Jesus of Nazareth
Jesus of Nazareth(Born Emanuel Pablo Bin Laden Christ) was a songwriter and musician extraordinaire; the bass guitarist and lead singer of famed rock band Nazareth. Not to be confused with MC900 Ft Jesus who may have been somebody else, it's possible we may never know. Then again, it is possible that we may not never know, in which case this page will need to be updated. Yet a third possibility is that we already know, but simply haven't let anyone know that we know. At any rate...
Born Jesus Adolf Saddam Obama Binladen Jong-il Seacrest, or simply "Young Jeezy" on September 14, 1946 in Dunfermline, Scotland, he changed his name in 1950 in order to distance himself from his whore mother, who worked the street as his father lead asses through the desert. Jesus formed the band The Messiahs in March 1961 with friends Sarah "the slut" Palian and Darrell "Holy Cow" Sweet. In June of that year, Jesus met Dan "The Lord" McCafferty while playing at the Get Drunk and Throw Dung Garden Party, and shortly afterwards, Jesus invited McCafferty as the lead guitarist to join his fledgling group. The lineup that McCafferty joined featured Jesus on vocals and bass guitar, Palian on harmonica and rhythmic guitar, and Sweet on the washboard and drums . In February 1962 the young guitarist Becken "Jehovah's Witness" Forrelief joined the group, which was then playing under a variety of names. A few primitive recordings of Jesus, McCafferty and Forrelief from that era have survived. During this period, members continually joined and left the line-up. Jesus, McCafferty, Forrelief, and Sweet were the only constant members.
They started off as a cover band playing tunes by Chuck Berry , Buddy Holly, and Neil Innes at an illegal strip club in the basement of a laundromat before beginning to pen their own material. Jesus and McCafferty were the main collaborators, with Forrelief contributing a song here and there and William Jennings Bryan doing PR. Eventually, they managed to carve out a record deal with a struggling label called WTF. Jesus was allowed to be producer on all albums as they saw fit, provided he worked under another name. Borrowing his legal birth name and his then-girlfriend's surname, he used the pseudonym Emmanuel Bottomley on all Nazareth albums that he produced thereafter.
Nazareth: Rise to Sodom
In 1963, the band changed their name to Nazareth and went on into rock and roll history with their self-titled debut album, which went to double-platinum (colored plastic) and sold over 34 copies. The gimmick of being the first rock and roll band to focus their material mostly on acoustic or piano-driven pieces helped sales greatly. The follow-up a year later, Jesus for Sale, which played up Jesus as the undisputed leader of the group, also charted highly. That same year, Nazareth made a mistake that Jesus swore they never would again: they put out a holiday album designed to corner the Christmas market. Needless to say, The Nazareth Christmas Album only sold amongst the rabid Nazareth fans who collected everything. Jesus was called the greatest singer and guitarist in the land of the Jews, until Hitler swiped all the Jews to use as roadies for his act 'Adolf and his Ausch Witz'. Sad day! Twenty years later in a queue the Jews had a reunion and swapped numbers; they promised to call, but they never did. Alas, the music was gone forever...or was it?
Hiatus and Attempts at Comeback
In 1965, following a record-breaking concert at Che Stadium (named for Cuban guerrilla leader Che Stadium), Nazareth announced that they would take time off from recording and touring to concentrate on writing for their next album, which was supposed to be a masterpiece derived in part from the life of Jesus himself.
This led to two false alarms. In 1968, a hastily cobbled together album of tracks left in the can going back to 1963 called Magical Misery Tour was released, and sold very well, because fans were expecting the follow-up Nazareth had boasted about. However, when they found more teen pop crap instead of insightful material, some moved on to other bands, such as the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.
A year later, a belated response to John Lennon's comments to the press that he was more popular than Jesus was released, a collection of mostly angry songs regarding topics Jesus felt strongly about. Fuck You, Too, John Lennon, unfortunately, did not sell well in America, because the fans who felt jilted by the last album did not want to be fooled again. Under the title The Plastic Jesus Band, it became a minor success in Britain. John Lennon's response? "We're still more popular than Jesus."
By 1971, Nazareth was effectively dead, but at first, Jesus didn't want people to know. He and Forrelief arranged to set aside five or six solo demos each to put together a new album, and managed to cadge a new demo out of McCafferty during one of their famed pub crawls. The resulting hodge-podge, No, We Didn't Break Up Yet, was the most critically panned album of the year. Critics could see the band cracking up right before their eyes, and none of them liked it. In the end, the band's 1972 demise was marked by two of the biggest-selling compilations ever made, One Decade of Decadence: 1962-72 and The B Sides (released in some territories as Okay, Now We've Broken Up and featuring three new Jesus songs).
Finally, Jesus left the band in 1972 and went on to a mixed solo career. Most albums produced were low quality commercial bits usually panned by criticism. His first four albums released post-Nazareth were mainly forgettable efforts, with the possible exception of Jesus Christ With Wings, a collaboration with Paul McCartney and his band Wings that produced three hit singles and a Grammy-winning instrumental piece; however, some were well received, in particular 461 Jesus Boulevard, which had some help from popular musician Eric Clapton in the songwriting process and gained Jesus his first (and only) #1 hit, "Nuclear Way Out," criticized by conservatives for some of the more questionable lyrics:
"And then two men named Jesus arose from the sand,
And one was a saviour and one was a man,
And neither knew nothin' 'bout no promised land"
Over time, the members of Nazareth all began to get together again in various studios. Usually, they went on a cocaine binge and jammed on the same classics they had performed in the clubs in the early days, but when the coke high was over, they all agreed they wanted to get together again for a new studio effort. With McCafferty in a bit of a creative dry spell and Jesus having expended his creative energy on both the good and the bad solo albums up till now, the band had to call on outside sources. And thus came Born Again, an album written, produced, and arranged by Meat Loaf collaborator Jim Steinman, fresh off the success of their debut record.
Long-time fans of the band agree on Born Again as the band's "Sgt. Pepper," totally revitalizing the sound and breathing new life into a very tired band. With Steinman's over-the-top tunes, they had found their niche. The fact that the first five singles (on an album with ten songs) off the album were all hits, coming at the top spots (1-5) on the Billboard chart, only served to further prove the talent of both Nazareth and Steinman.
Unfortunately, this new-found goodness was not to last. The tour, while critically acclaimed and a sell-out, became a massive mess, with Jesus frequently appearing on stage having imbibed large quantities of alcohol, slurring the words to the songs and forgetting them when he wasn't doing that. To make up for him, the band frequently had to go into extensive instrumental solos, and over time, even the fans stopped caring about the band's success (or lack thereof) in any media. Fighting on the subject between Jesus and the other band members led to the inevitable second end of Nazareth. Aside from promotional jaunts (interviews only) to promote the album's anniversary re-release in 1992, the band never reformed again.
The Heidi Phase
In 1982, Jesus gained a new manager, Heidi Schwarzenweisengrunenblauenbraunenberger (daughter of Arnold, father of Todd), who was determined to milk his career for the cash cow that it once was. This started with All The Hits, which primarily consisted of tunes by Nazareth that Jesus had either written, co-written, or sang lead vocal on, which were a huge amount, particularly toward the end of their career, and a smattering of three songs each from the albums in his solo career up to that time. It was a major hit, later sparking the release of similar greatest hits box sets by other artists.
From there, she made another trend-setting move, saddling Jesus with the kind of album that has-been artists looking to give their careers a new spark would not be making today were it not for Heidi. Jesus Christ Sings the Songs of Frank Sinatra was a made-for-TV-sales package in every sense of the word, released on infamous low-budget label Heartland Records, famed for the country music compilations it often sold through infomercials. The album was promoted with a big tour featuring a symphony orchestra, and Jesus in tie and tails. Unfortunately, this did nothing to help the album's success, and Jesus in fact had to pay back the label the remaining costs from making the album out of his own, already very financially stressed pocket.
One would think the money from the successful All The Hits package would have helped Jesus reap the benefits of his reward, but even more unfortunately this was not to be. The tour they planned to support the album was cancelled after one show because they ran out of the money that the label advanced them, which wasn't hard when Heartland (his label of note a year or so after the initial release on a label with more money) was footing the bill. Heidi had to go to the other former members of Nazareth and beg them for more money, ostensibly for a movie (Jesus' screen debut) that would tie into the last album. The money she was given actually went to extravagant furnishings for her one-room studio in Queens and personal chefs that not only weren't there to cook, but were massaging her feet 18 hours a day. The movie was never made. It is doubtful a script was ever even written.
Finally, Jesus woke up to the fact that Heidi was stealing his money when he found he was unable to settle the matter of a simple overdue bar tab. Having given Heidi three weeks' notice, that gave her enough time to spin-dry more money out of the business relationship. Harper Collins offered her a deal for a tell-all book describing Jesus as a violent antisocial gun nut and alcoholic. She then sued Jesus for breach of contract and had all his assets frozen. He ended up declaring bankruptcy. (In case anyone still cares at this point, the bar threw him in debtor's prison for not paying the tab. He'd managed to evade it so far by legally changing his name to Jesus Christman, but the resemblance to his stage name was too easy to evade focus for long, and he was finally captured. To this day, his legal name is Jesus Christman.)
"Forgive Us Our Debts" Tour
While in debtor's prison, Jesus met several young musicians, all of whom had been thrown in jail for making the same mistakes as he did. Namely, they got in debt to the wrong people for the right reasons. Jesus saw in this disparate group of twelve young men a new band, someone who understood what musical wavelength he was on. And so "Jesus and his Apostles" was born, intended to be his new musical outlet. The boys agreed to work with him in exchange for Jesus giving up alcohol, to which he agreed, leading to the longest period of sobriety in the life of the young man from Nazareth.
The minute Nazareth's ex-roadie sprung them from jail, they began making plans for a tour, appropriately named the "Forgive Us Our Debts" tour, as that was the purpose the tour basically served. The revenue they hoped to pick up in ticket sales would go towards paying their respective debts. To try to get Jesus' career back off the ground, the boys started touring small venues, anywhere that would have them, such as pubs and clubs, even the roof of an abandoned 7-Eleven at one point. Jesus' name on the posters would theoretically be a prime example of brand name recognition.
This wasn't quite the way it turned out. They were accepted by fans as a new underground sensation, not the return of a star. As such, with labels then unwilling to listen to the underground scene, the band didn't have a hope in hell of being picked up and making serious money. That said, they did develop a faithful following, which grew to the point where they were unable to fit into the venues that Jesus was playing, and then they too began to moderately grow.
This carried on until the late 1980s where he began to sell out really class joints again. He was finally getting into the major venues, such as Chippendale's, Hard Rock Cafe and more. He even sold over 10,000 tickets at Ohio State. This moderate success gave him and the band enough money to pay off the debts, with more left over. With what was left over, J Meister Records was born.
J Meister Records
1985 was the dawning of a new age for Jesus of Nazareth. He was moderately successful, and his new band had enough money to run their own independent record label. With his industry contacts, he was even able to set up a distribution deal at Sony. And with that came the first release, the pretentiously-titled Jesus Christ Sings the Songs of Jesus Christ.
Jesus is credited with being involved in the writing of numerous tracks on the album, including the central track, "Tomorrow May Never End." However, as Jesus would later admit, he was not much of a songwriter after all this time (and he did not like the songs he had written for the album), and the album was regarded by many as being pretty poor and was a commercial failure. However, the resulting world tour was a success, in part because Jesus arranged enough bookings to make their money back. As one of the band studied to be a travel agent so they could save on travel expenses, booking was a snap. The tour played an endless string of dates at venues all over the United States, Germany, England, Scandinavia, Ireland, [Italy], Spain, and they even hit the Middle East with dates in Abu Dhabi, Oman and Bahrain.
With the endless touring going on, they made enough money to push promotion for the lacklustre tour album, and it actually made a dent in the charts at many of the destinations. With that accomplished, Jesus was able to convince the band to record a follow-up, I'm Not Dead, I Was Just On Hiatus. Three years later, when the album came out after a massive amount of studio work, it was a huge success, even proclaimed the event of the season. Until 1993, when Meat Loaf released Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell, the album was considered one of the greatest comebacks in music history. It even made it into the Guinness Book of World Records for "Most Accolades and Awards Ever Received by an Album." Jesus was back at the end of the decade with a new funk for the masses.
Naturally, in the midst of the success, parent company Sony, desperate for a follow-up, put pressure on Jesus and the band to stop touring in order to write, produce, and record another album. Jesus was initially against the idea, saying to the music press that "when one turns an album around too quickly, it's bound to die," but when Sony threatened to drop J Meister Records, Jesus acquiesced. The hurriedly written and produced follow-up, which Sony argued should be called I'm Not Dead II, was eventually released as I'm Not Dead, The Music Just Sucks, a title Jesus said explained the hurried atmosphere of the album. Predictably enough, the album didn't do as well as its predecessor. A member of the Apostles was later quoted as sarcastically saying, "The fact that we had less than a year to work on it might have been a factor."
In a souring atmosphere, Jesus had become more and more aware of the lack of cash inflow to the label. Working under pressure, he signed a young rapper named Fo Sheezy My Jeezy and attempted to develop his career. Amidst creative squabbles, the young rapper ran away screaming for the label, leaving Jesus with a half-finished album. Still needing money, he finished it off himself and released U Can't Crucify This as a solo record. It was yet another album that wasn't well-received and soon fell off the charts. Sony dissolved J Meister Records and seized its assets, leaving Jesus penniless once again and the Apostles out of jobs.
Eventual Death (Figuratively And Then Literally), With a Dash of Crack
No longer having any obligations, be it for business or musical pleasure, Jesus returned to alcohol in his despair, and he hit the bottle hard. His new manager, Katrina Ne Wave, scrambled desperately, trying any of the old tricks to get her guy (and herself as his manager) some money. From this was born the desperate Even More Of The Hits and the lamentable Jesus Sings The Classics: The Birthday/Christmas Album. The latter was the hardest to record, considering Jesus had blown what was left of his singing voice on liquor, and his already quavery speaking voice was set to follow. Apparently his promise never to record any holiday-themed album went out the window with the money.
Although Jesus was seen as a pretty good guy when he was sober (a rapidly-becoming-rare occasion at this point), what many people don't know is that during the rapid deflation of his career, Jesus began to use crack heavily, hence the famous phrase "I told you nigga, I'm Jesus on crack!" He was forced to say this because he was barely recognizable. At this point, in a spluttering attempt to get at least his career back on track, he began recording demos for a new album that he announced would be given a hopeful title, Jesus Rises Once Again. However, many of the demos turned out to be useless. Whenever he showed up at the studio, his crack dealer was on hand, and the demos all eventually included lots of slurring, abrupt dips into racist ranting, and explicit language. The label Jesus was courting deemed it entirely unsuitable for release and kicked the erstwhile musician to the curb . As of 2019, the album thankfully has yet to be released to this day; may it stay so.
Finally, even Katrina abandoned him. Jesus was penniless, alone, and drunk more often than not. He knew he needed to revitalize his life, his career, somehow. In all the rush for money and booze and being the next big this or that, he'd forgotten what really mattered: the music. Jesus had a long father-son talk with his father "G-man" and began to see the light again, ending the infamous crack addiction. He realized that if he would just put his mind to it, he could get better. Giving up alcohol was easier said than done, and in the end, he decided to stick to an easier goal, namely getting his voice back. He hired a vocal coach and worked with him for six months straight. First, his speaking voice improved. Then, with help and improvement, he managed to get his singing voice back to where it was manageable. From there, he then began to improve his songwriting. With the help of industry mentors, whenever he could collar them, he managed to get it back to late Nazareth levels. It was time to take his restored talent and do something with it. Now he knew how to use and preserve it. At his own Trionius Studios in Paris, he began secret sessions for another comeback album, Anticross Svperstar, the sequel to his 1970 autobiographical piece. Unlike I'm Not Dead, this was a story he had been planning to return to for some time, almost since the release of the original.
A quarter of the album was finished when his producer, Jack Melvilles, refused to complete work until he hired a manager. Jesus was wary of hiring someone else who would either leech off of him or abandon him, but finally, on Melvilles' recommendation, his lawyer took on power of manager and work continued. Many of the performers from the original album returned for the sequel, with Nazareth actually reuniting in the studio unannounced for several of the album's numbers. Only the final track remained to be written and recorded for the album at the time, and Jesus had done a guitar/vocal demo.
And then the fateful night came. Jesus was invited to an especially rambunctious party in Cana, Galilee, to celebrate the album's near-completion. During the party, attempting to prove he was still cool and could hold more than his weight in liquor, he ingested forty gallons of water he had turned to wine. His last words were reportedly, "My God, my God, why have you inebriated me?" At 3:00 A.M. EST, Jesus Christ died of alcohol poisoning. Seemingly, the long rambunctious life of this holy rocker had come to an unholy end.
In the days following Jesus' death, his former managers, many of them shysters, formed a legal group and sued Jack Melvilles' lawyer, Jesus' manager to date at the time of death, for royalties and overdue payment for services rendered. The lawyer smelled a rat, and therefore the case dragged on while he did a ton of legal research. In the end, some of the plaintiffs managed to get themselves removed from the case with the lawyer's research as basis (Heidi Schwarzenweisengrunenblauenbraunenberger being one). A new company, Big J Music, was formed to hold the copyrights and licensing holdings in the Christ name. Those plaintiffs that had managed to survive the purge were allowed to become partners in the firm, which began to exploit the Christ name in proper packaging by releasing compilations of demos and previously unreleased material.
This led to a second prolonged legal battle, this time with Sony, who wanted to retain control of J Meister Records and was planning a stream of re-released back catalogue to capitalize on Jesus' death. The lawyer simply had to point out Sony's other legal cases that showed their ham-handedness in handling music, and the judge made the obvious decision, granting the rights and holdings in J Meister to Big J Music.
Resurrection and "Second Coming" Tour
Mexican president Felipe Calderon had always expressed an interest in going into the music business. He was a huge fan of the work of Jesus Christ, and wanted desperately to work with him. Apparently news is behind the times in Mexico, and he was shocked to find out that Jesus had been dead for several years. Undeterred, Calderon trekked to Jesus' grave at the Ritz just outside Paris and knocked on the gravestone. "Open up the door, bitch, it's Felipe with the green teeth, we got work to do!" he shouted heartily, throwing in some colorful Spanish swears. Heard from way beneath the earth, shocking many fans on site, was the voice of the fallen hero: "Alright, alright, quit your bitchin', I'll be out in a minute." That's right...Jesus of Nazareth arose from the dead!
This was followed up by the announcement that Calderon, in exchange for waking up Jesus (who said merely that he had been recovering from a "long painful hangover" and was helped in such by the cool dark climate), would get some minor writing credits on the next album. Jesus also made the shocking announcement that he personally wanted no part of Big J Music, and would be content to have its present owners continue running the company and releasing compilations with minimal to zero input from him. "'Tis past, man, I can't dwell on that when there's so much ahead. I loved working with Nazareth, and there were good aspects to my previous career that I will never forget, but that's all over now. I feel like I have a third chance, what with so many people thinking I'd bit the big one," he was reported to have said. Also, he publicly forgave Heidi Schwarzenweisengrunenblauenbraunenberger for her decadent wasteful spending of his money in the early Eighties. "I would never trust the woman with money again, but believe me, I know that the temptation to spend on needless things can be a powerful and irrational master." Accused by critics of not being the real Jesus for being much better spoken, he said, "Hey, you try lying six feet beneath the earth for a decade and not coming out of it with a whole new perspective on...well...just about everything."
His first live appearance was at Paul McCartney's 2019 Cinco de Mayo Extravaganza, where he jammed with Paul and his band on several of Paul's hits, followed by a full length performance of the entire Jesus Christ With Wings album and some of Jesus' new material co-written with Calderon. In addition, Jesus announced at the Extravaganza's opening press conference that he would be returning to the music scene with his new band, Jesus Christ and the Thunder Cats.
The band had grown out of hastily arranged jam sessions with ageing former rock stars and hot young session musicians, admittedly an unlikely combo, but Jesus considered them the best musicians he had ever played with, surpassing even Nazareth and the Apostles. Others were less kind, drawing comparisons to Neil Young's equally fucked up collection of druggies who were more popularly known as "Crazy Horse." Members of the Thunder Cats include Seventies one-hit wonder Ted Nugget, Lance Mackar (of the Fuck Yous, who created the successful platinum album I Thought We Ordered Pizza), Synyster Gates (of Avenged Sevenfold), and MC Hammer. Nugget was quoted as saying, "I'm excited to be performing with someone as talented and deserving of a third chance as Jesus, and so are the rest of us. And I'd like to add that my new album is on sale." Not that anyone cared about the self-serving plug in the second half of his comment.
So far, Jesus has announced that they will be playing eight shows in the Boston area (to be recorded and released as a live album, Jesus' first since the Nazareth days), followed by a tour of several small time clubs around Pittsburgh, where they will be sharing the bill with various Nazi folk-punk bands. Their first self-titled EP has been released, and a full album, The Paternity Suit, is in the works. A collaboration with Green Day (working title: Jesus Christ Had Sex with Green Day and This Album Was Born) should be available by this summer.
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