Happy Birthday Church of Satan! Five Musicians Associated With the Devil's Faith

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It was on this day in 1966 that the one and only Anton Szandor LaVey officially founded the Church of Satan at the Black House in San Francisco, California. From that day forward there would be a mainstream religion celebrating the antithesis of Christian thought in America and embracing as virtues hat were traditionally considered sins. It was, and remains, a religion of self-worship and egotistical enlightenment.

Several famous people have been involved in the church since its founding, though not all of them as true card-carrying members. That's OK; the church's Web site states clearly that one doesn't have to officially enroll to consider yourself a Satanist. On this happy Walpurgisnacht Houston Press presents some of the musicians who have embraced the darkness over the decades of diabolical worship.

Make that proudly presents.

The Black Math Experiment, "Ology" Simply because I don't want to feel like I'm "outing" anyone here or bringing them undue attention, for the first and only time I'm including myself in a playlist. I have been a Satanist since I was 17 years old, and though I've never paid the $200 fee to join (not tax-deductible, by the way, since the Church of Satan pays taxes and believes that all religions should) I have always kept the teachings of LaVey very close to my heart. They're the sort of thing that really helps when you're a weirdo.

A lot of people have interpreted "Ology" as a religious song over the years, and that's pretty accurate. Unfortunately, it was mostly a contest between the Christian Bill Curtner and myself to see who could circumvent the other's religious sentiments through symbolic nonsense.

Möl Triffid, "The Devil & Sammy Davis Jr." This one requires a bit of explanation. In the '60s, Sammy Davis Jr. landed a role in a pilot called Poor Devil that had -- no joke -- Adam West and Christopher Lee as Lucifer. Unfortunately, such perfection simply was too much for the time and it went nowhere, but when LaVey heard about the project he made Davis's acquaintance and even duetted with the famous singer on a later album.

LaVey offered Davis honorary membership, but he ultimately broke ties with the church after several years of being a huge proselytizer for the institution in Hollywood. Then a little-known sludge-experimental act from Ann Arbor, Mich., wrote a ten-minute epic about the whole thing on their 1991 album, Touch The Monkey, and I put it here because it amuses the hell out of me.

Jayne Mansfield, "Too Hot to Handle" I can never understand why everyone seems to worship Marilyn Monroe and no one ever talks about Jayne Mansfield, despite the latter's being prettier and more talented than Norma Jean. She was also a Satanist, having been presented by LaVey himself with a medallion and a certificate declaring her a High Priestess of San Francisco's Church of Satan that she kept framed in her pink bedroom, because that is hysterical. In 1992, LaVey's daughter Karla told Joan Rivers that Mansfield was indeed a practicing Satanist, and that the two were romantically involved.

Story continues on the next page.

Anton LaVey, "Gloomy Sunday" Of course, I would be remiss not to point out that LaVey was an impressive musician in his own right. That's how he got the idea of the Church of Satan in the first place, playing calliope at a carnival watching men drool over dancing girls then seeing the same men in church on Sunday when he played the organ. LaVey released a couple of great albums of organ music, occasionally with vocals. Just for fun, here's "Gloomy Sunday" from 1994's Strange Music, a song that legend says drives people to suicide. Blanche Barton really nails the vocals.

Soft Cell, "Sex Dwarf" Finally, there's Marc Almond of Soft Cell, and if you're surprised that he was involved in the debauched Church of Satan then you've never seen the real version of the video for "Sex Dwarf." After finding a copy of The Satanic Bible in an old junk shop, Almond really began digging the message that LaVey was laying down. In 1999, fellow musician Boyd Rice formally inducted him into the Church after a short ceremony in the woods, an experience Almond talks about in depth in his book Tainted Life.

Have a wicked day, you fleshly forms.

Jef has a new story, a tale of headless strippers and The Rolling Stones, available now in Broken Mirrors, Fractured Minds. You can also connect with him on Facebook.


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