INTERVIEW: CHURCH OF THE COSMIC SKULL | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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If I told you I’ve been looking into a spiritual organisation to learn about an easy ten-step initiation programme known as The P.A.T.H., and that I’ve been in correspondence with a man named Brother Bill to gain this insight, you’d be forgiven for quietly calling one of my close friends and asking them to keep an eye on me.

But this is no iffy cult that I’ve been exploring, and this man is not based beneath a hatch in a Californian bunker; in fact, he’s a man from Nottingham. Bill Fisher is his full name, and he is the founder of the Church of the Cosmic Skull, a hardworking, easy-going rock band with one hand saluting Steely Dan, Queen and The Beach Boys, and the other held out to guide us through a modern world spinning ever faster.

Of their latest album, Everybody’s Going to Die, Bill says: “There are various concepts woven through, including the cult of personality, the widespread thirst for fame, the social media echo chamber, [and] acceptance of death. In a positive way, of course…” And positive it is. An immortal life form visiting from another planet could listen to this album’s title track, with its Queen-style kiss-the-stars guitars and a soulful chorus of voices acting like a warm hug, and come away from it thinking death sounds like a rather marvellous experience. For Church of the Cosmic Skull are here to zap a world vision before us, and they do it with a commitment reaching far beyond rainbow-emblem album covers and a floaty dress sense. “We are a rock band and a spiritual organisation who welcome all living beings with open arms,” Bill explains. These outstretched arms have gathered a following they call the Cosmic Family, who are “the main focus of the Church’s activities. The Family is incredibly supportive, and I think that an enthusiastic audience is all a band needs nowadays.” Offers from major labels have come their way but, true to this outlook, and three albums deep, the septet have grown with the help of no-one but themselves and their devoted followers. “Instead we are building the Church from the ground up, in full control of the creative output,” says Bill, adding, “we don’t need to wait for anyone, and the possibilities are endless.”

We are a rock band and a spiritual organisation who welcome all living beings with open arms

It’s a freedom which chimes well with their Seventies spirit. I’m interested, then, to hear what he thinks the music industry will look like in thirty years’ time, as we stand here in the midst of such rapid change. “At the moment it seems we are in a kind of renaissance meets the Wild West,” he says. “It’s only in the last few years that we’ve seen this phenomenon of anyone and everyone being able to reach a huge audience. To see this translating into real humans coming to real shows is amazing.” Bill sees the dark side to this, but once again true to his outlook, follows one of the Church’s own ‘7 Objects’ in how he responds to it: “The omnipresent ‘affirmation via the internet’ and the quantification of popularity is clearly exacerbating anxiety and other mental health issues. This is part of the latest album concept, and I think it is a phenomenon that should certainly be received with equanimity.” Equanimity, and a good number of white-hot guitar solos.

Church of the Cosmic Skull play Newcastle’s Star & Shadow Cinema on Saturday 15th February, with special guests Kylver



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