What does the Pope have in common with Whitesnake, Guns ‘n’ Roses, Neil Young, Kylie Minogue, Aerosmith, Joni Mitchell, Elton John, Cher and Peter Gabriel?
That’s right. They all got recording deals with Geffen Records.
The Pope is due to release an album soon, called Alma Mater, in which he’ll sing litanies and chants. He’ll also say prayers in Latin, French, German and Portuguese, so it’s kind of a talking blues thing.
I catch up with the Pontiff over a coffee in a little diner in LA, and ask him straight out if the rumours are true. Is he really going to release an album?
He shrugs. Well, you know, it’s like totally, y’know, kinda a totally cool thing to do right now in this, uh, phase of my career. Y’know?
Asked about his musical influences, he grins.
Well, Wagner’s gotta be in there somewhere, right? And Kraftwerk. And of course, later on, Black Sabbath came along and they, like, really blew me away. There’s so many. The Jesus and Mary Chain. The Pixies. Angelwitch. Jesus on Extacy. The Godless Wicked Creeps. So many.
So, I ask him. Apart from the chanting and the prayers, are you doing any covers?
Yeah, yeah, sure, he says. I got a really great producer for this record and so it’s gonna be like, a bit retro, y’know? We’re doing a cover of Dylan’s Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door, and Cohen’s Sisters of Mercy. Sylvia’s Mugger. Oh, and that one by Wayne County and the Electric Chairs.
Jesus Christ! I say, and he glances at me sharply. Sorry, I tell him, but I only know one song by Wayne County and the Electric Chairs: If you don’t want to fuck me, fuck off.
That’s the one, he says. We just thought it would lift the mood a little, y’know?
He blesses my biscuit before drifting away into cloud of contemplation.
Conscious that I’m in the presence of a living legend, I leave him to his thoughts and wander outside, trying to come to terms with this news. I wonder who he’ll have in the band? Satan has to be an obvious choice for the fiddle playing, but what about bass? Drums? Guitar? Slash, maybe. Will there be a brass section? So many questions. Will he use his real name? RapZinger?
And what does it mean for the future? This guy doesn’t tap into the zeitgeist. He is the zeitgeist. This guy sets the industry trend, so maybe we’ll see an outbreak of Dalai Lamas, Grand Muftis, Metropolitans, Mullahs, Ayatollahs, Whoa-ho-hoatollahs, forming tribute bands.
Pope impersonators doing wedding gigs. Albums of renegade Muslim clerics issuing fatwas. Scientologists singing the collected bullshit of L Ron Hubbard.
Irish Jehovah Witnesses: Celtic Transfusion.
The King of Pope does it again.