NYC based singer/songwriter Brian Cullman’s had quite the life that’s included opening for Nick Drake, squiring Fairport Convention singer Sandy Denny around and getting guitar tips from John Martyn. He was also introduced to the London-based Scientologists via the Incredible String Band’s Robin Williamson and recently shared his experiences with them and the Process Church of the Final Judgement. His account begins:
“’We’ve grown up believing that art is pain, that creativity comes out of conflict and struggle. But what if you could write songs out of joy, out of pleasure, if the need for struggle was an illusion? What if you could tap into a child’s spirit of play and harness it into your music or your writing and just release it into the world without a filter, without judgement or the fear of being judged? Can you imagine? Come on, what would you rather hear, “I Feel Fine” or “I’m So Tired?”’
“I was with Robin Williamson of The Incredible String Band in London. The String Band were a psychedelic folk group, a duo really, Robin Williamson & Mike Heron, though various girlfriends and neighbors appeared on their album covers and in the backgrounds of their records, adding harmonies and bits of homemade percussion. For a while, in the late 60’s and early 70’s, they were massively popular, their songs nearly everywhere except on the radio, and their sound found its way into the work of The Beatles (“Mother Nature’s Son”), Donovan, Tyrannosaurus Rex (before they became T Rex), among others.
“Robin’s enthusiasm for Scientology was contagious, especially because he was so articulate about its effect on his creative process, and it seemed to have opened the floodgates, with new music just pouring out of him at an alarming rate.
“I was jealous. And curious. I’d been writing songs for a few years, but hadn’t found my own voice yet and was dutifully trying to mimic the work of Tim Hardin, Nick Drake or Neil Young. I’d noticed that they posed questions in their songs, but instead of answering them, they often changed the question or turned it into a zen koan…”
Read the whole thing: