Craig Smith was a 1960s golden boy – good looking, charismatic, outgoing; a preternaturally gifted musician and songwriter whose songs were recorded by some of the biggest names in entertainment – Andy Williams, Glen Campbell, the Monkees. His future success seemed assured, until an unexpected turn of events plunged him into a terrifying darkness. Clean-cut Craig Smith became Maitreya Kali, the self-proclaimed psychedelic Messiah. He laid out his poignant, disturbing schizophrenic vision on a sprawling self-released double-album before disappearing completely. Author Mike Stax spent fifteen years piecing together the mystery of Maitreya Kali, uncovering one of the strangest and most tragic untold stories of the 1960s and ‘70s.
Swim Through the Darkness reveals author Stax’s fifteen year quest in tracking down this strange saga of American pop culture. Included in the story are Smith’s close ties to the Monkees, particularly Mike Nesmith, who produced and promoted Smith’s band, Penny Arkade. Also covered are the bizarre self-released albums he made as Maitreya Kali, which now command thousands of dollars among psychedelic music collectors.
Check out these rare and unreleased tracks by Craig Smith/Maitreya Kali, Penny Arkade, Heather MacRae, The Happeners, and Craig & Chris on our Soundcloud page!