May 7, 2007
About a year and a half ago, Paul Mirecki made international news. Scourged by Christian fundamentalists for his derisive opinions of those lobbying for creationism in state science standards, and chastised by the University of Kansas for his incautious expression of those views, Mirecki resigned the chair of KU's religious studies department. Soon after, Mirecki again made news, claiming to the press and the police that he had been pulled from his vehicle and beaten by fundamentalists. Photographs showed Mirecki with two black eyes. His alleged attackers remain unidentified. What does a globally renowned authority on world religions do when the going gets tough? He plugs in his guitar and rocks. Mirecki formed the Aqua Furs, enlisting producer and bassist Chubby Smith, along with drummer Mason Powell and vocalists Lindsay Ramirez and Steven Swinney (all of Lawrence band, Guse). Their aptly named debut album, "Psychedelic Aphrodite," includes the song "Blues for Jesus," in which Mirecki recites lyrics in Aramaic, Hebrew and Latin.
Street Level breaks cheeseburgers with Mirecki over a conversation about Jesus' face, the politics of religious fundamentalism, and why it's never too late to rock and roll.