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Thread: Back Masking

  1. #1

    Back Masking

    Ok, so looking into this on Wiki(the source of all knowledge) I found this.

    The vinyl reproduction of Paradise Theater had laser etching on side one, spelling out Styx at the top, and two ladies facing each other on the sides. But on side two, the side with the song (Snow Blind) it had a black label with a small hole cut out where you could place the eraser side of a pencil, and play the album backwards to hear the backward message.
    Funny thing. I own a copy of this and there is NO hole there. There are the two ladies on the first side so is Wiki just having a hard day or is there really a copy like this? I'm going with the former that Wiki is rumor mongering.

    Gotta love this.

    Guitarist James Young called these charges "rubbish,"and responded, "If we want to make a statement, we'll do it in a way that people can understand us and not in a way where you have to go out and buy a $400 tape player to understand us.
    The whole issue so totally cracks me up.

    ETA: Looking at this I realized I am so random. Not a question there, just stupid crap to elicit a conversation about nothing. I should probably NOT look into therapy, that might hurt the stream of consciousness. These usually are the bff of threads.
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  2. #2
    Outraged bystander markwoll's Avatar
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    I always thought back masking was the invention of fundies trying to link satan with rock music.
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  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by markwoll View Post
    I always thought back masking was the invention of fundies trying to link satan with rock music.
    I reckon it's not even that simple. Rock groups in the 60's and 70's were using backwards recordings in their music. Think of things like Hendrix or Marino doing backwards guitars, or the backwards reverb effect sometimes applied to vocals on records (where you flip the tape over, run the backwards vocal through the reverb, record it onto a separate track, then when you flip the tape back over, you've got the reverb before the vocal, instead of after). I think what happens is, someone says "Oh, Jimi Hendrix used a backwards guitar solo on a couple of his songs", and then gets repeated, but at some point, as with all rumors, it becomes "So and so is hiding evil message on their records by recording them backwards".

    Now the other thing is, when you play recordings backwards, if you sit long enough, you'll hear stuff that does sound English being spoken or sung. On Led Zeppelin 4, during the intro to Black Dog, the bit where Plant is singing acapella, if you play that backwards, there's a bit where you'll hear something that sounds like "I am Satan". Apparently, that's what particular line sounds like when it's played backwards. I know because I did an experiment where I sang the line into a computer, flipped it backwards, and boom, there it was.

    So someone hears "Oh, if you play such and such record backwards, you'll find hidden messages", and people started tearing up their record players looking for this stuff. And after a certain point, they actually started "finding" these supposed messages.

    But I bet you could do the same thing with Biblical verse. You could take any recording of someone reciting the Bible, play it backwards, and there's probably all kinds of weird stuff in there..."I am Satan", or "This is all a fraud" or "Homosexuality rules" or whatever.

    But I got so sick of hearing about this stuff back in the 80's. You'd see these jackasses on talk shows, saying "Oh, if you play Running With The Devil backwards, you'll here...", whatever it was these idiots said was there. And these weren't things like The 700 Club I'm talking abot. You'd these turkeys on mainstream talk shows. There used to be a show here called The Afternoon Exchange, where one of these fools was demonstrating this stuff. And it apparently never occurred to the host to ask, "Why don't we hear the backwards message when the record is played normally?". I've never, to this day heard an explanation about this, not even a "Oh, it's hidden by Satanic powers" or whatever. Sounds don't appear or disappear depending on which way you're playing a record or tape. Period.

    And I had people close to me who actually bought into this bullshit and I had to listen to them talk about it.

    Oh, and btw, once all that crap started, bands actually did start hiding messages on records. I recall reading that Jefferson Starship stuck lines like "Devil's Food cake" on one of their records, after someone accused them of hiding something on one of their records. The Christian band Petra hid the line "Why are you looking for Satan when you should be looking for God" on one of their records. And of course, there's the message on side two of The Wall. Iron Maiden had that one backwards thing on the Piece Of Mind album, which when you played it backwards, turned out to be Nicko McBain doing his impression of some comedian doing an impression of Idi Amin, saying, "Don't meddle wid t'ings yo don't understand." (they also had the quote from the Book of Revelations on the back cover, with the word "pain" replaced with "brain", which nobody seemed to catch). And coming back to Styx, one of their albums had a "warning" sticker, obviously facetious advising potential record buyers the album contained hidden Satanic messages.

  4. #4
    Member moecurlythanu's Avatar
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    Don't know about this, but for a time, Bass Macking was big with the Hip-Hop fish crowd.
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    Member Camelogue's Avatar
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    We should have always been masking.

  6. #6
    Jazzbo manqué Mister Triscuits's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markwoll View Post
    I always thought back masking was the invention of fundies trying to link satan with rock music.
    Well, there was also the "Paul Is Dead" thing in 1969, where people, having noticed that the Beatles had incorporated backwards recordings in some of their songs, started playing records backwards and imagined that they heard messages such as "Turn me on, dead man" and "Paul is dead, miss him miss him miss him" in vocals that were actually recorded normally.
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  7. #7
    Outraged bystander markwoll's Avatar
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    I knew about the backwards instrument thing, very psychedelic etc.
    I was thinking more of the supposed messages hidden in the music revealed by playing the record backwards.
    Back in the day ( I still have it ) my Technics SL2000 turntable had a Stanton 681eee so I could run the platter backwards by hand.
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  8. #8
    Man of repute progmatist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Triscuits View Post
    Well, there was also the "Paul Is Dead" thing in 1969, where people, having noticed that the Beatles had incorporated backwards recordings in some of their songs, started playing records backwards and imagined that they heard messages such as "Turn me on, dead man" and "Paul is dead, miss him miss him miss him" in vocals that were actually recorded normally.
    There was also supposedly "Number 9" being repeated if Revolution Number 9 was played backward. How evil!!!!

    Repeating what I posted in another thread, if you play a country record backward, you get your wife back, your house back, your truck back, your dog back.......
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  9. #9
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    Springsteen's "Nebraska" -

    backwards - its Katrina & The Waves "Walking on Sunshine"



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  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by markwoll View Post
    I knew about the backwards instrument thing, very psychedelic etc.
    I was thinking more of the supposed messages hidden in the music revealed by playing the record backwards.
    Back in the day ( I still have it ) my Technics SL2000 turntable had a Stanton 681eee so I could run the platter backwards by hand.
    Yeah, but what I'm saying is, the one stemmed from the other. It's how rumors work. Soemthing happens, then someone repeats it someone else, that person repeats to another person and so on, with the story changing a little bit with each person. It starts off with say "The Beatles recorded a backwards guitar solo on one of their songs" to "The Beatles hid clues to Paul McCartney's death in backwards messages" to "Rock groups are hiding Satanic messages"

  11. #11
    Member moecurlythanu's Avatar
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    ^ So, a Johnny Dangerously at the lunch table kind of thing?
    He did not know that the sword he'd hold, would turn his priceless empire into fool's gold...

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  12. #12
    Was it Pink Floyd who put one on saying "Congratulations, you've found the backwards message"?
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    ^No idea, but on ELO’s Face The Music, the intro to Fire On High has “a baritone voice [that] fades in speaking a back-masked message. Drummer Bev Bevan provided the voice and when the record is played backwards, he exclaims ‘As you can see, the music is reversible but time is not. Turn back, turn back, turn back, turn back’. This inclusion was a joke by Jeff Lynne, who faced mild controversy from a Christian fundamentalist group, accusing him of including backwards Satanic messages on the track "Eldorado" from their previous album of the same name.”

    Source: Wikipedia.
    Brian Dennehy: "I'm now 80 and I'm just another actor and that's fine with me. I've had a hell of a ride," ... "I have a nice house. I haven't got a palace, a mansion, but a pretty nice, comfortable home. I've raised a bunch of kids and sent them all to school, and they're all doing well. All the people that are close to me are reasonably healthy and happy. Listen, that's as much as anybody can hope for in life."

  14. #14
    I remember Rob Halford demonstrating to an American courtroom that you could take any number of Judas Priest tracks, play them backwards and get something vaguely legible, albeit meaningless.

    Didn't he also point out that it didn't make good sense to put in hidden messages urging JP fans to kill themselves?

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Halmyre View Post

    Didn't he also point out that it didn't make good sense to put in hidden messages urging JP fans to kill themselves?
    There was some stand up comedian who said that, I forget who. But what Halford commented on was that the hidden message was supposedly the words "Do it", and Rob said "Well, do what?! Mow the lawn? Have a drink? What were we supposed to have been telling people to do?"

    Lemmy once said that if heavy metal caused kids to commit suicide, the streets would be choked with bodies, which they aren't.

    Was it Pink Floyd who put one on saying "Congratulations, you've found the backwards message"?
    That was on side two of The Wall, I think during the intro to Empty Spaces (or What Shall We Do Now, whatever the title of the track they used on the album was).

  16. #16
    Jazzbo manqué Mister Triscuits's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    Lemmy once said that if heavy metal caused kids to commit suicide, the streets would be choked with bodies, which they aren't.
    You haven't been to San Francisco lately.
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  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Triscuits View Post
    You haven't been to San Francisco lately.
    How's that?

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    There was some stand up comedian who said that, I forget who. But what Halford commented on was that the hidden message was supposedly the words "Do it", and Rob said "Well, do what?! Mow the lawn? Have a drink? What were we supposed to have been telling people to do?"
    Bill Hicks on the subject of backwards masking:


  19. #19
    Member frinspar's Avatar
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    Reminds me of when I was younger and enjoyed smoking mounds of weed and listening to Coast to Coast with Art Bell late at night. He had one guest, a speech therapist I believe, who was all about backwards speech. His whole premise was that a person's true and honest thoughts and meanings were embedded in our speech and could be exposed by playing the things we say backwards. This dong-dong would play all kinds of clips to try to prove one ridiculous thing or another. Obviously he used lots of politicians and policymakers to show their real-but-hidden agendas.

    Fun stuff.

    But the movie Trick Or Treat from the 80s was probably more believable than all of that shit.

    I've always been let down by the backwards things in music once I finally heard them. No evil, no cookie recipes, no hidden treasure, nothin'.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by moecurlythanu View Post
    ^ So, a Johnny Dangerously at the lunch table kind of thing?
    I remember the movie Johnny Dangerously, though I remember the ad campaign to promote (which involved putting up billboards that just read "Johnny Dangerously", with no explanation of what that was, in various places) more so than the movie itself. At any rate, I don't know what you mean.

  21. #21
    Anyone remember that stupid episode of CHiPs, where Ponch and...the guy who replaced Jon, whatever his name was, investigate the apparent attempts to kill a Gene Simmons wannabe ( played by Donnie "Ralph Malph from Happy Days" Most). Turns out it his manager (played by game show Peter Marshall) is trying to bump him off, using the "death as a viable career move" motive, with the added bonus that he was planting backwards messages on the records and such, clues that would keep the fans buying the records, trying to find out whether the devil really killed Moloch (yeah, that was his stage name) or what.

    The thing that was hilarious was how they depicted the backwards messages: in the middle of the song playing backwards, a "ghostly" voice appears, noticeably louder than the rest of the track, with reverb and everytihng, chanting, "MOLOCH MUST DIE! MOLOCH MUST DIE!". Yeah, like nobody would ever notice that when the tape is playing forwards. Course, when was anything on CHiPs ever realistic?!

  22. #22
    Member moecurlythanu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    I remember the movie Johnny Dangerously, though I remember the ad campaign to promote (which involved putting up billboards that just read "Johnny Dangerously", with no explanation of what that was, in various places) more so than the movie itself. At any rate, I don't know what you mean.
    He did not know that the sword he'd hold, would turn his priceless empire into fool's gold...

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  23. #23
    Man of repute progmatist's Avatar
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    It was fargin funny when Johnny's brother D.A. Kelley played a vinyl record while driving. When his brakes failed from being cut, as the car picked up speed, so did the record playback.
    "Well my son, life is like a beanstalk, isn't it?"--Dalai Lama

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by progmatist View Post
    It was fargin funny when Johnny's brother D.A. Kelley played a vinyl record while driving. When his brakes failed from being cut, as the car picked up speed, so did the record playback.
    That's sounds like the story of how Ken Kesey planned to make a film of the Merry Pranksters travels in the Furthur Bus. The problem was, he filmed everything with I guess a camera or two, and he had made sound recordings using a tape deck, which was powered off the bus' engine, and what happened was whenever the bus changed speeds the tape machine would change speed too. So, for decades, they couldn't do anything with the footage, until modern technology presented the opportunity to pitch corrrect the audio recordings so it could be matched up to the film footage.

  25. #25
    I love it that there were allegedly educated people who believed, without evidence, that the human brain can process speech in reverse.

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