It’s difficult to imagine the world before the psycho-sexual revolution of 1972. A corrupt bureaucracy of warring ideologies and religions consistently plunged the world into chaos, as a cadre of the wealthy gleefully pulled strings to ruin lives of billions, while pocketing ill-gotten gains. Like every revolution, this one had been brewing for over a decade. There was a restlessness plaguing society. The collective patience was wearing thin, while new, mind-expanding drugs were giving deeper insights into the meaning of existence.
Doctor Leopold Reed had spent his life riding the periwinkle wave of self-discovery through a world desperately in need of answers to humanity’s most burning questions. While others were experimenting with LSD and Cyclocilbin, Leopold Reed was creating a road map into our inner selves. NASA was launching astronauts into space, trying hard to find and touch the face of God. Leopold Reed was creating an army of chemical cosmonauts. He hoped they would explore the mind’s inner-verse and converse with inter-dimensional beings, to share true secrets of creation while arming followers with the wisdom to end the perpetual cycle of suffering with which the world had become all-too-familiar.
On the same day American astronauts landed on the moon, Leopold Reed returned from a hallucinogenic trip with a plan to change the world. It took three years of planning and every dime of his inherited fortune for Leopold to fully realize his chemically induced epiphany, which involved 280 cubic gallons of high-grade LSD, 400 rolls of premium blotter paper and access to a formal function, hosted by the United Nations.
After spiking the water supply with their chemical agent of change, all leaders in the known world began a trip that would ultimately lead them to an elevated level of understanding. Leopold understood how getting leadership of the civilized world high wouldn’t solve any problems, but it would set the stage for success and what would bring them together wouldn’t be a chemical reaction but a musical one.
Music would be the instrument of salvation. The B-side of The Zombies’ “Odyssey and Oracle” became the soundtrack for a shared future. Over the next few weeks, wars ended. Generational conflicts began to subside. Psychedelic drugs became legal and were actively encouraged to be used by presidents and prime ministers alike. The world had gone through a fundamental paradigm shift. People were seeking a new type of knowledge and turning to rock and roll musicians to find answers.
It was a Rock N Roll Revolution. Live music became America’s pastime. Kids no longer dreamed of being athletes, scientists or movie stars. Every young boy wanted to be a bad-ass rocker or an ax-wielding shredder. Every girl fantasized about being a leather-clad dreamweaver or spent every waking moment tapping out beats on whatever surface was available.
The musical influence on the world washed over the masses like a sugary sweet mountain of molasses that made everything more amazing. Large cultural milestones, like the World Series, were replaced with an annual battle of the band competitions. Presidential candidates were now presented with debate questions about which musical genre best encapsulated their foreign policy. A new national capital was erected in Detroit, as the nation split into those who accepted the musical utopia and puritanical conservatives who wanted nothing of this newfound nirvana.
The military-industrial complex was forced to change business strategies as well. It transitioned from making weapons of mass destruction to designing more efficient amplifiers and music venues that could operate in the upper stratosphere.
Even traditional Judeo-Christian religions were forced to pivot after seeing congregations at their lowest level since the Third Crusade. Rather than rail against the temptations of what rock n roll music provided, they began to embrace it as a way to lure new members into their flock. The rigid dogmatic doctrines quickly were rewritten to align with a new world view. Boring, stoic pipe organs were flanked with electric guitars, sitars and theremins. Sermons were backed by musical accompaniment, as pastors were learning a powerful drum solo could be as moving as any theological pedagogy.
A decade later the world had become completely transformed by rock n roll. The strength of a nation’s economy could be measured in album sales. There were those who opposed the seismic shift in society—uptight squares who continued to cling to antiquated ideologies, sad souls who saw a world changing around them as something to fear. They would continue to shake their fists and glare disapprovingly at the rock n roller coaster young people were lining up to ride. They clung to their puritanical past instead of following a funkier future.
Much of the world had started to tap its collective foot to a new beat. And one band would seize the zeitgeist. One lead singer would become the scowling face of rock and light the world on fire. He was born Edward Stewart Alabaster. Though the world would come to know his by a stage name that would singe society…
Ed. note: Anghus’ “Burning Sensation” is a serialized fiction piece that will run in encore every other week through 2020.