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Gods, Monsters, and Conspiracy Theorists


Steven Machat has lived the life of a rock star and the odds are that you've probably never heard of him. In his tell all book, “Gods, Gangsters and Honour,” Steven dishes all the dirt you could ever want to know about the music industry and while he's at it he also names every name and every crime too. In the end it leaves almost nothing to the imagination and states it so blatantly that you can't help but see the industry being run by people that exhibit a kind of ruthless gangster like behavior. It's for this reason that it left me wondering why on earth Steven Machat would write such a book? Why “out” everyone? People die for less. Why write about how awful Sharon Osbourne was and (possibly) is? Why tell us about us how David Geffen wanted to have his way with him? Why? In his book Steven was privy to the deepest and darkest secrets of the music industry in almost the same way that Robert DeNiro was privy to the inner secrets of the Mob in Casino. In a way there's a direct relation to the imagery in both stories all the way down to the statement, “If you want to solve a crime, follow the money.” If you want to know why people do all kinds of evil, follow the money. This is the central theme to what Steven, a former big music entertainment lawyer and band manager, is trying to tell us. It's a compelling book. I read it in a day and was anxious to talk more about it with the author.

 Over the phone Steven wasn't exactly the person I expected to speak with after reading, “Gods, Gangsters and Honour.” He spoke and ran on tangents not able to stay on any topic that I tried to present. I wasn't attacking, but he was bobbing and weaving from topic to topic like a boxer. Instead of addressing Sharon Osbourne directly he mentions that he's already moved on to his third book. His third book? I am confused and it's quickly apparent that I can't keep up with his mind so I go where he leads me. It's a rabbit hole as well as a musical journey where he talks more about things like his photograph with politicians such as George W. Bush. Incidentally this is a photograph that he has been clipped out of now that he is no longer married to the woman also posed in the photo with the former governor turned president. I think it's interesting that Steven wants to talk more about politics that he does music given the symbolic nature of being clipped out of that photograph. Steven wants to start a legitimate third political party in America too. It's a crazy idea. Or is it? His energy is intoxicating and makes me think about the entire idea that the world is not as it seems when you get to see how it runs behind the scenes you realize how dark it is in the rabbit hole.

 Steven Machat's book is, not surprisingly also full of stories about his other encounters with politicians such as Henry Kissinger, which makes me begin to see the world entirely in a different light. Not just about the movers and shakers of the music industry and some of the despicable behavior they exhibit, but the fact that it might also be true that different arenas are not so far removed from one another when you want to get to the bottom of things. After all, if you want to speculate about conspiracy theories the way that Steven does about Kissinger and his appearance in a private office of a known drug dealer, it is to naturally wonder if Henry Kissinger did try “blow” in the office or not. Are you shocked? Henry Kissinger, during the 70's would prove to be nearly as important of a political figure as all of the U.S. Presidents in that decade put together. And now we know that it's quite possible that he might have experimented with drugs and who knows what else, right?

 The problem is that even if Steven is telling the truth about what he knows, we can only know that he's going to be a DeNiro to a bunch of Al Capones. A crazy accountant that is no longer keeping the secrets of the moguls. In the end it's one man's attempt to reveal decadence in a corrupt industry that is no longer about music, but is and has been for a long time about building itself towards monster personalities that are definitely god-like and now bigger than music. This might be why Sharon Osbourne attempted to block the book from being published in the UK. According to Steven she orchestrated a coup on her father's company designed to destroy the label and eventually led to the brand that is now Ozzy Osbourne. Yes, not really a secret, Ozzy is Sharon's creation after all. If we examine it for what it is, Steven is right. It is despicable behavior of a people that are in search of absolute power over giving us beauty. History reveals (even without this revelation) that he's probably right. Sharon Osbourne is probably never going to show the world who she really is. After covering Ozzfest, I can only say that I too have experienced glimpses of being treated horribly by Sharon Osbourne, but only by proxy. It's nothing that is provable anyway. Just rumors or rumors of rumors. At least Steven gives us a clearer picture.

 After hanging up with Steven and having thrown away my entire script of questions in favor of talking strictly about the tangents that Steven wanted to talk about, I have to admit that he led me down a rabbit hole that I have learned is much deeper than music. It's much deeper than politics. And it all makes me believe that Steven, as crazy as he came across over the phone, was on to something when we talked about the world in general. Whatever it is that we're seeing isn't the truth. Our perception is wrong. History will reveal that Steven is nothing but a crazy guy who was a bit of an alarmist trying to, perhaps, pay for his past sins of his decadent rock star life. But I also wager that that's exactly how it's supposed to read because history is controlled by the likes of Henry Kissinger or even the Sharon Osbournes of the world. They will never fear the Robert DeNiros or Steven Machats. They are, after all, our gods and gangsters respectively.

By Paul Stamat