Tag Archives | Rock ‘N’ Roll

How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll

Peter Bebergal, disinformation friend and contributor, has a fascinating new book out called Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll. We recently caught up with Peter and asked him some questions in this exclusive interview:

Disinformation: You seem to struggle somewhat to define “occult.” Is it a loaded term?

Bebergal: For a word with such a simple definition, the “occult” has lost almost all meaning, as when you say a word over and over again until it sounds made-up. When I told people I was working on this book, the responses were wildly different, and extremely prejudicial. Some folks assumed I was writing only about the devil and rock music, others—believing the occult to be nothing more than base superstitions—thought the project had no merit, and then there were those that assumed, and hoped, I was going to be making metaphysical claims. I’m sure there were others who worried about my soul.… Read the rest

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The Secret History of Rock ‘n’ Roll: Building a Mystery

SecretHistoryRockNRollSite 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.

—Jim Morrison

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

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Hippie Crack: The Nitrous Oxide Mafia

5026157.28The 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.

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A Brief History Of Science Fiction In Rock Music

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:
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