Local Wire

Beck

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).
KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.