In the past few years, we've run into a number of rock groups who sing about Satan, death, and destruction. Yet when questioned about their personal beliefs, they invariably say their gruesome lyrics are only a tongue in cheek gimmick to satisfy their fans and sell their records.

But this isn't always the case. Carl McCoy, lead singer of an emerging new band from England called Fields of the Nephilim, admits that his lyrics originate from his involvement with the occult. Backstage at Chicago's Cabaret Metro, McCoy looked as if he'd walked straight off the set of an Eastwood spaghetti western - leather holster, beat up hat, and a long black gunslinger's coat.

Cornerstone: How did you come up with your name?

McCoy: The Nephilim was something I'd known about since I was really young. I was brought up quite religiously. If you're familiar with the first book of the Bible, Genesis, you see the sons of God seduce some race of the women on the earth and they produced a race of people known as the Nephilim. According to legend they taught man about war, astrology, and magic. I'm fascinated by the idea.

C: In the lyrics of one of your new songs, "Celebrate", go "you find new highways, and you'll turn, find new highways, but lady you'll burn." Are you talking about a type of hell?

M: Kind of. that song stems from my interest in the occult.

C: So you do admit to having an interest in the occult?

M: Maybe I'm being too honest. But the occult is my life. And then there's the band. But it's not something we try to put across to our audience. I don't really feel I'm preaching to people. I'm opening up a different wolrd for them. People in England have been really prejudiced against me for that. I think Americans in general are a lot more open-minded about subjects like this, which is really comforting.

C: What kind of experiences have you had with the occult?

M:I've had a lot of experiences to convince me that there are other entities. I've felt the sensations of spirits in my house. My father was quite interested in these subjects when I was younger. He read a lot about it, but I don't think he dedicated his life to it. He's not involved now.

C: In the song, "The Watchman", are you describing someone going down into hell?

M: It's quite destructive. According to certain beliefs, there's a god of the underworld, a real dark master. Several old cultures believed this god is in the form of a sea serpent, and they say it's going to come back one day and reclaim its power.

C: Is this the god Cthulu, you mention?

M: Yeah, its an ancient, evil god that lived on earth before man existed. The opposing forces battled with it and won. But some books say the ancient gods are going to rule again. "The Watchman" is basically an invocation to Cthulu.

C: We're interested in spiritual things too. Do you believe in God?

M: I don't believe in it as a separate entity. I don't believe there's a person sitting in heaven. I believe God's part of you.

C: What are your thoughts about Jesus Christ?

M: I believe that He existed. but He was nothing more than a very clever, powerful master magician, who was capable of performing great illusions. There were a lot of hallucinogenic drugs in those days. After all, the Bible is an old book, and possibly it's gotten distorted. There's probably truth in it, but I think there are things missing. I'm pretty young, and I've obviously got plenty to learn.

C: Do you ever read the Bible yourself?

M: I was forced to read it when I was young.

C: But Carl, have you ever gone back now and seriously looked at it thinking this could be the truth?

M: Yeah, I have. I believe a lot of the predictions in the Bible, especially in Revelation.

C: You believe in that book?

M: Yeah. The Bible's all right, but it's been made to sound like such a story that it looks quite unreal. I don't mean to put it down, it's just the way religion puts it across nowadays. In England it's horrible that from the minute you're born, you're told to do this, and you're told to believe that. I just couldn't accept it, because I didn't want someone telling me what to do with my life.

C: I think those feelings are pretty universal. A lot of us here in America were raised in the Church, and we didn't like it either. But I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about a living relationship with the real God, Jesus Christ. If he really rose from the dead, which I believe, then He is who He said He was. And if that is true, then I'd better be in right relationship with Him.

M: I won't take one book and base my life on it. I've learned things from a lot of books. I don't stick to any systems.

C: But what's the guarantee that the outcome of your beliefs is going to be any better than anyone else's?

M: Well, I just do it for myself. I don't want to tell other people what to do. I don't care about other people.

C: How about your fans, though? That sounds awfully selfish. Are you really saying that you don't care about all those people you're singing to?

M: Yes... In a way. It's just part of my whole experiment of life. I'm genuinely into this because of the music we create out of it. ...the feeling it gives me. I think a lot of people get that feeling in the audience, and so in that sense I'm not holding anything back from them. And if they don't want it, they don't get it.

C: But if you think you've found a good thing, Carl, and if you're having fun experimenting with the occult, wouldn't you want other people to do it, too?

M: No... I think it's very dangerous. There are a lot of very immature-minded and very weak people in the world and I think they could end up over-powering and attacking people.

C: In the the occult they could end up killing others or even themselves?

M: I think you could if you're unstable.

C: What do you do with it?

M: I'd rather not discuss that. But I think a lot of people watch too many films and their interpretation of the occult is sacrificing women and children. Of course, all sorts of crime goes on nowadays. I don't think I should say exactly what I do with it and how I do it, because I'm still learning. I don't really want it all written down. It's private. Whan I've got it right, then maybe I'll let everybody know.

Cornerstone: Do you believe in a real devil?

McCoy: I believe there's a real devil and a real God in everyone. I think people are capable of being possessed by demons and other foreign entities. But I don't believe that there's a man sitting below the ground with big horns and and that.

C: I believe in a real God, a personal God...

M: Oh really?

C: Yes. I believe in the God of the Bible-you know, the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. And I also believe in a real devil because the Bible teaches that too. Now I don't know what the devil looks like, but I believe he's at work today. The Bible says he's the god of this world-the ruler of the principalities and powers. He's got influence right now, but not for long. Religion can't defeat him. But the real Jesus Christ already has.

M: Why do you believe in a real being?

C: Well, I believe that He was a real man, who walked this earth just like you and me, but He didn't sin a single sin. He came to show us the way to God the Father.

M: (stammering)...But what's He done for you? Have you got proof?

C: If you knew me before I gave my life to Him you would see proof. He's changed my life - that's what He's done for me. So much so that I'm willing to lay down my life for Him and to follow His teachings the best I can. And this has been going on for the last fourteen years.

M: Would you give up your life for Him, right now?

C: Yes, if God had me in some situation where that was required of me, Yes, I would die for Him.

M: This is an interesting conversation, the most interesting interview I've had yet... But I can't live under anyone's rules. I cannot be dominated by anyone, a god or whatever.

C: Did you ever think about the fact that you might be being ruled by Satan, as well as your own fleshly desires? But when you accept Jesus, He gives you a new set of desires and the power to live a godly life. We can't do it on our own.

M: Why not? I believe we can do it on our own.

C: But what are you achieveing? What is your real purpose? Are you here just to enjoy yourself? Do whatever you want to do?

M: (lengthy pause) No.I don't think my purpse is simply to have a good time. I'm not like that. I don't live the rock'n'roll lifestyle-I don't drink a lot, I don't take a lot of drugs, I don't take any women. I don't desire to be filthy rich, so I can lounge about the rest of my life. I'm here to gain knowledge, and I'm receiving knowledge from somewhere. And that knowledge came to me through my subconscious, even before I started looking at the appropriate books. So I believe I'm here for a reason, definitely.

C: How do the other guys in the band feel about your involvement with the occult?

M: They can't complain because it gives me inspiration to write our songs.

C: Do you believe there's life after death?

M: I believe there can be. I think when most people die the make-up of their energy and spirit is so weak that it becomes situated in other beings.

C: I believe that channelling power comes from the lying spirits telling you different messages that are not from God. But I also believe there are people who simply trick you.

M: I believe that. There are a lot of fakers in all walks of life. Do you believe in reincarnation?

C: No, I don't. The Bible says you die once, and then there's going to be the judgment.

M: Whew!

C: I know these are heavy thoughts, but I think we all need a healthy fear of God. We need a true reverence, because if we're going to stand before a holy God, there's no way we can make it unless we've taken Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior. That's the only way. Nobody can be good enough, that's why Christ had to come.

M: What do you mean no one can be good enough? I mean, I've never been that bad. I've never murdered. Sorry I'm moralizing that I'm good. But I'm better than most people.

C: But the Bible teaches that we're all born in sin. I'm sure you've done a few bad things in your life. But badness isn't just an act, it's our permanent state. What it really comes down to is are we here just to satisfy ourselves? Or were we really created by God so that we could love and worship Him? Can we know this Personal Being as a Personal Friend?

M: That Personal Being has never done anything for me.

C: That's where I encourage you not to close off.

M: Well, I only close off whene I sense that someone is against me and my beliefs.

C: I care about you as a person. That's a big part of the reason I came by to see you. And I feel I must warn you, if you continue to delve into the occult, you've got to know that you're messing around with fire.

M: I don't think there's any harm in it. I don't think I would harm anyone.

C: That's what a lot of people think. But the devil is a deceiver and a liar. He's the father of lies. And so it's not suprising that he continues to blind people to their need for God, and this is why the world is lost.

M: It is lost....

C: It is lost without Christ. And you're a part of that world, so you you're lost too.

M: I am kind of lost. I was very lost, but I seem to have found the pathway again.

C: Just remember the Bible says that Satan appears as an angel of light. So what he offers can look good on the outside, but it really isn't. Let me ask you a question - do you believe that there are sincere Christians today?

M: Real Christianity is far from where it is today. It was a lot more magically inspired.

C: That's what you believe. But real Christianity is laying down your life for your brother. That means truly helping people. Real Christianity is, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your sould, and with all your mind, and with all your strength..."and "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." I live in a Christian community that works with the poor and homeless. We're not perfect, but were trying to put our money where our mouth is.

M: That's the difference.

C: But the only reason we're doing it is because of our personal relationship with Christ. We're not better than anyone else. It's just that He's radically changed our lives.

M: How did He change your life? I mean, normally people only change after they've taken a lot of drugs.

C: I admit I did take a lot of drugs before I turned to the Lord. I used to trip, somoke pot, and I did a little coke here and there. This was back in the early seventies.
C: I was going to college, living your average party-type life. But after a while, I came to a point in my life where I was really worried about where I fit in this world, because nothing really interested or fulfilled me. I tried four different colleges, different jobs, and nothing was making me happy. I was reading the Bible and other books, but it wasn't until I cried out to God to show me where I fit in that I was touched by Him.

M: I'm not saying you're wrong, because it obviously works for you. It works, you believe it, you feel happy, you're a good man. I like talking to you. You've just found a different way of doing it than me. I'm happy. I feel like I've never done all the wrong things and then discovered it. I've been guided subconsciously through my life by different co-entities or spirits.

C: And you've had experiences?

M: Yes, I've felt that presence, I've felt that breathing... in a cold room. I've felt that breathing down my neck. And I mean, it's scary.

C: I believe you. And I believe that presence is an evil presence. My God's a beautiful God, all knowing and all-loving. If we reject this loving God's only Son, we're rejecting His one way of coming back into right relationship with Him. If we don't accept God's love, only the fear is left.

M: I believe in myself and I don't believe what you believe.

C: Thanks for taking with us. One of us is right, and one of us is wrong. What I'm afraid of is how much you've opened yourself to some dark forces, and I want you to know that I'll be praying for you. I'd also like to send you two books on the occult - "Encircling Eyes" by Os Guinness, and "Between Christ and Satan" by Kurt Koch.