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Slate: The Curious Rock Career of L. Ron Hubbard, the Ultimate Cult Musician
Thanks to Winter, Mission Earth rises to the level of cheesy mediocrity. Given his source material, that is a remarkable achievement. A lot of talented professionals worked on the commercially available albums credited to Hubbard, including Chick Corea, Isaac Hayes, and Stanley Clarke (as well as Winter, of course), but Mission Earth is the only project that feels remotely professional.
Space Jazz and Mission Earth are direct offshoots of Hubbard’s career as a scribbler of science-fiction kitsch, but the other two albums written by Hubbard, 1986’s The Road to Freedom and the 2001 tribute The Joy of Creating, are Scientology’s version of gospel: psalms designed to express Hubbard’s ideas and messages through song.
L. Ron Hubbard’s posthumous gift to Scientologists ends with “L’Envoi Thank You for Listening,” the only song on any of the four albums where he actually sings, in a foghorn baritone that has been synthesized and processed into a state of ghostly unrealness. The Wizard steps out from behind the curtain for a bow, and the effect is just as surreal and jarring as you might imagine. Hubbard presents himself not as a man with a philosophy but as a speaker of profound truths:
I do not sing what I believe
I only give them fact
If they believe quite otherwise
It still will have impact
For truth is truth and if they then decide to live with lies
That’s their concern not mine, my friend,
They’re free to fantasize.