By Sarah Bennett
By Adam Lovinus
By Jena Ardell
By Nate Jackson
By Gustavo Arellano
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There's really no reason to call it sacrilege or heresy. No point in getting out the signs and picketing, in calling in the ATF, in getting all upset over one little band, one little singer and the simple, universal truths he's bringing to the people. Causey is just an earnest, clean-cut, spiritual guy who—with his band, the Causey Way, belting out the joyful noise behind him—wants to help make Orange County a more divinely perfect place.
So what if he claims to have learned to play guitar from a bushy-haired Texan folkie who later changed his name to David Koresh? Just a musical influence, nothing more. And so what if his fans ("disciples" is such a strong word) don lily-white uniforms, adopt new Causey code names and congregate at his compound somewhere in swampy Florida? Don't call it a cult, says Causey, because it's not. Instead, it's a sort of spiritual sect based on spreading the Good Word of Causey through aural communication and entertainment. And, really, who doesn't love good aural sects?
"Many of the once-lost members of the Causey Way have had an angry past, like many of your readers may have now," says Causey. "But we have far more to offer than the recent trend of stale, early '80s, punk rock rip-offs that seem to be bred in Southern California. And when you and your readers fill out the required Causey judgment form, then—and only then—will I tell you the deep meanings of the Causey Way and what it is like to be Causey."
So enlightenment will have to wait, at least until judgment can be passed at the service (secularly known as a "concert"). But even to the uninitiated, it's apparent that being Causey is pretty swank: he's got a new album, Causey vs. Everything, out on follower Jello Biafra's Alternative Tentacles label, he achieved a respectable "955 conversion count" on the last missionary tour, and he's thinking of installing a swimming pool at the compound. ("But if we have a pool, the next thing you know you got TV cameras and ladies with revealing swimsuits and men with bikinis on," Causey worries. "I may rethink the pool option.")
It wasn't always so. In the beginning (as the story goes), as professional skateboarder Scott Stanton, Causey led a wicked life doing wicked tricks for wicked people and their wicked, wicked sponsorship dollars. Then, lo! One nasty knock to the noggin, and as the old Scott Stanton died—symbolically, of course—the new visionary Causey arose! Time was short, he realized; the spiritually depleted youth of America needed something more than frivolous skate-wanking. So, in the exalted tradition of Little Richard and Stryper, Causey gathered his flock (including converts from surf 'n' shtick bands Man or Astro-man? and Servotron) into a rollicking rock-and-save-your-soul band and started testifyin' his way around the country.
His trademark treble twitter might not be the stuff church choirs are made of, but Causey and his band (some permutation of faithful followers Boy Causey, Dr. St. Causey, Red Causey, the Button and the Truth, among others) still kick out some rafter-rattlin' new wave-y rock; though their love for Causey may be undying, the other members of the Causey Way must also be committed devotees of Devo, judging by their penchant for such quirky, perky tunes —sorry, hymns—as "I Know Happy" and "Science Made Me a Homo (Sapien)."
Science and homos—and, indeed, even new wave—are often frowned upon in various right-leaning OC religious circles. Isn't Causey worried about stepping into the maw of the beast, about facing off against Crystal Cathedrals, youth ministers and Trinity Broadcasting Network satellites?
"There is no fear for the Causey Way," he proclaims. "[The Reverend Robert] Schuller better secure the glass [at the Crystal Cathedral] against all the decibels we'll be putting out at our service. TBN is welcome to come out to exploit our goodness for the youth of Southern California. And the anti-gays are more than welcome to come to our service, as they will have plenty of souls to save, seeing that the Causey Way has a strong homosexual contingent—I don't know why, but they are indeed good at paying their tithes. So we believe Orange County will deliver us a wonderful congregation. We are going to whip some of those spiritually dead into shape."
THE CAUSEY WAY PERFORM WITH THE VON STEINS, THIS BIKE IS A PIPE BOMB AND 1913 AT KOO'S ART CAFE, 1505 N. MAIN ST., SANTA ANA, (714) 648-0937. WED., 7:30 P.M. $5. ALL AGES.