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The Secret History of Rock 'n' Roll
Travel Tips for the Spiritually Perplexed
Christopher Knowles
ISBN: 9781573444057
Book (Paperback)
Viva Editions
6 x 9
240 pages
October 5, 2010


"Finally, someone with obsession, intelligence, and (most importantly) taste has placed the gods of rock against the backdrop of the ancient pagan mysteries, to establish what ecstatic fans have known all along: that the transports of rock are the transports of spirit." — Erik Davis, author of Led Zeppelin IV

"Mr. Knowles always finds the hidden gnosis at the heart of the seemingly profane, from comics and cartoons to sci-fi, and now to his fascinating treatment of modern popular music. Knowles actually identifies the individual divine archetypes at work, the mystical personae embodied by each of our most widely worshiped rock and pop idols. The Secret History of Rock 'n' Roll elucidates the ancient mystery dramas that many of us were unwittingly initiated into during our youth by an industry merely looking to make a buck from the sale of these apples of forbidden wisdom No wonder our parents instinctively felt threatened by the music we listened to." — Tracy R Twyman, The Merovingian Mythos and the Mystery of Rennes-le-Chateau

"Christopher Knowles has done it again. Having traced for us the esoteric and mystical roots of the superhero comic in Our Gods Wear Spandex, here he traces for us the ancient ecstatic and mystical roots of rock n’ roll, all the way back to the Greek Mysteries and the archetypes of the ancient gods and goddesses, it turns out. Boldly speculative, beautifully written, and eerily onto something, this is a book that reaches out to recover, celebrate, and understand the musical geniuses who helped birth a colorful counterculture that is still with us, humming just under the surface of things." — Jeffrey J. Kripal, J. Newton Rayzor Professor of Religious Studies, Rice University, author of Authors of the Impossible: The Paranormal and the Sacred

Sex. Drugs. Loud music. Wild costumes. Dazzling light shows. These words can all describe a great rock concert or a hot dance club, but they were also part and parcel of the ancient cultural phenomenon known as the “Mystery religions.” In this book, author Christopher Knowles shows how the long-dead Mystery religions got a secular reincarnation when a new musical form called rock 'n' roll burst onto the scene. Knowles shows how the Mysteries prefigured subcultures as diverse as Santeria, Freemasonry and Mardi Gras, and explains exactly how ancient rituals and music found their way to the New World. In the process, The Secret History of Rock 'n' Roll traces the development of rock's most popular genres such as punk and metal, and reveals how many of rock's most iconic artists fill the same archetypal roles as the ancient gods. You'll see how many of the rituals, customs and musical styles of our postmodern society have stunning ancient parallels. You'll meet history's first pop divas, headbangers and guitar heroes and read the untold story of the Puritan Woodstock. Get ready for a wild ride that will take you from the Stone Age to the Space Age.

Christopher Knowles has worked in the comics industry for over 20 years, as both an artist and writer. Presently associate editor and contributing writer for the award-winning magazine Comic Book Artist and a contributing writer to Classic Rock Magazine. Photo: Vicky Knowles
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