Getting in the office time machine for the traditional festive trip, our very own loose canon isn’t messing around… Jesus! he exclaimed. Jesus, we sighed
“It started shortly after the sermon on the mount. I was banging on about peacemakers and being salt of the earth, but people still were sinning and blaspheming and fornicating. Right there in front of me. In front of the mount.”
Jesus Christ munches another finger of his Kit Kat.
“So that’s why I invented big beat.”
First century Galilee may seem an unlikely location for a musical revolution. However, the music scene was well developed despite electropop not being invented yet. Traditional instruments like harps and panpipes dominated popular music, with roadside stalls offering generous three-year warranties on primitive woodwind instruments. The primary mode of transport was the donkey. You’d insert your headphones to play music on your morning commute, although the startled braying would make any listening difficult. Virgin Megastore had several Galilee stores.
“It was my mother’s favourite shop,” remembers Jesus.
Not many people know Jesus as an audiophile, despite his Saturday job in the Nazareth branch of Tandy. His main job was preaching, which was a form of rapping devoid of wit or wordplay. Imagine the works of 50 Cent, but better. For such a boisterous genre of music, it seems appropriate that the big beat revolution found its genesis in preaching loudly to crowds of people.
As Jesus was delivering a long sermon to a ragtag bunch of pharisees and tax collectors, he kept getting heckled.
“They kept saying, ‘Do the loaves and fishes thing again, do the loaves and fishes thing again’,” he recalls. “I won’t go into detail, but I’d had a pretty successful catering job with 5,000 people and now no one wouldn’t shut up about it.”
Jesus smirks at the memory as he snaps off another finger of his Kit Kat. He licks the chocolate off the top first before eating the rest of the biscuit.
“I remember telling them to stop shouting, that they were like a broken record,” he says. “And that’s when the idea hit me.”
Using an Akai sampler borrowed off John the Baptist, Jesus created audio loops of the noisy crowds that had been following him from town to town. He then added what he describes as “phat” drum beats. The gruff shouts of Roman soldiers feeding Christians to the lions provided convenient frequencies for a bass drum.
“The slap of sandals as you walk on water makes a brilliant snare.”
“Camel farts. They’re surprisingly tinny.”
With his new “big beats” blasting loudly from discounted Tandy hi-fi speakers, and festivities flowing freely from wine that somehow used to be water, Jesus’ Heavenly Socials became the talk of the town.
“Not everyone was impressed,” says Jesus, now gobbling three chocolatey fingers at a time. He seems to be conjuring the Kit Kats from thin air. “Lazarus, for one. I was meant to be raising him from the dead, but I was too busy spinning block rocking beats. He was absolutely livid. And dead.”
Meanwhile, Jesus’ former friend Judas touted tickets to the parties in return for pieces of gold in what has since been described as a “dick move”.
The music acts that arose from that period are still known today. The Prodigy were so-called because of the Baby Jesus. Lionrock named themselves from the messianic Aslan figure in ‘The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe’. And Bentley Rhythm Ace got their moniker from the famous biblical miracle of Jesus driving a fancy car and playing the drums and doing card tricks all at the same time. The only serious misstep was Fatboy Slim’s ‘Right Here, Right Now’.
“That video where the swamp fish morphs into a chubby lad through evolution?” says Jesus. “God was furious about that. He made me set up Creation Records just to prove a point.”
As we are talking, Jesus magicks up a melted tangle of Kit Kat fingers. It looks like a mini-Jenga set having an orgy with itself. He guzzles the sweet treats greedily. We give him a puzzled look.
“I really love Kit Kats,” he responds, his mouth clagged full. “They’ve got salted caramel ones now. It’s a shame they only come in sticks of two or four. I’d like a three. What with the trinity and everything.”
Recent years have seen a revival of old dance music genres, with Daft Punk embracing disco and Disclosure making UK garage popular again. And although music journalists will still talk about trip hop, it seems big beat has been forgotten.
As music-making technology developed, dance music became more sophisticated than a bunch of loosely chained loops. Much of the genre’s slacker cool became hackneyed, and the scene Jesus and his disciples created soon tailed-off. He isn’t concerned though, unlike his own divinity, he says big beat was never meant to last forever.
“They do chocolate orange ones for Halloween, although I’m not allowed to get involved in that kind of thing. You can get Kit Kat balls now. They come in bags like Minstrels so you can take them into the cinema. That’s wicked! Not literally. Do you want one?”
Jesus proffers a snapped section of wafer that seems melded to his chocolatey hand. He has a wrapper stuck to his forehead. We’re remind him that we’re meant to be talking about big beat music, not popular confectionary brands.
Jesus Christ’s legacy is a music scene that still reverberates today. That and all the stuff in The Bible. And that ‘Monty Python’ film. It’s nice to hear him reminisce, despite talking with his mouth full.
He recalls the time the Recording Industry Association of America refused to certify singles produced by biblical characters because it didn’t count music carved into stone tablets. And he reminds us of the ‘Top Of The Pops’ appearance that resulted in a historic number of complaints to the British Broadcasting Corporation.
“Instead of having some blokes mime playing keyboards, we had a burning bush, like out of the Old Testament. Just that and nothing else. The whole studio went up in flames. It looked like hell.”
Another satisfied munch.
“You sure you don’t want one?