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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