgrounds are riddled with balloons, “like bullet shells on a battlefield,” says a fan. Unlike traditional drugs, which have long-lasting effects and can carry a fan through a concert, the high from N20 is cheap and quick. After that, it’s often back to the end of the tank line for another round. “It’s an instant rush of pure euphoria, but it only lasts for 30 seconds or a minute, and then you want it back,” says Justin Heller, a fan who owns his own biodiesel company. He no longer does balloons, but remembers the days of buying 15 in a row.
Rock music and science fiction each shaped the culture of post-World War II America. But only occasionally have the two have been successfully combined (usually, thanks to some ambitious and/or drugged-out musical visionaries). Clarksworld Magazine has a nice historic overview of the use of science fiction themes in pop music. David “Ziggy Stardust” Bowie makes the cut, as does some prog rock. (Prog and sci-fi both share a high nerd factor, of course.) More surprising are the notable finds of sci-fi funk, hip hop, and metal. It’s hard to get deeper and geekier than Rush, though:
What do Timothy Leary, Jennifer Lopez, Jimmy Page, Michael Jackson, Anton LaVey, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, and Sid Vicious all have in common? Aleister Crowley, of course.