Babylon Mystery Orchestra Interviews
An archive of lost interviews with Sidney Allen Johnson

THE BURIED SCROLLS

This is a lost interview for the Christian webzine “The Buried Scrolls.” This interview didn’t stay active for long and was thought to be lost…now it is found again. Enjoy.

Tell us about what got Babylon Mystery Orchestra [BMO} started and to what intentions do you have for this project?

I had been somewhat plotting this since I made the move back home to Greenville Alabama, from Augusta Georgia back, in 1995. I had prior to that been involved in some music projects but after a 1987 trip to the Heavy Metal Mecca Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles I concluded you could only get anywhere in music if you were a mindless immoral buffoon. It was quite disillusioning. That movie “The decline of Western Civilization: The Metal Years” is very real. I was there when they filmed it and talked myself to many of those very people. So I really didn’t involve myself with music the whole time I lived in Augusta although the music scene there was very enjoyable most of the time I was there.

Shortly after I returned to Greenville the KISS reunion happened and I bought the reissue of Paul Stanley’s PS10 “Iceman” guitar and rather than just let it be a part of my KISS collection I kept playing it. The technology of recording by this time had made it more economically feasible to acquire recording gear that could produce album quality recordings and I slowly made up my mind that I could actually make my own records and eliminate all those elements of dealing with other musicians that inhibit the process.

I can’t say that I have any intentions with Babylon Mystery Orchestra. I want to make records about the things that are on my mind. The fact is that these very serious subjects are, and have been, on my mind for as long as I can remember. I know that such subjects aren’t the normal kind for this type of music but, in many ways, it seems the only kind of music that can deliver this type of material properly. There is a lot of misuse of the term “independent” out there in the music world. You are NOT independent if you have someone paying to have your record made. You are not independent if you have a paid producer and you are not independent if you have a marketing campaign getting your record advertised in magazines. All these “independent” record labels are just as capable as was Elektra Records when they signed the Doors.

Why is it so important to be as provocative as you with the ideas presented in your albums?

There is no reason to make a record unless you have something to say that either hasn’t been said before or really needs to be said. I believe that the points of view presented in BMO records are very likely the truth. And they are a unique and non traditional point of view. Many people will identify with what these records project yet no one else wants to come out and say these things. It is very important to me that I not pass through this world and leave these things unsaid. If they are controversial and provacative so be it. I am not making the records with the intent of being shocking or controversial, I am saying what I believe to be the truth as I have been led to understand it. None of it is controversial or provacative to me. I have lived with these things a long time. I feel as though this is the right time for these things to be considered. Therefore these messages are very important to me. That I get them out there is very important to me. If someone thinks they are provacative, I am sure thats a good thing, but it is just a by product of actually being true to the message.

What is the background theme of the latest BMO album and what, directly, are you addressing as the issues of Christianity within itself?

The new CD, “The Great Apostasy: A Conspiracy Of Satanic Christianity,” deals directly with the concept of Satanic involvement and manipulation of Christianity itself. This is a concept with considerable biblical validation as a Satanic method of operation. Both Old and New Testament. The simple fact is that if Satan would directly access Jesus and tempt him, he certainly is not going to fail to do the same with The Church. The letters to the seven churches mentioned in the beginning of Revelation bear out the fact that this process had already begun and Jesus is directly warning the churches about this. Somehow the idea of Satanic manipulation of the churches is not all that appealing a subject for churches to study on their own. It would force you to look at your church and realistically evaluate its failures. No church will readily volunteer for that. It is always easy to see the failings of someone elses church….but never your own. It would mean that you have been in some way decieved. The fact is, virtually every church has been victimized by some sort of Satanic doctrine. No matter how insignificant it may seem, Jesus warned that such things are dangerous and he clearly warned that such things are to be EXPECTED.

It is one of my contentions in this record that the doctrine of the pretribulation rapture is the single most dangerous Satanically inspired deception within Christendom. It is a belief that in some way is shared by just about all protestant denominations. There are other false doctrines that infest various churches to be sure but this one seems special. Once you acknowledge that it is Satan’s entire duty to attack and decieve Christians above and beyond anything else he does, then you can look at your church and its role in your life more accurately. Decieving you and your church are more important to Satan than anything that will ever happen at a Marilyn Manson show. Christians and Christianity ATTRACT Satanic influence, NOT repel it. How much influence they get in the churches depends entirely on the spiritual strength of the churches. Too many people view their church as an authority figure in their lives and a sanctuary from Satan and his angels. There is no biblical foundation for this. Satan went face to face with Jesus. What strength have you got that he didn’t have? The church was meant to be “the body of Christ.” Not a place you go. Not an authority on the word of God. People gathered together to sincerely study and worship is a good thing. Institutionalized, well financed organizations that have extra-continental outreach are not. I just don’t think that Jesus intended it.

What is it that you witness about ‘Commercial Christianity’ and how it is harming the church?

What we see in today’s world is, essentially, results based Christianity. The desired results are simply to fill the seats. If you fill the seats then you will increase the cash flow which, thereby, increases the visibility and influence of a church. To achieve these results you have to streamline Christianity into a “good news” philosophy. Don’t get me wrong, I more than agree that the message of Jesus’ salvation is truly good news. But there is so much more to Christianity than Salvation. That is your first day as a Christian. Unfortunately the churches fail  to get past that. This is especially true of prophecy. There is so much prophecy in the Bible that I cannot be led to believe that it is not of extreme importance. Unfortunately Biblical endtimes prophecy is anything but good news. As a Christian you have your salvation but that does not disqualify you from possibly enjoying the same treatment that Jesus recieved from the world. The servant is NOT greater than the master. This “pretribulation rapture” doctrine is a good way to shove this truly challenging time(tribulation) aside and replace it with a false sense of comfort. This, of course will keep the seats filled but it is not going to be good for anyone who lives through this. The truth should be told regardless of its popularity. I personally think we should feel priviledged to live through those times if it befalls us. Not try to convince ourselves we are “entitled” to escape it.

Let me give you an example of something that can also show the misplaced priorities in the Church. I was talking to a leader in a local church and asked why, if there is so much concern over schools and their worldly curriculum, doesn’t their church simply become a school itself. They have the space and plenty of adults to instruct and oversee the teaching. This is of course one of the great things churches of the past did, educate children. I was told there would be too much risk of being sued as well as being a huge financial burden through things like insurance etc. I found that a strange response. Would God think there was a better use of what everyone claims is his money? What exactly is the church’s true treasure? Its money and influence or the souls of its people. Could there possibly be a better use of God’s money than to take care of God’s children? Then of course there is the fact that most of the people in the church would not support it as a school. They’d keep their kids in the other schools. Why? Football, proms etc. Sometimes I think the Ahmish are the only “Church of Philadelphia” left. They are nothing if not committed.

What themes are covered in this album and why would many ‘Christian’ bands veer away from such topics and how you have had a ‘direct’ approach to them?

Bands generally label themselves “christian bands” because they percieve themselves to be as non controversial as possible. How many times do you see Christian rock stations claim they play “positive music.” That by its very nature will steer the average band away from the topics that Babylon Mystery Orchestra thrives on. Such themes as the aforementioned pretribulation rapture, homosexuality within the church as well as overzealous homophobia within it as well, pedophile priests and even how the removal of God from the government will make the state its own religion. There are always subplots to everything in these songs.

For a band to take on these topics they would have to present some form of a point of view. This in itself can be seen as limiting their audience. This is why I often scorn the idea of Christian Rock Music. Given a choice, the bands will err on the side of rock music more than they would try to delve into the deeper word of God. If they do actually make the effort to have “Christian” themes and lyrics, they will be very generalized and typically very shallow. Once again to avoid creating the very controversy Babylon Mystery Orchestra wallows in. People have argued about the Bible for centuries. There is much good in such things. It shows if you have  passion in your beliefs.

What is different about your lyrical approach for this album and why is this?

My approach to this record was not really any different from other Babylon Mystery Orchestra records. Almost every song I write is built from the lyrics. The music is made to enhance and reinforce them rather than the other way around. Most bands don’t care about their lyrics and it shows. They believe that songs are merely platforms for them to display their (percieved) musical skills. I don’t want these records to ever be such things.

The thing that separates this record somewhat from its predecessor is its direct reflection of real and verifiable historical events. The previous CD “On Earth As It Is In Heaven” was built around the Dead Sea Scrolls books of Enoch and Secrets of Enoch and dealt with the original history of music. The events being so long ago as to be intertwined with the same mythology that led to the old religions or “gods” of the past. Since Jesus said  “As in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son Of Man” I was drawing a necessary conclusion that the infestation of music in our society is, in itself, a sign of his imminent return. The new CD deals more with the obvious realities of Satanic infiltration of the church, from the beginning right up to now.

Not only in your lyrics do you use parts of the gospel, but who else have you quoted and why?

I thought it would be useful to have other perspectives from well known people on the subject of religion/christianity. In some places it was very specific. Quoting both the Rev. V. Eugene Robinson and  Rev.Fred Phelps in the section just before a song directly about them(Eye Of The Needle).  I also thought the quote at the beginning from Aleister Crowley was quite telling for the whole concept of the record. Crowley pretty much claiming Satan to be that which Jesus is. In Crowley’s eyes, Satan was his messiah. Putting his words next to Jesus goes a long way to prove the idea of Satanic replication.

Are you at times fearful that listeners will misinterpret your messages and what you were intending to state. If ever, how do you resolve this?

You don’t resolve this. People have taken the Bible itself and “misinterpreted” it for their own purposes. I, therefore, cannot believe that the same couldn’t happen to my words. I can’t worry about that though. I go into great detail in these records so that everyone can see why I say what I say. I don’t think I could do any more to preserve my intentions. That being said, people get from your music what thay get. I am very conscious of the fact that if you hear a song by itself totally separated from the record you will get a totally different meaning than you would if you hear it in context. That is very intentional in Babylon Mystery Orchestra music. You could get the impression that the perspective was quite Satanic. Many people are surprised at what they find when they dig deep into these records.

Describe the process you go through when preparing the music for a song.

Every time a begin writing a song I know what the song is about before I start. There are many instances where I will have a piece of music that I want to use but I won’t start work on that until I decide where it would fit into the whole process. Usually I will have the choruses and most of the lyrics before I start really working on the arrangement of the song. From getting the arrangement done I put down the main guitars, drums, bass, keyboards(if any) lead guitar and then I will record the vocals. That is pretty much the same for all of them. I do not record the songs in the order that they will be on the record. In fact, on the record I am currently working on I have finished the first song and what will be the last three.

What do you find the hardest in preparing the music as a solo artist and what freedoms do you find as well?

I really think the hardest element in making these records the way I do is finding the time to work on them. If I only had music to concentrate on I could probably make three albums a year. Since I actually have to maintain a “day” job it becomes somewhat of a chore making myself stay on a steady progression. On the other hand, as a solo artist you can make them when you want to. The only pressure put on me to finish these things is self imposed.

Do you think you would find that BMO would be a stronger force if it had a full band line up?

Absolutely not! The only thing a full band can really do is provide a format for presenting the music live. Unless this music could really be fleshed out theatrically I don’t think live performances of it can help at all. The so called “independent” labels out there won’t hardly touch an artist that doesn’t play out live so maybe having a band would help increase the visibility of the music. That is really what Babylon Mystery Orchestra needs more than anything. To get noticed on a larger scale. To have the resources to really push this music out there. maybe having a full lineup would help acquire that. But you have to give other musicians something in return. Ultimately musician’s want to be liked. I fear that having that influence within this music could only dilute the messages I am trying to present.

It took a year and a half to make this album, how did you fit this album in with your everyday life?

That, as I have said, is the most difficult part. You have to impose deadlines on yourself and fix your recording to a schedule. Then you have to have the discipline to stick to it.If you want to accomplish anything in this world artistically, you have to have some self discipline. I have done it three times now and I am about halfway through #4 so it does work. I know and have known many bands with four or five people in them that get a lot less done. Scheduling around one man is inevitably preferable than scheduling around several.

What else would you like to state at the end here?..

I would like to thank you for asking some interesting questions. I love to do these kinds of interviews and would appreciate another one with you sometimes. Look for the next Babylon Mystery Orchestra CD sometime in early 2008. I assure you there will be some interesting surprises.

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