Editor's note: The following column was submitted by a member of the
rock group Rush [Neil Peart] in response to Jim Hankins' July 19
coverage in the Daily Texan of a seminar entitled "No One Here Gets
Out Alive." The seminar was sponsered by the Longhorn Christian
Fellowship and centered on the theme that many popular rock music
songs are trying to turn American youth against Christianity toward
Satanism or other religions. The group contended that either
blatantly or through subliminal means, musicians convey Satanic
messages in their songs.
ROCK GROUPS HARDLY SATANISTIC
I am writing in response to an article which was written by your
reporter Jim Hankins in your issue of July 19, "Group seeks to show
rock 'n roll Satanic." It was awhile ago, but the article was sent to
me through several intermediary steps. Besides, it's never too late
to discuss a matter like this, and as I happen to be a member of one
of the groups mentioned, perhaps I can interject a little rationality
and truth into such a hysterical exercise in propaganda.
Satanism. Now here is a word that should be kept away from some
people the way you should keep matches from children and guns from
There is a certain trait evident in human nature which some people
seem to possess in greater degrees. It derives from a state of
insecurity and low self-esteem and shows itself in the actions of
those who wish to make themselves look good by making others look bad.
You see it everywhere once you start to look for it. People who can't
gain respect for their own merits feel obliged to try and tear down
those who do. We see it in the failures who try to prove their
aloofness by criticizing the actions of those who actually *do*
something, or in cases like this one where the weak and pusillanimous
prove their righteousness by trying to punish the "less-righteous."
A big advantage to such an attitude is that it keeps them so
involved in other peoples' lives that they need not examine their own.
So these are the grim-faced hypocrites who are stirring around in
the dark places of life hoping to find something - anything - dirtier
than their own reflection. And if they can't find anything - no
problem - they'll just make something up!
And here they are accusing rock musicians of being sincere and
dedicated Satanists attempting to poison the souls of America's youth
with subliminal messages of devil-worship. You know that's almost a
very good joke! Almost.
As one who knows many of these "demonic figures" personally,
especially some of those mentioned in the article, the idea of some of
these sold-out, burnt-out, cynical, strutting peacocks being so deeply
and religiously committed to *anything* (save their "image" and chart
numbers) is also a bit of a joke. And a pretty lame one at that!
These nameless mercenaries don't even demonstrate that kind of
commitment in their *music*: why on earth would they be bothered to go
to all that trouble to put anything else into it? All they need (and
care) to do is find a kind of lowest common denominator of commercial
"acceptability." Yes, you Christian crypto-fascists, it *is* a joke!
The only problem is - *you're* not laughing.
I'm not laughing anymore, either. I've started to receive too
many questions and letters from confused and impressionable young
people wanting to know if it's true that we worship the devil. Who is
it that is corrupting the minds of young Americans?
Let us not for one minute forget that this is the same
self-righteous mentality that has put itself to work persecuting
witches, Christians, Jews, Quakers, Indians, Catholics, Negroes,
Communists, hippies and capitalists down through the ages. There's
always somebody to kick you when you're down. It seems like every
group has taken its turn at one end of the stick or the other. From
the bitter oppressed to the righteous oppressor is a very short step.
Speaking for myself, as lyricist and drummer for "Rush", and one
of those accused of this heinous crime, I must object, Your Honors.
Far from being a closet Satanist, I confess crudely, I don't even
*believe* in the old bastard! I wonder if that's better or worse in
your eyes, Grand Inquisitor?
I can certainly assure you that my lyrics contain no "demonic"
secret messages or cleverly concealed mystical commercials. Nothing
like that, I'm afraid. It is not only absurd and pathetic, but it is
also totally incompatible with my philosophy, my work and my beliefs.
I get all kinds of letters from people like this whose perceptions
are narrowed and distorted by pre-set values and ideas, telling me the
most fantastic things that they have somehow "discovered" in *my*
words! As is ever true - they find what they *want* to find. Fair
enough. I know what I put in there. It isn't that, and it isn't this
I don't wish to offend anyone's genuine beliefs, as it is a
fundamental tenet in my philosophy that people should believe what
they *choose* to believe. It must be stated, though, that when you've
"got" religion, like Siddhartha, you find it everywhere you look. And
when you've got evil, you'll find *it* everywhere you look, too.
Ah! It's the old "recorded backwards" trick again, is it Watson?
Ha! I'm sure you could play "The Star Spangled Banner" backwards and
find a secret message there too. Wouldn't Francis Scott Key be
surprised at your cleverness! How do you suppose *he* knew what it
said in 1812?
Don't you think something as vague as this is rather like a
Rorschach ink-blot, or cloud shapes? Interpretation is based on the
perceiver's state of mind - *not* on any objective reality. An
ink-blot is a cloud is a song - frontwards or backwards. One finds
what one *wishes* to find.
Yes, there's something subliminal at work here all right. The
subliminal and poisonous sickness that dwells in the minds of these
fearful and pompous so-called Christians. And they even call
themselves a "Fellowship." Think about that for a minute. Then think
about what this paper and others have accomplished by giving innocent
ink and paper over to this kind of drivel. You readers don't know
that I would never even use the kind of *grammar* that these people
have attributed to me, let alone the insipid and valueless supposed
message. Listen to this: "Oh Satan, you, you are the one who is
shining. Walls of Satan, walls of sacrifice; I know it's you are the
one I love." That's disgusting. I mean *really*. You just *know*
these people have to be sick. If you don't believe me, ask my Mom!