Another Testament

I hadn’t realized it but it was 30 years ago yesterday that The Clash released the album that remains their biggest seller and their biggest sellout simultaneously, Combat Rock. I spoke about the central role The Clash played in Hardcore- how they had both a positive and a negative influence on the movement. Positive in that their early records and militaristic image were particularly influential on Hardcore and negative in that many of their original fans felt deeply betrayed by the direction their records took in their attempt to break America.

But here too was another lesson, one of primary influence on my life and work.

Beneath the weak, watered-down sound of their later records I recognized a hidden message of sorts- a signal inspiring me to look beyond what was on offer at the mall and dig deeper. Seeing them on the London Calling tour I realized that what was on record was not reality, but a simulation of reality for the masses.

Combat Rock was a last straw for me; at first. To me, it was no different than a Seals and Crofts or Elton John record circa 1977- The Clash had become exactly what they set out to replace, in a terrifyingly short time. You had your radio-ready funky songs and a couple watered-down rock songs, but the preponderance was soft rock mush (Strummer’s opinion of his songwriting partner's material is nakedly apparent in the unenthusiastic performances on many of the album’s many filler tracks).

But after I broke down and bought it, I discovered that it made for a nice soundtrack for partaking in what was becoming my daily sacrament for the remainder of my high school career.

But true to form I discovered there was another gospel, where the guitars still blazed and the drums still thrashed, if only one would bother to look for it.

When a record dealer set up shop at a local flea market circa '82-'83 I discovered the freshly-minted Down at the Casbah Club double LP bootleg, which began a lifelong obsession. While all the kids at school I couldn’t stand were mildly bopping away to Combat Rock, I was playing the Casbah Club LP, which reassured me (especially after an underwhelming show at the Cape Cod Coliseum) that the real Clash was alive and well. You just had to look behind the veil, beyond the official recordings.

It was like a Gnostic Clash, a separate gospel for the initiates. It would change everything. I just didn’t realize it at the time.
In a funny way, I learned that reality is not what we are being sold; there is a deeper, more powerful reality waiting to reveal itself to those who would seek it out.


Media Blitz

Lots of gabbin' and gumflappin' going on about them crazy rock 'n' rollers and their moonshine and reefers. There's a big piece on the Voice of America website that you can read (and hear) here. Some distinctly non-Secret Sun type comments going on there. Is it my imagination or are huge swathes of the Internet beginning to resemble Dante's Inferno? By huge swathes I mean the comments sections on all of the major websites. Click here to listen.

Then I did a very indepth interview with Cosmic Gnostic that covered some of the rock 'n' roll stuff in the first half. In the second half we really dig into the foundations of The Secret Sun and the whole concept of pop culture scrying. Click here to listen.

Then there's New Realities, which digs into the spiritual dimensions of music, rock 'n' roll specifically but not exclusively. We talk a lot about culture formation and the shamanistic undertones that inform it and drive it all along. Click here to listen.


Diving Deeper

This was a very fruitful discussion- talking the secret history on Positively Incorrect with Scott Cluthe. We go way beyond the thesis of the book and dive into some very deep cultural and philosophical waters dealing with the role of art and spirituality in a healthy society, as well as the degenerative power of creeping corporatism on the heart and soul of our culture.


Begging Your Pardon!

My sincere apologies...

This blog hasn't been quiet because there's nothing going on with the book- it's been quiet because there's a ton of stuff coming up! Starting after Christmas and through January and February there will be a host of Secret History related appearances on various radio shows and podcasts and some other extremely exciting possibilities in the works. Watch this space and the Secret Sun Facebook page for more info.

In the meantime, here's a handful of Secret things for you to read:

Jazma Online interview: http://forums.jazmaonline.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=2521

Three Imaginary Girls interview: http://www.threeimaginarygirls.com/blog/2010dec/tis-season-celebrated-mythology-secret-history-of-rock-n-roll

Disinfo.com book excerpt: http://www.disinfo.com/2010/12/the-secret-history-of-rock-n-roll-building-a-mystery/


The Fire Still Burns

I've been remiss in updating this blog- The Secret Sun has been taking up a lot of my free time and there's been a bit of a lull on the book end. But things are starting to heat up again, so I will be posting here more often. I've got some new pieces on my favorite albums coming up which will offer up some context behind the inspiration of the book. In the meantime, here's an interview that I'm very jazzed about and I think you will be too.

Any time I'm talking with William Henry is a good time. He came out loaded for bear and we really get down to it. There's more information in this half-hour than in some two hour interviews I've done.

We go beyond the ostensible pretext of The Secret History of Rock 'n' Roll and dive headfirst into Obama the Hindu Avatar and the psychic roots of political theater and ritual. And it all ties into the issues raised in the book- this is all a continuum, not a sampler of disparate, disconnected elements. Here's Williams pitch:
There is an incredible connection between rock and roll and ancient secrets, and Chris Knowles understands it. Ancient mythology and shamanism influenced modern rock to an unbelievable extent. Many rockers are shamen, and cults like vodoun and druidism, which are integrated into rock mythology, are remnants of ancient Egyptian religion. Chris Knowles says, "This is not an accidental process," as he relates rock iconography to symbols that date back even beyond Egypt and into the stone age.

Click here to listen.
It's time well spent, I guarantee you.


Talking Rock on the Truth Brigade

Here's another gabfest, this time talking The Secret History of Rock 'n' Roll on The Truth Brigade. Again, lots of new material is covered including the decline and fall of Classic Rock, the corporate colonization of music, the grooming of pop puppets, the dark side of the Sixties and so much more. Two hours.