Peter Rowe explores stories of musicians in the crosshairs of the authorities — police, border guards, mayors, city councils, the FBI and even the Kremlin — in his new book Music vs The Man.
The book features stories of racial oppression, censorship, political extremism, extravagant behaviour, self-destructive obsessions, and more as Rowe deftly moves through music history. Chronicled are the stories of the FBI’s campaign against John Lennon, the harassment of Billie Holiday that led to her death, the Chilean military assassination of folksinger Victor Jara, the role of The Beatles in bringing down the Soviet Union, the battle against rock ’n’ roll, the violent world of Narcocorrido music in the drug wars of Mexico, and many others.
“Music wields the type of revolutionary power that politicians and authorities only dream of,” the award-winning Canadian author, filmmaker, and painter notes. “Music has the power to open hearts, change minds, and get people to stand up for what they believe in. That’s why, for years authorities have been trying to censor it, throwing musicians in prison, raiding their homes, and sometimes even killing them.”
Involved with music since the 1960s, Rowe has made over 190 films as a director, writer, or producer. Among the musicians he has filmed are John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis, Leonard Cohen, The Jefferson Airplane The Mothers of Invention and Joni Mitchell, at events like the Isle of Wight Festival and the Toronto Rock and Roll Revival.
Rowe’s credits include documentary profiles of both the psychedelic soul band The Chambers Brothers and famed New York DJ Cousin Brucie, as well as features including Treasure Island and The Best Bad Thing. His 49-part TV series Angry Planet took him to 30 countries on all seven continents, and aired in 35 countries around the world. He’s won and been nominated for multiple awards, including Geminis, Genies and film-festival prizes, and tales of his film career are described in his previous release Adventures in Filmmaking (2013).
Peter Rowe’s Music vs The Man is available now from Armin Lear Press via Amazon, Kobo, Scribd, and more.