Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Richie Furay of the pioneer bands Buffalo Springfield and Poco says Rolling Stone magazine’s August cover rendering Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as a rock star is reflective of a dying culture.
“I am saddened, disappointed and, yes, disgusted, but not surprised at this cover,” he told WND.
“To me – and it goes well beyond Rolling Stone –they’re simply just another pawn and just one of many examples of the undermining of America by the media, as we stand-by seemingly helpless watching this great nation of ours implode.”
As WND reported, amid a flood of outrage on social media by Rolling Stone subscribers and non-subscribers alike, three major drug store chains – CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid – have decided not to sell the current magazine issue, which hits newsstands Friday.
Furay helped form the influential 1960s band Buffalo Springfield with Stephen Stills, Neil Young, Bruce Palmer and Dewey Martin. Their hit “For What It’s Worth” became a political anthem. After the band broke up in 1968, Furay joined Jim Messina, Rusty Young, George Grantham and Randy Meisner to form Poco, which, like Buffalo Springfield, was a pioneer of the country rock genre. Poco’s first album, “Pickin’ Up the Pieces” in 1969, was awarded five stars in the 1979 Rolling Stone Record Guide.
Furay’s colleagues Stills and Young went on to Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young fame while Messina is best known for his pairing with Kenny Loggins. Meisner was a founding member of the Eagles.
Furay’s best known song, “Kind Woman,” was dedicated to his wife, Nancy.
He said that when he saw the August Rolling Stone cover, his first thought was, “Really? Seriously? You gotta be kidding me?”
“But then I remembered, this is Rolling Stone,” he told WND.
Furay, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997, said the Rolling Stone cover “isn’t even bad taste – this is a loss of grip on any moral integrity.”
“The only good I can see from it is a lot of people have canceled their subscription in protest,” he said.
Furay, who became a Christian after leaving Poco in 1974, acknowledged Rolling Stone has the “right” to portray a terrorist in a glamour shot on its cover.
However, he said, “as the Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 10:23 – and one of the reasons I’m so glad to have the Lord as my Shepherd – I can now make the distinction: “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify.”
Furay moved from Los Angeles to Colorado after his conversion and formed the Richie Furay Band with two members of the pioneer Christian rock group Love Song, Jay Truax and John Mehler. In 1983, Furay became senior pastor of a church in Broomfield, Colo., that is part of the Calvary Chapel Association of evangelical churches, which were at the center of the Jesus movement in Southern California in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Iconic entertainer Pat Boone, a pioneer of rock and roll who was second only to Elvis Presley in album sales in the late 1950s, also weighed in on the Rolling Stone cover.
He told WND Wednesday that Rolling Stone is helping turn Tsarnaev into a cult figure.
Boone – who himself was featured on a Rolling Stone cover in 1976 – told WND that when he saw the magazine’s August cover he immediately thought of the famous declaration from the classic comic strip character Pogo: “We have met the enemy and he is us.”
“The media is asking why young people are so mixed up and muddled, and even anti-American in their thinking – and it’s the media itself,” Boone said in an interview with WND.
Boone, whose squeaky clean persona helped mainstream rock and roll in the 1950s and early 1960s, sees an “anti-establishment tenor” in media that “glamorize rebels and iconoclasts and those who ‘rage against the machine,'” such as the infamous Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski. The university professor drew sympathetic followers for his left-wing social commentary despite a 17-year nationwide bombing campaign that killed three people and injured 23 others.
Tsarnaev, who is accused of killing three and injuring hundreds more in the April 15 Boston bombings, already has a cult-like following on social media, including the “Free Jahar” movement comprised of young women who are protesting his prosecution.
On Rolling Stone’s August cover, Tsarnaev, with his curly locks and pouty look in soft focus, could be mistaken for a budding teen idol.
But some defenders of the alternative magazine’s August cover have argued that while the image may appear sympathetic, the subhead, describing the article itself, calls Tsarnaev “a monster”
Under the headline, “The Bomber,” the subhead explains the article examines how “a popular, promising student was failed by his family, fell into radical Islam and became a monster.”
Another rock and roll legend, Ted Nugent, told WND he found the article to be valuable.
Nugent, who was featured in a 1979 Rolling Stone cover story, said it’s “important the young readers of RS know how a fellow dope smoker lost his mind and doped his way into the evil, brain-dead Islamist terrorism and the horror he wreaked on innocent Americans.”
Tsarnaev, who could face the death penalty, has pleaded not guilty to 30 federal charges, including using a weapon of mass destruction to kill. He and his brother Tamerlan, who was killed in a shootout with police, allegedly placed two bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon April 15 that killed three people and injured hundreds more. The Tsarnaevs also are accused of killing MIT police officer Sean Collier after the bombing.
Rolling Stone publicist Melissa Bruno did not reply to WND’s request for comment.
In a preface to the cover story posted online, Rolling Stone editors expressed sympathy for the victims but emphasized the importance of examining how a promising young person became a terrorist.