Will Semjase return?
OKLAHOMA CITY – "UFO's sure are undependable," Bobby Brady tells his brother Peter in the 1974 Brady Bunch episode "Out of This World," when Peter and Bobby search for extraterrestrial life in their astroturfed backyard.
Yet there is an undeniable longing in human beings - a longing to know if we are alone in the universe or not. We here at Red Dirt Report say we most definitely are not alone.
Above image of Night Court opener features Manhattan skyline, as does Clive Stevens' video for 1982 song "Semjase" (Images collected by Sarah Hussain)
With a sound and video reminiscent of the opening theme to the 1980’s sitcom Night Court, the song “Semjase” has a funky, disco-bass, “smooth music” vibe, as performed by Clive Stevens and Brainchild (with backing vocals from reggae/soul singer Bunny Brown).
Who is Clive Stevens? Who or what is Semjase? And how on earth did you come across this lost, musical treasure of weirdness, Griffin?
Well, it started this morning when UFO/mysteries-of-the-unknown writer Nick Redfern (one our absolute faves here at RDR!) posted a simple post at Mysterious Universe this morning titled “UFO Music – My personal Top 5.”
Knowing Redfern was into punk and some harder-edge rock and metal, I wasn’t surprised to see the Ramones (“Zero Zero UFO”) and Megadeth’s “Hangar 18,” but I really was pleased to see Frank Black’s obscure “Men in Black” and Black’s band, The Pixies, featured, with my fave Pixies song “Motorway to Roswell” from 1991’s excellent Trompe le Monde album.
But the real surprise here was noting that Redfern also included The Wedding Present’s 1992 single “Flying Saucer.” What an excellent choice.
For me, though, I really liked Neil Young’s “After the Gold Rush” (1970), Styx’s “Come Sail Away (1977), “Ziggy Stardust” and “Starman” (1972) and The Byrds’ “Mr. Spaceman” (1966), of course. "Mr. Spaceman" was of the first songs I learned to play drums to.
But a lesser-known band that had its roots in my hometown of Wichita, Kansas (and I say with all sincerity that as I write this line, the Soul Coughing song “True Dreams of Wichita” is playing!!!), via Boston, called Big Dipper.
I loved these guys! I even halfway convinced some buddies to name their band “Love Barge,” after a Big Dipper song (they changed it to Tuesday Weld) and have gotten to know Bill Goffrier, who led Wichita-based band The Embarrassment, before joining Boston’s Big Dipper, with Gary Waleik and Steve Michener (formerly of Volcano Suns) and drummer Jeff Oliphant.
One of my favorite pieces of art is Goffrier’s UFO/Crop Circle drawing called “KS Crop Circle,” which Goffrier sold me to me several years ago and now hangs in my office.
"KS Crop Circle" by Bill Goffrier. (Andrew W. Griffin / Red Dirt Report)
The singer/songwriter is known for his interest in the UFO phenonomenon and the curious tale of Swiss farmer Billy Meier, who claimed to have met an alien named Semjase in 1975.
Anyway, I say all that to say that my favorite song is from their 1988 album Craps, simply titled “Semjase.” This is when they were on the excellent Homestead Records label.
Goffrier starts off by singing: “The ground still bears the marks / the grass is growing sideways / in circles on the field …”
"Semjase" appeared on Big Dipper's 1988 album Craps, on Homestead Records. (Andrew W. Griffin / Red Dirt Report)
Reaching the chorus, Goffrier beckons the peaceful, Pleiadian, “Nordic”-like blonde alien named Semjase to “visit” a seemingly-frustrated UFO/crop circle researcher who is “an expert in his field.” (Here is Goffrier with his musical side project 626 performing “Semjase” in Wichita in 1991). Recall the 2013 story Red Dirt Report did on a local college boy who encountered a "Nordic" or "Tall Blond" alien at Arcadia Lake. Questions remain.
And while I was on Google looking for more Big Dipper songs on YouTube, I saw a different “Semjase” song posted. Something by an artist unknown to me named Clive Stevens & Brainchild.
This song is a bit different, with an accompanying video showing scenes of early 1980’s New York City, with plenty of shots of the skyline and the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers.
What caught my eye was as the song begins, the video shows weird UFO-like lights (it’s very 70’s In Search Of … quality stuff) and then Manhattan with the aforementioned Twin Towers, followed by a close-up of flames and Clive Stevens gazing upward. It’s particularly eerie in that this “Yacht Rock”-worthy song/video was released in 1982, and featured on the Semjase album, which includes ET-friendly tracks like "My People, Space People" and "CETI - Communication with Extraterrestrial Intelligence." Apparently, Clive Stevens and Brainchild were big in Brazil, a lot like Oingo Boingo.
There are scenes of war, the sun and moon, an image of Gaddafi (odd in light of my recent “Land of Confusion”-related Dust Devil Dreams posts), along with beach scenes and then jet fighters flying followed by airplane-eye-views of the Twin Towers (again!).
And like Big Dipper’s “Semjase,” Stevens seems to be singing about this positive alien being (who seemingly wants to help the planet) returning as humanity faces more calamities, as evidenced by some of the images – Christ crucified, followed by an atomic explosion, followed by a beach scene.
Red Dirt Report found the British native Clive Stevens on Facebook and a scan of his page indicates he is very much still interested in the pursuit of universal peace, New Age ideas and the alien reality. We have reached out to Clive Stevens and will follow-up if we hear from him.
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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more