Ya ho wha 13/Father Yod may be the best example of a quality hippie religious sect. Nothing too crazy: a fruit and vegetable diet, only white garments, sex without orgasm, and the resulting extended blues punk jams. There’s lots of lyrics about projected energy flowing though the mind’s eye, and album covers featuring Father Yod posing on Rolls Royces with naked women that were shot when Master P was still in diapers. Way ahead of its time.
» Listen to Ya Ho Wha
Before his tragic hang-gliding death in 1975, Father Yod was able to put out a reasonable discography, mainly because he pulled in musicians from other groupslike Sky Saxon of ’60s garage band the Seeds. I’d imagine that, with all of the artistic differences that arise in recording, it must be nice to work with agreeable followers focused on the music and not whether the bass player cut into the vocal track.
» Listen to Pushin’ Too Hard by the Seeds
At times I imagine cult life could be quite idyllic. You live on a compound where everybody is your friend and you can forget all about modern troubles and get back to the soil. And at night, you take part in a Stevie Wonder-inflected religious choir. Then the mass murder-suicide happens and you realize the choir wasn’t worth it.
» Listen to the Reverend Jim Jones and People’s Temple Choir at WFMU
Of course, these are the exceptions to the rule. Lots of cults never put out music. Some have castration ceremony chants but never think about recording them. And not all cults are started by frustrated musicians. Then there’s a few gems out there like Elizabeth Claire Prophet of the Church Universal and Triumphant who reads new-age scripture like a farm auctioneer through a vocoder. She belts a yodel against rock music like a great cantor, but when she predicted a Soviet nuclear strike against the U.S. that never materialized, things fell apart for the group.
» Listen to Dedication to the Tackling by Elizabeth Claire Prophet
But not all is lost. Elizabeth Claire did have children, and those children had children, and those grandchildren went on to make emo grindcore, which is sort of like a cult, but without as much castration.