Cult heroes: Five cult bands involved in actual cults!
3. David Bixby – The Movement
David Bixby is responsible for perhaps the greatest loner-folk (it’s like regular folk, only with bonus misery, despair, and loneliness) album of all time, 1972’s Ode To Quetzecoatl. An unnerving howl from the abyss from end to end, Ode… detailed Dave’s downward spiral into madness after experimenting with LSD, and his conflicted conversion to a rogue sect of Christianity called ‘The Movement’ shortly after.
Bixby’s career in music started like most young men in the 60s: he played in garage bands. He found fleeting regional fame playing with Michigan almost-weres Peter & The Prophets, but by the end of the 60s he made two crucial decisions: he would go solo, and he would start taking LSD. It takes a certain kind of individual to actually become addicted to acid, as Bixby claims he was, so by the time a couple members of local brainwashing cult The Movement found him caterwauling in a local coffeehouse, he was primed for conversion.
Led by a mystery man named Don DeGraaf, The Movement was essentially a pyramid scheme wrapped in cult clothing. DeGraaf forced his flock to denounce all their worldly goods while making them sell vitamins and funneling the profits directly to him. Once David joined The Movement, DeGraaf figured they could expand into record sales. Bixby’s album was recorded on the rough, pressed, and sold exclusively by members of the cult, who peddled it in the street along with their pills and potions.
As the 70s wore on, The Movement got even weirder, with paramilitary training and verbal/physical abuse thrown in the mix. Bixby was already wary of what he’d gotten himself into, but he recorded a second album for them, Second Coming. He was expelled from The Movement soon after, when DeGraaf bought a ski lodge and decided his cult would work better if they only had female members.
The Movement, and DeGraaf, both vanished around 1977. Bixby’s still around and playing less-anguished Christian folk, but he will probably always be known for the harrowing Ode to Quetzecoatl, perhaps the only acid-fried Jesus-psyche album recorded by an actual cult member.