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Staff Picks: The Devil and Rock

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The name of the metal band KISS was rumored to stand for "Knight's in Satan's Service."

If you play The White Album backwards, is John Lennon really saying “turn me on, dead man”? Join Doug for a conversation about the paranoia around hidden messages in rock music and what it reveals about our fears today.

RadioWest divider.

In the 60s, 70s, and 80s, there were tons of rumors about the dangers of rock music. If you played The White Album backwards, was John Lennon really saying “turn me on, dead man”? Or did Led Zeppelin leave hidden messages in “Stairway to Heaven”? Ministers preached and albums were burned to protect against communism, secret societies, and the occult. Join Doug for a conversation with folklorist Lynne McNeill and journalist Jesse Walker about the era of backmasking paranoia and what it reveals about our fears.

Here’s what KUER’s managing editor Elaine Clark has to say about the episode:

You remember the conspiracy theories about backmasking and Satanic lyrics? I have a very clear memory of being at church in the early 80s and learning that the name of the rock band AC/DC supposedly stands for “Against Christ, Devil’s Children.” Back in 2014, we had a conversation on RadioWest about this Satanic panic. Two reasons I love this show. 1) Lynne McNeill, a folklorist at Utah State University, is just a terrific guest. 2) I played our theme music backwards for our one-minute show introduction. Now, let’s not get a “Doug is dead” conspiracy started.


Doug Fabrizio has been reporting for KUER News since 1987, and became News Director in 1993. In 2001, he became host and executive producer of KUER's RadioWest, a one hour conversation/call-in show on KUER 90.1 in Salt Lake City. He has gained a reputation for his thoughtful style. He has interviewed everyone from Isabel Allende to the Dalai Lama, and from Madeleine Albright to Desmond Tutu. His interview skills landed him a spot as a guest host of the national NPR program, "Talk of the Nation." He has won numerous awards for his reporting and for his work with RadioWest and KUED's Utah NOW from such organizations as the Society of Professional Journalists, the Utah Broadcasters Association, the Public Radio News Directors Association and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.