YOD CHRONICLES…

03 JULY 2002: YOD CHRONICLES…

THE YA HO WA 13 INTERVIEW

By Gary Bearman

In 1988, I bought a new book
called After the Acid Trip – The Ultimate


Psychedelic Music Guide
by Vernon Joynson. In it a music group called Ya Ho Wa


13 is described as such:
“this band of Hollywood misfits reputedly made at least

9 albums for Higher Key
during the ’70’s.” They are referred to as “musically


very weird? largely mellow,
mystical and probably drug induced.” In addition,


there are pictures of two
album covers – one has five men wearing only


loincloths, all with bows
and arrows crouching around and on top of a Rolls


Royce. The other has a very
intense looking older man in a white robe with a


long beard singing and banging
on a kettledrum.

Once I finally got a chance
to hear them, it became rapidly clear that there was


something more than a little
unusual going on here. Upon superficial listening,


it sounded like a bunch
of crazy musicians making a lot of truly wonderful and

bewildering psychedelic
music with this deep-voiced man talking, singing,


whistling and sometimes
screaming over the top of it. And the wild bizarre


things he was saying? Needless
to say I was intensely curious about this


mysterious group of people
with names like Djin, Sunflower, Octavius, Pythias,


Rhythm, all with the last
name Aquarian, and their enigmatic leader Father Yod


(rhymes with road).

 I was only able to
hear a couple of reissued albums at the time since all the


originals were ludicrously
rare and expensive. For a long time I tried to find


out more information about
this group and what they were about, only to be met

by a stunning lack of information.
What scant information I did find was quite


odd, and still the group
seemed somehow cloaked in mystery.

 Then lo and behold
– the heavens opened and I was to discover in 1998 that they


released a limited edition
13-cd box set on the Japanese Captain Trip label


called God and Hair – Yahowha
Collection! Here were more pictures of Father Yod,


the band and a large group
of longhaired men, women and children that all seemed


to live together. One of
the albums covers even has Father Yod pictured with a


woman in a sexual tantric
position!

 I learned that there
were 9 original albums. The first four were released under

the name “Father Yod and
the Spirit of 76.” These were Kohoutek, Contraction,


Expansion and All or Nothing
at All. The remaining 5 were released under the


name “Ya Ho Wa 13.” These
were Yahowa 13, Savage Sons of Yahowa, Penetration: An


Aquarian Symphony, I’m Gonna
Take You Home and To the Principles for the


Children. All were released
between 1973 and 1975.

 A 10th album was released
without Father Yod in 1977, but with a lot of the


same musicians, this time
including Sky Sunlight Saxon, formerly of The Seeds.


This went under the name
“Fire, Water, Air” and was called Golden Sunrise. There


were also 3 cd’s of additional
material called Yodship, Related Singles, and

Unreleased Material.

Unfortunately for me, the
liner notes in the booklet are in Japanese. I came to


the conclusion that this
was somehow a very secretive sect that for some unknown


reason had a band as part
of it and released albums. I figured though that by


now there had to be literally
hundreds of people out there in the world who were


part of this group or children
of the group, and someone somewhere had to be


willing to tell the story.

 By a miraculous twist
of fate, I was led in my searching to an Internet


discussion group where one
of the musicians from Ya Ho Wa 13 was actually

answering questions! It
turns out this was Djin, the guitarist. I worked up the


courage to e-mail him, became
friendly and asked him some questions. He led me


to Sunflower, the bass player,
and before long I popped the question, “Would you


be willing to be interviewed?”
To my surprise they happily accepted and before


long I was put in contact
with the drummer Octavius, and much later Pythias, who


also played bass on some
of the albums. I was also introduced to Isis, one of


Father Yod’s “wives” (more
on this later). She is the family’s record keeper,


did business for the family
and wrote a book about the life of the family which


is being re-done for the
public. She was also kind enough to forward the photos

to me. Most of the entries
below by Isis are direct passages from the book.

 So what is this family?
As I began to get information back, there started to


unfold one the most incredible
stories of a band I have ever heard. It wasn’t


just about music, however,
it was a whole community/commune of people who lived


together with Father Yod
(later called Yahowha) as their spiritual leader….

Continued at: http://www.furious.com/perfect/yahowa13.html

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About Jay Babcock

I am the co-founder and editor of Arthur Magazine (2002-2008, 2012-13) and curator of the three Arthur music festival events (Arthurfest, ArthurBall, and Arthur Nights) (2005-6). Prior to that I was a district office staffer for Congressman Henry A. Waxman, a DJ at Silver Lake pirate radio station KBLT, a copy editor at Larry Flynt Publications, an editor at Mean magazine, and a freelance journalist contributing work to LAWeekly, Mojo, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Vibe, Rap Pages, Grand Royal and many other print and online outlets. An extended piece I wrote on Fela Kuti was selected for the Da Capo Best Music Writing 2000 anthology. In 2006, I was one of five Angelenos listed in the Music section of Los Angeles Magazine's annual "Power" issue. In 2007-8, I produced a blog called "Nature Trumps," about the L.A. River. Today, I live a peaceful life in Tucson, Arizona with Stephanie Smith. https://linktr.ee/jaywbabcock