Psychedelic-Rock'n'roll: Dave Bixby - Ode To Quetzalcoatl (X-IAN ACID FOLK US 1972)

17 June 2010

Dave Bixby - Ode To Quetzalcoatl (X-IAN ACID FOLK US 1972)

Dave_Bixby_Ode_to_Quetzalcoatl_1972_psychedelic_rocknroll_xian_the_movement_front"DAVE BIXBY - ODE TO QUETZALCOATL" (X-IAN ACID FOLK US 1972)

"Dave Bixby" "Ode To Quetzalcoatl" was THE definitive loner Acid Folk LP and one of the touchstones of the private press, and one of the most immersive records.
After being involved in 60s Michigan Folk and Garage-Rock bands such as "The Shillelaghs" and "Peter and The Prophets", "Dave Bixby" started playing writing songs for acoustic guitar. Then he started experimenting with LSD.
After a year of drug abuse he felt broken.
"Dave Bixby" yearned for more that his empty life had produced. He wanted something real, something meaningful, something to fill his soul. He was tired of the hallucinations that were drug influenced and the disappointment that came when they wore off.

Shortly after "Dave Bixby" decided to give up this hollow lifestyle, and unbeknownst to him, God had a plan for David.
During one of his performances at a local coffee house, two men from a nearby church approached David asking if they could pray for him.
They told David they felt led to pray for him. They said God would reveal Himself to David in a way that would be understood. After prayer, David felt a huge relief, but was unsure if what he experienced was true. "I knew I was broken, and I wasn't sure if God really existed. I wanted Him to be real".
A few days later, "Dave Bixby" revisited that church late in the evening. He found the doors unlocked and went inside to see if he could get answers to questions about God. During prayer, David felt 'touched by God' in his mind, heart and soul.
He felt an overwhelming feeling of peace, bringing a sense of security that he had never felt before.
David heard the words "choose this day which god you will serve, do not trust in the arm of flesh, but come unto Me for all your needs". The words did not come in a audible way, but were clear none the less.

As David shared his experience with other young Christians, he was chastized and not believed because he didn't 'fit the bill' to have this type of revelation.
David's desire to understand God continued in spit of the skepticism of this community. While on this new journey, David found that his old friends and lifestyle no longer worked, and he didn't have any connection to people who claimed to believe in God and Christ.
He felt very much alone. One night, feeling rejected by both sides, he considered for a moment what it would be like not be here. During this defining moment, David felt the Spirit of Christ and heard Him say "David, I love you and I've been with you from the beginning". This was the beginning of David's transforming relationship with Jesus.
David's hunger to develop his relationship with Christ led him to a group of people with similar goals.
Later this group evovled into a "Christian Cult Movement", and David like everyone else became enlisted in the cause.
This group was a very secretive, and very destructive religious cult called "The Movement" (or "The Group").

Dave_Bixby_Ode_to_Quetzalcoatl_1972_psychedelic_rocknroll_xian_the_movement_groupIt started in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1969, and spread to several other states all across the nation in places like Baton Rouge, Orlando, Phoenix, Toledo, and Dallas.
It was led by a very charismatic, and seductive leader by the name of "Don DeGraaf". Most 'disciples', knew him only as 'Sir'.
"The Group" started as a youth group focused on getting young people off drugs and on to the Bible singing songs along with acoustic guitars. Early meetings were held at a local church but it's elders grew uncomfortable with its leader "Don DeGraaf".
"The Group" was originally lead by a handful of people however "Don DeGraaf" gained power as he began to claim he was more than just a bearded ex-drug dealer turned self-declared minister. He said he was the second coming of the Old Testament prophet Elijah.
"The Group"'s activities and DeGraaf himself were funded by selling combs, ice scrapers, Amway products and "Dave Bixby"'s "Ode To Quetzalcoatl" album (D-24 700320, 1972).
At one time, 'Sir', had about a thousand disciples all across the US, selling Amway for him, and kicking back every penny into his pocket. Amway eventually terminated his distributorship due to all the irregularities with it, but there was a lot of other money making enterprises that "The Movement" did.
As "Don DeGraaf"'s power grew he raked in huge amounts of cash.
It also drew the attention of local authorities and the heat drove him to gather flocks of young people in Ohio, Florida and Arizona.
The Grand Rapids members were moved about or kicked out as 'Sir' saw fit.
He also ordered his followers to participate in trainings like one held in the woods somewhere near Ada. I believe this photo was taken in Ada where the training took place.

Dave_Bixby_Ode_to_Quetzalcoatl_1972_psychedelic_rocknroll_xian_the_movement_adaThere the members meditated and did some Bible reading but were also watched closely getting rewards (punishments) when they slipped up.
Each member wrote down everything they did during the day in a notebook and turned them in with cash on a regular basis.
Not making enough cash was a sure fire way to get kicked out.
Reading "Al Perrin"'s book "Many False Prophets Shall Rise" I got the destinct sense that "The Group" got out of "Don DeGraaf"'s hands to some degree.
It seems like he didn't want the responsibility of leading and inspiring all these people.
The last training "Al Perrin" participated in brought members from all the enclaves together for a intense make-or-break session. Instead of being focused on second coming and prophet talk, the leaders of the seminar (all women except for 'Sir') berated and broke down the members, trying to get them to think about themselves and do whatever feels good.
It was a huge shift and very confusing for the brainwashed 20 somethings.
With the new changes to "The Group" more people left or were kicked out including "Al Perrin", and soon after his book ends.
Thanks to a series of articles that ran in the "Grand Rapids Press" from October 19-23, 1980 (PDFs: 19 20 21 22 23) you can understand what happened to the small group left by the late 70s.
In 1977 under the name "The Religious Order of Spectrum" they bought a ski lodge in Eagle's Nest, New Mexico for $500,000.
At this point the cult was mainly women and "Don DeGraaf" as far as I can tell and according to the "Grand Rapids Press" articles there were now children living with them that we can only suppose were his.
They ran the lodge as a business and lived there for a number of years.
No one from "The Group" was still living there. They also said no one in town wanted to talk about it.

Dave_Bixby_1971_cult_leader_SirDave Bixby (centre) with friends, 1971. Feared cult leader 'Sir' on the right.

Where "Don DeGraaf" or any of the women mentioned in the article are now living or what they are doing? It's a mystery to the end.
The title "Ode To Quetzalcoatl", by the way is in reference to the ancient Meso-American Olmec Indian tribes down in South, and Central America.
They had a god that they called 'Quetzalcoatl', who was supposed to be a bearded white god who came down from the heavens, and taught a very gentle religion of peace, and brotherhood, before rising back into the clouds vowing to return someday.
In "Movement" lore then, Quetzalcoatl was supposed to be Jesus Christ. According to 'Sir', He came to the Olmecs during the three days between his crucifixion, and resurrection.
Several years elapsed, and "Dave Bixby" felt as spiritually empty as he did during his drug influenced days.
As David challenged the leaders of the movement, he found much resistance and eventually was ostrasized by the group making it possible for David to leave.
David reconnected with the living God, and the words he heard earlier in his life were revisited " not trust in the arm of flesh...come to Me for all your needs".
David spent several years afterward helping others leave the cult movement so they could seek the one true living God.
Since its discovery in the late 90s, "Dave Bixby"'s legendary $2000 private press album from 1969 is considered by all serious record collectors as the king in the loner/downer Folk genre.

Dave_Bixby_Ode_to_Quetzalcoatl_1972_psychedelic_rocknroll_xian_the_movement_There's no double tracking or anything, it was just a one-time track.
The entire pressing was sold exclusively at concerts in Michigan and Ohio.
No matter how much "Dave Bixby" tries to fixate on his awakening, he still sounds completely lost and alone.
"I'm no longer a person, I can't even feel" he sings on the opening track, the un-fucking-believably good "Drug Song".
Later he laments "Gonna start all over again / Gonna see it through / Gonna make this dream of mine really come true", perhaps hinting that no amount of praying and wishing can reverse the effects of the mess he made for himself.
Occasional cosmic weirdity in the lyrics, as on "Prayer" ("pick out a cloud, and speak very loud, and that cloud will be yours forever").
The sound is lo-fi and sparse: sometimes "Dave Bixby" joined by a second guitar, plus onetime appearances of harmonica ("Secret Forest") and spacey flute ("Peace").
"Ode To Quetzalcoatl" is considered the best loner Christian Folk album of the era and has been championed for years by such luminaries as musicologist "Paul Major" and Christian Rock archivist "Ken Scott".
Dave has also re-recorded his songs, and they're available online if you like them.
When asked the question "What do you think about the re release of "Ode To Quetzalcoatl" 40 years after it's inception?", David contributes the following:
"I am truly amazed there was an interest and am quite surprised that so many people are following this album's path. It seems to have a life of it's own, separate from me. I'm not completely sure what the attraction is to this piece of work, so I wanted to get this website up so I could connect with the people who found value in this album".


kami said...

its a great album.. thanks for all that extra information about bixby and the cult... makes me want to investigate further...

Anonymous said...

very interesting thanks

Anonymous said...

David Bixby in concert spring 2011 Grand Rapids Mich. Summer 2011 UK tour

Anonymous said...

I used to have that Harbinger Second Coming LP he did, though I could never really dig it, was kind of meandering and confusing.

Anonymous said...

Christian King interview with David Bixby podcast http.//

Joy Jones said...

I have David Bixby and Linda Joy Knight to thank for helping me leave "the movement." At one time, I looked up to them as people really close to "Sir", the leader of this group which turned out to be pseudoChristian. The fact that they felt they had a personal responsibility to inform people about the group changed my life. No telling how long I would have been deceived, how many years I might've spent within its folds. They gave me a gift: the unvarnished, sometimes ugly truth about it.

Listening to this sampling of the album, which I don't believe I've ever heard before, brings back so many memories of that time period. It really is saturated with the special vibe of that time, almost have had to live through to understand.

In any case, I really really love this music. How does one get the LP?

If you read this, David Bixby, THANK YOU, thank you, thank you!
Peace out, Ruth