In the realm of crackpot literature, few sub-genres surpass anti-rock 'n' roll literature in sheer quality. Like the finest fringe literature, they are suffused with paranoia, rabid passion and a refreshingly original take on conventional logic. Their philosophy combines the best elements of fundamentalist zealotry, Communist conspiracy, and bizarre pseudo science.

Yet they are completely accessible to the average reader. Most other breeds of kooks require extensive background knowledge to be fully appreciated. Try plowing through a JFK conspiracy book without knowing your Zapruder and grassy knoll, for example. On the other hand, the only pre-requisite for anti-rock appreciation is a passing familiarity with "Classic Rock" radio.

Anti-rock books give you more of what you read crackpot literature for.

The opposition to rock 'n' roll has a long history, probably started with the first hit. But it took THE BEATLES, especially John Lennon's ill-advised Jesus comparison, to really crystallize the opposition. And leading the charge was David Noebel. The crusty old professor of the anti-rock school, Noebel was one of the few to inject something other than extensive knowledge of the Old Testament into his attacks on rock 'n' roll. Starting in 1966 with his first book, RHYTHM RIOTS, AND REVOLUTION, he utilized scholarly footnotes, Aristotle quotes, and elaborate pseudo-science in his battle against the backbeat. Virtually every anti-rock writer since owes him a heavy debt, directly or indirectly.

Noebel sees rock music as a subversive Communist plot. He accuses the Soviets of using "an elaborate calculated scientific technique aimed at rendering a generation of American youth neurotic through nerve-jamming, mental deterioration, and retardation". The method is the widespread broadcasting of music with a steady, primitive beat synchronized with the body's natural rhythms literally hypnotizes the unsuspecting listener. Rock 'n' roll, with a voodoo inspired "jungle beat", fits the bill. He writes "THE BEATLES, or THE MINDBENDERS, for example, need only mass hypnotize thousands of American youth, condition their emotions through the beat of the 'music' and then have someone give the word for riot and revolt...If the following scientific program is not exposed, degenerated Americans will indeed raise the Communist flag over their own nation".

Noebel proves this "power" of music by showing parallels between Communist brainwashing techniques in Korea and Pavalov's work with conditioned reflexes. Not only was Pavalov Russian, he was also a big pal of Lenin's!

The conclusion is obvious. For the unconvinced, Noebel delves still deeper, unmasking in the classic McCarthy fashion dozens of "Communists" in the rock, folk, and children's (!) recording industry. But the real clincher is that rock 'n' roll is banned in the USSR! Obviously, they know something we don't about the "constant, destructive noises called 'BEATLE music'".

Noebel continued fighting the Red Rock menace in 1973's THE MARXIST MINSTRELS. He emphasizes that things are still going to plan--so much so that he feels confident reprinting verbatim chapters from RHYTHM, RIOTS AND REVOLUTION warning of the imminent peril of folk rock. He gleefully points out that drugs are a standard Communist tool for debauching youth and fingers a few more pinko A & R men. Noebel appears to be expecting to see the Russians in Jersey, or at least on Bandstand, any day.

In 1967, Noebel was joined in attacking rock by Bob Larson, the first of several rock musicians turned minister. Not only did Larson's first book, ROCK AND ROLL: THE DEVIL'S DIVERSION introduce the devil to the anti-rock genre, but it started the career rock's most durable opponent. Larson continues to go on strong today, via books, television, and a syndicated radio show.

Forget Pavlov. Forget the Russians. In THE DEVIL'S DIVERSION, Bob points straight at the Horned One, writing, "Rock and roll is a part of this plan (Satan's) to achieve a world-wide moral decay". Drawing on Noebel, Larson warns of the power of The Beat. It's the devil's beat, borrowed from primitive, heathen rituals which whips dancers into a frenzy. It's the beat, throbbing in sync with the body's natural rhythms of the, that hypnotizes kids, triggers riots, and leaves them incapable of making sound moral decisions after the dance. But it comes from a source far more evil than the Kremlin

For once the kids are safely hypnotized and aroused, the music hits them with a MESSAGE OF IMMORALITY while they're helpless to resist! According to Larson, "Lyrics of today's rock songs are a large part of the tidal wave of promiscuity, illegitimate births, and political upheaval that have swept our country".

Larson revised THE DEVIL'S DIVERSION in 1968 and 1970 to document the increasing degeneration of youth music. Drugs, heathen cults, immorality, and other portents of moral Armageddon--all were on the upswing. But even worse-- perfectly innocent Christian teenagers were not only listening to rock but liking and even (gasp!) playing it, calling it "Christian Rock".

Larson exposed this insidious new threat in 1971 with ROCK AND THE CHURCH. His message: NO! BLASPHEMY! The only true Christian music is sung by born again Christians who only associate and play for other born again Christians, and heaven help them if they're not born again enough! The devil's beat is no medium for a religious message. As Larson warns these misguided adolescents, "When used excessively, under proper circumstances, the beat of rock is a force accommodating demonic possession and therefore is not worthy as a vehicle to communicate the gospel".

Larson's books have since mellowed , although listeners to his radio show may beg to differ. In ROCK, which first came out in 1980 (later revised and retitled as LARSON'S BOOK OF ROCK), the warnings about the devil's beat have disappeared. Suddenly, Larson only worries about immorality and occultism in the musician's lyrics and lifestyles.

He still admits to his rock 'n' roll roots -- "but that was in the 'Happy Days' of white bucks and Fats Domino". Today, rock is playing a different and sinister tune. "When the lyrics explore the obscene and profane, when the entertainers glorify the perverse and forbidden, and when the beat borders on the erotic, that's where I say NO!"

Larson plays on parent's fears that there's something wrong with the incomprehensible noise Junior calls "music". He tells them to trust their parental instincts. It's not just wrong, it's dangerous! Where do kids get all those ideas about sex, drugs, and Eastern religions? ROCK 'N' ROLL!!

There may not be a devilish beat, but he reassures parents that rock music causes drug addiction, promiscuity, suicide, and homosexuality.

In Larson's eyes, the interviews in HIT PARADER and CIRCUS are philosophical manifestos American youth, andvirtually every lyric loaded with un-Christian messages, carefully hidden from adult eyes via slang and innuendo. He warns, "Some top hits are so lewd that the lyrics can't be printed for fear of having this book classified as pornography".
If they're not explicit, he demonstrates a Freudian ability to read sex, drug, and occult "messages" into every song. In this, he's helped by unique interpretations of teen slang: "funky" always means sexual odors, "groovy" is a sexual position, and "gigs" are sex orgies.

To protect kids, Larson doesn't advocate force -- just gentle Christian persuasion. He cautions parents to set a good example themselves by nixing soap operas and country. It's not easy. Parents are up against peer pressure and an "addicting" (but in itself harmless) beat. But there is hope. Larson points to the shining example of one fine lad wrote him, telling how he broke all his records when "I began to notice myself accepting more tolerant attitudes towards sex and God".

Fortunately, now there is an alternative: Christian Rock. Larson now loves C-Rocks, describing it as the younger generation's way of praising God. As long as one sticks to "real" Christian performers who sing uplifting songs with a gospel message and live the true Christian lifestyle, everything will be fine. Even if it has a backbeat.

Following closely in Larson's footsteps are Dan and Steve Peters, AKA Peters Brothers. This duo of incorrigible publicity hounds don't move a muscle until the cameras show up. They started in Minnesota in 1979 with a well publicized record burning, and have since flooded the market with books, tapes, slide shows, TV appearances, and even a traveling anti-rock seminar/circus in defense of American youth. Fortunately for readers on a limited budget, originality is not their forte. Their books are very repetitious; to read one is to read all. All save the most serious students should be satisfied with one, such as THE PETERS BROTHERS HIT ROCK'S BOTTOM.

Philosophically, the Peters Brothers are Bob Larson (whom they consider "authoritative") taken one step further. They have the same complaints, but what Larson calls bad, they say worse. And whatever Larson OKs, they fall over themselves in the eagerness to promote it.

Echoing Larson's current position, they have no problems with the beat. They even think it's kind of catchy!. Their problems are with what they see as the basic themes of rock culture: nihilism, humanism, hedonism rebellion occultism and drugs. LIVE AID didn't fool them for a minute: "Many of the stars of LIVE AID got there by helping destroy the moral fiber of America's youth".

The teen suicide "epidemic" is their favorite war-horse. In every book, they drag out the same stories about happy, well adjusted middle class white boys who suddenly fall under the spell of rock 'n' roll. Six months later, mom and dad come home and find Junior dangling from the rafters with AC/DC or OZZY OSBOURNE blasting on the stereo. Guess who's to blame?

Yet not all these tales end so tragically. They proudly tell of one teen, John Tanner who swallowed a shotgun after one too many BLACK SABBATH albums.

Happily, he survived, finding Christ as he lay on the floor in a pool of his own blood. He's a happy young man today, albeit without much of a face, doing the Lord's work by playing the rock 'n' roll analog of the reformed heroin addict in the Peters' road show..

The Peters do the usual griping about obscene lyrics and immoral rockstars. But they think the threat is far more insidious. The real danger is what you can't hear. The dark forces behind the music are attacking the listener's subconscious with subliminal and backward masked messages.

Subliminal messages are virtually inaudible vocals that somehow your subconscious can pick up upon. Backward masking are lyrics that are say something when played backwards. Sometimes, they're recorded that way -- forwards, gobbledygook; backwards, clear as a bell. But usually, they are perfectly clear forwards but say something completely different (usually sinister) when played backwards. And it isn't necessary to master the intricacies of reverse threading a tape deck to hear the hidden message.

The Peters think these play a vital part in driving the six evil themes home. Somehow, your subconscious can interpret backward messages saying "Satan, he is God" (BLACK OAK ARKANSAS), "Here's to my sweet Satan" (LED ZEPPELIN) or "Decide to smoke marijuana" (QUEEN). The Peters don't think musicians put the messages there deliberately. It's just the anti-Christ, speaking through rock stars, his unwitting agents, via their EVIL music. The only way this can be stopped is through rating all records, printing lyrics on all sleeves, and, just to be safe, frequent record burning.

Happily, there is an alternative for upright Christian teens yearning for kick-ass music that won't steal their souls. "Is Christian contemporary music a ravenous wolf in disguise?" the Peters ask, and answer with a resounding no! As long as the lyrics and the performer's lifestyles check out with the Bible, it's great! Worried parents are reassured that "There is nothing inherently evil with the color black, with leather, with earrings, with spiked armbands ... they are simply fashions". So crank up those STRYPER and U2 albums and make a joyous noise unto the Lord!

The Peters's books are distinct in their endless, unabashed self promotion. They proudly refer to themselves as "dedicated to exposing the TRUTH about rock" and continually congratulate themselves for their courage and resolve.

They boldly meet the enemy face to face -- interviewing Gene Simmons of KISS, and reprinting the transcripts. They load their books with ads, references, and plugs for their other books and tapes. They even request readers who've gotten the message to stop -- don't burn those records. Send them the Peters, for "research" and they'll burn them after copying all the "questionable" lyrics and photographing the "obscene" cover art.

Further out on the fringe is Jacob Aranza, author of BACKWARD MASKING UNMASKED (1982) and MORE BACKWARD MASKING UNMASKED (1985). With an inimitable style that removes any doubt of a ghostwriter, "one of the outstanding young ministers of America" handily out-paranoids Larson and the Peters combined.

Despite the titles, his sketchy shallow books don't delve deeply into backwards masking. BMU is just the standard sketchy, shallow mishmash of evil lyrics on evil records by evil stars in evil record jackets spiced up with a few LED ZEPPELIN records being played backwards. Nonetheless, the man is scared. He solemnly warns, "75% of the rock and roll today (top 10 stuff!) deals with sex, evil, drugs, and the occult."

The real fun comes in MBMU, when Aranza reveals who's behind all this evil music (three guesses) and boldly exposes "Satan's Agenda" -- a musical 4-step plan for the complete and utter corruption of American youth by the forces of darkness. Step One ran from 1955 through 1965, pushing sex and setting the stage for the sexual revolution. Step Two (1965-1970) tossed in drugs, rebellion, and anti-establishment attitudes. Step Three (1970 - 1980)'s goal was to popularize music having an "addicting sound with loud, violent tones" and lay the groundwork for the final step. Step Four, scheduled for the 1980s, will have promoters "pronounce rock stars as messiahs". No gig would be complete without a full-blown satanic services kids lining up to sell their soul to the devil.

And what sort of Satanic plotter would spill the beans? Aranza got the dope from an anonymous evangelist friend of his who sat next to an equally nameless rock manager on a plane. In the course of a casual conversation, said manager told all. Left unsaid is Satan's reaction to this casual betrayal.

Aranza does approve of C-rock, although he is shocked that some C-rockers actually listen to secular rock for ideas. C-rock could be the one thing to save youth from the rock 'n' roll satanic religion. But he advises caution: "If the music you're listening to doesn't come from the heart of a spiritual Christian artist, you are opening the door to carnality, humanism, and demonic forces". In Aranza'a mind, music either promotes God or Satan.

There is no such thing as "neutral" music.

As strange as Aranza gets, things only become stranger with Jeff Godwin. As the main rock 'n' roll hatchet man for Jack Chick (the comic-book tract guy), Godwin neither asks nor takes any quarter. His books are crudely written ranting and raving screeds in the best tradition of hate literature. You can easily picture him frothing at the mouth as he penned such classics as THE DEVIL'S DISCIPLES (1985) and DANCING WITH DEMONS (1988). He makes groundless accusations, leaps to the broadest conclusions from the flimsiest evidence, and meanders from point to point for no apparent reason. He's the lunatic fringe of the anti-rock movement, and probably proud of it. From his perspective, the Peters, Larson, and the other anti-rock writers are closet SLAYER fans, if not outright devil worshippers.

And that's who Godwin says is behind all rock: SATAN! To Godwin, Satan is not only alive and well and living on planet earth, but as real as his next-door neighbor. He sees Satan's hand everywhere: lyrics, album covers, concerts, even in the groups themselves. Yes, "The Lord has also revealed to some Christians that incarnate demons from the netherworld actually are members of some of the most popular bands..."

Of course, Godwin wasn't born this way. He spent 10 years as a rock fan and musician, even allegedly surviving THE WHO "stampede" show in Cincinnati.

Then he discovered Jesus Christ. A sample of his theology: "Why should we fear God? BECAUSE HE HAS THE POWER TO UTTERLY DESTROY US, AND THAT IS ALL WE DESERVE!!" One can only assume he had a hell of a bonfire.

Reaching back to the '60s, Godwin revives the voodoo beat theory. The rock beat has the same time signature as the human heart. Obviously, this hypnotizes and brainwashes listeners into accepting Satan's message. And the message is so evil that it could only be Satan's.

The music encourages the use of "mind decaying, death-dealing drugs", frequently couched in slang only understood by teens. Not only is promiscuous sex promoted, but also abnormal sex as epitomized by DAVID BOWIE, the "limp wristed king of the abnormal world of Homo Rock". Godwin claims that all screamed rock vocals are actually inspired by the sound of the "homosexual penetration of the male" and whip crack drum beats are the first step on the path that leads directly to steamy homosexual S & M.

Naturally, Godwin is a believer in backwards masking. He explains it by describing how rock stars invoke (literally!) demons at recording sessions to ensure hit records. The back masked messages are the imps' calling cards. He warns, "I believe that even now Satan and his demons are blaspheming and insulting God and the Lamb with their horrible rock record covers and backmasked broadcasts from Hell".

And the demons just don't hang around the studio. Merely playing a rock record can call them up ready to snag the nearest available adolescent soul.

After all, as Godwin points out, "addiction to rock 'n' roll is a form of demonic possession".

It's important to realize that Godwin doesn't just talking about pentacle-encrusted heavy metal bands. Satan lurks behind the bright tempo of the most innocent bubblegum pop ditty. "Virtually nothing in popular music today is worth your support... NO ONE makes it big in secular music without selling out to Satan" he writes as he lambastes HALL & OATES for their "homosexuality and Satanism". And "We Are the World" with its message of "Love is all we need" is wrong because "Jesus Christ is what this world needs!"

Not even Christian rock is safe. The C-rock that Larson and the Peters praise isn't sufficiently Christian for Godwin's taste. He thinks that most "Christian" artists are really dupes for Satan, if not closeted devil-worshippers themselves. He singles out STRYPER for especial wickedness evidenced by their satanic "777" symbol and "To Hell With The Devil" album.

Godwin believes this really means "To Hell WITH the Devil", the fate of all STRYPER fans. Only gospel and hymns are safe. His advice to parents? "The purpose of rock music is to split, splinter, and destroy your home." He urges them to burn everything relating to rock in their homes immediately -- all records, tapes, books, clothes, posters, even jewelry -- and double their daily prayer time. Only through these extreme measures can a home be secured from demons during the last days.

Fortunately, the anti-rock genre apparently peaked (along with the PMRC) in the mid-'80s. It has since fallen by the wayside, displaced by such less metaphysical debates as gangsta rap lyrics and the V-chip. But the books are still out there, and keep coming out. These are just some the highlights awaiting the dilignet connoisseur of crackpots. But they all share one miraculous power: they leave the reader with an irresistable urge to listen to Ozzy Osbourne's "Suicide Solution" while screaming "Rock On!".


Rev. David Noebel
Rhythm, Riots, and Revolution (1966)
The Marxist Minstrels (1973)

Bob Larson
Rock & Roll: The Devil's Diversion (1967, 1968, 1970)
Rock & the Church (1971)
Rock (1980, 1982)
Larson's Book of Rock (1987)

Dan & Steve Peters
Hit Rock's Bottom (1984, 1986) with Cheryl Miller
Why Knock Rock? (1984)
Rock's Hidden Persuader: The Truth About Backmasking (1985)
What About Christian Rock? (1986)

Jacob Aranza
Backward Masking Unmasked (1983)
More Rock, Country, and Backward Masking Unmasked (1985)

Jeff Godwin
The Devil's Disciples (1985)
Dancing With Demons (1988)

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