CRAVEN’S NOTES: Thetan place — Scientology founder’s foray into music
Free Press Music Columnist
Seventy-five-million years ago, a nefarious alien named Xenu (aided and abetted by a cabal of evil psychiatrists) paralyzed hundreds of billions of Galactic Confederacy citizens and transported them across vast expanses of outer space to a planet known to his race as “Teegeeack” (but which we call Earth) aboard a spacecraft that looked exactly like a Douglas DC-8 jumbo airliner minus the turbofans.
Xenu then clustered these hapless hundreds of billions of paralyzed aliens around the bases of volcanoes and nuked them with hydrogen bombs. Their tortured souls (or “Thetans,” to use Hubbard’s lingo) were then collected by use of an “electronic ribbon” and forced to watch a 3D movie that was 36 days in duration. (No, the movie wasn’t “Avatar.” That one only FELT like it was 36 days long.)
Do you think I’m crazy yet? Reading the above paragraph feels like peeking into the fever dreams of a schizophrenic “Star Wars” fan. But what I just described is believed to be literal fact by thousands of Scientologists around the world.
That this story was crafted by L. Ron Hubbard should come as no surprise to anyone who knows Hubbard wrote more than 200 works of fiction, most of them sci-fi or fantasy, during his long career as a pulp writer. But that so many otherwise intelligent people could believe the “Incident II” story, as the tale of Xenu is known among Scientologists, is a source of constant wonder.
Equally dumbfounding is the musical output of Hubbard.
We discussed his first album with the so-called Apollo All-Stars last week, but Hubbard continued to dabble in musical production for the rest of his life. During the 1980s, he directed Scientologist musicians like Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke and Edgar Winter to record “soundtrack” albums to books he had written during the decade. In 1986, Winter released an album called “Mission Earth,” based on Hubbard’s 10-book science-fiction series by that name. Corea’s “Space Jazz,” recorded four years before Winter’s album, was a musical accompaniment to Hubbard’s then-new “Battlefield Earth,” which nearly a couple decades later would be adapted into what is considered a candidate for worst film ever made by Scientologist actor John Travolta.
Travolta also was involved with — and sang on — the 1986 album, “The Road to Freedom,” which featured several songs written by Hubbard himself. Other numbers on the album included Frank Stallone and Leif Garrett among the performers, and were written by Scientologist composers like David Pomerantz, who had just that year written “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Me Now,” the theme song from the sitcom, “Perfect Strangers.”
Hubbard convinced his inner circle that he himself had invented music (during a previous life) moments after the creation of the universe. And that may well be Hubbard’s most preposterous claim. Because your mileage may vary, but it’s easier for Craven to accept that Xenu crammed all those aliens in a space jetliner bound for Teegeeack than to believe the inventor of music was responsible for lyrics like: “Reality is me, reality is you, yeah, yeah, yeah.”
Craven Lovelace is the producer of the Notes Blog & Podcast at http://cravenlovelace.com/notesblog and also writes about popular culture at the Cravenomena blog at http://cravenlovelace.com/cravenblog/. You can also find him on Facebook.
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