The Halloween Demos: Witch Hunt (Yes, it’s a Rush cover)

Our story so far: Inspired by Ashbury Height’s “Skeleton Tree” experiment, I decided to do the unthinkable – release five of the dozen or so demos I’ve sent to the other Milkmen over the past year. I’ve  already posted “Her Name is Witch” , “Billy Wants a Voodoo Doll” , and “Hillbilly with a Meat Cleaver”, and Only The Dead Get Off At Kymlinge.  The final entry into the Halloween Demos pantheon is a cover of Rush’s “Witch Hunt”….No, seriously; it’s a cover of Rush’s “Witch Hunt”

Why? Because US & European politics over the last year got me thinking about xenophobia and the exploitation of the fear of “The Other” and this song has some of the most PUNK ROCK lyrics ever written on that subject.

They say there are strangers who threaten us
In our immigrants and infidels
They say there is strangeness too dangerous
In our theaters and bookstore shelves

Those are great lyrics. As are the closing lines:

Quick to judge
Quick to anger
Slow to understand
Ignorance and prejudice
And fear walk hand in hand

As for the cover, well, when you’re attempting to convince the rest of your band to cover a Rush tune, a lot of effort is involved; hence all of the sonic oddities.  If we were to ever tackle this one, I’d push for using a female vocalist because women can sing in a much more pissed off manner about injustice than men ever will be able to.

By the way, his is the song that got me started down the road to The Halloween Demos. I was in my studio one Sunday looking for a way to kick-start an afternoon of songwriting when the idea of covering this song popped into my head. I do that, from time-to-time: cover a song to see if it leads to writing an original one, or if there are any sonic motifs from the cover that I can cannibalism into an original tune.  Anywhoooo….after i started working on this song, I thought “Why not write some songs about witches and witchcraft?” “Here Name is Witch” & “Billy Wants a Voodoo Doll” were written shortly after that.

Well, i guess there’s not much else left to say other than maybe I’ll do this agin next year (on a much smaller scale) and, of course, Happy Halloween.