Michael met Dr. Timothy Leary in 1975 and he and Denise remained friends with him for the next 21 years.
What follows is an excerpt from Tim’s 1977 book “Neuropolitics: The Sociobiology of Human Metamorphosis … ” which describes their first meeting.
Tim later cast Michael as the “Voice of Higher Intelligence” in a joint production as he thought God, aka the Alien, should sound like an FM disc jockey.
“Conversations with Higher Intelligence”
by Timothy Leary
The Commodore (Leri) stood just before midnight in the center of the broadcasting studio of KGB. Behind him, the News Room was dark. To his right, through the window, he could see Gabriela Wisdom seated in front of console panels twisting dials, selecting records, speaking in low mellow voice to the AM audience. To his left through the glass he could see Michael Sheehy in the FM booth spinning rock and roll.
At midnight both announcers emerged from their booths, Gabriel disappearing in a production room to tape the late news. Michael Sheehy, retiring to another production room to tape a shoe-store commerical, waved Leri to follow.
The Commodore watched from the door as Sheehy, earphones over his head, sat in front of the console, mouth ten inches away from the obscenely bulbous, foam-padded microphone. Sheehy cleared his throat, rocking gently back and forth, crooning into the mike he psyched himself in a trance-like voice pouring out sonorous, majestic poetry about the Everlast Shoe Line.
He’s good, thought Leri. He’s an actor. And he plays with his throat like a stringed instrument. No, more than that, like a sexual organ. When the red, NOW-RECORDING light blinked out Wisdom opened the door and motioned to the Commodore.
The two men walked to the new production room, where the fifteen-year old boy was waiting. “Have you read over your script?” asked Gabriel. The boy nodded tensely. He’s nervous, thought Leri. That’s good. He has every reason to be.
The boy sat in front of the console. Gabriel fiddled with the dials and punched the tape button making loud clicking sounds. He nodded ready. Leri read the cue lines and the boy addressed his welcome to Higher Intelligence.
When the boy was finished, Leri took his place and read his lines interviewing the boy. Gabriel punched the rewind button and the tape spun back with a whinning screech. The two men and the boy listened to the interview. Wisdom hit the rewind button and nodded. “That stuff is good. I can edit it smoothly, dub in the background excitement noises, murmur of voices and so forth. And I can do the breathless newscaster. But we still need the voice of Higher Intelligence. At that moment, the door to the studio opened and Sheehy walked in. He’s your basic, successful hip talent, thought the Commodore. Super-skeptical. Totally cynical about hype. A fine audio craftsman. But jaded. Turned on, but no where to tune it in. And he’s Irish. That’s a break. The Catholics are the only ones who really believe in heaven and immortality.
“ Tell me, Sheehy. How would you like to be the voice of Higher Intelligence from Outer Space?” Sheehy nodded with a grin and moved to the chair in front of the mike. “Why not? Let’s give it a try.”
Commodore Leri handed the script to the disc jockey. Sheehy began reading. Leafing through the pages he smiled, nodded, then broke out into a laugh.
“This is heavy stuff,” he said. “You know, we could add an echo, just a tiny bit to give it texture and phase over it to give a hollow, wavering, interstellar effect.” Gabriel Wisdom nodded and strung a fresh tape through the recording machine. Sheehy cleared his voice and leaned toward the mike. Leri and the boy stood in front of him watching intently. Sheehy began to read the script softly, adjusting sound levels. He closed his eyes and repeated the lines. Then he looked up.
“Would you mind moving back out of my line of vision? I want to get myself into this part.” “Remember,” said the Commodore, “you’re a billion miles away and you’re right here in our window pane. You’re an ancient creature of the galaxy. You’re the great Mother-Father in the sky talking down to this infant race. Teaching these children whom you love and cherish.”
Sheehy nodded and started putting himself into a trance, reading and re-reading the first lines, slowly increasing the volume, juicing up the vibrato, the sonority. Your omniscient, genial, all-wise radio voice laying it down. Suddenly he broke off. “Look, I’m having some trouble reading the pencil additions. Could we have the script typed on the big machine in the news room?
Leri nodded and took the script into the news-room. He sat in front of the manual typewriter and slowly, precisely tapped out the first speech from Higher Intelligence in giant script of the cue-print machine. He ripped the first speech out of the machine and rushed to the studio. Sheehy took it without a word and turned to the mike, vanishing into auto-hypnotic trance. Leri returned to the newsroom to type the next speech. For the next half hour the routine continued, Sheehy taking each speech, losing himself in some neural tract between brain and vocal cords.
When the last transmission was finished, Sheehy pushed back from the mike, took a deep breath, and turned to the tape, flicking the rewind button. “This thing is getting me more and more involved,” he said to Wisdom. “Let me dub in the phasing.” Headphones circling his face, hands twisting the dials, Sheehy sat listening with a faint smile on his face. “Okay. Let me rewind and we’ll listen to what God has wrought.”
Sheehy stood, removed the headphones and walked to the recording console. The Commodore, Wisdom, and the Kid waited while the
rewind tape whined. When it flicked to stop, Sheehy punched ‘Play’ and the small room cornered by quadrophonic speakers suddenly boomed with thunderous sound-waves amplified by electromagnetic power.
HELLO PLANET EARTH. THIS MESSAGE IS BEING SENT FROM THE CENTER OF YOUR GALAXY. CONGRATULATIONS. LIFE ON SOL-3 HAS NOW EVOLVED TO THE POINT WHERE THE HUMAN RACE IS READY TO COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR NEIGHBORS, LEAVE YOUR TINY, RESTRICTING WOMB PLANET, AND JOIN THE GALATIC COMMUNITY. THIS IS A MOMENT OF GREAT CELEBRATION FOR US WHO HAVE WATCHED YOU GROW… AND IT IS A GREAT MOMENT FOR YOU WHO ARE ABOUT TO GRADUATE TO A HIGHER LEVEL. THE HUMAN RACE, AS AGENT FOR ALL LIFE ON YOUR PLANET, IS NOW ABLE TO LEAVE THE WOMB AND TO BE REBORN AS GALACTIC CITIZENS. WE, YOUR NEIGHBOR AND RELATIVES, SHALL BE TEACHING YOU, HELPING YOU GROW. YOU, AT STATION KGB, HAVE BEEN SELECTED TO ACT AS RADIO CONTACT, TO RECEIVE AND SEND SIGNALS BETWEEN THE HUMAN RACE AND YOUR FRIENDS OUT HERE.
Sheehy stood transfixed, his mouth half open in amazement. “You know,” he said slowly, “I’m a believer. That sounds real to me.” “It figures,” said the Commodore dryly. “Galactic Intelligence naturally assumes the voice of a radio announcer.” “Is this going to be aired?” asked Sheehy. “We plan to get it syndicated,” replied Gabriel Wisdom cheerfully. “We’re going to ask all the listeners to write in and ask three questions of Higher Intelligence.” “Why not,” added Commodore Leri. “Everyone I know is bored at the level of conversation down here. We think that a lot of people are ready to start talking to Higher Intelligence. It’s like tennis. You’re better off playing with someone better than yourself.”
Sheehy stood silent, frowning. “You know…some religious people might not like this. It’s too…authentic. We could get in trouble with
this.” “Not we,” said the Commodore, smiling. “You could get in trouble. I’ve been through that scene already and my dues for the broadcasting unions are paid in full. This time I’m just going to write the script.” Sheehy laughed. Everyone laughed.