Wednesday, September 5, 2012
This British band had been around since the early sixties and had several hits. They had recently lost their backup vocalist and guitar player to America, and their management wanted to update their sound. They hired two girl backup singers, a three piece horn section, and me — on keyboards.
So I flew to London and started playing with the band around town. We were at the the Marquee Club on Wardour Street, and had finished a late show on Tuesday night, Wednesday morning. We were off for two days, so I borrowed a mate’s Austin and planned to see the sunrise from the southern coast or possibly from Stonehenge. I had scored a couple of buttons of peyote from one of the roadies, and thought that would add a little technicolor to the sunrise.
I got a little lost, and ended up in St. John’s Wood near the Marylebone Cricket Club or “Lord’s Cricket Ground” as the locals referred to it. It was six o’clock in the morning, I feel pretty good. So I dropped into the luxury of the Lords and took the buttons. I was wandering around the grounds enjoying the gargoyles and medieval statues. Fighting dragons and crossing swords with the people against the hordes who came to conquer.
An hour later I’m motoring down the M3 and I arrive at Winchester Cathedral. The Peyote is really starting to kick in, so I park the car and start to tour the grounds awaiting the sunrise. Seven o'clock in the morning here it comes. I taste the warming. Really starting to hallucinate. I'm so amazed I'm here today, seeing things so clear this way, in the car and on my way to Stonehenge.
I see the church and walk towards it. I come up to the door and step inside. By now I’m really getting high. You know how some people hallucinate and think they can fly? Some even jump off tall buildings to their death. Well that was what was happening to me. Maybe I couldn’t fly. Maybe it was all going on inside my head, although anyone who has read “Don Juan, a Yaqui Way of Knowledge” would have some doubts. Maybe I could really fly. Who can say?
So there I am, flying in Winchester cathedral. Sunlight pouring through the break of day. I stumbled through the door and into the chamber. There's a lady setting flowers on a table covered lace, and a cleaner in the distance finds a cobweb on a face. It is so unreal. A feeling deep inside of me tells me this can't be the place.
I wandering around inside thinking about churches and religion. I’m strong on belief, but rather cynical on religion. Seems it is often just man’s attempt to understand God, and you know how screwed up we humans can make things. Yet, all religion has to have its day.
I wandered into one of the little alcoves along the side and was looking at the statues. I found this statue of Jesus on the cross and looked up at his face. The expressions on the face of the Savior made me say, "I can't stay."
Suddenly I felt claustrophobic and weighted down. A paranoid voice was screaming in my skull to just get out of there. I shouted, "Open up the gates of the church and let me out of here." I thought that too many people have lied in the name of Christ for anyone to heed the call. So many people have died in the name of Christ that I can't believe it all.
I search for the door, but end up in another little alcove with carving on the floor. Now I'm standing on the grave of a soldier that died in 1799 ... And the day he died it was a birthday ... And I noticed it was mine... And my head didn't know just who I was ... And I went spinning back in time.
Maybe I just thought I did, but it seemed I flew up over the altar and toward the great glass wall above. And I am high upon the altar ... High upon the altar, ... high. I'm flying in Winchester cathedral. It's hard enough to drink the wine. The air inside just hangs in delusion. But given time, I'll be fine.
Open up the gates of the church and let me out of here. Too many people have lied in the name of Christ for anyone to heed the call. Too many people have died in the name of Christ that I can't believe it all.
I finally found myself outside in the sunlight. The effects of the hallucinogen were starting to wear off, or else the sleepless night was starting to take its due. I got in the car and headed back to my hotel. Never did get to see Stonehenge.