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Peggy Nelson sketched me asleep backstage at a rehearsal.

DJ Christ Superstar

In 1999, I played Judas in a production called DJ Christ Superstar at Burning Man. It was a dream role to say the least; I'd been singing that role in my car and in my bedroom since I was in high school. This new version was a techno-driven update. As director Mark Pesce noted, "Updating the music for turn-of-the-millennium idioms, we portrayed Jesus as the best DJ in the world, capable of laying down a groove that could send his followers to heaven. With a cast and crew of 55, it premiered to a standing-room-only crowd of 2500 at Burning Man 1999."

Of course, Mark's comment about Jesus begs the question of how Judas was portrayed; let's just say I was smoking a crack pipe during the overture, in contrast to the Ecstasy-swilling band of apostles. The elements were against us, but somehow we pulled a few things off; as one observer commented, the show was "performed into the teeth of a sandstorm at the Burning Man festival - one of the most truly heroic performances I've ever seen."

These MP3 tracks are not live recordings from the show. Instead, several years later, I went into a home studio with the original backing tracks we used in the production (created by Paul Godwin), and recorded these versions. All the vocals you hear on both tracks are me, with the exception of the obviously sampled choir of angels in "Superstar".

A few videos of the original production do exist. Here are "Heaven On Their Minds," "Damned For All Time/Blood Money," and "Superstar" from the show - maddeningly, the wireless microphone I was using cut in and out with alarming frequency and for some unknown reason, I wasn't clever enough to switch to one of the corded mics.



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