Conspiracy A-Go-Go

President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963. That same day, Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested and accused of being the assassin. Oswald would never stand trial, however, as he was killed by Jack Ruby only two days later. Shortly after Lyndon Johnson assumed the presidency he established a bipartisan “blue ribbon” panel, the Warren Commission, to investigate the JFK assassination. After a lengthy investigation the Warren Commission concluded that Oswald had acted alone in the JFK assassination. Over the years, polls have consistently shown that a majority of Americans do not believe the Warren Commission’s conclusions. Instead, most Americans believe that some sort of conspiracy led to JFK’s assassination.

Over the years the JFK assassination has been the inspiraction for many songs and I have compiled a list of songs that reference the JFK assassination. In doing that I got the idea to ask current garage, punk and psychedelic bands if they would like to contribute a track to a new compilation of JFK songs. Conspiracy A-Go-Go is the result. Several of these songs were previously unreleased and all but five of the tracks have been released since 2010. As the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination approaches, it is clear that this event is still very much in the popular mind.

1. The Omecs – Tell Me Why
2. Buckwheat Catapillar – Kennedy’s Head
3. Dark Fog – God Damn Texas
4. The Bonnevilles – The Drag
5. Black Rabbit – Mark My Words
6. Mal Thursday and the Cheetahs – Get Outta Dallas
7. Brian Wilson Shock Treatment – Raise Them Up
8. The Rockin’ Guys – O.H. Lee
9. Le Rug – John Fitzgerald Kennedy
10. ST 37 – Marina
11. The National Cynical Network – Brain Damage (J Floyd K Remix)
12. The Karovas Milkshake – Zombie Wok
13. Jaw Horse – Bullet
14. Levitating Churches – Glad I’m Not a Kennedy
15. Palo Alto – Dealey Plaza (Frame Z-313)
16. JFn’K – Back and to the Left
17. Exploding Castro Cigars – Single Bullet Theory
18. Drive-Thru Mystics – Black Tears
19. Abandone – The Smoking Gun
20. Eye Ocean – Five Bullets
21. Flash Gordon’s Ape – Boiler Room, Part 2: The Grand Design
22. Hounds Hounds Hounds – Bullet
23. The Crytearions – Catcher in the Rye Bread
24. New Jack Rubys – Sniper at the Gates of Dawn
25. Steinski & The Mass Media – The Motorcade Sped On
26. The Droogs – Man Gone Down

Conspiracy A-Go-Go is a release of Turn Me On, Dead Man Recordings, a division of the vast worldwide conglomerate TKG Analog/Digital, LLC. Released 01 November 2013

Acknowledgments
Thanks to Andras Fekete, Chip Tennille, Shy DeGrace, Jeremy Otto, Ray Donato, -valis, and Kopper for their help along the way. Thanks also to all of the artists who contributed to this compilation. All of the material on this compilation is used with the permission of the artists through a Creative Commons License for non-commercial purposes. And thanks to the Military-Industrial Complex for making all this possible.

Several of the images used here are photographs from “The Framing of Lee Harvey Oswald” by Robert Pence and John Aguero

Liner notes by Todd Gardner, Ph.D.

^1. The Omecs – Tell Me Why


previously unreleased
written by the Omecs
Luke Bonczyk – vocals and guitar
Mike McFarlane – drums
Jake Hurley – bass
recorded in Mike’s basement

On November 29, 1963, one week after the JFK assassination, Lyndon Johnson appointed a bipartisan “blue ribbon” panel to investigate the killing. The goal of the Warren Commission, named after its chair, Chief Justice Earl Warren, was to establish the official explanation of the JFK assassination. In their final report, delivered to Lyndon Johnson in September, 1964, the Warren Commission found that Lee Harvey Oswald had acted alone in killing John F. Kennedy, and that Jack Ruby had acted alone in killing Lee Harvey Oswald. Rather than convincing the public of these conclusions, however, opinion polls have consistently shown that a majority of Americans believe that some sort of conspiracy was at work in the JFK assassination.

Events in the decade that followed–the assassinations of Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, the war in Vietnam, the Watergate scandal–only added to the growing sense of unease and the belief that institutions could no longer be trusted. The Omecs voice this insecurity (“But I don’t know why/Can you tell me why?”) and lack of faith in the institutions that are supposed to be protecting us (“Because the FBI/You know they lied/And the CIA/You know I’m right”). The deaths of progressive leaders, JFK, RFK and MLK, were all explained as the work of “lone not” assassins, but the issue remains unresolved in the minds of many, if not most, Americans.

Deep in the South
1963
Shot in the head
Don’t make sense to me

Because the FBI
You know they lied
And the CIA
You know I’m right
But I don’t know why
Can you tell me why?

Martin Luther King
Marilyn Monroe
Was it anything
Do you know?

And Brother Bobby
He followed suit
Just a decent man
In a crowded room

And the FBI
You know they lied
And the CIA
You know I’m right
But I don’t know why
Can you tell me why?

Martin Luther King
Marilyn Monroe
Was it anything
I just don’t know

^2. Buckwheat Catapillar – Kennedy’s Head


originally released on Anxiety (2012)
written by Buckwheat Catapillar/Catapillar Tunes, Copyright 1992

One of the main pieces of evidence in the Warren Commission’s investigation of the JFK assassination was a home movie taken by Abraham Zapruder, who was a spectator in Dealey Plaza as Kennedy’s motorcade passed by. His 8mm color film captured the images of Kennedy’s assassination vividly, particularly the moment when a bullet struck JFK in the head. The Warren Commission concluded that only three shots were fired, and that Lee Harvey Oswald fired all three shots from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository, behind Kennedy’s limousine. Rather than being pushed forward from the impact of the head shot, however, Kennedy’s head jerked back and to the left. Buckwheat Catapillar goes right to the heart of the matter in “Kennedy’s Head”, declaring, “We all wanna know about Kennedy’s head”.

The Zapruder film also made it difficult to explain the injuries suffered by Texas Governor John Connally, who was riding in the seat in front of JFK. Connally’s reaction to being shot was only slightly after Kennedy showed signs that he had been hit, as well. If only three shots were fired, however, that meant both men had to have been hit by the same bullet. According to the Warren Commission, Oswald’s first shot missed, the second shot hit both Kennedy and Connally, and the third shot struck JFK in the head. The second shot has been referred to as the “magic bullet”, not only because “it seemed to violate the laws of physics”, as Buckwheat Catapillar notes, but also because it was found in almost pristine condition despite causing extensive injuries to both men including breaking bones. Buckwheat Catapillar remarks, “That magic bullet took some ride” and adds, “We all wanna know about the magic ride.”

Buckwheat Catapillar also wonders where Kennedy’s brain ended up. In the wake of Oliver Stone’s movie JFK (1991), Congress passed the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992, which “mandated that all assassination-related material be housed in a single collection in the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).” The Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) was organized to review all of the records associated with the JFK assassination. The most shocking conclusion the ARRB reached was that a different brain had been substituted for Kennedy’s brain in the autopsy photos. FBI agent Francis X. O’Neill Jr., who was present at the autopsy in Bethesda, stated, “there was not too much of the brain left.” He reported that “more than half of the brain was missing” when it was removed from Kennedy’s skull. Yet the photos of Kennedy’s brain taken later show a brain that appears to be much more intact than that described by O’Neill. Also, photos taken around the time of the autopsy are not included in the materials at NARA. Navy photographer John Stringer, who took the initial photos of Kennedy’s brain testified that he used a different kind of film than the pictures that were included in the JFK assassination records, and that his pictures showed a different brain.

In JFK Oliver Stone depicted the JFK assassination as a coup d’etat orchestrated at the highest level of the U.S. government, and in “Kennedy’s Head” Buckwheat Catapillar reaches a similar conclusion. As Buckwheat Catapillar notes, the C.I.A., F.B.I. and Lyndon Johnson “all had something to gain that day.” He concludes JFK was “shot by the government through the head/Not by Lee Oswald like they said.” And that the government has maintained this lie ever since. Buckwheat Catapillar asks, “Why should we believe you?/Telling all these lies for so many years”

We all wanna know about Kennedy’s head
Kennedy’s head
Kennedy’s head
Shot by the government through the head
Not by Lee Oswald like they said
We all wanna know about Kennedy’s head

We all wanna know about Kennedy’s brain
Kennedy’s brain
Kennedy’s brain
The government lost it, that’s insane
Lost his brain, that’s insane
The government lost it, Kennedy’s brain.

Well wanna know about the magic ride
The magic ride
The magic ride
Shot from the front and shot from behind
That magic bullet took some ride
Well wanna know about the magic ride

We all wanna know about the C.I.A., the F.B.I. and L.B.J.
You all had something to gain that day
What happened that day?
What happened that day?
We all wanna know about what happened that day

Why should we believe you?
Telling all these lies for so many years
Why should we believe you?
The government lied and it lied and it lied
The government lies and it lies and it lies
The government lies!

We all wanna know about Kennedy’s head
Kennedy’s head
Kennedy’s head
Shot by the government through the head
Not by Lee Oswald like they said
We all wanna know about Kennedy’s head
We all wanna know about Kennedy’s head
We all wanna know about Kennedy’s brain
We all wanna know about the C.I.A.
We all wanna know about the F.B.I.
We all wanna know about the the magic ride
We all wanna know about L.B.J.
We all wanna know about what happened that day
We all wanna know about what happened that day
We all wanna know about Kennedy’s head
Kennedy’s head
Kennedy’s head
Kennedy’s head
Kennedy’s head
Kennedy’s head
Kennedy’s head
I bet you’d like to sleep with Kennedy’s Head!

^3. Dark Fog – God Damn Texas


previously unreleased
written by Ray Donato

Dark Fog give psychedelic expression to the anger and grief that followed JFK’s assassination in Dallas on November 22, 1963. Even though JFK’s running mate was a Texan, Lyndon Baines Johnson, Kennedy had barely won Texas in the 1960 presidential election, not to mention that he had actually lost Dallas. JFK decided to go to Texas in November, 1963, to raise some funds and boost his chances of re-election in 1964, as well as to quell some political squabbles. But as we all know, things did not turn out too well as his motorcade rolled through Dallas, which proved to be more hostile territory than JFK had imagined. A number of interests in Texas hated Kennedy, but perhaps none more so than his Vice President, who had helped JFK plan the trip to Texas in the summer of 1963.

According to songwriter Ray Donato, given the political climate of the time, “it’s no surprise he was killed [in Texas].” The first section of the song expresses this immediate reaction. “Then the song breaks into the floating mellow part, representing the grief that followed the anger, the lyrics being ‘how could they just kill him like that…’ followed by ‘where was his mind…as it flew right past his side…it’s floating past Onassis…’ representing the iconic image of his brains sprayed out and Jackie trying to grab them back.” Donato, like many of us, has “always been horrified and fascinated by that imagery.”

^4. The Bonnevilles – The Drag


originally released on Good Suits and Fightin’ Boots (2008)
written by Andrew McGibbon

The Bonnevilles play some mean slide guitar in this punk-blues lament for JFK. The track concludes with a recording of Kennedy’s closing remarks from “The President and the Press,” his address to the American Newspaper Publishers Association on April 27, 1961. In this speech JFK eloquently expressed how technology has the potential to destroy us, but, as with the printing press, can also give us the means to achieve universal freedom and independence. Kennedy promised greater transparency in his administration, then only three months old, but he also called on the press to better inform and educate the public about events in a rapidly changing world.

Beyond promising greater cooperation with the press, Kennedy also addressed a deeper issue in this speech. He called into question the tactics being used by the United States in waging the Cold War–tactics that threatened the civil liberties of American citizens and compromised the democratic principles the nation was founded upon. Asserting that secrecy was “repugnant in a free and open society,” Kennedy stated, “there is little value in insuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it.” JFK uses the word “conspiracy” in this speech, but it’s clear he is talking about communism led by the Soviet Union. “For we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence — on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day.” Still, this speech signaled that JFK stood in opposition to those agencies within the United States government that would rather operate in secrecy using the tactics of the enemy.

“The Drag” can be read as a poignant commentary on JFK’s unfulfilled potential. “Try as I may, it wasn’t meant to be,” as Kennedy was killed less than two years after taking office. Although he was an inspiring figure, he could not overcome the entrenched forces he sought to counter (“The Drag gets you down, chin on chest”, which invokes the image of Kennedy’s official White House portrait showing a contemplative JFK looking down). Conspiracy or not, JFK was cut down before he could realize his ambitions of establishing a truly free and open society. The problems JFK pointed out have in many ways deepened since JFK’s time, as with the recent NSA scandal initiated by whistleblower Edward Snowden (“Seriously, you’ll never rest again in peace”), and “The President and the Press” is as relevant today as it was when Kennedy delivered it over a half century ago. (“I left a part of me behind in the floor and dust and grease”)

Try as I may, it wasn’t meant to be
I left a part of me behind in the floor and dust and grease
The Drag gets you down, chin on chest
Seriously, you’ll never rest again in peace

JFK: Now the links between the nations first forged by the compass have made us all citizens of the world, the hopes and threats of one becoming the hopes and threats of us all. In that one world’s efforts to live together, the evolution of gunpowder to its ultimate limit has warned mankind of the terrible consequences of failure. And so it is to the printing press–to the recorder of man’s deeds, the keeper of his conscience, the courier of his news, that we look for strength and assistance, confident that with your help man will be what he was born to be: free and independent.

^5. Black Rabbit – Mark My Words


previously unreleased
written and produced by Black Rabbit
Marc Scarano – guitar and vocals
Darlene Scarano – bass
Mark Tomase – drums
Recorded at Headbangers Hall

When Texas Governor John Connally, who was riding in the seat in front of John and Jackie Kennedy, realized he had been shot, he recalled saying, “My God, they are going to kill us all.” The Warren Commission concluded that this was the work of Lee Harvey Oswald. Another revelation of the Warren Commission was that Oswald had made another assassination attempt earlier that same year, albeit an unsuccessful one. On April 10, 1963, someone fired a shot at General Edwin Walker, a Dallas resident who espoused the right-wing paranoia of his time. Oswald’s widow, Marina, testified that Oswald regarded Walker as the leader of a fascist organization, and he justified killing Walker by comparing him to Hitler.

The bullet fired at Walker was badly damaged but the Warren Commission established that the bullet likely came from a Carcano rifle, the same type of ammunition as was used in the JFK assassination. The Warren Commission concluded that Oswald used the same rifle to shoot Kennedy that he had used in his attempted assassination of Walker. Oswald frequently used pseudonyms, and when he ordered his Carcano rifle, he used the name A. (Alex) Hidell. But, ask Black Rabbit, was he just a patsy as he claimed after his arrest? (“Mister Lee Mister Alex Hidell/Did you take a fall?”)

Oswald’s success in killing Kennedy is interesting considering his failure to hit Walker. According to the Warren Commission, Oswald fired three shots at JFK. Despite shooting from behind at a moving target, Oswald scored two hits, including a head shot. Walker was sitting motionless at a desk in a well-lit room, and Oswald shot at him from a distance of 100 feet. Some bullet fragments hit Walker in the forearm, but Oswald’s shot was off the mark. How could Oswald have missed hitting such an easy target when he was so effective in firing on Kennedy? Black Rabbit suggest that the CIA had something to do with the JFK assassination. The frustrating thing, however, is that the CIA like their Cold War counterpart in the Soviet Union, the KGB, rely on secrets and misinformation. Black Rabbit are skeptical that the truth will ever be known. (“KGB and the CIA/More you ask the less they say/Every year it becomes more clear/Ain’t no way it’s gonna see the light of day”)

General Walker was a goner
But the crack shot missed
Take care when you swing it in the air
Shot nine times by a bullet through the wrist

Mister Lee Mister Alex Hidell
Did you take a fall?
When the shots rang out started taking people out
Said “My God they’re gonna kill us all!”

Who Shot?
Who shot you?

KGB and the CIA
More you ask the less they say
Every year it becomes more clear
Ain’t no way it’s gonna see the light of day

Who shot?
Who shot you?
Take care, everybody feel it
Who shot?
Who shot you?

^6. Mal Thursday & the Cheetahs – Get Outta Dallas


released on It’s All Going By Too Fast (recorded in 1992, released in 2013)
written by Mal Thursday, and contains elements from “Now Your Dead” by Lee Ving

In “Get Outta Dallas” the fictional world of the TV series Dallas collides with the real-world JFK assassination, which took place, of course, in Dallas. On his website Mal Thursday claims that he was born in Dallas on November 22, 1963, the day JFK was assassinated. He explains that “Get Outta Dallas” is a “conflation of the television program ‘Dallas’ and the Kennedy Assassination with Mal’s childhood fantasy of saving JFK: ‘Turn the motorcade around!’ ” He also reveals that the title is “a reference to the 1975 hard rocker ‘Get Out of Denver’ by the early, much better, pre-‘Like a Rock’ Bob Seger.”

The TV show Dallas, which aired from 1978 to 1991, had its share of violence and intrigue and was for a time the most talked about television show, particularly when viewers were left wondering who shot J.R. Ewing in a season-ending cliffhanger episode. “Get Outta Dallas” suggests that intrigue was at work in the JFK assassination, as well. After Mal Thursday asserts Lyndon Johnson “ain’t my kind of guy” the song transitions into distinct section that draws on Fear’s song “Now Your Dead”, which was the b-side of Fear’s first single “I Love Livin in the City”, released in 1978. “Poor Johnny got blown away/By the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the CIA”. This was not the conclusion of the Warren Commission, however, which stated that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in the JFK assassination. As “Get Outta Dallas” laments, however, “the people believe what they read.” The song goes on, “Poor Bobby wasn’t even lookin’/Pretty soon he wasn’t even cookin'” Where “Bobby” in the first verse refers to Bobby Ewing from the television show, in the middle section of “Get Outta Dallas” Bobby refers to Robert F. Kennedy, Attorney General in the JFK administration, who was himself assassinated when he was running for president in 1968. “Get Outta Dallas” then returns to the original theme as Mal Thursday tries one more time (unsuccessfully, of course) to warn JFK, “You drive on by/And they’re gonna shoot you down to the ground.” Mal Thursday’s childhood fantasy goes unrealized.

According to Mal Thursday, “I wrote the song in 1988 and originally performed it with the Malarians (the American garage band, not the Spanish ska band). The version featured on the Malarians’ live album ‘Finished In This Town’ (released 1990, reissued 2010) was later comped on the Killed By Death series.” The version by Mal Thursday & The Cheetahs was recorded in 1992, but was not released until earlier this year.

Get Outta Dallas
Yeah, you’re finished in this town
I’m gonna break you, Bobby
Miss Ellie ain’t around
Get Outta Dallas
‘Cause you’re finished in your time
And Uncle Garrison
He’s out doing some crimes
Get outta Dallas
Yeah, it’s bound to mess up your mind
And Lyndon Johnson
He ain’t my kind of guy
Get Outta Dallas
‘Cause you’re finished in this town
Hey prez
Turn the motorcade around
Hey!
Now you know what I like

Poor Johnny got blown away
By the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the CIA
Musta been somethin’ he said
But the people believe what they read

Poor Bobby wasn’t even lookin’
Pretty soon he wasn’t even cookin’
Well it musta been somethin’ he said
and the people believe what they read
Now they’re dead
Now they’re dead
Dead!

Get Outta Dallas
Yeah, you’re finished in this town
You drive on by
And they’re gonna shoot you down to the ground
Get Outta Dallas
‘Cause you’re finished in this town
Hey Jack
Turn the motorcade around
Get Out!
‘Cause they’re gonna shoot you down
Get outta Dallas, baby
And it hurts

^7. Brian Wilson Shock Treatment – Raise Them Up


originally released on Operation Sun Probe (2012)
written by Scott Prato & Mike Rose

According to songwriter Scott Prato a.k.a. Starry Night, “ ‘Raise Them Up’ is about the American culture that supports never ending war and violence. We educate children and raise them up just to carry guns and go to war to die for corporate Wall Street benefit. JFK was assassinated by the real American powers that rule this country and did not want JFK taxing the global banking system that funds the military industrial complex for global domination.”

President Dwight D. Eisenhower was in office from 1953 to 1961 and was succeeded by JFK. Eisenhower presided over not only a period of economic prosperity, but an era in which the United States was the dominant economic power in the world. Despite his successful career in the military, in his farewell address to the nation, Eisenhower expressed deep misgivings about changing relationship between the military, the civilian government and industrial enterprise. He called this new dynamic the “Military-Industrial Complex”. “In the councils of government,” he warned, “we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes.” As time has gone on, however, the structures Eisenhower described have become even more entrenched.

^8. The Rockin’ Guys – O.H. Lee


originally released on The Assassination E.P. (1992)
written by Philip Edward Bennison (Homer Henderson) and Jay Cotton

“Lee Harvey Was a Friend of Mine” was a novelty country song by Homer Henderson & the Dalworthington Garden Boys released in 1985. In keeping with their practice of brief, often single-word song titles, The Rockin’ Guys, working out of Conway, Arkansas, retitle their garage rock interpretation of this song “O.H. Lee”, which was a pseudonym Oswald used to rent a room in the Dallas boarding house where he was living at the time of the JFK assassination.

“Lee Harvey Was a Friend of Mine/O.H. Lee” is told from the perspective of a boy who lived across the street from Oswald. He denies Oswald’s role in the JFK assassination because he can’t reconcile this crime with his warm memories of Oswald (“He used to take me fishin’ all the time/He used to throw the ball to me when I was just a kid/They say he shot the President, I don’t think he did”). Asserting that the “backyard photos” were faked, the narrator only believes what he sees with his own eyes. In contrast to his doubts about Oswald’s role in the JFK assassination, he knows that Jack Ruby (“the biggest sleaze in town”) killed Oswald because he saw it broadcast live on television.

According to Danny Grace, The Rockin’ Guys learned “Lee Harvey Was a Friend of Mine” from T. Tex Edwards. They played several shows with Edwards, who released his version of the song (retitled “Lee Harvey”) with the Sickoids in 1990. The Rockin’ Guys, however, add a verse about a love triangle involving Oswald, JFK and Marilyn Monroe to “Lee Harvey Was a Friend of Mine” that was not present in either the Homer Henderson or T. Tex Edwards versions. Jay Cotton, a Dallas artist, co-wrote the song with Henderson. The liner notes for One Hell Soundwich, an obscure LP that Cotton co-released with Gary Panter in 1990, are the only source for this verse. Jay Cotton writes, “I said to Phil Bennison one day, ‘We should write a song about Lee Harvey,’ and he sang back, ‘They say he shot the president, I don’t think he did.’ Gold! And before you could say ‘Enchanted Rifle’ an Oak Cliff ballad was on the charts with a single bullet and the rest is white-trash music history. And for you conspiracy nuts, here’s a verse I wrote that mysteriously disappeared. They say his naggin’ Russian wife made him fall for Marilyn Monroe/When Marilyn came to Oak Cliff, to O.H. Lee she’d go/JFK stole her away/Lee Harvey flipped his lid/They say he shot the president, I don’t think he did.” Only the Rockin’ Guys are true to Jay Cotton’s original lyrics. All of the other cover versions of “Lee Harvey Was a Friend of Mine” (Laura Cantrell, Boris McCutcheon) follow Homer Henderson’s recorded lyrics.

The Rockin’ Guys occasionally did themed sets, with political assassinations being one of those themes. The Assassination EP, which was released in 1992, collects several songs about the assassinations of JFK and Martin Luther King. In addition to “Lee Harvey Was a Friend of Mine”, the Rockin’ Guys included garage rock interpretations of the JFK assassination songs “November 22, 1963” (retitled “November”) by Destroy All Monsters and “He Was a Friend of Mine” (retitled “Friend”) by the Byrds.

Lee Harvey was a friend of mine

I was born in Dallas in 1952
Lee Harvey moved across the street on Bentley Avenue
He used to throw the ball to me when I was just a kid
They say he shot the president
Well, I don’t think he did
He was a friend of mine

He used to take me fishing all the time
He used to throw the ball to me when I was just a kid
They say he shot the president
Well, I don’t think he did

I’ve seen the picture of him with the pamphlets and a gun
Shadows were pointin’ every which-a-way
But there’s just one sun
Someone faked that photo and snuck away and hid
They say he shot the president
Well, I don’t think he did
He was a friend of mine

He used to take me fishing all the time
He used to throw the ball to me when I was just a kid
They say he shot the president
Well, I don’t think he did

They say his naggin’ Russian wife made him fall for Marilyn Monroe
When Marilyn came to Oak Cliff to O.H. Lee she’d go
JFK stole her away
Lee Harvey flipped his lid
They say he shot the president
Well, I don’t think he did
He was a friend of mine

I seen it on the TV when Lee Harvey got gunned down
Murdered by Jack Ruby, the biggest sleaze in town
He stuck that gun into his ribs
And said, “Here’s lookin’ at you, kid”
Ruby killed Lee Harvey, TV proved he did
He was a friend of mine
A very good friend
All the time
Yes he did
Real good friend
All the time
Ball to me

They say he shot the president
I don’t think he did

^9. Le Rug – John Fitzgerald Kennedy


originally released on Nuke Whales (2009)
written by Ray Weiss

At 20 seconds, I think it’s safe to say that “John Fitzgerald Kennedy” is the shortest song ever recorded about the JFK assassination. Despite the song’s brevity, however, Le Rug establish a motive (opposition to Kennedy’s ambition to pass civil rights legislation) and identify the conspirators (the CIA and Lyndon Johnson) in the assassination plot. For their 2009 album Nuke Whales, Le Rug recorded a song about every U.S. president. Since JFK’s presidency ended violently so early in his administration, songwriter Ray Weiss wanted to make the JFK track “the most short and furious song on the record.”

JFK
Bullet in your brain
Civil rights legislation
Never made it your way
The CIA or LBJ
Have paved the way
For you to die this way
Dallas, Texas
Dallas, Texas

^10. ST 37 – Marina


previously unreleased
written by ST 37 (Cameron/Crutcher/Baker/Telles/Cones)

ST 37’s “Marina” is a psychedelic track with samples of Marina Oswald, widow of accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. In 1961, Oswald met Marina Prusakova, then only 19, at a dance in Minsk during his brief defection to the Soviet Union. Oswald returned to the United States with Marina and their young child the following year. In the investigations that followed the JFK assassination, Marina gave testimony incriminating Lee Harvey Oswald. She informed the Warren Commission that Oswald had attempted to assassinate General Edwin Walker and had considered killing Richard Nixon. Also, it was Marina who took the infamous “backyard photos” of Oswald with his rifle. Years later, however, Marina came to believe that her husband was innocent and that he had been framed.

^11. The National Cynical Network – Brain Damage (J Floyd K Remix)


originally released on Puzzling Evidence – The JFK Show (2011)

“Brain Damage (J Floyd K Remix)” by the National Cynical Network comes from an album dedicated to JFK-related recordings called Puzzling Evidence – The JFK Show (2011). NCN take an acoustic version of Pink Floyd’s “Brain Damage” and transform it into a conspiracy theory sound collage. Forget about The Dark Side of the Moon being a soundtrack for The Wizard of Oz, in NCN’s hands Pink Floyd’s 1973 album is about the JFK assassination!

Many of the samples used in “Brain Damage (J Floyd K Remix)” come from the documentary The Men Who Killed Kennedy, originally produced by ITV in the UK in 1988. This documentary, which argued that a conspiracy had taken place in the JFK assassination, included many interviews with eyewitnesses to the assassination and others involved in the subsequent investigation. Each sample relates to the lyrics or the theme of “Brain Damage” in some way and the lyrics take on new meaning in this light. Mary E. Woodward, reporter for the Dallas Morning News, was in Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1963, and submitted her report that day stating that she heard shots coming from the grassy knoll–followed by the lyric “The lunatic is on the grass”. We then hear accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald make reference to newspaper reporters in the hall–echoed by the lyric “The lunatic is in the hall”. Paul O’Connor, a laboratory technologist who assisted with JFK’s autopsy, suggests that shadowy figures interfered with the autopsy, and Cyril Wecht, a forensic pathologist who participated in the House Select Committee of Assassinations (HCSA) re-examination of the JFK assassination in the late 1970s, asserts that JFK’s brain was tampered with (“Brain Damage”) to support the explanation that only one person assassinated JFK. The “lone nut” theory is disputed by James Tague, who was wounded by a bullet as he watched JFK’s motorcade, and Robert Groden, a photo-optics technician who served as a consultant for the HCSA, who testified that the autopsy photos of JFK’s brain had been faked.

Though Ron Jenkins, reporter for Dallas radio station KBOX in 1963, was referring to the assassination when he reported, “Something is wrong here. Something is terribly wrong.” in this track his words come to mean the sinister plot behind the assassination by people who had the ability to tamper with the evidence. The track concludes with a quote by J. Gary Shaw, former director of the JFK Assassination Information Center in Dallas and the Assassination Archives and Research Center in Washington, DC. “If they lied to us, how much are they lying to us in other areas? And if they’re lying to us, can they do it again and again and again? If so, this is not a democracy. It’s a hierarchy–a government or people run by certain powerful individuals who have the ability to dispose of anyone not going along with the party lines, so to speak…. The truth is the most important thing.”

^12. The Karovas Milkshake – Zombie Wok


previously unreleased

Forget about the CIA, LBJ or the Cubans. Want to know who killed JFK? Zombies! Or so suggests the Karovas Milkshake.

The Karovas Milkshake are from Ekaterinburg, Russia, which was behind the the Iron Curtain in the Soviet Union in JFK’s time. In October, 1959, Lee Harvey Oswald traveled to Moscow and defected to the Soviet Union. He had hoped to go to Moscow University but instead the Soviet government sent him to Minsk (in what is now Belarus) to work as a lathe operator. He lived comfortably by Soviet standards but he was under constant surveillance. Also, according to the Warren Report, he became bored with life in the Soviet Union. He wrote in his diary, “I am starting to reconsider my desire about staying. The work is drab, the money I get has nowhere to be spent. No nightclubs or bowling alleys, no places of recreation except the trade union dances. I have had enough.” In March, 1961, he met Marina Prusakova and they married six weeks later. The following year, after they had their first child, Oswald applied to return to the U.S. with his family. All this happened in a very different political climate than what exists today. According to Albert Krupp of the Karovas Milkshake, “It’s all history now. All we can do is to commemorate JFK with our music.”

^13. Jaw Horse – Bullet


originally released on Cancer Creek (2012)
written by Glenn Danzig

Jaw Horse provide the first of two versions of the Misfits’ song “Bullet” on Conspiracy A-Go-Go. “Bullet” conveys the sex and violence of the JFK assassination. After describing JFK’s wounds with vivid injury, the focus shifts to a sexual fantasy about the first lady, Jackie Kennedy, but not before placing the blame for the assassination squarely on Texas (“Texas is the reason that the President’s dead”). The driving punk/stoner approach of this version emphasizes the violence in “Bullet”.

According to Jovi, “Of course, I don’t think any rational person truly believes the Warren Commission’s ‘findings.’ I don’t know if it was the mob or the CIA. It’s just one of those things as an American you have to just accept that our government isn’t about to let that cat out of the bag. Although it seems like small potatoes compared to the blatant conspiracies we see evidence of happening every day, like watching JP Morgan Chase getting a tax deductible fine for taking part in ruining the world’s economy. I’m not talking Inforwars batshit kind of stuff. Yeah, when one domino falls they rest go with it, so it’s something we’re just going to have to debate about for generations to come because we won’t ever see a time of a truly transparent government.”

President’s bullet-ridden body in the street
Ride Johnny ride
Kennedy’s shattered head hits concrete
Ride Johnny ride

Johnny’s wife is floundering
Johnny’s wife is scared
Run Jackie run

Texas is an outrage when your husband is dead
Texas is an outrage when they pick up his head
Texas is the reason that the president’s dead
You gotta suck, suck, Jackie suck

President’s bullet-ridden body in the street
Ride Johnny ride
Kennedy’s shattered head hits concrete
Ride Johnny ride

Texas is an outrage when your husband is dead
Texas is an outrage when they pick up his head
Texas is the reason that the president’s dead
You gotta suck, suck, Jackie suck

Arise Jackie O, Jonathon of Kennedy
Well, arise and be shot down
The dirt’s gonna be your dessert
My cum be your life source
And the only way to get it
Is to suck or fuck
Or be poor and devoid
And masturbate me, masturbate me
Then slurp it from your palm
Like a dry desert soaking up rain
Soaking up sun
Like a dry desert soaking up rain
Soaking up sun

^14. Levitating Churches – Glad I’m Not a Kennedy


previously unreleased
written by Shona Laing

“Glad I’m Not a Kennedy”, originally an international hit for New Zealand singer Shona Laing in 1986, is not just about the JFK assassination, but about the tragedies that have happened to various members of the Kennedy family over the years. Levitating Church’s version ends with a gunshot, a reminder of the assassinations of John F. Kennedy in 1963 and Robert F. Kennedy in 1968, but a number of tragedies had already occurred to members of the Kennedy family before the JFK and RFK assassinations: their oldest sister, Rosemary, had been lobotomized in the 1940s, their oldest brother, Joe, had been killed in World War II, and their sister, Kathleen, had died in a plane crash in 1948. In addition, Jackie Kennedy had given birth to a stillborn baby in 1956 and another child, Patrick, died in infancy weeks before JFK was assassinated. In subsequent years, news reports of tragedies involving the Kennedy family, from Ted Kennedy’s accident at Chappaquiddick to John F. Kennedy Jr.’s death in an airplane crash–not to mention any story involving reckless behavior, illness or the death of a member of the Kennedy clan–commonly made reference to the “Kennedy Curse”. “Glad I’m Not a Kennedy” expresses our fascination with the Kennedy family and the way they have carried on in the face of tragedy.

Living on through politics
Body-guarded, heart in bits
A blue-eyed honesty
Indigo injury
The family tree is felled
Bereavement worn so well
Giving up on certainty
Wilderness, society

[chorus]
Wearing your fame like a loaded gun
Tied up with a rosary
I’m glad I’m not a Kennedy

Imagine being a Kennedy
Rule without remedy
To watch your family die
The world loves a sacrifice
Prophets longing for the three
Honoring the tragedy
They hunger for the crime
The privilege to take a life

[chorus]

I love the look in your eyes
I can see your soul sometimes and we laugh
When we try too hard
We stop and start
Oh imagine being a Kennedy
I’m glad I’m not a Kennedy

[chorus]

I’m glad I’m not a Kennedy

^15. Palo Alto – Dealey Plaza (Frame Z-313)


originally released on Terminal Sidéral: Live 05-06-07 Music and Films (2007)
by Jacques Barbéri, Denis Frajerman, Philippe Perreaudin, and Eric Roger
recorded live in Toulouse, France, on March 26, 2005

The Zapruder film is a home movie of JFK’s motorcade taken by Abraham Zapruder, the owner of Jennifer Juniors, Inc., a clothing manufacturer with offices located in the Dal-Tex Building across the street from the Texas School Book Depository. Zapruder was a JFK supporter and on the advice of his assistant he decided to make a film of JFK as he passed through Dealey Plaza. He positioned himself on a concrete pedestal on the northwest side of Elm Street and he used his Bell & Howell Zoomatic 8mm “Director’s Series” camera to film the motorcade. Zapruder was not the only one to bring a movie camera to Dealey Plaza that day. In fact, Orville Nix, filming from the opposite side of Elm Street, captured images of Abraham Zapruder in his home movie of the motorcade. What distinguishes the Zapruder film is that it is the most complete of the home movies taken of JFK’s assassination and, because of Zapruder’s position, it also captures the fatal head shot the most clearly. The Zapruder Film lasts 26.6 seconds and each of its 486 frames has been numbered and studied in detail. The grisly image of a bullet striking JFK in the head is captured in frame Z-313.

Palo Alto formed in Paris in 1989 and released several albums of experimental electronic music over the next decade before shifting toward more improvisational performances. Philippe Perreaudin explains, “Palo Alto is a group of improvised music. We create musical atmospheres without wanting to deal with a particular topic. Then, when we listen the results of these improvisations, we seek to give them titles. Listening to this song with the voice, the crowd, the inexorable rhythm loop, I immediately thought of the JFK assassination and the Zapruder film. With each listen, this song reminded me of the images of this film. This piece is very narrative, very cinematic. So, we have given a title related to this event. The title refers to the precise location of the assassination of JFK in Dallas and the fatal frame number in the Zapruder film.”

^16. JFn’K – Back and to the Left


previously unreleased

JFn’K are a three piece from Detroit. They took their name from their first initials, with Jeremy “Jack” Ruby on Guitars/Vocalizations, Frank Lee Harvey Oswald on Bass, and Ken ‘Warren Commission’ Welsh on Drums. They had released an EP entitled Back and to the Left, but this track, recorded for this compilation, is their first JFK-themed song.

The title, “Back and to the Left” is a reference to JFK’s reaction to the fatal head shot. The Warren Commission determined that three shots were fired at JFK from the Texas School Book Depository, and the third shot struck JFK in the head. Even though this shot came from behind, Kennedy’s head did not move forward upon impact. Instead Kennedy’s head went back and to the left. Luis Alvarez carried out experiments with melons to demonstrate that the motion of Kennedy’s head would be consistent with a shot from behind due to the “jet effect”–matter is blown forward out of the head and the head then reacts by moving backward. Stuart Galanor, author of Cover-Up argues, however, that for the head to go back and to the left due to the jet effect, the jet stream of matter from Kennedy’s head must move in the opposite direction–forward and to the right. Close examination of the Zapruder film does not show this to be the case,though. Also, Jackie Kennedy famously jumped up onto the trunk of the limousine to retrieve pieces of JFK’s skull and brain matter that were blown backward out of Kennedy’s head.

^17. Exploding Castro Cigars – Single Bullet Theory


previously released on Single Bullet Theory (2011)
written by Joe Marchi

Exploding Castro Cigars present a version of the JFK assassination where John F. Kennedy is aware of what is happening to him and realizes that the bullets are coming from multiple directions. The song also envisions JFK’s father, Joe, as the mastermind behind all of the future Kennedy clan deaths and other assorted tragedies. The title “Single Bullet Theory” is a reference to the Warren Commission’s conclusion that only three shots were fired, and that all three were fired by Lee Harvey Oswald from the Texas School Book Depository. In order for this to be the case, however, the second shot would have had to have hit both Kennedy and Texas Governor John Connally, who was riding in the seat in front of JFK. Though this bullet was supposed to have caused extensive injuries to both men striking bones along the way, the bullet was found in almost pristine condition on a gurney that had carried Connally in Parkland Hospital. According to songwriter Joe Marchi, “I called it ‘Single Bullet Theory’ because it was so implausible to think that was the case.”

“Single Bullet Theory” has plenty of references to conspiracy. “Fake piggy on the side fills my coil with one more” refers to images of “Badge Man,” a vague image from a photo taken by motorcade spectator Mary Moorman just as Kennedy was shot in the head. When Gary Mack, curator for the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas, examined an enlargement of the photo, he claimed to see a shooter on the grassy knoll wearing a badge, as though he was dressed as a police officer. In the song JFK disputes the Warren Commission’s conclusion that only three bullets were fired (“I get my head in my hands and I think there were 4 bullets or more”), which would mean there must have been more than one shooter and a larger conspiracy at play. Using Wizard of Oz imagery, “Single Bullet Theory” describes Lee Harvey Oswald as “the wizard of Ozzie”, a patsy who is felled by “the Ruby”. The lyrics allude to Fidel Castro, as well, but when I asked Joe if he thought Castro was involved in the assassination, he said he thought it was an “inside job” and pointed to the CIA.

“Single Bullet Theory” is the opening track on an EP of the same name released by Exploding Castro Cigars in July, 2011. The cover image is a Mad magazine cover from October, 1963, showing Castro smoking a cigar with Alfred E. Newman plugging his ears in anticipation of the explosion. Like much of Exploding Castro Cigars’ material, “Single Bullet Theory” revels in Cold War intrigue and absurdity (one of the genre tags on the Bandcamp page for this EP is “MKUltra,” the CIA’s mind control program that began in the 1950s and continued through the 1960s). Joe Marchi cites James Ellroy’s Underworld USA Trilogy as his inspiration for this song. He had just finished reading The Cold Six Thousand, the second book of the trilogy, when he recorded “Single Bullet Theory”. Ellroy’s vision of a corrupt order is certainly evident here.

Driving down the road with a bleeding hole (x3)
Driving down the road with my sore my brain has shattered whole

Fucking Castro’s (w)hole

Driving down the road with a bleeding soul
Driving down the road with a bleeding sole
Driving down the road with a bleeding sore
I get my head in my hands and I think there were 4 bullets or more

Driving down the road with a broading soul
Fake piggy on the side fills my coil with one more
Driving down the road with a broading soul
I’m driving down the freeway and I’m gonna take Bobby fucking home (guilty)

Oh I feel (although I can’t) that Cuba’s at risk
Teddy looked at me funny but I feel his car likes the water
And I know inside Bobby is a goner
Good old Joe, I let him know, grabbed a knife and made him grow

Driving down the road and i’m feeling whole
Driving down the road the I’m feeling sore
Driving down the road and I’m feeling sick
That book repository, what a fucking act

Oh, Ozzie
You didn’t do that 999
You just loved playing patsy
Here comes the wizard of Ozzie with the Ruby
Oh no, lay down down down

You didn’t have a bad brain
You just enjoyed that cocaine
You now see what I can see
Now they want a piece of me

Bad Guys

Driving down the road feeling so Sirhan (x3)
I can now pass cuz this place is getting old

Marijuana would have helped me here
Where the fuck is my wife
Take my skull chunks out of her face
And then we will watch her life go to waste

^18. Drive-Thru Mystics – Black Tears


originally released on Brick (2013)
written by Aaron Hutto
Copyrighted Aaron Hutto Music

According to songwriter Aaron Hutto, “Black Tears” bemoans the “dark forces in life… mental illness and emotional instability and forces from without that seemingly try to tear us apart.” Hutto notes that the song could also be read as a “lament on the existence of a shadow government operating covertly and deceiving the American People.”

Black Tears falling when you turn the lights down low
Black Tears falling when you break my heart in know
Black Tears falling when you come a calling
Black Tears falling when you come a calling
Black Tears falling when cus you bring me down so low, so low, so low, so low!!

You call my name in the night
You call my name sweet delight
You call my name
Call my name
Drive Me Insane!!
One, Two, Three, Four!!!

^19. Abandone – The Smoking Gun


previously unreleased
written by M. Calhoun/Abandone music copyright 2013 BMI

“The Smoking Gun” starts from the premise that the JFK assassination was the work of a lone gunman. This was, of course, the conclusion of the Warren Commission, but a couple of celebrated books have reinforced this conclusion in recent years. Gerald Posner’s Case Closed and Vincent Bugliosi’s Reclaiming History have sided with the Warren Commission in concluding that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in the JFK assassination. According to songwriter Mike Calhoun, “The conspiracy theories live on. However, I believe Oswald’s actions the days leading up to the assassination point to him as the lone gunman.”

“The Smoking Gun” takes the perspective of the shooter once the assassination has been carried out. Rather than their usual “Heavy Psycho-delic Rock & Roll” sound, Abandone perform “The Smoking Gun” with spare instrumentation, and the acoustic guitar emphasizes the isolation of the shooter as he makes his escape. “No electric instruments were used. They seemed to take away from that feeling,” Mike Calhoun asserts. He goes on to say, “The Smoking Gun was penned for the outlaw, on the lam. It’s from the shooter who gets away. Or does he?” It only took 85 minutes to catch up to Oswald. JFK was shot at 12:30pm and Oswald was arrested at 1:55pm at the Texas Theater in Oak Cliff. Somewhat ironically, he was not arrested for killing JFK, but rather for gunning down Dallas police officer J.D. Tippit, who had been shot less than an hour before Oswald’s arrest. Once events were set in motion, Oswald had little time left (“The hunt is on and soon I know my time is out”).

Well I, I’ve gotta go
The day has come
I can’t be slow
Yes I know the time is now
And when it’s done the president and everyone
Will never know who shot him down

Now I, I’m on the run
The open road,
The hunt is on and soon I know my time is out
There’s no question
I am the one, the smoking gun
No one will know who shot him down
Who shot him down?
Who shot him down?

I shot him down
My time is out
I’ve gotta go now

^20. Eye Ocean – Five Bullets


previously released on The Smoke in Your Eyes (2010)
written by Pascal Cormier

The song is called “Five Bullets” because, according to songwriter Pascal Cormier, “John F. Kennedy was shot in the throat, twice in the back and then twice in the head simultaneously.” Cormier sees a broad conspiracy at work in the JFK assassination, “I believe that JFK was assassinated by people he knew, I believe the CIA, Cardinal Spellman and the Vatican were definitely involved, using the Roman Catholic Mafia and some U.S. Military. I believe one of the shots he got to the head was done by the driver.”

Pascal’s conspiracy theory is not obvious in “Five Bullets”. Instead, the focus here is on Kennedy’s views on the relationship between religion and the state. JFK was the first Catholic elected President despite considerable prejudice among the electorate. A Gallup poll taken in 1959 showed that a quarter of Americans would not vote for a Catholic president. Kennedy confronted this issue at a key point in the 1960 presidential campaign. In an address to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association on September 12, 1960, JFK made clear that he believed the separation of church and state “is absolute”. The effect of JFK’s speech was to reassure many voters, as the percentage of those opposed to a Catholic president had dropped to 13 percent by the time JFK had taken office. “Five Bullets” uses passages from that speech:

JFK: “I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute; where no Catholic prelate would tell the President — should he be Catholic — how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote…. I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish; where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source; where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials, and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.”

This speech became an issue in the 2012 presidential primaries, as Republican candidate Rick Santorum was quoted as saying that Kennedy’s 1960 speech on the separation of church and state made him want to “throw up”. Santorum deservedly received considerable criticism for the remark and admitted, “I wish I had that particular line back.”

^21. Flash Gordon’s Ape – Boiler Room, Part 2: The Grand Design


previously unreleased
John A – guitar
Crowmeat Bob – double and electric bass
Pat Tiglao – drums

Boiler Room” by Flash Gordon’s Ape is a 25+-minute sound collage about how events are expressed through media and how media influence history, as well. Crowmeat Bob points to J.G. Ballard as an influence at work in “Boiler Room”, as well as Peter Dale Scott’s notion of “deep politics”. Deep politics is concerned with shadowy forces underlying our everyday institutions. These forces create historical imperatives and rely on the collective suppression of information to continue operating. Crowmeat Bob refers to “a malevolent, sentient force that… creates these sacrifical events like the JFK spectacle” In a sense, the idea of conspiracy is rendered meaningless in a world where these pervasive systems are at work–deep political structures operate according to their own mandates.

The “Boiler Room” is a “menacing underground chamber where history is forged.” Crowmeat Bob cites Stephen King’s The Shining as an influence here, where the Overlook Hotel can be seen as an allegory for the history of the United States. Jack discovers the Overlook’s history in a scrapbook full of newspaper clippings he finds in the boiler room. It is there that Jack becomes aware of the underlying violence that drives events at the hotel. Also, the destruction of the hotel is caused by an explosion emanating from the boiler room.

Excerpted on this compilation is “Part 2: The Grand Design”. From his LP Man Is Not Alone, Senator Everett Dirkson (who assisted LBJ in forming the Warren Commission) asks listeners to “consider the grand design and the hand of the designer” followed by the Old Testament account of creation. The epic scale of this theme is reinforced by “Also Sprach Zarathustra” by Richard Strauss. “Boiler Room” then intercuts a recording of the concluding remarks of a speech John F. Kennedy gave in Fort Worth on the morning on November 22, 1963, with a revival preacher asserting that the end times are upon us. Unaware of the fate waiting for him in Dallas later that day, JFK expressed his optimism about the world’s prospects for peace.

“Part 2: The Grand Design” presents contrasting “light” and “dark” views of Dallas. After a brief section of Jimmie Dale Gilmore’s “Dallas” (“I came into Dallas with the bright lights on my mind”), we hear a quote from Randall Adams, who was the subject of Errol Morris’s documentary The Thin Blue Line (1988). Adams, who was wrongly convicted of murdering a Texas police officer, quotes his mother as saying, “if there was ever a hell on earth, it’s Dallas County. She’s right. She’s right.” Interestingly, in 2011 Errol Morris made a short documentary about the Umbrella Man, who was in Dealey Plaza on the day JFK was assassinated. Conspiracy theorists have long speculated on the motives of this odd figure who on bright sunny day brought an umbrella to JFK’s motorcade and opened it as JFK’s motorcade passed by. Through an interview with JFK assassination researcher Josiah “Tink” Thompson, Morris reveals the bizarre, yet benign motives of the Umbrella Man.

“Part 2: The Grand Design” concludes with a brief section at the end of Orson Welles’s 1938 radio broadcast of War of the Worlds. A radio operator pitifully calls for anyone to respond after the destruction of New York by alien forces–a media creation that many listeners mistook for an actual report of a real-world event.

^22. Hounds Hounds Hounds – Bullet


originally released on Hounds Hounds Hounds (2012)
written by Glenn Danzig

Hounds Hounds Hounds provide one of two versions of the Misfits’ song “Bullet” on Conspiracy A-Go-Go. “Bullet” conveys the sex and violence of the JFK assassination. After describing JFK’s wounds with vivid injury, the focus shifts to a sexual fantasy about the first lady, Jackie Kennedy, but not before placing the blame for the assassination squarely on Texas (“Texas is the reason that the President’s dead”). The version by Hounds Hounds Hounds is a more straightforward garage rock interpretation, and the shuffle beat of this version emphasizes the sex in “Bullet”.

President’s bullet-ridden body in the street
Ride Johnny ride
Kennedy’s shattered head hits concrete
Ride Johnny ride

Johnny’s wife is floundering
Johnny’s wife is scared
Run Jackie run

Texas is an outrage when your husband is dead
Texas is an outrage when they pick up his head
Texas is the reason that the president’s dead
You gotta suck, suck, Jackie suck

President’s bullet-ridden body in the street
Ride Johnny ride
Kennedy’s shattered head hits concrete
Ride Johnny ride

Texas is an outrage when your husband is dead
Texas is an outrage when they pick up his head
Texas is the reason that the president’s dead
You gotta suck, suck, Jackie suck

Arise Jackie O, Jonathon of Kennedy
Well, arise and be shot down
The dirt’s gonna be your dessert
My cum be your life source
And the only way to get it
Is to suck or fuck
Or be poor and devoid
And masturbate me, masturbate me
Then slurp it from your palm
Like a dry desert soaking up rain
Soaking up sun
Like a dry desert soaking up rain
Soaking up sun

^23. The Crytearions – Catcher in the Rye Bread


previously unreleased
written by Jimmy Monaghan

Is The Catcher in the Rye the book of assassins? Mark David Chapman’s obsession with this book led to his assassination of John Lennon and John Hinkley left a copy of it in his hotel room when he set out to kill Ronald Reagan. Lee Harvey Oswald may have owned a copy of The Catcher in the Rye, as well. J.D. Salinger’s 1951 novel resonated with these troubled individuals because the narrator of the story, Holden Caulfield, is a disaffected outsider expressing his frustrations in affecting manner. The Catcher in the Rye is a coming-of-age story, but one in which the protagonist resists growing up. Holden views the adult world as “phony” and he is let down by authority figures at several points in the book. The title of the book comes from Holden’s vision of protecting children playing in a rye field, which represents the innocence of childhood. Holden sees his role as keeping the children from falling from the rye field, shielding them from the hypocrisy of the adult world.

Can’t you hear them? The voices. The voices in my mind.
Oh they heal me with wise words, and tell me they’re phonies.
The violence can silence them when I’m tired.
Oh believe me, I want it, I try to I’m famous.
Blown headlines, with my crimes,
The world is so angry,
The people are phonies, they’re phonies they’re phonies.
Now they’ll know me,
My action – will get a reaction.
Take the credit,
For voices in my head.
I’m tired of waiting for something to happen,
Can’t you hear them? The voices; “They’re phonies, they’re phonies.”

^24. New Jack Rubys – Sniper at the Gates of Dawn


originally released on Clams! (2013)
written by New Jack Rubys

Sniper at the Gates of Dawn” is a reference to Pink Floyd’s first album Piper at the Gates of Dawn, although rather than the whimsical trippiness of Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd a better reference point for the New Jack Rubys’ darker psychedelic sound is the Velvet Underground. The band’s name, New Jack Rubys, is a clever combination of terms–what they refer to as a “Before and After” on the TV game show Wheel of Fortune. “New Jack” comes from the R&B dance music popular in the late 1980s and early 1990s dubbed “New Jack Swing”. The term was etched into the popular consciousness by the 1991 movie New Jack City. To “New Jack” this Australian band attached the name Jack Ruby to make New Jack Rubys. Jack Ruby, of course, killed Lee Harvey Oswald as he was being transported to a more secure jail (the irony).

^25. Steinski & The Mass Media – The Motorcade Sped On


previously released as a single in 1986, also released on NME’s Hat-Trick (February, 1987), also released on Stay Free’s Illegal Art Compilation CD (2002), also released on What Does It All Mean? 1983-2006 Retrospective (2008)
written by Steve Stein

“The Motorcade Sped On” by Steinski & The Mass Media is a hip hop sample-based sound collage that was initially released in 1986. This track takes sound clips from news reports of the Kennedy assassination along with samples of JFK’s speeches and arranges them over a sample of the drum pattern from the Rolling Stones’ “Honky Tonk Women.” Steinski finds Walter Cronkite’s rhythmic groove to form the “chorus” of the track. The “verses” contain samples from KBOX (Dallas) radio reporters Sam Pate and Ron Jenkins, who were covering Kennedy’s motorcade through Dallas, and Ike Pappas of WNEW (New York), who was reporting on developments surrounding the accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald.

Steinski asserts, “I doubt you’ll meet anyone less analytical regarding this sort of thing than me. I work very much in a stream of consciousness vein, just flowing along and grabbing for whatever seems appropriate at the time.” Still, “The Motorcade Sped On” is arranged more or less in chronological order of how events unfolded in November, 1963. The first two verses of “The Motorcade Sped On” includes initial reports of the assassination, in which the journalists struggled to make sense of what was going on during live coverage. Sam Pate and Ron Jenkins were positioned at different locations on JFK’s motorcade route. Pate was at Dealey Plaza where the shooting took place, and his reports make up most of the first verse. Jenkins was located farther down the route closer to the Trade Mart. His description of the chaos that erupted after the motorcade scrambled away from the site of the shooting make up the second verse. The third verse is Walter Cronkite’s announcement of President Kennedy’s death. The fourth verse shifts the focus to events two days later, when Oswald as he was being transferred to the county jail by the Dallas police. Reporting on live television, Ike Pappas moved close enough to Oswald to ask him, “Do you have anything to say in your defense?” just before Oswald was gunned down by Jack Ruby. The track also includes a couple of brief samples from Lenny Bruce’s observations about stereotypical views of Jews in regard to Jack Ruby. Recordings of JFK’s speeches are used at key points throughout the track. Most of the clips are from Kennedy’s inaugural address, but also included here is the famous line “Ich bin ein Berliner” from JFK’s speech at the Berlin Wall on June 26, 1963.

“The Motorcade Sped On” has already found its way onto a couple of interesting releases. NME magazine included it on a 7″ vinyl compilation called NME’s Hat-Trick, which was given away with the February, 1987, issue of the magazine. Steinski explained that Island Records arranged for the track to be included on the NME compilation, “Just after I put the record out, I got signed to Island Records; Island helped publicize the record through their UK connections.”

Later “The Motorcade Sped On” was included on Stay Free’s Illegal Art Compilation CD. Illegal Art is a record label founded by “Philo T. Farnsworth” in 1998 to challenge existing copyright law. The Illegal Art compilation CD was released in 2002, gathering tracks that had all run into copyright issues that prevented them from wider distribution. The liner notes for the compilation CD explained, “Most of these tracks would never have existed if the artists had adhered to copyright law.” The CD also included liner notes for each track, and it had this to say about “The Motorcade Sped On” (with a footnote “*used without permission”), “Steven Stein created this cut-up of Kennedy assassination coverage. His label, Tommy Boy, was unable to officially release it because CBS refused to grant clearance for the use of Walter Cronkite’s voice. It was instead released as a white label 12-inch single in 1986.”

In 2008 Illegal Art released a compilation of Steinski’s work called What Does It All Mean? 1983-2006 Retrospective that included “The Motorcade Sped On”. Steinski explains, “Illegal Art approached me about putting together a retrospective comp (bless their hearts), and I felt we weren’t taking too big a risk putting the JFK piece out again due to it being so far under the radar at that point.” Steinski gave his permission for the song to be used on Conspiracy A-Go-Go, and it’s still as powerful today as it was upon its initial release.

Ed McMahon: And now, here’s Johnny
[Opening chord from “A Hard Day’s Night” by the Beatles]
JFK: Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your [three gunshots]
[drums begin]

Walter Cronkite: Here is a bulletin
Walter Cronkite: Here is a bulletin
???: What is it?
Sam Pate: Stand by please
Sam Pate: Stand by please
Walter Cronkite: In Dallas, Texas [gunshot]
Sam Pate: It appears as though something has happened
Sam Pate: in the motorcade route
Sam Pate: in the motorcade route

JFK: ich ich ich bin ein ein ein Berliner

Walter Cronkite: Three shots were fired
Walter Cronkite: three
Ron Jenkins: Put me on, Phil, put me on
Walter Cronkite: Three
Ron Jenkins: Put me on, Phil, put me on
Walter Cronkite: Three
Walter Cronkite: President Kennedy has been seriously wounded by this shooting
Sam Pate: Stand by please
Sam Pate: Stand by please

Chorus:
Walter Cronkite: More details just arrived
Walter Cronkite: Mrs. Kennedy jumped up
Walter Cronkite: she called, “Oh no”
Walter Cronkite: Oh no
JFK: The energy
Walter Cronkite: Oh no
JFK: The faith
Walter Cronkite: Oh no
JFK: The devotion
Walter Cronkite: Oh no
Walter Cronkite: The motorcade sped on

JFK: The world is very different now

Ron Jenkins: Something has happened here
Ron Jenkins: We understand there has been a shooting
Ron Jenkins: Something has happened here
Ron Jenkins: I can see many, many motorcycles
Ron Jenkins: I can see many, many motorcycles
Ron Jenkins: Mrs. Kennedy’s pink suit
Ron Jenkins: something has happened here
Ron Jenkins: many, many motorcycles
Ron Jenkins: Mrs. Kennedy’s pink suit
Ron Jenkins: something has happened here
Ron Jenkins: something is wrong here, something is terribly wrong

Chorus

JFK: ich ich ich bin ein ein ein Berliner

Walter Cronkite: The flash
Walter Cronkite: Apparently official
Walter Cronkite: The flash
Walter Cronkite: Apparently official
Walter Cronkite: President Kennedy died at 1:00 PM central standard time
Walter Cronkite: Time
Walter Cronkite: Time
Walter Cronkite: Time
Walter Cronkite: Time
Walter Cronkite: Time

JFK: We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution

Ike Pappas: There is the prisoner
Ike Pappas: There is the prisoner
Ike Pappas: Wearing a black sweater
Ike Pappas: Do you have anything to say in your defense?
[gunshot]
Ike Pappas: Oswald has been shot
Ike Pappas: Oswald has been shot
Ike Pappas: Jack Ruby
Ike Pappas: Jack Ruby
Lenny Bruce: Ruby
Lenny Bruce: Came from Texas
Ike Pappas: He runs the carousel club
Ike Pappas: Here is the ambulance

Chorus (2x)

^26. The Droogs – Man Gone Down


previously unreleased
Man Gone Down written by Ric Albin and Roger Clay
Copyright BMI 2013. Publishing administered by BMG/Chrysalis
Vocal : Ric Albin
Guitar, Bkg Vocal: Roger Clay
Bass: Dave Provost
Drums: Tarik Ghiradella

In their first release in 16 years veteran garage/psych rockers the Droogs capture the sense of shock and disorientation that followed the JFK assassination. “Man Gone Down” describes how the celebratory atmosphere of JFK’s motorcade through Dallas on a pleasant November day was shattered as shots rang out (“Then baby hell breaks loose”). The nation mourned as JFK was put to rest in a solemn ceremony, and struggled to understand what had happened. In the days that followed JFK’s death, a sense of unease set in (“I saw the light of the future dim”).

In the years that followed the JFK assassination, the government, once a trusted institution, was increasingly viewed with suspicion (“We felt dark forces underneath”). A large part of the public was unsatisfied with the “lone nut” explanation of the assassination offered by the Warren Commission. Also, the broad consensus that had existed broke down as the war in Vietnam polarized the country (“Lost years and friends in ‘Nam”)–a war perhaps avoided if JFK had not been gunned down. With urban unrest, assassinations, the war in Vietnam, and the Watergate scandal all taking place in the decade that followed JFK’s death, distrust of the government quickly became the norm (“Secrets and lies are sold/The truth is seldom told”).

I watched the girls on the city lawn
I saw the boys waiting in the sun
I felt the crowd go by
Under the flag they fly
I saw the shadow of a gun
Then baby hell breaks loose
In need of some excuse
For daylight subterfuge
It’s on the nightly news
Man gone down

I heard the sirens in the wind
A song of sorrow now begins
When all the hurt inside
Form chasms deep and wide
I saw the light of the future dim
Then baby things explode
Wires and frames exposed
Secrets and lies are sold
The truth is seldom told
Man gone down

We saw the horses in the street
They march for hours on a screen
And as the world passed by
For those that sympathize
We felt dark forces underneath
Then baby eyes be damned
History on a power slam
Lost years and friends in ‘Nam
We count them when they land
Man gone down

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