Thursday, 16 October 2014

how the occult saved rock and roll

If anything peaks the rock fans interest it's when an "occult" background story shows up with the music. In Peter Bebergal's forthcoming book 'Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll' he has found a mystical cape thrown over that often derided genre '70's prog rock'. How he weaves this theory of other worldliness into the world of prog can only be marveled at given how Rick Wakeman once ate his less than mystical takeaway curry from his keyboards during a Yes gig.
But Bebergal sets up the mood nicely in this extract..

    "At a recent gallery show of his artwork, Roger Dean -- best known for his lush and fantastical album covers for Yes in the 1970s -- was enjoying the crowd when a man approached him and held out his hand to shake. “Mr. Dean, your work has changed my life,” he said, “I have gleaned so many amazing, mystical secrets from looking at your album covers, can you tell me sort of what you meant by it.” Dean, ever polite, tried to let the man down easily. “I didn’t mean anything at all. It was just a good -- looking album cover.” His superfan, disillusioned, and possibly embarrassed, now turned nemesis, “Well, what do you know?” he angrily spat, “You’re just the artist!” Despite his protestations, Dean might have taken some responsibility for contributing to casting a wide mystical net over an entire subgenre of music, known sometimes derogatorily as progressive rock. You are unlikely to find a prog-rocker who refers to their own music in those terms, but the term serves as a way to describe a movement in rock, one steering a massive ship away from the siren call of blues-based rock that had so long dominated popular music, toward a more English tradition of what Greg Lake of the supergroup Emerson, Lake and Palmer (ELP) described as “troubadour, medieval storytelling.” Rock would inherit this mantle proudly, looking toward the mythology of the past -- often heavily informed by occult images -- to construct the sound of the future."
    from Peter Bebergal's forthcoming book "Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll"

Available from and

Here's ELP's bizarre track "Brain Salad Surgery" which was never included on the album "Brain Salad Surgery".