Peter Bebergal's book, Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll, is out tomorrow, and I haven't been this excited about a new release in a while. I mean, just read this description:
This epic cultural and historical odyssey unearths the full influence of occult traditions on rock and roll—from the Beatles to Black Sabbath—and shows how the marriage between mysticism and music changed our world.
From the hoodoo-inspired sounds of Elvis Presley to the Eastern odysseys of George Harrison, from the dark dalliances of Led Zeppelin to the Masonic imagery of today’s hip-hop scene, the occult has long breathed life into rock and hip-hop—and, indeed, esoteric and supernatural traditions are a key ingredient behind the emergence and development of rock and roll.
With vivid storytelling and laser-sharp analysis, writer and critic Peter Bebergal illuminates this web of influences to produce the definitive work on how the occult shaped—and saved—popular music.
As Bebergal explains, occult and mystical ideals gave rock and roll its heart and purpose, making rock into more than just backbeat music, but into a cultural revolution of political, spiritual, sexual, and social liberation.
I've been a fan of Bebergal's writing (check out his tremendous Believer interview with Alan Moore here, for example), and it's been a pleasure getting to know him over the last few years. So I'm doubly delighted that I'll be hosting Bebergal here in NYC for his presentation, "Decedance, Symbolism, and Rock and Roll's Occult Imagination" at the Morbid Anatomy Museum on Friday, December 12th:
DECADENCE, SYMBOLISM, AND ROCK & ROLL'S OCCULT IMAGINATION
An illustrated talk by Peter Bebergal
Presented by Phantasmaphile
Date: Friday, December 12th
Presented by Phantasmaphile and The Morbid Anatomy Museum
Drawn largely from research and ideas related to his new book Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll, author Peter Bebergal will present a multi-media presentation of the ways in which the aesthetics and mythos of rock and roll have been deeply influenced by the painters, writers, and composers of the 19th century. Bebergal will narrate a secret occult history of rock that owes its mystique to people like Aubrey Beardsley, Austin Osman Spare, Alphonse Mucha, Alexander Scriabin, and others, as well as the pomp and circumstance of the magic fraternities of that century's Occult Revival.
And there are lots of other events for the book release in Boston and NYC that you can check out here.