This month I interviewed Mark Colton, lead singer of progressive rock band Credo, about my favourite song of theirs, Conspiracy (MCF). Not only is the 10-minute piece a prog rock tour de force, its lyrics are an intriguing study of conspiracy theorists, making reference to some of the most famous conspiracy claims of our time…
“Did man set foot on the moon, or was it just a lie? What went on in Roswell? Was it visitors from the sky?”
Conspiracy (MCF), from Credo’s 2011 album Against Reason, is about people getting seduced by conspiracy theories. Some of the lyrics suggest that writers Mark Colton and Tim Birrell have a sceptical, derisive view of most conspiracy theories and the people who propagate them. You can see this in lyrics like “he claims he’s open-minded, but his mind is always set”, “he’ll fill them full of half-truths… confuse them with coincidence”, and “buy my book and truth will out”.
“It really came about being focused on the outlandish claims that people tend to spout on TV when they have a book to sell!” said Mark, confirming the song’s distrustful approach.
Still, the song doesn’t nail its colours to the mast. Lyrics like “disarmingly economic with the facts”, “don’t get taken in”, “the truth concealed so easily with rhetoric and lies”, and “reason well and read between the lines” could be read either way. These are the sorts of things you expect conspiracy theorists to say when trying to convince you of the latest plot the government is orchestrating.
Certainly, from talking to Mark, it seems he is on the fence about a lot of conspiracy theories – and about the stance of the song. “I like to leave a subject matter open,” he said, “and a have a ‘twist’ in my lyrics.”
“Who pulled the trigger on JFK? How did Marilyn die? Buy my book and truth will out – and I will tell you why!”
Conspiracy (MCF) makes reference to a lot of famous conspiracy theories, including the JFK assassination, the moon landing hoax claims and Marilyn Monroe’s death. But does Mark believe in any of these theories?
“Nothing would ever surprise me,” said Mark. “I don’t believe in the degree of coincidence that tends to surround these and other famous cases. They often seem like a convenient truth. I do accept that there are cover-ups by people who benefit from not being caught, or whose downfall will impact on other high-profile people’s positions by association.”
This led us on to a discussion about Jimmy Savile. Mark suspects – as do a lot of others – that the press is corrupt and that a concerted effort has been made to protect high-profile sex offenders. He cites the unlikely coincidence that so many celebrities are being exposed as paedophiles many years after their crimes were committed, or after they’re dead. Mark said, “The fact that Savile was adored by royalty and by Margaret Thatcher – he stayed at her residence 3 or 4 times over Christmas and New Year’s – tells its own story.”
Mark also referred me to a very interesting radio interview with Sex Pistols front man John Lydon in 1978 (link below). In it Lydon says the following:
“I’d like to kill Jimmy Savile. I think he’s a hypocrite. I bet he’s into all kinds of seediness that we all know about but are not allowed to talk about. I know some rumours.”
Following up on this thread, I watched a more recent interview with Lydon (below). In it he says that the underage perversions of Jimmy Savile and others were common knowledge at the time, but not common knowledge in the media.
So who’s responsible for this cover-up? The press? The BBC? Elements inside the UK government? A matter for a future blog, I think…
“Vaccines filled with poisons to make your children die. I’m gonna expose the New World Order as a dirty Marxist ploy.”
It would seem that Mark Colton does view the world with a suspicious eye. Like me, he admits to being open to conspiracy theories, but like the song, he doesn’t commit to them, and fully acknowledges that there are some batshit crazy theories out there, too.
For instance, one famous British conspiracy theory he doesn’t subscribe to is the notion that Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed were murdered by the ‘Establishment’.
“I would say it wasn’t murder,” he said. “It would have been easier to have done it in different ways where only she was killed, and then blamed any splinter paramilitary or religious group. A sniper rifle or a landmine when she was doing her high-profile picture opportunities would have been a whole lot easier.” He adds, with a hint of cynicism, “But like I said, nothing would surprise me anymore.”
In closing, I wanted to ask the question that many Credo fans have been wondering since Against Reason was released. What on Earth does the ‘MCF’ in Conspiracy (MCF) stand for?
“We’ve had some great guesses from fans,” Mark laughed. “The best one was ‘Mark Colton’s Fat’!”
But when it comes to what it actually means, Mark was a bit more reticent. He revealed it to me in the end, but asked me not to give the game away. However, what I can reveal is that the answer is discoverable… “The answer is actually in the album artwork,” said Mark. “The three words are there. It’s an abbreviation of the working title the song had.”
And needless to say, the ‘MCF’ makes it a bit clearer which side of the fence that Mark tends to fall on when it comes to most conspiracy theories!
Mark finished up by providing me with some exclusive info about Credo’s new album, which the band are working on as we speak. “It’s likely to be out in spring 2016,” he said. “We are doing some dates at the end of 2015 and the album is more of the same in terms of lyrics. Well, except we are more jaded, more cynical, more pissed off, less trusting and more reflective on the world around us and what our generation has done to mess it up!”
Next week: Due to having other writing commitments, the blog is going on hiatus for a couple of weeks. I’ll be returning in July with the Disney Conspiracy, Part 2. Read Part 1 here.