Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Sun Ra and Immanuel Velikovsky

Recently I made a mental connection between Sun Ra and Immanuel Velikovsky, and decided to research how Velikovsky may have influenced Sun Ra. While there is a long way to go until I can really grasp the commonalities of their visions, a quick google revealed one hit...


Sun Ra Story #2

It must have been 1985 I was in San Francisco on a trip with these suits from this company I worked for down in Southern Cal. I was CEO of the shipping dept and we had some probs to iron out with another company. On top of everything else I was strung out at the time. We checked into the St Francis on Union Square and as I sat down to take my early evening shot I turn on the tv and the hotel has it's own channel and it shows footage of fucking President Reagan & Nancy checking in that very day! I'm sitting there with a syringe realizing the hallways will be crawling with Secret Service. Wonderful.

Luckily, I was a junkie in a suit, and heroin isn't like booze where you get all sloppy. Not unless, of course, you get hoggish and do too much. You must practice moderation in all things, dude. So, I clean out my syringe and squirt Nancy's face a direct hit. Roll down my sleeve and make it on over to Oakland to catch Sun Ra and his Arkestra. ( I ditched the boss and his cronies.)

So, Sun Ra does his usual great show. June sings angelic. Marshall Allen throws notes all over the place. John Gilmore digs in on tenor.

You can see all the photos from the evening at my UCLA photo archive. And you can hear "The Sun Ra Story" ( # 1 ) on my cd O SHENANDOAH.

Afterwards there's a couple guys from KPFA interviewing Sun Ra with a tape recorder. They sort of fizzle out, run out of things to ask. So, I sorta edged in and took over. I'd been talking with Sun Ra for years having first caught him in November of 1974 for a week at Keystone Korner in Frisco. And a half-dozen other times.

So, we talk for what seems like two hours but must have only been an hour. He's doing his usual space baloney talk and quasi-Egypto riff and we're having a pleasant time and it occurs to me that Sun Ra has been reading Immanuel Velikovsky (remember WORLDS IN COLLISON from the 50s?)(that was like the It Book back in the 70s, in reprint) and when I tell him that, his mouth drops. I totally busted him. And for a minute there he's searching for his legs and then regains his stance and says, in amazement, "I woke up one morning and the book was mysteriously next to my bed." So, we talked about that for a little while, then he paused and look at me and said, "You know, I talk a lot of this space jive and all this, you know." One of the great admissions in jazz! And I never got a copy of the tape, because, well, I was a junkie and I flew back to Los Angeles and my own strange life. (I hear that KPFA is putting their interviews on-line. Maybe they've got that?)



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