Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Interview with author of "The Beach Boys: America's Band

Pray For Surf ~ Johnny, please introduce yourself 

JOHNNY ~ I'm British, was a music journalist and now write books about music and popular culture.

Pray For Surf ~ What circumstances led you to write a book about the Beach Boys?

JOHNNY ~ I was asked by the British packagers of the book, Essential Works, for who I've previously written books on the history of Disco and The Art of the LP.

Pray For Surf ~ identify your audience(s); who are you trying to reach or influence?

JOHNNY ~ Not trying to influence anyone; the book's aimed at the casual Beach Boys fan who likes photographic books – there's nothing in it that superfans won't know or have seen before (although there are a few things that they'll spot as mistakes, I'm sorry to say).

Pray For Surf ~Your  book is a creative combination of history, discography, and photography. What does that tell us about how you approached telling the Beach Boys story?

JOHNNY ~ Everything you need to know!

Pray For Surf ~How is  America's Band viewed differently in Britain than the United States (take us through different periods of time if/as opinion shifted)?

JOHNNY ~ The UK seems to have always viewed the BBs as a surf band and representative of American culture, specifically of West Coast/SoCal culture, which was the stuff that dreams (and Hollywood) were made of back in the early 1960s. America likewise discovered the surf and custom car culture through the Beach Boys, but didn't view it as being as unattainable perhaps whereas the cold, clammy, Brits did. Brits fetishised the band as a particular kind of unique entertainment in the way that they did wrestlers, perhaps, or American comedians like Jack Benny and Western stars like John Wayne: real but unreal and great fun because of that. 
There's little doubt that after 1966 and Good Vibrations in the UK the BBs were always known for the pre-Smile music, and it's only ever been their Greatest Hits compilations that sold well. In the US the band were afforded more consideration for their albums after the rise of pop music magazines like Rolling Stone and Creem—not that they were ever critically acclaimed for much especially Surf's Up or Holland, of course. But in the UK the post-PS albums meant little and sold less than Greatest Hits and Endless Summer ever did.
It was the Brits, and in 1976 the NME particularly, who began the great re-appreciation of Pet Sounds as a 'great, concept' album I think. Since then a score of BB fans who also happen to be writers have repositioned it as a concept album (it isn't, as Brian has always said) and as something new and unique–but rarely if ever mentioning Brian's reasons for dong what he did with it, which was to out-Spector Phil. I think we Brits 'got' that faster and appreciate it more than US-based critics for whom PS is their Sgt Pepper moment. 
But there's no doubt that for every BB fan the live shows—for which they have to thank Mike Love, without whom the band would have ceased to exist in 1967—and the greatest pre-1970 hits are what have sustained their interest in the band.

Pray For Surf ~ You book takes us on an album-by-album excursion. 

What is the most misunderstood album released by the boys? ... 
JOHNNY ~ See above answer - Pet Sounds. I'd love to have heard the Ronettes singing vocals on the album

Historically, most important? ... 
JOHNNY ~ At the moment it's Pet Sounds and Smile, but that might change as critics rediscover another album that's 'misunderstood' or 'forgotten' – I've recently noticed nonsense being written about The Beach Boys Love You being a groundbreaking work of Krautrock significance, for instance (it isn't)

Most embarrassing? ... 
JOHNNY ~ Not counting Mike Love's solo album (Looking Back With Love) with its execrable version of Be My Baby produced by Brian? Has to be Summer In Paradise (there's a reason it's long been deleted)

Best album to discover the band? ... 
JOHNNY ~ Hawthorn CA

Any other "most" or "best" category? ... 
JOHNNY ~ Best post-1970 album Carl & The Passions So Tough; Best change of direction album: Wild Honey

Pray For Surf ~ What was the most surprising piece of history your research revealed? 

JOHNNY ~ That Mike Love attempted to trademark 'America's Band' and failed.


Pray For Surf ~ You analyze their single releases but (one of my favorites) Little Girl I Once Knew was missing. What was your reasoning ... And please give us your exclusive analysis here

JOHNNY ~ There was not enough room in the book to include analysis of every BB single, so we had to go with the hits and the important singles. Little Girl was their worst-selling A side in four years, and came in the middle of a run of great hits. In that year of 1965 they'd scored with Do You Wanna Dance (#12), Help Me Rhonda (#1) and California Girls (#3) before Little Girl, which only made #20, and was immediately followed by Barbara Ann (#2) and then in 1966 they had Sloop John B (#3), Wouldn't It Be Nice (#8) and Good Vibrations (#1).
Rather than my analysis of Little Girl I Once Knew, have Brian's, from 1995: "It was a fine song, except the intro is the only good part of it, and the rest didn't sound so good. I thought the song in itself sucked. I didn't like the harmonies, I thought they were sour and off-key."

Pray For Surf ~ Thank you Johnny ... What did I miss that would help us better understand your book (or point of view)?

JOHNNY ~ Only that if people really want to understand what Brian was doing all that time he was in the studio in the mid-1960s, believe him when he said that he was trying to emulate Phil Spector. So many so-called Beach Boys experts patronise Brian by insisting that their theories about his work are more important and meaningful than anything he has said —especially when it disagrees with what they want to hear. 
The 1976 NME re-appreciation of Pet Sounds begins by pointing out that we can't listen to anything by the Beach Boys now without hearing and viewing it through the lens of his tragedy; that tragedy (his mental illness) seems to be reason for others to ignore statements made by him about his work. Go back to the source and read contemporary interviews with Brian about his work.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Other Brilliant Beach Boy ~ The Story of Carl Wilson's Role With America's Greatest Band

Phil Miglioratti of Pray For Surf talks with the author of Long Promised Road: Carl Wilson, Soul of the Beach Boys about the critical role Carl played (pun intended) in the success and brilliance of the Beach Boys. Meet Carl, artistic guitarist, creative arranger, underrated producer. An in depth look at his psychological-sociological-spiritual dimensions. 

Listen here>>>

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Original (1966) Capitol Records SMiLE Promotional Album Cover

  • Begged this from a neighborhood record store owner in 1967 (it was in the store earlier).
  • Official album slick for promotional purposes only
  • Reverse side is NOT the intended back cover - front cover only afixed to cardboard

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Saturday, August 22, 2015

NEW Beach Boys Book • New Podcast with the author

The Book  ~  They were almost The Pendletones—after the Pendleton wool shirts favored on chilly nights at the beach—then The Surfers, before being named The Beach Boys. But what separated them from every other teenage garage band with no musical training? They had raw talent, persistence and a wellspring of creativity that launched them on a legendary career now in its sixth decade.

Following the musical vision of Brian Wilson, the Beach Boys blended ethereal vocal harmonies, searing electric guitars and lush arrangements into one of the most distinctive sounds in the history of popular music. Drawing on original interviews and newly uncovered documents, this book untangles the band’s convoluted early history and tells the story of how five boys from California formed America’s greatest rock ’n’ roll band.
The Author ~ James B. Murphy is a companion animal veterinarian in Washington, D.C. He lives in Bowie, Maryland.  

Exclusive live interview with James B. Murphy

Phil Miglioratti and Jim Murphy discuss his lifelong love of the Beach Boys and his almost decade long research and writing that have resulted in one of the most thoroughly documented books on the critical people, places, and events in the launching and stardom of American's favorite band.

Sample question  ~  Twenty-four chronological chapters, a nineteen page Coda devoted to examining the Hite Morgan Tapes, a dozen Appendices (including the floor plan of CANDIX Enterprises!), twenty-one pages of chapter footnotes (a whopping total of 1005 to be exact) five pages of bibliography (including Hawthorne High yearbooks plus audio-radio-video programs) and an exhaustive Index, all adding up to 422 pages of bordering on fine print sized font lettering! ...   Jim, describe your process of finding source material, identifying eye-witness or real-time persons to interview and how you found them. It looks to me that this back-story may be almost as interesting as the insights you gleaned from the people and the archival material.

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Wednesday, August 05, 2015

From Sharing Stage with Rolling Stones & Beatles, Now Fighting Ebola

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Assist News
Rock star turned priest, faces new challenge after dealing with the deadly Ebola crisis

White African Albinos Visit Holy Orthodox Mission in West Africa!

By John Tsambazis, Special to ASSIST News Service
Some of the albino children Themi Adams
FREETOWN, SIERRA LEONE (ANS – August 4, 2105) – The Rev. Themi Adams, a former rock star, who found Christ and is now a Greek Orthodox missionary in Ebola-hit Sierra Leone, is now facing a new challenge.
Themi was formerly a member of Australian rock group, The Flies, and once shared the stage with the Rolling Stones and the Beatles, became a missionary after a dramatic conversion, has been facing the greatest challenge of his life – Ebola — which is killed at least 3,900 people in Sierra Leone.
Until recently, he has bravely refused to leave The Holy Orthodox Mission in his adopted country, preferring to stay at his post to help his people protect themselves from Ebola, rather than take a break in Australia.
Following this calamitous event in his life, Fr. Themi has taken on a new challenge by offering support to “White African” Albinos, who many believe are the outcasts of African society.
He is taking care of group of Albinos at his mission, who are demanding equal rights and asking the government for jobs and scholarships to help them fight marginalization, as on Friday, the Sierra Leone Albino Association was launched to help them fight marginalization and defend their rights.
Albinism is a congenital lack of the melanin pigment in the skin, eyes and hair which protects from the sun’s ultraviolet. Albinos are vulnerable to medical complications as well as social discrimination across Africa.
At an inaugural meeting attended by more than 300 people, the Sierra Leone Albino Association (SLAA) said Albinos in the West African country were “facing stigmatization, marginalization and harassment.”
Since late 2007, more than 60 Albinos, including many children, have been killed, their limbs hacked off and sold to witch doctors who concoct charms their clients believe will make them rich and powerful.
The government in Sierra Leone has no records indicating how many Albinos live in the country.
Amnesty International’s Solomon Sogbandi said the rights group was ready to “provide an enabling environment for their cause and act as a pressure group on government to ensure their social and human rights are enhanced.”
When he heard of their plight, Brother Themi Adams said that he could not help but recognize the need to help on this occasion. His peaceful activism and quiet humanitarian spirit could not get the better of him and he offered support.
Rev Themi said: “No they are not Europeans visiting our Mission in Sierra Leone (West Africa). They are indigenous Sierra Leoneans who happen to be Albinos (white skinned Africans).
He added: “Albinos not only suffer severe social isolation, discrimination and provocations but also experience associated physical ailments - extreme skin sensitivity to sunrays leading to infections and even cancer. They may also be afflicted with low vision or blindness. In Tanzania they are actually hunted and killed for witchcraft purposes.”
Albinos live with the risk of being killed, their body parts fetching high prices for witchcraft - but hope that change is coming.
Themi Adams rubbing feetThe Rev Themi's has been featuring their sad situation on his Facebook page, which has received many comments. They have included:
Vicki Christofi, who said; “As if life is not difficult enough, it is shocking to read of what added suffrage these individuals endure on account of discrimination. I had no idea, and pray that mindsets shift”.
And Nadine Abwi said; “Lord have mercy on them! God bless you Father”.
Last year, Mr. Peter Tayoung, the Chief Executive Officer of the International Business Communications Advisory Services and Training [IBCAST], maintained that the sufferings that Albinos are undergoing in Sierra Leone are common to Albinos all over the world. He therefore urged Sierra Leoneans to intensify the fight against discrimination of Albinos, and he described Sierra Leone as a “jewel” when he heard that the country has gained liberty.
Themi Adams also said: “Our Orthodox Mission here will seek to assist them in some basic ways through the blessings of Christ. I ask that you pray for their welfare and protection”.
Brother Themi is finally on his way back to Australia for the first time in nearly 3 years. He spent these past few years protecting his mission from the Ebola crisis. He has since set up Clinics and Orphanages to accommodate the families that were affected by the crisis, luckily they all have survived with God’s help.
Ebola Vaccine at Last!
Fr. Themi with gloves for his staffIt was announced recently that Ebola vaccine tests conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) in West Africa (Guinea) have proven to be 100% effective against the deadly virus.
“If that is truly the case then this will come as a great relief for us living in Ebola ground zero,” said Fr. Themi. “Thanks be to God!”
Fr. Themi has been working with Paradise 4 Kids ( and if log on you can be kept up to date with his movements and itinerary of when and where he will be near you. P4K are planning a number of functions and fundraiser in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.
Photo captions: 1) Albino children visit the mission. 2) Fr. Themi has been involved in a healing ministry. 3) Fr. Themi with gloves for his staff. 4) John Tsambazis.
John TsamazisAbout the writer: John Tsambazis is an award winning editor/producer with numerous credits underneath his belt in feature films, documentaries, TV shows and news and current affairs, both in Australia and abroad. John is a professional member of the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts, and sits on the jury. He is executive of his production company “Clapstick Pictures” and is currently overseeing a couple of high profile projects in pre-production. He can be contacted by e-mail at
** You may republish this and any of our ANS stories with attribution to the ASSIST News Service (

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Saturday, April 04, 2015

Bono: Who Is Jesus? "Charlie Manson-type delirious."

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"I just believe in Jesus Christ..."

Brian once maintained his songs came through God, but that’s but no longer the case: “No, that’s how it used to be. Now, I try to manufacture something. I’m not 24 anymore.” Conversely — and for Wilson, typically — he has stated “I am proud to share with you my music, because I believe music is God’s voice.” In a recent Goldmine magazine article Brian was asked if he was a religious person. He response; “No, not really. I just believe in Jesus Christ, but I don’t know what religion I am.??”

Throughout his life, love was always contingent upon performance, whether an ability to create income and maintain careers for others, or the impossible task of pleasing his father. When Murray passed away in 1973, Brian sunk into the deepest depression of his life.
Wilson’s music reveals a world far more positive than what he’s had to endure. “When you believe in something you reflect it in your songs. You can say how you feel, and songs don’t lie. Songs are the most honest form of human expression there is-there’s nothing that lies about a song.”

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Brian Wilson describes No Pier Pressure, his latest album

Image result for no pier pressure wilson

"This record is about love and understanding. It opens with a prayer, “This Beautiful Day,” and closes with a prayer, “The Last Song.” I start out by praying that this beautiful day, with sunshine melodies and heavenly harmonies, lasts forever. The final tune prays that if we hold on tight, it will all be all right — all the anxieties eased, all the fears erased. It ends in hope."

“Thank you, God, for another day.” 

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Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Gospel According to Alice Cooper: The Prodigal Son on God and the Devil and Rock Music

Published by
Alice Cooper says he loves God but doesn’t want to become a ‘celebrity’ believer.
The father of shock rock whose music and stage antics have outraged parents for more than 30 years told how the fear of hell turned him to God.
Although he became a Christian in the 1980s, apart from brief comments in some interviews the 66-year-old singer has always been guarded about his faith – until now. But in a frank interview with a Christian music magazine, he spoke at length publicly for the first time about his love for God and reluctance to become a “Christian celebrity.”Alice Cooper, who sang about necrophilia and chopped up baby dolls during his concerts, said that although he continues to record and tour with a theatrical horror-style show, “My life is dedicated to follow Christ.”

A chart-topper with the teen anthem “School’s Out,” Cooper – who legally changed his name from Vince Furnier – has been credited with paving the way for performers such as Marilyn Manson.
That changed when alcoholism threatened his marriage. He and his wife, Sheryl, attended a church with a “hellfire pastor.” Cooper said he became a Christian “initially more out of the fear of God, rather than the love of God … I did not want to go to hell.” Interviewed for HM’s March/April issue, Cooper views his faith as “an ongoing thing.”But he maintains that his act was never political or religious and always had “a sense of humor.” He told HM: The Hard Music Magazine that he was always insulted whenever he was accused of being satanic. Raised in a Christian home, he still believed in God, although he was not committed.
He has avoided “celebrity Christianity,” because “it’s really easy to focus on Alice Cooper and not on Christ. I’m a rock singer. I’m nothing more than that. I’m not a philosopher. I consider myself low on the totem pole of knowledgeable Christians. So, don’t look for answers from me.”“Being a Christian is something you just progress in. You learn. You go to your Bible studies. You pray,” he said.
Yet he has been able to speak to others in the music scene about his faith.
“I’ve had a couple of people that were friends of mine that I’ve talked to that have vocally said they have [accepted Christ]. I have talked to some big stars about this, some really horrific characters … and you’d be surprised. The ones that you would think are the furthest gone are the ones that are more apt to listen.”
Songs on Cooper’s more recent recordings have hinted at his change of heart. He sees his stage persona now as “the prophet of doom,” telling people: “‘Be careful! Satan is not a myth. Don’t sit around pretending like Satan is just a joke.’ I think my job is to warn about Satan.”
He no longer performs some of his older repertoire. Any song promoting promiscuous sex and drinking “gets the axe,” he said. “I’m very careful about what the lyrics are. I tried to write songs that were equally as good, only with a better message.”
Cooper told HM he answers his critics: “‘I was one thing at one time, and I’m something new. I’m a new creature now. Don’t judge Alice by what he used to be. Praise God for what I am now.’”

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Andrae Crouch: from Elvis, to Michael; Gospel Music Hall of Famer

Written by  

Andraé CrouchAndraé Crouch
By Dan Wooding, founder of ASSIST and ASSIST News Service
LOS ANGELES, CA -- Music legend Andraé Crouch has passed away. Interview Clip >>>
According to the Nashville Publicity Group, the Grammy and Dove Award winner passed away on Thursday, January 8, 2015 at approximately 4:30pm PST at Northridge Hospital Medical Center in the Los Angeles area.
Andraé, 72, was hospitalized on January 3rd.
Andraé's family requests privacy at this time. 
About Andraé Crouch:
Andraé's accolades include 7 Grammy Awards, 6 GMA Dove Awards, an Academy Award nomination for "The Color Purple," induction into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
His songs have been recorded by everyone from Elvis Presley to Paul Simon, and he has worked as a producer and arranger with many of music's top artists, including Michael Jackson, Madonna, Quincy Jones, Diana Ross, Elton John and many others.
Andraé can also be heard on Michael Jackson's hit singles "Man in the Mirror," "Keep the Faith,? "Will You Be There" and "Earth Song."

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Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Did Brian Wilson compose Surfer Girl for the Lettermen, not the Beach Boys?

On Forgotten Hits 

Why we didn’t do any Beach Boys songs ! Well, here is an interesting story.   

We share a mutual love of the Four Freshmen with Brian Wilson. Brian knows this and has talked about the Freshman with us. One day Jim asked Brian to write a song for us and he said he had a great idea about a Surfer Girl. This was about the same time Brian’s dad, Murray, was jumping all over Brian about sharing his talents and song ideas with other artists. The next thing you know Capitol releases “Surfer Girl” by the Beach Boys. We’ll have to ask Brian if he originally intended to give the song to us ... I don’t know.  

Lettermen / Reunion, 
Gary Pike  

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Sunday, August 10, 2014

After Beach Boys Show, Bruce Johnston Explains "I Write the Songs"

After a rockin, endless summetime fun Beach Boys Show of car tunes, surfing songs and some pet sounds, I had the opportunity to speak with Bruce Johnston, official Beach Boy since 1965. My first meeting with Bruce took place 49 years to the month at his first concert when I was privileged to welcome him back to his birthtown, Chicago.

Part  of this recent conversation was about his mega-hit, Grammy-honored, "I Write The Songs," recorded by Barry Manilow. "Who is the song about," Bruce asked me.

"At first," I replied, "I thought it was about Brian Wilson" (since Bruce had become an integral part of the Beach Boys studio recording ad live concerts for about a decade) ... "but I think it is about God."

He shot back, "You are the only person who got that! It is a hymn." He then proceeded to recite several lines from the song, such as, "I live forever," to indicate the person speaking could only be the uncreated Creator. So, to the many who thought the lyrics were an ego trip for Barry Manilow, at least from the composer's point of view, it was a truth trip for the Author of our salvation (click).

{Set-list for the August 9, 2014 show at Williams Bay, WI}

√out Specturm Magazine article >>>

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Sunday, August 03, 2014

Rock star turned priest, shaken by Ebola crisis

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Rock star turned priest, shaken by Ebola Crisis!
Themi Adams Makes World Appeal as his West African Nation, Sierra Leone, Is Declared a 'Public Health Emergency'

By Dan Wooding and John Tsambazis
Special to ASSIST News Service

FREETOWN, SIERRA LEONE (ANS) -- The deadly Ebola virus has made its presence felt near the Holy Orthodox Mission in Freetown, Sierra Leone, which is run by former rock star, and now Greek Orthodox priest, Fr. Themi Adams.

Themi pictured in 1964 as a rock star
Themi was once a member of Australian rock group, The Flies, and once shared the stage with the Rolling Stones and the Beatles, but after a dramatic conversion, became a missionary to West Africa, and is now facing the greatest challenge of his life - Ebola -- which is sweeping his adopted country and causing panic, death and destruction.

Sierra Leone, President Ernest Bai Koroma, has declared a public health emergency in the West African country, and a recent BBC report stated, "He vowed to quarantine sick patients at home and have authorities conduct house-to-house searches for others who may have been exposed as the country struggles with families resisting treatment at isolation centers. Some have kept loved ones at home given the high death rates at clinics where Ebola patients are quarantined," said the BBC story.

"His announcement late Wednesday came as neighboring Liberia also increased efforts to slow the virulent disease's spread, shutting down schools and ordering most public servants to stay home from work."
Dr. Heinz Feldmann, Chief of Virology at the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said, "It could be helpful for the government to have powers to isolate and quarantine people and it's certainly better than what's been done so far," said. "Whether it works, we will have to wait and see."

Ebola now has been blamed for 729 deaths in four West African countries this year, and has shown no signs of slowing down, particularly in Liberia and Sierra Leone. It has also reached Nigeria's biggest city Lagos, where authorities said on Friday a man had died of the virus".

Fr. Themi Adams caring for his flock
And now Freetown Sierra Leone is in a complete lock down mode and with airline cancellations, Fr. Themi Adams, says he underestimated the impact of this rampant disease spreading so quickly close to home and impacting on his people.

He said that he had recently been conducting "Preventative Hygiene Education", at the mission he runs which has three large compounds in the Greater Freetown area serving over 2000 children, youth and adults through his our various educational, ecclesiastical and medical projects.

On Saturday (August 3), gave a dramatic interview by phone with screenwriter, Wid Bastian, who is working on a script forThemi, a motion picture about the inspiring story of the rock-star-turned-priest. 
In the interview, Fr. Themi explained the terror and panic that has surrounded him and made a desperate cry for help.

Themi said: "This country has very much been reduced to trauma. Sierra Leone is a resilient nation that has suffered consistently from ab out 1991. I cannot imagine another country that has suffered so much over such a long time, either through wars, poverty, and now through this Ebola crisis.

"Sierra Leone has suddenly become the epicenter of Ebola, which was previously centered in Guinea.  But through the porous borders that we have, a lot of people with Ebola have come across the border into Sierra Leone either to look for relatives, or help, and then gone back again.  But in the meantime, they have introduced this virus to the country.

"It is a vicious thing, and compared to the Civil War we had here, Ebola is an invisible enemy. It's like an invisible serial killer that strikes and you don't know from where or when. During the Civil War, you could hear the bombs and you could see the enemy and therefore try and take some kind of reactive action, but with this one, we don't know what to do, how to detect when it's about to strike."
A recent picture of the now
Greek Orthodox priest
Fr. Themi said that there has been a lot of self-examination in Sierra Leone since the Ebola virus began to strike, and that many people are asking why it was happening in this country; that after years of poverty, corruption, corrupt governments, is now just starting get back on track and then, "we get hit with such a serious blow."

Themi continued by saying, "We have learned from the World Health Organization that this Ebola crisis in now out of control and many groups, including ours, have sent out an SOS for help from around the world. There are more people getting it and part of the reason is of a very poor medical infrastructure in the three worst hit countries. I would say that the best hospital here would be equal to a very small American rural hospital.

"The second thing is the lack of education among the people around Ebola which were just ignoring the situation for a long time. I starting to preach about it three months ago to our people, telling them that 'this Ebola is coming, be careful, stop touching people, stop shaking hands, take precautions, wash your hands constantly, wear gloves if possible,' and I was just laughed at.

"In fact, people started calling me 'Father Ebola'. When I would go and meet the beggars in the street, I would say, 'Gentlemen, we have a problem coming in this country, take care, if you can't stop begging, don't touch the hands of the people who give you the money,' and again they were just laughing, and even now, while some are still in denial, the majority of people are now taking it very seriously and wonder why it was allowed to come into the country."

They said that another problem is the issue of black magic and witchcraft.

"Unfortunately, it's in the DNA of the people of the West African region," he said. "You may not know the origins of voodoo in Haiti, is actually from this part of Africa. It came to the American continent when the West African slaves were taken to the New World and we have this concept of the walking dead, the pins and needles through the doll, the witch gun. It's all to do with getting power by incantations and going to the medicine man or the witch doctor, the herbalist, and he will do something for you, give you an emulate, do some chants.  In the worst-case scenario, human sacrifice is involved.

"The problem is that a lot of people suffering from Ebola, instead of going to a relatively modern hospital -- at least the best we have here -- have gone to their local witch doctor and the local herbalists, and of course they can do nothing. So eventually that person dies, and contaminates all the people around them.
"Another very big problem, there is no trust in the Western medical profession, indeed even with quite educated people. They believe that doctors can kill them, even though they have taken the Hippocratic Oath, and want to save lives. I can say people within my own circle here in the Orthodox Church and I'm sure it's the same in other churches and other institutions, people believe that."

He explained that people get scared when they see a doctor with a big needle, and wearing gloves and masks, and believe that the needle is full of poison that will kill them off.

"A part of the big problem is that even the doctors themselves were caught unawares and they weren't really aware of the crisis, the incredible danger, and so many nurses have died, and even yesterday I heard of three other nurses that died in a place called Kanamar. So in one hospital here in Freetown, a patient went into the hospital who supposedly had Ebola and it turned out they didn't but all the doctors and nurses ran out, and left the hospital and left the patient alone.

"So, you've got the doctors, who are being caught unawares, and now the broader public believe that the doctors are going to kill them, so you have a fairly lethal cocktail of misunderstanding. And the virus is quite happy about that because it jumps from one person to the other without any ammunition being directed against it, basically it's a lack of knowledge about it. You understand it's quite tragic."

Fr. Themi says now there has been a "moratorium on movement" in Freetown, after many deaths, and trying to stop it spreading any further.
Some of the children under his care
"The president has asked for a moratorium and curtailment of people movement, and the police patrolling the street, and the army are the only ones allowed to go out on the street and in vehicles. Other means of transport would be medical people, and official government services such as the health Department personnel," he said. "I, for example, wanted to go to our Waterloo campus on Monday, but I cannot leave the compound. They would just stop me and turn me back.

"However, what is interesting from a religious point of view is the president has called for a day of fasting and prayer on Monday, so that's really good to know. The other result here is that there is panic setting in, and what they are telling me is the same feeling, the same panic attacks that they used to experience during the 10 year civil war are coming back now and they don't know which way to turn."
He then said, "We are a Christian organization, unashamedly so, so we believe in God, we believe in the power of God, so what we do we pray a lot about it. Every day we have a church ceremony and, when we are allowed to do so, we take the cross around in our churches and even outside, and we pray to our Lord to protect this nation and the city, so we do that every day, we have the divine intervention aspect of it.

"On the more earthly aspect we are handing out gloves, so if you wear them and end up touching them, that is a good protection.  We have chlorinated water in all but one of our buildings, so that should a person come into one of them, except for one, you have to chlorinate your hands with water you won't be able to enter without washing with chlorinated water, which in apparently kills the virus.  Then we are doing a lot of educational work our people in our churches.  We have been emphasizing this effort for three months and now they believe us.  Now, instead of being 'Father Ebola', it is back to 'Father Themi' again."

He said that he is having difficulty stopping some of his clients, who are polio victims and amputees from trying to get out into the streets and start begging, with all the danger that can bring to them.

He then said that there is a great need for food and medical supplies to help those under his care in Freetown.
"This is an SOS for a container of food. Why? So I can feed them every day so they stop going out to beg, to stop these women putting pressure on their husbands to go out and become beggars, do you understand? We also need medical supplies, gloves disposable gloves, facemasks, cans of Dettol spray, chlorinated, chlorine tablets, for people to just try and prevent this thing. It is best to send money so we can buy these items here because of the bureaucratic problems here."

He concluded the interview by saying, "This is in West Africa now, but it can hit other countries in Europe, as well as America and other parts of the world. This is no longer just a West African problem -- it's a global one!"

Here is a link to Fr. Themi's interview . It can be downloaded here. Please feel free to us all of any of it with credit to the interviewer, Wid Bastian.
Fr. Themi is also available for interviews at his mission headquarters. Here is the contact information: Fr. Themi: cell phone 232 762 45111 (Viber works best) Fr. Themi email:
Wid Bastian: He is also available for an interview. Wid's cell phone: 435-619-6150.
Websites here people can donate: Paradise Kids 4 Africa, or Paradise Kids 4 Africa USA

John Tsambazis (Australia contact, Producer of the film Themi), is a TV & film editor/producer with numerous credits underneath his belt in feature films, documentaries, TV shows and news and current affairs, both in Australia and abroad. John is a professiona l member of the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts, and sits on the jury. He is executive of his production company "Clapstick Pictures" and is currently overseeing a couple of high profile projects in pre-production. He can be contacted at

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Dan Wooding, 73, is an award-winning journalist who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for 50 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. He is the founder and international director of ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) and the ASSIST News Service (ANS) and he hosts the weekly "Front Page Radio" show on the KWVE Radio Network in Southern California and which is also carried throughout the United States and around the world. He is the author of some 45 books, the latest of which is a novel about the life of Jesus through the eyes of his mother called "Mary: My Story from Bethlehem to Calvary". (Click to order)

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