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Sun Ra Visits Planet Earth

When the Xists come and yank us all into the saucers by our reproductive organs, Sun Ra will be there on the saucers already waiting to entertain us with his Intergalactic Celestial Arkestra! Almost before "Bob" himself met the Xists, Sun Ra was conversing with them on a regular basis and giving them many of his musical secrets to make their cosmic jam sessions even more swingin'. (Those other wimpy New Age "Space Brother" UFO cults think that we got all of our best ideas from aliens, and we're too dumb to do any great works ourselves. HA! It's because of the SLACK emanating from the most creative SubGenii that the Xists want to rescue us in the first place. THEY got their best ideas from US!)

But, fellow brothers and sisters and othergenders, I must confess that during most of my time before graduating high school, I was woefully ignorant of the vast realms of music that exist beyond the realms of Conspiracy-owned Top 4 Radio. I first heard of him through MTV, of all places, when they did a piece on him and said how his concerts were a lot of fun and he put a lot of Disney tunes into them. I was heavily in my Disney phase then (it being the late 1980s), and that piqued my interest. It just so happened that a week or two after seeing that piece, Sun Ra came to my home town and did a show at the Nightstage club. So I went to go and see him, out of curiosity...and I had a blast. I knew nothing of what to expect, but it was *still* one of the best shows I've seen in my life. There was energy and cosmic wisdom and SLACK to spare, and I knew that the Man From Saturn was speaking the TRUTH when he said that we don't have to die. "That's not my law! Abandon life! Abandon death! That's my law - my only law!"

Anyways, I finally outgrew the corporate seduction of Disney enough to start reaching out and discovering new (to me) kinds of music...which led me to try out Sun Ra. I went and bought a Ra CD that many of his fans hail as a landmark: The Magic City. Unfortunately, that turned out to be one of the worst choices for a beginner to Sun Ra. That particular album had been recorded when he was in the middle of his experimental, chaotic phase of the 1960s, and it was far removed from the jazz that I'd seen and heard from him. In short, I was taken completely off-guard, and this actually turned me off of Ra for a while.

But my curiosity remained. One day while doing a Web search for Sun Ra out of curiosity, I discovered this essay:

A bare-bones biography of Sun Ra's career, it opened my eyes and made me understand the type of music I wanted to find. I knew then that if I wanted to discover Sun Ra, I should start at the beginning and try the sound that first made Ra's career. So I went out and bought a CD that could probably be considered a Beginner's Introduction to Sun Ra: the combo-CD of Sun Ra Visits Planet Earth and Interstellar Low Ways. THAT really caught my fancy, as it contained lots of swinging, wild, FUN music that started out as traditional big-band jazz but gradually worked its way into the celestial fusion experimental sounds for which Ra had become more known. (The track "Interplanetary Music" in particular is the type of song that would make a good introduction to any SubGenius radio show!)

So from there, I've been discovering more about the Man From Saturn and realizing that while the Disney tunes he used in his late career may have been fun, they don't even scratch the surface of the man who is ALREADY jammin' with the Xists and getting them ready for our journey on X-Day!

(Yes, I know the Arkestra is still touring today, but that's not the XIST ARKESTRA.)