Hidden Gems: Dave Bixby, “Ode to Quetzalcoatl”

Hidden Gems

In our new series Hidden Gems, writers share their favorite Bandcamp discoveries.

“Life used to be good, now look what I’ve done,” cries Dave Bixby, strumming his mournful acoustic guitar on “Drug Song,” the opening track on his 1969 debut album Ode to Quetzalcoatl. “I’ve ruined my temple with drugs.”

As a teenager, Bixby experimented heavily with LSD before burning himself out on the drug. With just an acoustic guitar and a newfound belief in God, he began writing songs that captured this limbo. The resulting album ricochets back and forth between hope and despair, regret and wisdom—a vast personal shift captured in real time, on record.

The songs can be sparse and tender—as on the gently echoing “Free Indeed”—or seamlessly melodic, like on “666,” where Bixby’s guitar dances between intricate fingerpicking and impassioned strums. His vocals, rich, resonant, and vivacious, round out the experience, expanding its range while driving home its accessibility.

The talent beneath the turmoil is clear, but it wasn’t meant to be. Bixby’s faith in God extended to faith in Don DeGraaf, the leader of what would turn out to be a cult known as The Movement. Bixby’s record disappeared until its 2009 reissue by the Spanish label Guerssen Records, which brought this lost psychedelic Christian folk classic to a whole new generation of seekers.

Daniel Dylan Wray

2 Comments

  1. David Bixby
    Posted January 22, 2019 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Wow! thank you. You said volumes in a few prophetic words. I acknowledge your acknowledgement. Again! a great piece of music journalism.

  2. Posted November 6, 2018 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Greeting Dave Bixby: Your songs touch me deeply. Free Indeed, Drug Song, I have seen it, Morning Sun, Prayer. Messages represents hope, Vocal excellent with guitar search to rescue the inner being. Lyrics all true solace joy and peace. Definite folk with Psychedelic vibrations, beautiful and seriously expressed. A King in every sense means direct authority and success. That’s how I see you.

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