"Sex & Religion"
After the success of Passion and Warfare, there was pressure to make a more mainstream record. But, instead of touring to support PAW and developing a concert audience for the future, then going in and making another record, I opted to take a bunch of preadolescent kids and spend 18 solid months of 15-hour days on making a record. The band broke up shortly after the record was released.
So now the next one was supposed to be so important. It turned out to be a hard record to make. There was the concept of putting this band together with all monster musicians. It worked in theory but not in practice. I was hoping everybody could contribute their performance expertise while I sort of guided the band in the direction that I thought the music should go. They were very talented people that had definite ideas of the music they liked to play, and it all clashed dramatically.
I was not ready for a band. You see, usually the idea of a band is to get together with people who could contribute their ideas and talents in a healthy exchange. With players like Terry Bozzio, T.M. Stevens and Devin Townsend, in order to have a band there needs to be an unconditional acceptance of everybody else's contribution. I was not ready for that kind of commitment on my part. Although it may have seemed unfair to the others, there were definite ideas on which way I wanted to go with the music.
It was a conscious decision to make such a radical departure from Passion and Warfare with Sex & Religion. Most fans were expecting another CD similar to PAW but...surprise! I'm still stunned from the whiplash and beating I received from the press.
It's funny though because there are actually people who feel Sex & Religion is the most important record in their life and that it changed their world. From the letters we receive, it appears that more people each day are discovering it's mesmerizing peculiarity.
It was a real physiological metamorphosing period. There were outside influences that I let get too close to my secret garden. It seemed that right after the success of Passion And Warfare, I found myself in an alien frame of mind as the wheels of karma were weaving their indefatigable voodoo.
From the time I started the Bad 4 Good project, a sort of downward spiral started to transpire. Bogus and pathetic lawsuits, bad real estate investments with people who I could at best consider criminals, the disillusionment of the creation of a band, listening to negative type music and letting too many people get involved with my creative decision making, touring with people that were bored and miserable with the situation, the falling out of dear friends and the loss of Frank Zappa, were some of the situations that passed during this period. There are scars from those growing pains.
Then there was that fateful day we played The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Nothing felt right and I went against my feeling on almost every issue. Right before we took to the stage I was on the phone settling a painful and costly litigation. That night I sat in my living room and watched the show. After our performance it all came to me. I saw every blunder I made and it all stemmed from me letting my ego go against my better judgment. I fell to the floor, curled into a ball and thought, "What have I done?" It was a low point.
After that tour, I arrived home from the airport, sat in a chair and in some kind of symbolic ritual, cut off all those knotty and putrid dreadlocks that were pulling at my skull. Then got directly back on a plane and flew to Tahiti for 10 days, ahhhh!
All was not catastrophic though. There are many elements of that whole period that hold merit. Sex & Religion contains intense emotionally manipulated sonic experiences that needed to be released. I always felt strongly about the music and I loved touring on it.
There was the opportunity to work with some brilliant people too. Devin Townsend (singer on S&R) is one of the most amazing and uniquely talented tormented souls making music today. Very little of his true brilliance comes through on S&R. His solo music holds brutal treasures. Check out Strapping Young Lad or the ominous Ocean Machines. He is intense in the total meaning of the word. I believe he's a genius in areas that have not been discovered yet. He's quite grotesquely entertaining too (if your an instigator like me)....
That period also saw the birth of my second son, Fire Vai. Like our first son Julian and my wife Pia, there are no words to describe their preciousness. A family's health and happiness is the most excellent blessing that the lords of karma can bestow.