Local Wire


Great Xenu's ghost! Didja know Beck Hansen's a Scientologist? That's correct, alt-rock's favorite shabby-chic troubadour is a Dianetics-following, E-meter-reading Hubbardite -- not that it factors into his music or anything. Nope, despite shout-outs to folks like Jenna Elfman or brother-in-law Giovanni Ribisi in the liner notes of Guero, his latest chart-busting album, there's nary any Thetan-worshiping to be found in Beck's catalogue. He might have gone from the cult classic days of Mellow Gold to embracing a full-fledged cult, er . . . religion, but his tunes remain the usual funkdafied pastiche of rambling rhythm and rhyme, heavy on the hip-hop. Throughout the various experimental phases of Beck's recent work -- from the soulful, R&B-laced, sex-charged funk of 1999's Midnight Vultures, to the bizarrely emotional ballads of 2002's Sea Change, right back to the Odelay-channeling sampling and folk-singer aesthetic of Guero -- he's still the same fly white boy, who remains laid-back and chill about his religious affiliation, rarely mentioning it in interviews (unlike a madly-jumping-on-Oprah's-couch-to-emphasize-his-sham-engagement kind of kooky Scientologist who shall remain nameless).
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.