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Religion: Arthur Brown

You were one of the first artists to bring the occult into mainstream rock.

After the war, a lot of beliefs were shot by the savagery of what had gone on, so there was an opening waiting to be filled. What was around was the occult.

How did you go about bringing that into your stage persona?

We wanted to shock people out of the everyday hypnosis of TV and the media. Plus it was a time when people were beginning to explore and expand their consciousness. Performing was always quite magical for me. What I did on stage was shamanic because it would always attract occult things and different kinds of energies.

Did you face much hostility?

Oh yeah. I got attacked at one concert in the very early days. I was doing Fire! and some guy suddenly arrived from the side of the stage. The next thing I knew my head was on the keyboard and there was blood pouring everywhere.

Any other strange incidents?

We got death threats from the Manson people. And the head of a witch coven wrote me a letter on black paper in black ink.

Rob Hughes
Rob Hughes

Freelance writer for Classic Rock since 2008, and sister title Prog since its inception in 2009. Regular contributor to Uncut magazine for over 20 years. Other clients include Word magazine, Record Collector, The Guardian, Sunday Times, The Telegraph and When Saturday Comes. Alongside Marc Riley, co-presenter of long-running A-Z Of David Bowie podcast. Also appears twice a week on Riley’s BBC6 radio show, rifling through old copies of the NME and Melody Maker in the Parallel Universe slot. Designed Aston Villa’s kit during a previous life as a sportswear designer. Geezer Butler told him he loved the all-black away strip.