For years one of the great mysteries in American political history was what President Nixon said in the missing 18-½ minutes of tape that was “accidentally” erased before it was given to investigators. A new book may just answer that question.
According to Nixon’s story, his personal secretary Rosemary Woods erased the missing section of tape when she was trying to transcribe the details of the conversation for the Watergate Hearings. In a new book, “Knowing Dick: My Mother’s Time Under President Nixon”, Petey Woods, Rosemary’s eldest son, claims that she revealed to him that Nixon had detailed discussions about assassinating members of the metal band Black Sabbath on the deleted section of the tape. He also claimed that his mother was asked by the President to destroy the section because he worried about “a wave of heavy metal coming over to the U.S. from England and spreading lawless, godless communism.”
According to the book, Nixon, who has also been rumored to have encouraged the assassination and overthrow of Salvador Allende in Chile, wanted to see a similar fate for Bill Ward, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler. Nixon was much less concerned about Ozzy, who he felt was a drag on the talents of the rest of the band. However, Nixon was concerned that “Sabbath might go ahead and get someone like that fellow Dio from the band Elf. Then, they’d all have to go or they’d be unstoppable.”
Nixon believed the CIA could be enlisted in plans to get rid of Sabbath. “After all, we used them to overthrow Mossadegh in Iran and Arbenz in Guatemala. They helped get rid of Trujillo in the Dominican Republic, Diem in Vietnam and Patrice Lumumba in the Congo. They even tried to kill Castro 8 times for god sakes. Getting rid of a bunch of angry, power-chord obsessed Brits should be no trouble whatsoever for the boys over at Langley.”
“The President was deeply concerned about the potential dangers of a style of music that loud and that intense,” says Woods in his book. Apparently, most of the 18-½ minutes is an anti-metal rant that featured the President raving about the future of metal. “Eventually they’ll be bands that play a style called speed or thrash metal. They’ll have names like Slayer and Demolition Hammer and they will corrupt the young. I can envision a world where kids run into each other in a dance they like to call “moshing”. They’ll be encouraged to kick their friend in the head and have a ball. Is this the type of America you want, Haldeman?”
One of the most shocking revelations about the tapes is Nixon’s Nostradamus-like ability to accurately predict the path of heavy metal. At one point, he allegedly referred to a style of metal from Scandinavia that he believed would be called “bleak metal” and would feature band members wearing corpse paint and playing fast, angry metal filled with high pitched screams. He then allegedly went into graphic detail about his concern that there might be a so-called “death metal” scene in Florida in the early 1990s where bands like Death and Morbid Angel “could completely warp the minds of an entire generation with satanic imagery and blast-beat drumming.”
Nixon even went as far as saying that if Black Sabbath isn’t killed, we’d see a future with bands like “Suffocation, Pig Destroyer, and Goatwhore telling our kids god knows what”. By “taking out Sabbath”, Nixon believed he could strike a final and decisive blow against the forces of heavy metal. “All we need are a few bullets, a little arsenic in their beer and a car bomb or two. Then the kids will start listening to positive stuff like Anita Bryant and Bing Crosby again. And just what the hell is a Goatwhore anyway?”
However, if Sabbath was successful in their metal mission young people would “fall like dominos” and eventually America would be filled with a majority of “black tee-shirt clad, long-haired maniacs who live to thrash all night and sleep all day.”
Later in Nixon’s life, he slowly began to accept heavy metal and even was rumored to have listened to Pantera’s “Cemetery Gates” on his deathbed. However, his willingness to use the power of the Presidency to kill members of a heavy metal band is deeply troubling for the remaining twenty or so Americans who believe that America doesn’t have the right to go around the world murdering people who are a perceived threat.