Monday, June 1, 2015

Blurbs for Season of the Witch

“A fascinating thesis reflecting the time when everyone seemed to give rock and roll the status of, if not a religion, then certainly that of a spiritual belief system.  Peter Bebergal’s Season of the Witch brought it all back. It's an absorbing read deserving an important place in rock literature.”
– Michael Moorcock 

“Told with clear-eyed scholarship and delectable anecdotes, Peter Bebergal's mind-expanding occult history opened my third eye to Rock & Roll's awesome power over human behavior. Rock & Roll will never sound the same to me again, and I'm glad about it.”
Mark Frauenfelder, founder of Boing Boing

“Peter Bebergal has written of his own searching, reconciling spiritual aspirations and personal background, in The Faith Between Us and Too Much To Dream. Both are on my bookshelves. Here, in Season Of The Witch, Peter presents an overview of one “alternative influence” at work on some of those intending to change the world.

The world they hoped to change was a dangerous mess.

Now, half a century later…”
Robert Fripp

“This book is a glorious headlong rush into the dark, full of the electricity of the arcane.  I loved it.”
Warren Ellis, author of Gun Machine and Transmetropolitan

“From grimoires to topographic oceans, from heavy metal to hip-hop, Peter Bebergal tracks the Mysteries through half a century of popular music (and some underground noise as well). At once an overview of rock's mystic rebellions and a handy primer on modern esoterica, Season of the Witch suggests that we may need to round out the trinity of sex, drugs, and rock' n' roll with an additional deity: the occult, another primal portal to a re-enchanted world.”
–Erik Davis, author of Led Zeppelin IV and Nomad Codes: Adventures in Modern Esoterica

Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll  is available for pre-order at Powell's, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble, and at your local bookstore.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

The Songs of Comic Books

I have few memories that do not have a soundtrack associated with them, and none more intense than being between the ages of about 7 and 12. I grew up the youngest of four kids, all my siblings considerably older than me. Our home was filled with their music, whether it was spinning on my brother's turntable, whirring out my sister's 8-track, or out of the constant stream of FM friendly radio that dominated the 1970s. My own days were mostly about comic books, and when I think back on the ones that I treasured, I can hear the songs that seemed to playing in the background as I read them. What I offer here are my most fondly remembered comics of my youth, along with my best recollection (based on internet research) of what the songs were that are most evocative of those moments spent reading these comics.

This was also about spending too much time on two of my favorite web sites, The Grand Comic Database and The Newsstand where I was able to find exact dates and cover images for the issues.

Please add your own memories in the comments.

February 1974 Superboy #202 and "Rikki" by Steely Dan

June 1975 Giant-Size Avengers #4 and "I'm Not in Love" by 10cc

January 1976: Son of Satan #3 and "Dream Weaver" by Gary Wright

July, 1976: Fantastic Four #175 and "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen

November 1975: Marvel Presents #3 and "Why Can't We Be Friends" by War

January 1977: Avengers #158 and "Blinded by the Light" by Manfred Mann's Earth Band

May 1977 Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #231and "Fly Like an Eagle" by The Steve Miller Band

(By the late 70s I had moved towards magazine sized comics:)

March 1978 Creepy #97 and "Come Sail Away" by Styx

May 1978: Eerie #93 and "Mr. Blue Sky" by ELO

Summer 1980: Marvel Preview #22 and "Call Me" by Blondie

December 1981: Epic Illustrated #10 and "Whip It" by Devo


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Season of the Witch is Here!

The leaves are falling, the days are shortening, and the old gods are emerging! It's time for the Season of the Witch!

So where can you buy Season of the Witch? Click on one of these links and it will magically appear at your home, spirited there by ancient forces, best left otherwise alone:


Barnes and Noble


Or go into your local bookstore and incant the title as loudly as possible until you are escorted out with the book in hand.

Advance Praise:
"This sharply written narrative illuminates the centrality of the occult imagination at the heart of rock and roll."-- Library Journal, starred review

 “This book is a glorious headlong rush into the dark, full of the electricity of the arcane.  I loved it."--Warren Ellis, author of Gun Machine and Transmetropolitan

“Told with clear-eyed scholarship and delectable anecdotes, Peter Bebergal's mind-expanding occult history opened my third eye to Rock & Roll's awesome power over human behavior. Rock & Roll will never sound the same to me again, and I'm glad about it.” –Mark Frauenfelder, founder of Boing

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Upcoming Season of the Witch Events

Thursday, October 16, 7:30pm
Book Release Party
TT the Bear's Place

10 Brookline St, Cambridge, Mass.

Ghost Box Orchestra

The night will start off with readings and a book signing
Gen admission: $10
Limited VIP: $15 - includes free copy of book and other special gifts

Monday, October 20, 7:00pm
Reading and signing
Brookline Booksmith
279 Harvard St, Brookline, Mass.
Saturday, October 25, 4:00pm
Talk and signing
87 Flushing Ave, Brooklyn, NY
$7-13 and $7 reduced admission to the afterparty.
Followed by:

Saturday, November 1, 4:00pm
Reading and signing
8818 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, California

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Season of the Witch Excerpt

Tarcher has posted an an excerpt of Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll.

Check it out -here-

Also, mark your calendars for Oct 16 for the Season of the Witch Book Release Party at TT the Bears in Cambridge, Mass. with Ghost Box Orchestra, Elder and Herbcraft. While you are reading the excerpt, listen to some of their songs:

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Season of the Witch cover by Arik Roper

Here it is, in it's full glory, the cover for my forthcoming book Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll, by the always amazing Arik Roper:

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My 2013 Year-In-Review

I was decidedly distracted this year, working on Season of the Witch, due out next year from Tarcher/Penguin. The research for that book, however, led to all sorts of wonderful discoveries that made 2013 a very strange and interesting time. Some of the highlights include:

-Spending considerable time listening to the 1970s band Ramases, who produced two outstanding records: Glass Top Coffin and Space Hymns. Uncanny progressive rock by a man who believed he was the incarnation of Rameses of ancient Egypt.

-Getting to interact with some incredible people including Rodney Orpheus, Arik Roper, and Pam Grossman.

-Finally getting a handle on the relationship between historical witchcraft and modern Wicca, helped considerably by the excellent book Triumph of the Moon by Ronald Hutton.

-The original logo of The Monterrey Pop Festival (seen here)

I did manage to peek outside my book research a bit and here are the things that occupied me when I could carve out the time:

-I had a load of fun playing old-school Dungeons & Dragons--first by way of OSRIC and then making the switch to Basic Fantasy--with some great pals, including Ethan Gilsdorf, the author of Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks.

-I had the honor of doing a number of Gweek podcasts with Mark Frauenfelder, most recently alongside one my favorite artists Jim Woodring.

-I wrote two pieces for The Quietus, probably the best online music magazine. A real honor and privilege.

-I built a computer with my son with help from the good folks at

And here is the required list of my favorite things this year, in no particular order:

Fuzz (s/t)- Simply, one of the best garage-psych albums of the last few years; druggy but lucid, raw but technically flawless.

Mikal Cronin II- He runs in the same circles as Fuzz, but Cronin's album is their pop-cousin. It's filled with delightful nuggets, every song a top-40 hit from a 1970s that never existed.

Tim Hecker Virgins- Hecker's last album Ravedeath, 1972 is an ambient masterpiece, but this follow-up is every bit as good. Hecker is not afraid of noise, but he doesn't overdo it either. There are moments are wonder here, and while the record can be challenging, it is deeply moving.

Cool Tools- One of the things that I mourn the most is the end of the paper catalog. Sure, my home gets the ubiquitous Crutchfield and Crate & Barrel, but I long for the days of  thick catalogs as well as one-sheets of electronic surplus, magic tricks, telescopes, comics, and books (anyone remember the weird Information Unlimited laser kit catalog?) Cool Tools: A Catalog of Possibilities by Kevin Kelly is a huge book, in the spirit of The Whole Earth Catalog. It the collects the best of, well, everything really: from tools to instruments to websites. Everything in it is currently available, but it also fulfills the nostalgia for this kind of thing perfectly.

And Every Day Was Overcast by Paul Kwiatkowski- A fictional autobiography in words and photographs,
Kwiatkowski's book is an unsettling and strangely beautiful work. The book is the story of a teenager in the early 1990s trudging through the debris of South Florida. Kwiatkowski's captures the underbelly of that time and place, but this is not exploitation. It is a melancholy tale, and the photographs, many of them on Polaroid, reveal the sad timelessness of misspent youth.

Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea- Can you believe it? A boxed old-school RPG with rulebooks, map, and dice. Doesn't get much better. This is a great game, low-impact rules with plenty of pulp weirdness. If you want to get back in to gaming, this would be a great re-entry.

Arrow- A ridiculous superhero soap opera, it defies any sense of reasonableness and I can't get enough of it. I am a Marvel fanboy of the highest order going on 40 years, but this show has turned me on to the DC Comics mythos. The acting is great, the action sequences the best on TV since Buffy, and the myriad plot threads seriously engaging.

Saga- Every issue is a cause for celebration. The artwork alone by Fiona Staples is worth the cover price as every panel stretches her artistic imagination and she nails it every time. If you read comics, I'll just assume you read Saga. And if you don't read comics, you should at least read this.