[sixties-l] The Covert War Against Rock (book review)

From: radman (resist@best.com)
Date: Wed Jul 12 2000 - 19:06:07 CUT

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    The Covert War Against Rock Alex Constantine
    Feral House 2554 Lincoln Blvd. #1059 Venice, CA 90291
    200 pages - $14.95

    Loaded in the CD player as I write this is the Okeh Rhythm & Blues Story Box
    Set. The music on this set spans the years from 1949-1957. It can be safely
    assumed that the musicians that played on these records had problems,
    however the situations they faced most likely pale in comparison to the
    predicaments that the subjects of Constantine's book faced. While lost love,
    back stabbers and having your money "managed" by crooked labels, agents and
    other handlers was the rule back in the 40s and 50s, these folks didn't have
    to (for the most part) worry about being killed for their views. I am sure
    they were being watched by the powers that be, but as long as it remained
    out of the white bread mainstream, everything was fine. The problems started
    when some folks opened their mouths a little too far and spoke up a little
    too loud and the message made the top 10.

    Its hard to put a finger on when it all went astray and became evident that
    something very wrong was going on. Maybe it was the plane crash that claimed
    the lives of the Big Bopper, Buddy Holly and Richie Valens. Maybe it was the
    1966 death of Bobby Fuller, apparently from ingesting gasoline. Its hard to
    say if these deaths were the beginning of something very evil or just
    accidents or suicide. And while Constantine does not investigate the distant
    past, he does show that this phenomenon of suspicious death in the music
    industry has not stopped or slowed since the 1960s; in fact it has

    Rock musicians are famous for singing about the type of things that make the
    powers that be nervous. From the blatant lyrics about sex of the 40s and 50s
    R & B bands to Elvis gyrating hips, to the Stones drug use (and abuse) in
    the 60s. The 70s gave us the Doors, more Stones, and John Lennon before punk
    took it over the top. The 80s saw the birth of gangsta rap and grunge and
    the movements continue to this day. And while some may say that all the
    lyrics, political statements and political movements are all about image and
    posturing, someone obviously thinks otherwise.

    This book takes a look at the someone else involved in the deaths of many of
    yesterdays and todays musicians. Instead of just jumping in with conspiracy
    theory, Constantine gives a good amount of well-footnoted background
    information and history before the death toll begins to mount. History is
    given on the Mafia and government involvement in the music industry. The
    author then takes great pains to show how the government was involved in the
    supply and use of LSD as a mind weakening and personality molding drug and
    not the alleged mind expander it was being hyped as. Constantine also points
    out how many of the underground heroes and their cronies had government

    And then the killings start and the truth gets stretched in the mainstream
    press. Mama Cass chokes on a ham sandwich. Brian Jones drowns in his pool.
    Hendrix chokes on his vomit. Jim Morrison remains alive. An obsessed fan
    killed John Lennon. Bob Marley dies of cancer. Peter Tosh dies by gunshot.
    Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls were gang hits and most recently Michael
    Hutchence was a victim of autoerotic hanging. That is what "they" want you
    to believe, but Constantine has made it his job to show you the places where
    these stories and reality don't agree. Constantine writes of the nervousness
    inspired by Cass's political aspirations. How the murderer of Brian Jones
    confessed on his deathbed. How the development of the 'Jim Morrison lives'
    theory was put into place to throw people of the scent of a possible murder.
    How Bob Marley suspiciously developed cancer and his more suspicious
    "treatment. Why Peter Tosh's killers went uninvestigated. He points out the
    incongruities in the Tupac and Biggie murder investigations. And wonders how
    a severely beaten Michael Hutchence could hang himself with a broken hand?
    The clear message being that when you open your mouth too far, someone with
    the power and influence may be right around the corner to shut it for you,
    in fact you may even know and trust that person.

    In the end does Constantine realize his goal of showing that "the Agency and
    Organized Crime have, for over thirty years, engaged in a program to silence
    popular musicians whose influence subverts the cynical thought control
    tactics of American Government and media?" That is up to the reader to
    decide. Do they buy into the story presented in the mainstream press or do
    they believe the theories that Constantine puts forth? Whichever side you as
    a reader fall on, the writing in this book will make you think and like all
    good writing, that is the ultimate goal and that makes this book a success..

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