Infra-Red Black & white film photography

11 Nov

My daughter Amy on a Southern Oregon Coast Beach, 1995.

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Infra-Red Black & white film photography

By: Bob Gersztyn

My son Mike and his future wife Susi at Silver Creek Falls 1996.

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Back in the Spring of 1975 I was enrolled in an experimental photography class at Pasadena city college. We had an assignment that required us to shoot a roll of infra-red black & white film and develop it in straight Kodak D-76 developer for 8 minutes at 68 degrees. We rated the film at 200 ASA (ISO hadn’t been implemented yet) with a red 25A filter, which brought the actual exposure ISO down to 50. The problem was that the instructor had never handled infra-red film before and back then there wasn’t a lot of information around about it, which is why it was experimental. After ruining the first 2 rolls that I shot, by loading them in open light, rather than in a dark room or changing bag, I tried the 3rd in the dark. The film is so sensitive to ultra-violet light that it gets fogged (exposed to light) even though it is inside a light tight cartridge, if you load it in the light.

Portland, Oregon, Willamette River, Steel Bridge, Lloyd Center and Rose Garden and sky, 1996.

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I didn’t use infra-red again until around 1990, when I began to shoot a roll, whenever I photographed an important or interesting subject. Over the next 15 years, I shot dozens of rolls and printed images in my wet darkroom. The problem was that even with a perfect infra-red exposed negatives, it was difficult to get a perfect infra-red print in the darkroom. Using polycontrast paper with a range of filters, it took time and money to get the perfect print. After 10-20 tries, the perfect print was achieved, and if you duplicated the exact exposure time with a consistent light intensity, filter number and developer temperature, you would achieve consistent results. But everything had to be meticulously adhered to or the results would be variable.

Portland, Oregon, Willamette River and boats, steel bridge, Lloyd center and Rose Garden 1996.

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I purchased Photoshop elements in 2002 and after scanning my infra-red negatives, I was able to achieve more consistent image quality results in a lot less time, without any cost until I printed my final manipulation. I purchased my first digital body, to use with my lenses, in 2012, when I ceased using film for photography. I have a thousand negatives of exposed and developed infra-red film and I wanted to post some of the photoshop images that I selected.

Oregon Country Fair 1999.

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I chose 11 images that were taken during the 1990’s.

Chuck Berry opening for the Grateful Dead in 1995 at 70 years of age.

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The Grateful Dead 1995

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The Grateful Dead 1995

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Mana the biggest Mexican rock group opening for Santana in 1999.

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Carlos Santana 1999

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Silver Creek Falls 1992

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Please let me know if you are interested in infra-red black and white images. Bob Gersztyn

“Jesus Was A Hippie”

5 Nov

“Jesus Was A Hippie”
By: Bob Gersztyn

Bob G 1973 Full Frame
“Jesus was a hippie,” the long haired and bearded friend of Ostap’s named Sal, told me back in August 1969. I was still living in Michigan and was at Ostap’s place in Detroit for a party and Sal was sitting by himself in the living room on the couch, that didn’t have any legs and sat flat on the rug, with the cushions 18″ off the floor. Sal had a radiance about him, but then I was coming down off an acid trip on strawberry microdot, and I was drawn towards him.

A Gloria Miller and Fred Hernandez 1976
“Do you mind if I sit here?” I asked.
“The Lord brought you to me,” he told me. “Have a seat.”

Alfed Gomez #3
For the next hour, Sal, which is short for Salvador, I found out, immigrated from El Salvador, with his family, when he was a child. He told me that he didn’t use drugs because they weren’t necessary for a real religious experience.
“Drugs like LSD can only take you to the door. You still have to pass through it on your own with a clear mind, after you come down,” Sal explained.

B Praying together 1974
I understood what he meant, but I told him that I still hadn’t found the door, when he looked at me with a transfixing stare that penetrated me to the core and said. “Jesus is the Door.” He told me that after he had taken LSD, mescaline and even DMT over a hundred times that one day he realized that he had come to the conclusion that there was a God, whatever that meant. Therefore God must have left some clues about what life is all about, when he realized that there was a Bible sitting on the coffee table in front of him.

Holy Bible
He explained, “I picked it up and started reading from chapter 1 of Genesis and for the next month, in every spare moment that I wasn’t working or sleeping, I was reading. I concluded with the book of Revelation at 8:00 AM one Sunday morning in June and decided to go to church. Since I was Roman Catholic at the time, I went to Mass at 9:00 AM at St. Florian’s in Hamtramack and was overwhelmed by the liturgy and the beauty of the church itself. Then when it was over, I went to the Assembly of God church for their 11:00 AM service and was blown away by the contrast. After some incredible congregational singing led by a hippie looking guy with long hair and a handlebar mustache, the pastor who was dressed in a dark blue business suit, white shirt and black tie gave his sermon. He looked like a dork, with black framed Buddy Holly glasses, and a military crew cut, but when he spoke his words were like arrows to my heart. By the end of the service, I found myself down at the Alter along with half the congregation. They were all kneeling with their hands outstretched and it seemed like such a natural position to come before God. The minister came over to me and asked me if I had ever received the Lord Jesus Christ and I told him that I was baptized a Catholic. Then he put one hand on my head and with the other poured oil from a vial, onto my head, as he prayed.

Agape Inn 1973 Hosanna
“Wholly Other entity or nonentity, whatever you may be or want to be called I implore you and recognize the power that you have to direct our lives through the spirit of synchronicity, also known as the Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit. I ask you to help our brother into the fold by giving him a double portion of salvation the baptism in the Holy Ghost. Halleluiah and praise be to the Lord Jesus Christ who bought our salvation through his blood and death on the cross.”

Flo Field, Greg & Gerry Jaimes
Then Sal explained, “I was kneeling with my hands raised in complete surrender and was asking God to accept me as his servant as tears streamed down my cheeks. Suddenly I found myself speaking in tongues and then the next thing I knew, I regained consciousness in a nearly empty sanctuary. The only ones there were the pastor and 2 men and a woman. They told me that I had been slain in the spirit and fell into a catatonic stupor for a period and then without getting up off the floor, had prophesied for nearly half an hour, before I went into a catatonic state again for another 20 minutes before regaining consciousness.”

Worshipping together
Around this time the friends that I arrived with came over and said that they were leaving, so I told Sal goodbye. As we drove Tim lit up a joint and we smoked it on our way to the Duchess Lounge, where the Naked Lunch was playing. Sal gave me a new goal for tripping. Instead of just trying to find God, I was also looking for the door that leads into the transcendent. At the same time most freaks like me believed that Jesus was a hippie in his time, back in the day, but it would be another 2 years of psychedelic exploration for me before I found the door.


Bibliography of Published work by Bob Gersztyn

27 Oct

A Month after army discharge

Bibliography of Published work by Bob Gersztyn

This is nearly a complete bibliography of my published work, but I may have missed some things. Some of the online publications like folkwax and blueswax no longer exist, so unless someone else copied them before they went down they are no longer accessible.

Ike Turner interview, part 1, 5 December 2002,
Dennis McNally interview, part 1, 5 December 2002.
Ike Turner interview, part 2, 12 December 2002,
Dennis McNally interview, part 2, 12 December 2002.
Blind Boys of Alabama, Clarence Fountain, part 1, 30 January 2003.
Blind Boys of Alabama, Clarence Fountain, part 2, 6 February 2003.
Blind Boys of Alabama, Clarence Fountain, part 1, 6 February 2003.
Blind Boys of Alabama, Clarence Fountain, part 2, 13 February 2003.
String Cheese Incident, Michael Travis interview. 24 April 2003.
John Fahey interview, part 1, 1 May 2003.
John Fahey interview, part 2, 8 May 2003.
Bruce Cockburn concert review, 15 May 2003.
Bruce Cockburn album review – You’ve Never Seen Everything.” 26 June 2003.
Jorma Kaukanen interview, part 1, 3 July 2003.
Portland Waterfront Blues Festival Review & Photos, Blues Bytes page,10 July 2003.
Jorma Kaukanen interview, part 2, 10 July 2003.
Sean Costello interview, 7 August 2003.
Dennis McNally interview, part 1, 4 December 2003.
Dennis McNally interview, part 2, 11 December 2003.
Ike Turner re-interview, part 1, 4 December 2003,
Ike Turner re-interview, part 2, 11 December 2003,
Jars of Clay Interview with Charlie Lowell & photos, 25 December 2003.
Jorma Kaukanen interview, part 1, 1 July 2004.
Jorma Kaukanen interview, part 2, 8 July 2004.
Holy Modal Rounders Concert Review and photos, 18 March 2004.
Peter Stampfel (Holy Modal Rounders) interview, part 1, 18 March 2004.
Neil Young concert review and photos, 18 March 2004.
Peter Stampfel (Holy Modal Rounders) interview, part 2, 25 March 2004.
John Fahey interview, part 1, reprint, 29 April 2004.
John Fahey interview, part 2, reprint, 6 May 2004.
Chris Chandler & Anne Feeney performance review, Salem Oregon, 6 May 2004.
Chris Chandler & Anne Feeney CD review, Wholly Stolen Empire, 6 may 2004.
New Christy Minstrel’s CD reissue, review of both CD’s, 20 May 2004.
The Dead, 2 July 2004 concert review, 5 August 2004.
Portland Waterfront Blues Festival 2004, Blues Beat Page, 11 August, 2004.
Henry Diltz interview, part 1, 2 September 2004, issue #179.
Henry Diltz interview, part 2, 9 September 2004, issue #180.
Jars of Clay interview. Second publication, 23 December 2004.
People Get Ready: A New History of Black Gospel Music. By: Robert Darden, 23 December 2004.
Dave Walker interview, 6 January 2005.
Dave Walker and the Ambulators CD review, 6 January 2005.
Bob Dylan, Chronicles, volume 1, review. 21 April 2005.
. Randy Stonehill in Bob Gersztyn, The Wittenburg Door Interview (December 2005), (accessed April …
Dee Dee Warren interview, Wittenburg Door online extra, June 2005.
Dick Waterman interview, part 1, 13 October 2005.
Dick Waterman interview, part 2, 21 October 2005.
Don McLean interview, part 1, 24 November 2005.
Don McLean interview, part 2, 1 December 2005.
Bruce Cockburn, Speechless, album review. β€œPickin’ & Grinnin’ Page,” 19 January 2005.
Dion Dimucci, Bronx In Blue, album review, 2 February 2006.
Dion Dimucci Bronx In Blue, album interview, part 1, Blues Bytes page, 9 February 2006.
Dion Dimucci Bronx In Blue, album interview, part 2, Blues Bytes page, 16 February 2006.
Dion Dimucci Bronx In Blue, album interview, part 1, 16 March 2006.
Dion Dimucci Bronx In Blue, album interview, part 2, 23 March 2006.
Emilio Castillo interview, part 1, 2 November 2006.
Steve Miller Band concert review, 2 November 2006.
Emilio Castillo interview, part 2, 9 November 2006.
Bruce Cockburn interview, part 1, 9 November 2006.
Bruce Cockburn interview, part 2, 16 November 2006.
Bruce Cockburn concert review, 23 November 2006.
Les Primitifs du Futur World Mussette, CD review, 23 November 2006.
Country Joe McDonald Interview, 29 March 2007.

Country Joe McDonald concert review from folkwax, (accessed 28 October 2015)
John Stewart Interview, 5 April 2007.
Waterfront Blues Festival photographs, The Photopage, 25 October 2007.
Waterfront Blues Festival review, 2007 Blues Bytes page, 25 October 2007.
Joan Baez concert review, Front Porch page, 3 January 2008.
Z Z Top concert review, the Amphitheater at Clark county, Blues Beat Page, 10 April 2008.
Tab Benoit live at the Roseland Theater, 1 May 2008.
Shawn Mullins, interview and concert review, 8 May 2008.
Robin Trower interview and concert review, 22 May 2008.
Waterfront Blues Festival review 2008, 20 November 2008.
Dion’s Guitar Heroes, CD & DVD review, 18 December 2008.
Sharon Little Rosegarden Theater in the Clouds, concert review, 27 November 2008.
Allison Krauss and Robert Plant concert review, 18 December 2008.
Z Z Top Concert Review at Arlene Schnitzer concert hall. 1 January 2009.
Dion Dimucci interview about Guitar Heroes, part 1, 5 March 2009.
Dion Dimucci interview about Guitar Heroes, part 2, 12 March 2009.
Dion Dimucci interview about Guitar Heroes, part 1, 12 March 2009.
Dion Dimucci interview about Guitar Heroes, part 2, 19 March 2009.
24th Annual Waterfront Blues Festival, Portland, Oregon, 19 August 2011.
Portland Waterfront Blues Festival, A Blast From the Past11 August 2004 reprinted January 2012.
Jack White Blunderbuss album review, 11/9/12.
Photo Page Robert Cray and Joe McMurrian, Aladdin Theater, Portland, Oregon, November 13, 2012.
Blues Beat Robert Cray Band, Joe McMurrian, Aladdin Theater, Portland, Oregon, November 13, 2012, Tuesday Night Blues.
Blues Beat Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, The Blues Had A Baby. 1/3/13.
Photo Page 3/15/13
Blues Beat 3/15/13

John Sinclair 2004 Interview: published on John Sinclair’s website.

Wittenburg Door Interviews:
Issue #167 – November/December 1999: Wavy Gravy – Hippie Commune leader and Woodstock MC.
Issue #171 – July/August 2000: Jefferson Airplane & Hot Tuna
Jorma Kaukonen
Jack Casady
Issue #175 – March/April 2001: Mickey Hart – Grateful Dead
Issue #177 – September/Octover 2001: Rev Fred Phelps – God Hates Fags
Issue #182 – July/August 2002: Tory Bezazian – Former Scientology minister
Issue #184 – November/December 2002 –
Jethro Tull – Ian Anderson
Peter Max – Pop Visual Artist
Issue #186 – March/April 2003: Orson Scott Card – New York Times Bestselling list author.
Issue #187 – May/June 2003: Clarence Fountain – Blind Boys of Alabama, legendary gospel artists.
Issue #192 – March/April 2004: Kimberly Winston – Journalist and author of book on Faith Healers.
Issue #198 – March/April 2005: Robert Darden author of 30 books including People Get Ready: A New History of Black Gospel Music.
Issue #206 – July/August 2006: Terry Mattingly – author of Pop Goes Religion about how pop culture can communicate the gospel.
Issue #210 – March/April 2007: Bruce Cockburn – Canadian political and spiritual folk rock star.

Interviews on Website(This One Actually Works):

The Dog – Bounty Hunter
Bo Diddley – Rock Star

Ron Hall and Denver Moore – Christian co-authors
Inerviews in online archive:
Dennis McNally – Grateful Dead publicist and biographer
Andrae Crouch – Gospel Music Star
Jars of Clay member, Charlie Lowell – Alternative Christian rock star
Dee Dee Warren – Founder of Theology Web, online theology site.
Randy Stonehill – Pioneer Jesus rock star.
Russell Rathbun – Christian author
Emilio Castillo – Founder and lead or Tower of Power, San Francisco rock group from 1960’s.
Itemized publications:
Blues Revue: Photos of Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Jerry Portney, 1997 &1999.
Broken Arrow: Five front covers and four back covers, along with 33 inside photos and three articles 1997-2013.
Capitol City Entertainer: Article and photos on B. B. King and rock & roll, 1997.
The Daily Barometer: Three Alanis Morissette Photos, 1995.
Duprees Diamond News, Photos and articles, 1995-1999
GIG: Two photos in two issues, 1997-1999.
Guitar Player: Two photos in two issues1998-2001.
LIVE (Ticketmaster’s monthly magazine): Multiple assignments and published photographs.
Oregon Bluebook: Two photos in 1991
Peterson’s Photographic: Ten photos and an article in 1999.
The Seattle Rocket: 1997, Photos of Steve Albini and Shellac.
The Statesman Journal Daily Newspaper. Front page photos articles to inside photos and articles from 1995-2008.
Studio Photographer & Design, photo 1999.
More Ezines:
Taxi Guru 23 March 2014 β€œCabbie With A Camera, (with 11 photographs) (Accessed 21 April 2014).
Taxi Fare Finder, 5 December 2013. The Transcendent Taxi Ride: A Trip With A Spiritual Cabbie. (with 4 photographs) (Accessed 21 April 2014). 6 May 2014 Johnny Clegg Brings Down The House In Portland, Oregon, by: Becky Garrison. (Provided 20 photographs for slide show), (Accessed 14 May 2014).
Taxi Fare Finder, The Night Before Christmas, by: Bob Gersztyn, 16 December 2014. (accessed 25 December 2014).

1. “Encyclopedia of American Gospel Music,” Editor William McNeil. Published by Routledge from the Taylor & Francis Group in 2005. Twenty-four of my articles 1,000 word articles were used, covering the history of gospel and CCM.
2. “Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music: Pop, Rock, and Worship,” Edited by Don Cusic. Two of my 5,000 word essays were used for the subjects of “Festivals” and “Jesus Music.” Published by: Greenwood Press: an imprint of ABC-CLIO, LLC, 2010.
3. “Jesus Rocks The World: The Definitive History of Contemporary Christian music, vol. 1&2, by: Bob Gersztyn. Published by: Praeger: An Imprint of ABC-CLIO,LLC, 2012.

A Month after army dischargepencil

Jesus Rocks The World Seminar

22 Oct

Jesus Rocks The World Seminar Flyer

Communist Rock & Roll

20 Oct

Communist Rock & Roll

By Bob Gersztyn

7 Things121
About six months ago, my wife bought me a book at Dollar Tree, the discount product store where everything only cost’s a dollar, which reminded me of the Five and Ten Cent stores of my childhood back in the 1950’s. The book was “7 Events That Made America, America” by Larry Schweikart, published in 2010 by Sentinal. Chapter subjects ranged from the formation of political parties to the government attempting to control our diet. They were all interesting and eye opening, but the most fascinating chapter to me was titled, “A Steel Guitar Rocks The Iron Curtain.”

I’ve been aware of the impact that American music made on Communism and the collapse of the former Soviet Union and its Eastern European Bloc Satellite states, but up until now I didn’t have as much documentation as is now available, with the computer information age and more openness in those once completely closed nations. In 1990 Oxford published Timothy W. Ryback’s book “Rock Around the Bloc: A History of Rock Music in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union,” which Schweikart used as a reference in his footnotes 14 times.


It seems that the youth rebellion in the Communist countries occurred at the same time and with the same music that it did in the United States, during the same time period, as if in a parallel universe. Rock & roll rails against the establishment, whatever establishment may exist. “The paradox is that rock and roll by its nature is both entertainment and social criticism, revolutionary yet extremely sympathetic to the very liberties that infuse the American capitalist and political system.”(1)

Rock & roll was born in the early 1950’s, when what is considered the first rock & roll record was released and played. There are two different records that vie for that position, from two sides of the spectrum. The first is “Rocket 88” by Ike Turner and the Kings of Rhythm, featuring Jackie Brenston on lead vocals, which was recorded on the Chess label on March 3 or 5, 1951.

The second is “Rock Around The Clock” by Bill Haley and his Comets recorded on April 12, 1954 on the Decca label.

It doesn’t matter which one you accept, the point is, that until the electric guitar was perfected as an instrument, rock & roll couldn’t be born. After Leo Fender perfected and began to market the instrument so did the Gibson guitar company, with the help of Les Paul and his wife Mary Ford. The Gibson Les Paul is a standard among many rockers to this day, along with Fender Stratocasters and beyond. As a side note, Les Paul was a personal friend of arena rock star Steve Miller’s father, and tutored the young boy as a guitar teacher. So the Advent of the electric guitar was the driving force that merged Afro-American Blues, Jazz and Gospel, which by then was distilled into Rhythm & Blues along with White Country & Western, Bluegrass and Folk. Once that merger happened, rock & roll was born.

Elvis Presley was viewed as America’s secret weapon by the Communist Eastern German government when he was drafted into the army and stationed in West Germany. Ironically he was also viewed as a dangerous youth corrupter by the US government, but the army exploited his popularity with the youth of West Germany to its own end. Everything about rock & roll violated Communist ideals, because of the way that it glorified the individual instead of preferring the collective whole. The songs that bands played had a chorus where everybody sang and played together, and then there would be solo breaks, where an individual member would perform solo and outshine the collective whole and then come back together as a group. Rock & roll dancing was open, meaning that couples didn’t dance together, but as individuals, which was forbidden in East Germany. (2)

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Schweikart’s quote from page 133 sums it all up: “the power of Western music had already shot out of the West like alien transmissions from deep space, and it was headed straight for the Iron Curtain.” (3) Rock & roll arrived behind the “Iron Curtain” just like it did in the Western “Free World.” There were Hungarian and Polish rock bands doing covers of Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins in the late 1950’s. The “Iron Curtain” had rock stars like Czeslaw Niemen, Wolf Biermann, Marta Kubisova and Karel Kryl along with their own bands like the Polish, “Reds and the Blacks” and the “Red Guitars,” the Hungarian, “Illes,” Bulgaria’s “Bundaratsite,” Czechoslovakia’s “Olympic,” and the “Little Mary’s” and the U.S.S.R.’s “Time Machine,” “Falcon,” “Guys” and the “Little Red Devils.”

One of the difference between American and British rock and their Communist counterparts behind the iron curtain was free market Capitalism and the availability of instruments. There were no stores behind the “Iron Curtain” that sold electric guitars or drum kits, that were needed for a rock band, because none were manufactured in the Soviet Bloc. The instruments had to be imported and were subject to regulation, since they were from the West. “When the first guitar shop opened in Moscow in 1966, the entire stock sold out in minutes.(4)

Despite obstacles that would make the ones encountered by rock & rollers in the United States seem trivial in comparison, rock bands formed and performed. Riots occurred on some occasions when the authorities pulled the plug or cancelled scheduled concerts. Soviet hippies were publically beaten and had their hair shorn. One example that Schweikart cites is an incident where a Czech singer had to convince Communist bureaucrats to stop insisting that he cut his long hair by explaining that it “was necessary to ‘sell’ good Communist music to the proletariat in the West.” (5) By the time that Bruce Springsteen performed “Born in the U.S.A.” in East Berlin, in July 1988, Eastern European Communism was on the verge of collapse. Proof of that can be seen in the video link below that captured that performance, with the East German audience singing the chorus, “Born In The U.S.A.,” as if they were. (accessed 20 October 2015)

Bruce Springsteen #5c

1. Schweikart, Larry: 7 Events That Made America, America.” Published in 2010 by Sentinal.

2. (accessed 10/18/15).

3. Schweikart, Larry: 7 Events That Made America, America.” Published in 2010 by Sentinal.

4. Page 69, “Rock Around the Bloc: A History of Rock Music In Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, 1954-1988,” published in 1990.

5. Page 140, Schweikart, Larry: 7 Events That Made America, America.” Published in 2010 by Sentinal.

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Jesus Rocks The World Seminar and Lecture

8 Oct

Jesus Rocks The World Coverreduced126

Jesus Rocks The World: The Definitive History of Contemporary Christian Music, volumes 1 & 2, by Christian rock music historian Bob Gersztyn is an amazing story. It begins with the counter culture hippies of the 1960’s merging their psychedelic visions with their straight laced church going counterparts to create what came to be called, “The Jesus Movement,” which gave birth to Jesus rock. It tells the story of how Jesus rock became CCM, which expressed different manifestations of Christianity through rock & roll. Some of its artists, like Bob Dylan and U2 perfected the genre and made it mainstream. It also tells the story of how Jesus rock revitalized the dead Protestant church in America and Western Europe during the 1960’s and ultimately impacted Western pop music through the previously mentioned artists and hundreds of others. It is the story of how Western Civilization packaged and disseminated it’s ideological, philosophical and spiritual ideals to closed and adversarial societies, including the former Soviet Union, its Eastern European Communist satellite states and the current Islamic Jihadist states.

Jesus Rocks The World Volume 1 Coverreduced

What people are saying about “Jesus Rocks The World:”

“Bob Gersztyn’s history of Jesus Rocks the World is a welcome addition to the very slim canon of serious histories on contemporary Christian music. In addition to his thorough research, Bob’s interviews and photography skills make this a special project, one that scholars and fans alike will find valuable in the years to come.”
β€”Robert Darden, Associate Professor, Journalism, Public Relations and New Media, Baylor University

β€œThe history of contemporary Christian music has its roots in the earliest days of rock ’n’ roll, when pioneers such as Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, and many others funneled the euphoria of the black Pentecostal worship service into their music and performances. The β€˜Jesus Music’ of the early 1970s and subsequent β€˜contemporary Christian music’ of the 1980s and onward continues the lineage where rock music and Christian spirituality have combined. And Bob Gersztyn has done a masterful job of documenting this much neglected lines of the rock ’n’ roll ancestry in his work.”—David Di Sabatino is an Emmy-nominated documentarian whose film Frisbee: The Life and Death of a Hippie Preacher played on PBS and received critical acclaim. He is also the compiler of The Jesus People Movement: An Annotated Bibliography and General Resource.

“It is wonderful to read such a thorough and insightful book on the subject. I am captivated by Bob Gersztyn’s account of so many people whose stories wove together to change hearts forever. But I was truly impressed at the lengths to which he was willing to go to look into the face of God’s work through Christian music and follow the story wherever it wentβ€”even to me.”β€”Marsha Stevens-Pino, Founding Member of Pioneer Jesus group Children of the Day and BALM Ministries.

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“Bob Gersztyn has written the history of a counterculture to the 60s counterculture where the spirit of the time met the Holy Spirit and the rock of the age was transformed by the Rock of Ages.”
β€”Don Cusic, Professor of Music Business, Belmont University, Nashville, TN

“Jesus Rocks and Gersztyn Rolls Out the True Jelly Donut of the Soul.”β€”Hugh Romney a.k.a Wavy Gravy, Poet, Humanitarian, Peace & Personal Empowerment Activist, Woodstock MC and Author of Something Good For A Change.

“While I’ve dismissed Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) as Christian cheese, Robert Louis Gersztyn convinced me to give this musical genre another look-see. Through his photos and commentary, I found myself transported back to the sixties for a front row seat to witness the growth of this worldwide cultural phenomenon.”β€”Becky Garrison, Author of Jesus Died for This?



Rev Bob Gersztyn served as an inner city pastor in North East Los Angeles, California, during the 1970’s when he was part of the Jesus movement and the music that it produced. Over the proceeding decades he worked as a freelance photographer and journalist documenting both secular and Christian pop music for major music and religion publications, like Blues Revue , Guitar Player, LIVE and the Wittenburg Door magazines. His photographs, articles and interviews dealing with the connection between music and religion have been published in dozens of periodicals, ezines and books. “Jesus Rocks The World: The Definitive History of Contemporary Christian Music, volumes 1 & 2,” is the crowning work of over forty years of research, that involved the documentation of the spiritual side of rock & roll. It is the story of how both the Protestant and Roman Catholic Churches took advantage of the new genre of rock & roll to revitalize and reinvent themselves for a new generation of worshippers.

Jesus Rocks The World Coverreduced126

Contact Bob Gersztyn for more information and scheduling at:

Phone: (503)363-0404


Synchronicity and Rock & Roll

14 Sep

Synchronicity and Rock & Roll
Handcolred Larry Norman Handcolored #1
By: Bob Gersztyn

All Photography on this blog from the beginning was performed by Bob Gersztyn, who owns the copyright, except for part 2 of the Second Century Church.

Synchronicity is a phenomenon that occurs all the time, but we are seldom aware of it taking place, except for those occasions when it explodes into our reality for a breath taking moment. Synchronicity is defined as meaningful coincidence, but when it occurs it leaves us remembering the incident decades later. The term was popularized by German psychiatrist Carl Jung whose teachings were more Eastern minded as opposed to his friend Sigmund Freud’s influence on the thinking of Western Civilization.

When a synchronistic event occurs it is often interpreted as a spiritual event. Depending on your particular religious persuasion, it could be defined as the Holy Spirit, but then if you denied that it was it would be blaspheming the Holy Spirit, and you don’t want to do that. When I was a Jesus freak back in the 1970’s, I had a musician friend in Los Angeles that was always worried that he might have blasphemed the Holy Spirit, but I told him to calm down, because if you did you would know it, but what if you didn’t?

Anyway, back to my synchronistic events. The first that I remember occurred back in November 1968, about 3 months after my discharge from the army, while I was attending Macomb County Community College on the G.I. Bill. I had tickets to the Jimi Hendrix Experience at Cobo Hall in Detroit, where he was promoting Electric Ladyland, his third album and last with bass player, Noel Redding. I took a date from MCCC with me and the seats were pretty far up and in those days there weren’t any giant screen and video cameras, so we had to look with binoculars.

Experience Hendrix #3

The opening group was Cat Mother, which was Noel Redding’s new group that he formed and was the opening act before Hendrix came on and then Redding played with him. During the intermission before Jimi came on the lights came on and it was apparent that there were vacant seats closer to the stage, a couple of sections lower. So against my protests she led us down two sections into seats that were off center stage on the left, with a perfect straight ahead unobstructed view. After we were sitting there about ten minutes the lights flashed indicating that it was time for the main act to start and people began returning to their seats and late arrivals streamed in as well.

“Excuse me sir, you’re sitting in our seats,” I heard a voice say.
Experience Hendrix #2

When I turned my head to look at the person, it was my cousin Ricky that I hadn’t seen in at least five or six years. I greeted him and we shook as my date and I got up to return to our nosebleed section seats. I never saw my cousin Ricky again after that and moved out to Los Angeles on the West Coast three years after that.

Neil Young107Neil Young111a

The next event took place in multiple episodes that all came together and were documented in February 1999. The story begins back in January 1971 when I was living back in Detroit in a storefront apartment on Seven Mile and Ryan across from Pershing High. By this time I was 1 1/2 years deep in a relationship with my future wife Kathy, when we attended Neil Young’s solo acoustic performance at Detroit’s Masonic Auditorium. It was a great show, but I was disappointed because I thought that he would play electric guitar, which I loved.

By Summer 1971 I moved to Los Angeles with Kathy, where we got married and became born again Jesus freaks. I quit listening to secular music and destroyed my collection of 300 albums. After twenty some years of life, raising seven children and finding myself in a mid-life crisis, I became a rock and roll photographer and journalist.

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By the Summer of 1997 I was freelancing for a half dozen music magazines and was covering the H.O.R.D.E. Festival, which featured Blues Traveler. However, for a month or so they had Neil Young & Crazy Horse fill in for them. Portland, Oregon was one of the dates and I had credentials that included everything from free tickets to a photo pass and back stage passes, which I took full advantage of for the free food and drinks. I shot the three allotted songs and enjoyed the concert that I longed for in 1971. I was blown away. Neil’s performance was incredible! I loved it and two of my children were with me to witness it.

Neil Young111breduced

As a rock journalist I was always looking for new publications to submit my work to, when I stumbled across “Broken Arrow,” in 1998. It was published by the Neil Young Appreciation Society,” which was located in Great Brittan. I sent them some of my 4×6 enlargements and the next thing I knew they sent me a copy of the January 1999 issue with my photo of Neil Young from the 1997 H.O.R.D.E. Festival as the image to accompany an article in the Time Capsule section titled “Detroit 1971,” about the acoustic Neil Young concert that I first attended. The article was written by a journalist that I never met named John Miatech and my photo of Neil from the H.O.R.D.E. festival was featured. The magazine didn’t pay anything, but through it I got tickets and press passes to other Neil Young concerts and my work was featured on the front cover of “Broken Arrow” five times and the back cover four times.

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There are other incidents that are less dramatic, but nevertheless they are significant. One time that I was going to work at the Post Office, back around the turn of the millennium I was stopped by a train on McGilchrist off Pringle in Salem. As I was listening to the radio they were playing a song by the “Bare Naked Ladies” and the DJ was offering a prize to anyone who called in to say what the connection was between this song and the next. The next song was “Lovers In A Dangerous Time,” by Bruce Cockburn. I immediately thought to myself, the answer is Canada, as a boxcar appeared with a maple leaf on it and the word Canada directly beneath it.

Neil Young112areduced

The final example that I will give is from 1998, when I was working on an article for Blues Revue magazine about Bob Dylan and the blues. At the time I regularly worked out at the YMCA in downtown Salem on Court Street, where I had a membership. I just finished working out and was going to go sit in the sauna and wanted to read something while I did. I felt guilty because I needed to finish my article on Dylan and the Blues, but couldn’t do anything until I got home where all my books and notes were. As I reached into my gym bag I fished to the bottom and pulled up an folded up newspaper section dated a year earlier in 1997. As I pulled it out, the first word that I saw in the headline was “Dylan” followed by “and the Blues.”Bob Dylan #2

Bob Dylan #1

I had all the information that I needed to finish my article and submit it by the deadline.

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All these examples deal with rock & roll music, that I passionately love, so I guess that is something that has to be factored in as well. So God, the Holy Spirit, Synchronicity and being one with everything are all the same during what Zen Buddhism calls living in the eternal moment. The rock band Spirit had a song on their second album called, “It’s All The Same.”


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