Award-winning Canadian author, filmmaker, and painter Peter Rowe explores stories of musicians in the crosshairs of the authorities — police, border guards, mayors, city councils, the FBI, the Kremlin — in his new book, Music vs The Man, available now!
The book features stories of racial oppression, censorship, political extremism, extravagant behaviour, self-destructive obsessions, and more as he deftly moves through music history. Chronicled are the stories of the FBI’s battle against John Lennon, the US Drug Administration’s harassment of Billie Holiday that led to her death, the Chilean military assassination of folksinger Victor Yara, the role of The Beatles in bringing down the Soviet Union, the fight throughout the 50s against rock and 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,” Rowe 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, Peter 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, and Joni Mitchell, at events like the Isle of Wight Festival and the Toronto Rock and Roll Revival, and concerts by the Jefferson Airplane and the Mothers of Invention.
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 television 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).