Whether or not you agree with the late Robert Anton Wilson that “belief is the death of intelligence,” there are surely signs that sometimes Faith joins hands with Foolishness. Occasionally, at least, Acceptance precludes Acumen.
If you doubt this, consider the music of L. Ron Hubbard.
In case you’re not well-versed in the lore of itinerant, lying, wife-beating science fiction authors who become wealthy recluses after creating new religions, be advised L. Ron Hubbard was one of those. As a man who had little success in his careers as a junior Naval officer or writer of pulp fiction, Hubbard eventually made millions following the 1950 publication of “Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health,” which itself became the canonical blueprint for the religion known as Scientology.
Once ensconced as a spiritual leader considered to be god-like by his faithful followers, Hubbard was free to pursue any whim which struck him — and one whim which not only struck him but, based on the results, apparently beat him senseless, was his urge to make music.
You see, according to Scientologist teachings, the great LRH, as he is often referred to within the church, was (in one of many previous lives) known as Arp Cola, and was around at the very beginning of time, which is precisely when he (ahem) invented music.
What’s odd is that the inventor of music turned out be such a spectacular flop as a music maker. That wasn’t for the lack of trying, however. Hubbard’s earliest foray into recording came in 1974 when he was sailing about the world aboard the Scientology-owned former cattle ferry known as the Apollo.
Hubbard put a band together from among the ranks of the Sea Org (the Scientology inner circle-cum-naval organization which manned Scientology’s three-ship “fleet” during those years). The Apollo All-Stars released one album, “The Power of Source,” on a vanity label. Regarding the All-Stars’ music, one wag wrote: “If there was ever proof of crimes against humanity it is L. Ron Hubbard’s music.”
Hubbard had formed the group because Scientology in general — and his ship in particular — was running into bad public relations wherever it landed. He would gather the members of the All-Stars on the aft deck to play as the Apollo sailed into a new port, while other Sea Org members (including Hubbard’s tragic son, Quentin, who committed suicide two years later) would dance.
But even many Scientologists hated the Apollo All-Stars.
By Hubbard’s decree, the album was played continuously in Scientology offices around the world. One former Scientologist described it as “this bloody row blasting out day and night, 8;30 a.m. through 10:30 p.m. seven days a week…. Several times the record was deliberately sabotaged, water poured on the record player (this blew the sockets for the tech building) [and] records were thrown as frisbees down into the hollow. This went on for WEEKS.”
We’ll look at Hubbard’s subsequent sonic sorties next week in this space. Xenu willing, of course!
The Apollo Stars
Power Of Source
An excerpt from the included booklet (.txt file) is available.