I am honoured that all three reviews have rated the story 5 stars and they have been posted by authors whose work I have enjoyed.
Here are their kind words about Angel with Drumsticks.
Fascinating Story Of A Music Dream Gone Wrong By Dorothy Johnston
Angel With Drumsticks tells the absorbing story of a group of talented young musicians in the1960s who were squashed by the Vatican.
I admit that, before reading Angel With Drumsticks I had never heard of the ‘Rock Mass’, ‘Beat Mass’, or ‘Mass for the Young’ as it was variously called. I had never thought of Italian bands experimenting and working hard to develop an ‘Italian beat’, influenced by the Beatles, but certainly no carbon copy of them.
This was the dream of Angelo Ferrari and the teenage boys who joined him to write and practice songs and hope for performing breaks. They called themselves ‘Angel and the Brains’. As Pamela King says in her preface, they were ‘good Catholic boys who responded to an invitation from a church representative to fulfil the new desires of Vatican 11 to be more appealing to young people.’
The Mass, performed in a church, and including two groups besides Angelo’s – the Bumpers and the Barrittas - was phenomenally successful in attracting a young audience; but the response of the Vatican hierarchy was as swift as it was unexpected. The band members were excommunicated (though the order was later rescinded). A proposed tour, including playing at the Albert Hall, was cancelled, all sponsors and venues pulling out simultaneously; the small company, Ariel, which had recorded the Mass went broke, and the three bands suddenly discovered that they could not even get gigs in small Italian towns. Those priests who had supported the Mass were moved to remote postings.
‘Angel and the Brains’ played in Tunisia for a while before breaking up, and Angelo’s promising musical career was finished.
King has interviewed Angelo, who emigrated to Australia, and quotes his own thoughts and feelings, still vivid after nearly fifty years. King has interviewed Angelo, who emigrated to Australia, and quotes his own thoughts and feelings, still vivid after nearly fifty years. Angel With Drumsticks contains some fascinating photographs and newspaper articles, providing insights into the furore over the rock mass and the way the controversy has continued to re-surface over the years. It is a balanced account and at the same time a very personal one. The force and speed of the Vatican crackdown, when the bands believed the church had initiated the experiment in an endeavour to attract young people, remains a mystery. I highly recommend this book.
Fascinating By Jenny Hayworth
Fascinating account of a band that became a phenomenon in Italy and were poised for worldwide tour and promotion when it appears the Vatican (who had asked the young men to perform music for a mass in the first instance ) suddenly caused every country to pull out of the tour due to internal debate and pressure around the use of "beat" music. In the meantime careers and young lives were destroyed with repercussions echoing 50 years later. Although the book is not written "against" the church the reader can clearly see the great injustice done to all these young men who had only ever followed what they had been asked to do. This book should be heavily promoted in Italy and for anyone who is interested in a memoir outlining a fascinating event and the devastating impact a church can have on individuals that the church has never apologised for or at the very least acknowledge the wrongfulness of their actions. An engaging read for music lovers also.
Vatican vs 60s band By Book Lover24
A short interesting read that typifies the struggle of the 60s between youthful freedom and the establishment. In this case the mere mention of the parties involved, a pop (later rock) band and the Vatican, will arouse the reader’s curiosity.
The many photographs interspersed within the text nicely depict the ambience of the ‘beat’ movement in Rome at that time and the main protagonist, the band Angel and the Brains. Those who remember this group should definitely read this chronicle of the injustices inflicted upon them by the Catholic Church.