During the recordings, Laura Bird said, "You sing about Jesus a lot," to which I replied, "I do?" Then I realized for the first time, that in the fifteen songs we recorded, there actually are references to "The Nazz" in three songs!
I was brought up in a laissez-faire United church family, but with a Christian fundamentalist battleaxe of a paternal grandmother. She was a fire-and-brimstone type, and once I was old enough to think about these things, formal God-as-an-entity Christianity didn't make any sense to me, and that was that. From that point I explored the mystical practices of Zen Buddhism, Taoism, aboriginal spirituality, and deep feeling therapy (yes, it does shift consciousness!) and have arrived at a multifaceted perspective/way-of-being. Regarding religions, I tend to agree with Joseph Campbell, who states that religious explanations of the universe, or myths, are just different ways of attempting to explain what is, in fact, beyond words or rational explanations. Just like different languages have different words for the same item, religions are just different explanations for the same thing.
So even though I am not a Christian, I believe that Jesus is the most iconic figure in our culture. If I want to touch on major existential issues and not be pedantic, I need powerful "trigger" words that create similar associations for my audience. Explanations are too long. Other iconic figures like the Buddha, Lao Tzu, or Black Elk, are still too obscure to most western minds. And when you're playing roots, blues, and gospel music, talking about the Buddha just doesn't cut it!
More on this tomorrow . . .