RadioGladio
By Sergio Messina (1990)
recorded and mixed by Massimo Terracini at Oasi Studio, Rome
free, no © cassette

This is the one track that put me on the maps, and gave me the stage name I've used for many years. Let me quote from my contribution to Re-inventing Radio: aspects of Radio as Art:

"An Italian judge had discovered Gladio (or “Operation Stay Behind”), a secret organization created in Italy in the late forties by the American intelligence, to prevent a communist revolution and make sure the left stayed at the opposition. They had money, weapons, explosives (as well as close contact with some dangerous right-wing extremists), all apparently financed by the U.S. I asked an american friend if he knew anything about this, having also paid for it, and he said it wasn’t in their news. So I made a little reggae beat and, in DJ style, I told the Gladio story: RadioGladio. I hand-made 300 cassettes and sent them to random Americans, from radio stations to magazines, political organizations—I even sent one to Howard Stern (little did I know). The cover said “RadioGladio, a radio message from Italy to USA” and “No Copyright.” It also said “duplication is encouraged,” and it spread very fast: people made copies (it was only four minutes long) and sent them to American friends. Since there were no names on it, people started calling me RadioGladio (and some still do). Thanks to a common friend, Frank Zappa also received a copy, and praised it in an interview. Unfortunately, RadioGladio got me banned from Rai, the italian national broadcast: “It’s too easy to write a political manifesto and sing it,” was one remark I received from a Sopranos looking executive. But lots of people picked it up; I have to thank Andy Caploe for helping me spread it in the U.S., and Heidi Grundmann for having me play it live on stage at the Funkhaus in Vienna."

Fun trivia: the very first mention of RadioGladio anywhere online (and a good example of how it was disseminated) is in this misc.activism.progressive Usenet group message, dated Aug 15, 1991, subject: Italian "Gladio" musical satire available: "We don't know who the original source is, but there is a U.S. contact on the label: Andrew B. Caploe, Culture Contact, Inc. (...) You may wish to call him to get a copy of the tape - they are probably free and better than later-generation dubs. If you can't reach Culture Contact, send us a blank cassette & a self-addressed envelope with 52 cents postage, and we'll dub it for you."

I've played this track live countless times, and there's an evil italian version of it in my Buddha Stick album. The original beat is quite outdated (with those big, 80s electro drums) but the lyrics still do the job.
RadioGladio (original english version) 4'03"


© by Sergio Messina (read the license)
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