Rock Musicians as Mediums

Enlarged December 4, 2014 (first published June 16, 2001) (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143

In the following statements, rock musicians describe an outside power to which they were connected or that has actually possessed them while they wrote and performed rock music. Since these are people who don’t know Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, the source of the influence must be that which is described in Ephesians:

“Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others” (Ephesians 2:2-3).

JIMI HENDRIX’S girlfriend, Fayne Pridgon, said: “He used to always talk about some devil or something was in him, you know. He didn’t know what made him act the way he acted and what made him say the things he said, and the songs and different things like that … just came out of him. It seems to me he was so tormented and just torn apart and like he really was obsessed, you know, with something really evil” (sound track from film Jimi Hendrix, interview with Fayne Pridgon, side 4, cited by Heartbeat of the Dragon, p. 50).

ROBERT PLANT and JIMMY PAGE of LED ZEPPELIN both claim that they don’t know who wrote their occultic song Stairway to Heaven. Plant testified: “Pagey had written the chords and played them for me. I was holding the paper and pencil, and for some reason, I was in a very bad mood. Then all of a sudden my hand was writing out words. … I just sat there and looked at the words and then I almost leaped out of my seat” (Robert Plant, quoted by Stephen Davis, Hammer of the Gods, p. 164).

PETE TOWNSHEND of The Who says that he began acting as a medium for music when he learned to play the harmonica as a boy. “I got lost in the sound of the mouth organ, and then had the most extraordinary, life-changing experience. Suddenly I was hearing music within the music--rich, complex harmonic beauty that had been locked in the sounds I’d been making. The next day I went fly fishing, and this time the murmuring sound of the river opened up a wellspring of music so enormous that I fell in and out of a trance. It was the beginning of my lifelong connection to ... what might be described as the music of the spheres. ... One day I found some chords that made me lightheaded. As I played them my body buzzed all over, and my head filled with the most complex, disturbing orchestral music. ... I had the ability to create alpha-state music in my head, go into a creative trance, have musical visions... Since so much of this music bubbled up urgently from my subconscious mind, I’m left to interpret it much like anyone else” (Townshend, Who I Am: A Memoir, HarperCollins, 2012, pp. 41, 46, 62, 145).

“In the end you have to look at a song and not know exactly where it came from” (BRUCE SPRINGSTEIN, Dateline, Dec. 14, 1998).

“I’ve always considered that there was some way where we were able to channel energy, and that energy was able to be, from another source, if you like, like a higher power or something, that was actually doing the work. I’ve often thought of us just being actually just the earthly beings that played the music because it was uncanny. Some of this music came out extremely uncanny” (
BILL WARD OF BLACK SABBATH, cited by Mike Stark in Black Sabbath An Oral History, p. 7).

“It’s amazing, ’cause sometimes when we’re on stage, I feel like somebody’s just moving the pieces. ... I’m just going, ‘God, we don’t have any control over this.’ And that’s magic” (
STEVIE NICKS OF FLEETWOOD MAC, Circus, April 14, 1971).

ANGUS YOUNG, lead guitarist for AC-DC, is called the “guitar demon”; and he admitted that something takes control of the band during their concerts: “... it’s like I’m on automatic pilot. By the time we’re halfway through the first number someone else is steering me. I’m just along for the ride. I become possessed when I get on stage” (Hit Parader, July 1985, p. 60).

KEITH RICHARDS OF THE ROLLING STONES said that their songs “came spontaneously like an inspiration at a séance” and “arrived ‘en masse’ as if the Stones as songwriters were only a willing and open medium” (Rolling Stone, May 5, 1977, p. 55). Richards said that he received the opening riff to the wicked song “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” in a dream. He woke up and sang it into a tape recorder.

LITTLE RICHARD said, “I was directed and commanded by another power. The power of darkness ... that a lot of people don’t believe exists. The power of the Devil. Satan” (cited from Charles White, The Life and Times of Little Richard, p. 206).

“You can’t describe it [playing rock music] except to say it’s like a mysterious energy that comes from the metaphysical plane and into my body. It’s almost like being a medium....” (
MARC STORACE, vocalist with heavy-metal band KROKUS, Circus, January 31, 1984, p. 70).

“They [
THE BEATLES] were like mediums. They weren’t conscious of all they were saying, but it was coming through them” (YOKO ONO, The Playboy Interviews with John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Berkeley, 1982, p. 106.).

Of the Beatles’ album
Rain, which featured one of the earliest instances of backward taping, RINGO STARR said, “I feel as though that was someone else playing. I was possessed!” (“Rain,” Rolling Stone, Dec. 9, 2004).

“[Of his music
JOHN LENNON said] “It’s like being possessed: like a psychic or a medium” (The Playboy Interviews, p. 203).

“It’s amazing that it [the tune to ‘In My Life’] just came to me in a dream. That’s why I don’t profess to know anything. I think music is very mystical” (
JOHN LENNON, quoted in “The Beatles Come Together,” Reader’s Digest, March 2001).

“I felt like a hollow temple filled with many spirits, each one passing through me, each inhabiting me for a little time and then leaving to be replaced by another” (
JOHN LENNON, People, Aug. 22, 1988, p. 70).

“When the real music comes to me, it has nothing to do with me ‘cause I’m just a channel. It’s given to me and I transcribe it” (
JOHN LENNON, quoted by Mickey Hart, Spirit into Sound: The Magic of Music, p. 134).

“The music to ‘Yesterday’ came in a dream. The tune just came complete. You have to believe in magic. I can’t read or write music” (
PAUL MCCARTNEY, interview on Larry King Live, CNN, June 12, 2001).

“I wake up from dreams and go ‘Wow, put this down on paper,’ the whole thing is strange. You hear the words, everything is right there in front of your face. I feel that somewhere, someplace it’s been done and I’m just a courier bringing it into the world” (
MICHAEL JACKSON, Rolling Stone, Feb. 17, 1983).

“When I hit the stage it’s all of a sudden a ‘magic’ from somewhere that comes and the spirit just hits you, and you just lose control of yourself” (
MICHAEL JACKSON, Teen Beat: A Tribute to Michael Jackson, Summer 1984, p. 27).

“A lot of the songs were written in 15-30 minutes, very stream-of-consciousness, as though it was being channeled through us” (
ALANIS MORISSETTE, quoted from Hells Bells2 by Eric Holmberg).

“When the Siberian shaman gets ready to go into his trance, all the villagers get together... and play whatever instruments they have to send him off [into trance and possession]. … It was the same way with The Doors when we played in concert... I think that our drug experience let us get into it... [the trance state] quicker.... It was like Jim [Morrison] was an electric shaman and we were the electric shaman’s band, pounding away behind him. Sometimes he wouldn’t feel like getting into the state, but the band would keep on pounding and pounding, and little by little it would take him over. God, I could send an electric shock through him with the organ. John could do it with his drumbeats” (
DOORS keyboardist RAY MANZAREK, cited by Jerry Hopkins and Daniel Sugerman, No One Here Gets Out Alive, pp. 158-60).

“That certain feeling happened to me in a big way quite often with the first King Crimson. Amazing things would happen--I mean, telepathy, qualities of energy, things that I had never experienced before with music … you can’t tell whether the music is playing the musician or the musician is playing the music” (
ROBERT FRIPP, guitarist for KING CRIMSON, Down Beat, June 1985, p. 61).

“I believe inspiration comes through me and that I channel it” (
JIM KERR, SIMPLE MINDS, cited by Steve Turner, Hungry for Heaven, p. 147).

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN, leader of MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA, testified: “One night we were playing and suddenly the spirit entered into me, and I was playing, but it was no longer me playing” (Circus, April 1972, p. 38).

GLEN TIPTON of JUDAS PRIEST says, “I just go crazy when I go onstage … it’s like someone else takes over my body” (Hit Parader, Fall 1984, p. 6).

In 1974,
JONI MITCHELL told the press of a male spirit who helps her write music. “Joni Mitchell credits her creative powers to a ‘male muse’ she identifies as Art. He has taken so much control of not only her music, but her life, that she feels married to him, and often roams naked with him on her 40-acre estate. His hold over her is so strong that she will excuse herself from parties and forsake lovers whenever he ‘calls’” (Why Knock Rock? p. 112, citing Time magazine, Dec. 16, 1974, p. 39).

GINGER BAKER, drummer for the popular ‘60s band CREAM, said: “It happens to us quite often--it feels as though I’m not playing my instrument, something else is playing it and that same thing is playing all three of our instruments. That’s what I mean when I say it’s frightening sometimes. Maybe we’ll all play the same phrase out of nowhere. It happens very often with us” (Bob Larson, Rock and the Church, p. 66).

JOE COCKER, who contorts grotesquely during his performances, claims that something “seizes” him when he songs rock & roll (Time magazine, cited by Bob Larson, Rock and the Church, p. 66).

“When I’m singing and in touch with the energy I’m generating, I sometimes literally have no awareness of where I am. The ego disappears, and me and my surroundings with it. … that’s the reason I’m in music--to achieve that feeling” (
DARYL OATES of HALL AND OATES, interview with Timothy White, 1987, Rock Lives, p. 592).

The original recording of “I Put a Spell on You” was done after the
SCREAMIN’ JAY HAWKINS and his band members got drunk and “some type of presence seemed to seize him.” He began “grunting, growling, screaming, gurgling in strange unknown tongues, and wildly dancing around the studio” (Heartbeat of the Dragon, p. 40).

“Rock has always been the devil’s music, you can’t convince me that it isn’t. I honestly believe everything I’ve said—I believe rock and roll is dangerous. … I feel that we’re only heralding something even darker than ourselves” (
DAVID BOWIE, Rolling Stone, February 12, 1976, p. 83).

CARLOS SANTANA “keeps a yellow legal pad handy to record the music when it comes to him ‘just like a fax machine’” (Rolling Stone, March 16, 2000, p. 41). Santana believes his music is channeled through a guardian angel named Mathatron or Metaron or Metatron, who has a female twin named Sandalion. He says, “Methatron is the architect of the electron and the angel inside the womb of every woman. He makes the fingerprints” (“Spirit of Santana,” USA Today, Oct. 16, 2002, p. D2).

“I really wish I knew why I’ve done some of the things I’ve done over the years. I don’t know if I’m a medium for some outside source. Whatever it is, frankly, I hope it’s not what I think it is—Satan” (
OZZY OSBOURNE, Hit Parader, February 1978, p. 24).

VAN MORRISON says, “I write [songs] a different place. I do not even know what it is called or if it has a name. It just comes and I sculpt it...” (Chris Neil, Performing Songwriter, March/April 2009, pp. 44–50).


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