Tower of Babel
Stoned Age Tower of Babel b/w God is Dead? 45 (Pax, 1972)
There was once a time when God wasn't a Right Wing Asshole. That was way back when Jesus was called the Prince of Peace and, most important, before Christians figured out how to play punk rock and started to kill rock & roll from within, rather than destroy it from the outside. I don't blame Christians for Mass Market Rock & Roll. Nah, they are like any other parasite ready to jump on something living the minute they sense decay is setting in. What else can they do? They are a fucking Death Cult, the need to feed on the living. Perhaps the failure of their latest Crusade will mellow their asses out for a while, but it won't change the fact that they are no longer entertaining. Ah but the days when they were!
My family is a bunch of lapsed Catholics. We went to church when my bother and I were weelings, but it was a half-assed effort. My parents made no effort to get me back into Sunday School after I got thrown out for general disruption and innate disestablishmentarianism. Probably didn't help that my mom, having gone back to college, got so excited about Nietzsche that she not only read Fred to me but named our wiener dog after him. Even though the Soriano's found a home in the local hippie Catholic church (the father had a secret girlfriend, the sisters were dykes, and the brothers were always in jail for protesting something or another, plus we got to sing Byrds songs), the minute I hit my teens, my church going days were through (not totally true. In my mid 20s, I started hitting Black churches in order to hear real gospel music). My "Catholic" childhood didn't lead me to hate religion: My parents were never heavy handed about God and I never got diddled by one of his servants. However, I did find religion entertaining. Many a teenaged afternoon was spent stoned on the coach watching lunatic fundamentalist preachers on the TV's UHF channels. My favorite was Peter Popoff, a faith healer who was debunked by James Randi and has been subject to many fraud investigations. After finding one at school, I started collecting Jack T Chick pamphlets and later any Christian anti-rock & roll propaganda. For the first time in my life, religion was fun!
One thing I never dove into, though, was Christian music. Once I got into punk, I'd pick up the occasional Christian record for the cover art. I was lucky enough to score the much sought after The Addicts Sing, a collection of hymns done by ex-junkies. (The record blows but the cover rules.) When I did sample the music, it was bad. I had yet to be turned on to Christian psych or to discover the amazing John Ylvisaker (soon, kids, soon). Would I have dug the twisted side of Christian rock & roll back then? I don't know. I would like to think so. Would have been nice to back to back Azitis with the Feederz' Jesus Entering From the Rear. I do know this, though: There were some cool Christian records being made back then and part of the fun was that they didn't really have a handle on rock & roll. This Stoned Age 45 is a perfect example.
I know nothing about the Stoned Age other than they were probably from New York and they did this fantastic single. Tower of Babel is a gem. An anti-war (and pro-monkey!) song that features a great spoken word part by a guy who sounds like the great New York dejay Rosko (it's coming), followed by war sound effects. God is Dead? sounds like camp. The singer's inflection and his lisp makes me think of Paul Vanase, a great gay cabaret-punk vocalist (I'll get to it). So emphatic! So heartfelt!
Please enjoy the Stoned Age.