Did David Koresh Know How to Play Guitar?

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Showtime’s crime series ‘Waco: The Aftermath’ depicts the emergence of David Koresh as a cult leader and prophet of the Branch Davidians. Before changing his name to David Koresh, the cult leader was a bible scholar identified as Vernon Howell, who claimed that God sent him visions for guiding the religious sect. The fifth episode of the series depicts a highly distinctive image of Koresh, who played guitar and sang songs. The particular scenes in the episode are guaranteed to make one wonder whether the cult leader knew how to play guitar. Well, here’s everything you need to know about the same!

David Koresh Plays Guitar

Yes, David Koresh did know how to play guitar. Koresh not only played the instrument during prayer meetings but also reportedly once lived in Hollywood to make it as a musician. Koresh owned the 1978 Ibanez Musician electric guitar and he was also part of a band that played locally. After ending up at the Mount Carmel Center to be a Branch Davidian, he played guitar and sang during church services. He met Waco survivor David Thibodeau at Guitar Center in Hollywood. Thibodeau then became a drummer for Koresh’s cover band.

The subjects of the songs Koresh played often revolved around the messages in the Book of Daniel or waiting for the return of Christ. Using an electric guitar, he played several songs. Around eighteen of them, including “Jesus Loves Me,” “Mad Man in Waco,” “Waiting on You,” “From the Rising of the Son,” etc., are available in the public domain. “Mad Man in Waco,” in particular, revolves around his battle for authority over the Branch Davidians after the death of Lois Roden, who encouraged him to sing and play guitar. “He [Koresh] believed he was King David. He was using music to reach a lot of people. We’re thinking maybe it’s a stage name. But it was more than that,” Koresh’s follower Clive Doyle told ABC News.

During the 51-day standoff between the Branch Davidians and federal agencies such as the FBI and ATF, Koresh did play music as a retaliation against the noises the FBI used to unsettle the religious group. “He [Koresh] had his little band in there and, all of a sudden, he starts playing and we were 200-plus yards away and we had to yell at each other to hear. It was… and it went on for several hours, this concert, a rock concert. Just showing us that his speakers were more powerful than ours,” R.J. Craig, who was a part of the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team, told PBS’ Frontline.

After Koresh’s death, Iowa-based Junior’s Motel label released a three-song CD titled ‘Voice of Fire.’ The album comprises two religious rock tracks, titled “Book of Daniel” and “Sheshonahim,” and a fifty-seven-minute sermon conducted by Koresh at the Mount Carmel Center. “To be honest, we weren’t going to put it out. But it seemed important to have people see another side of [Koresh]. It just didn’t feel right leaving it in our closet,” Kirk Kaufman, owner of the Junior’s Motel label, told Los Angeles Times.

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