Once, while visiting the Tower of London I had my path blocked by one of the ravens who reside there. It wasn’t going to give up an inch of ground and I – knowing that a raven can, and will, bite off your finger – wasn’t going to force the issue.
There’s creepy, and then there’s The Chieftains and Mick Jagger covering an Appalachian Murder Ballad creepy. Everybody from Johnny Cast to nick Cave has covered “The Long Black Veil”, but this is my favorite version
Now seems like a good point in this experiment to mention Dracula’s Ball. It’s the event around which the entire (Philadelphia) year revolves. This Halloween it’ll feature Clan of Xymox and my good friends Ego Likeness (whom I first saw at Dracula’s Ball roughly 15 years ago).
Fittingly, here’s Ego Likeness with a very Halloween-appropriate song.
Phun Philly Phact: Facebook, which sold our info to actual Nazis (not Grammar Nazis nor Soup Nazis) took the moral highground and banned this video for Dracula’s Ball.
Old-timey Halloween was the stuff of nightmares. Maybe it was the unchecked waves of vandalism, or the fact that EVERYBODY was higher than Elvis on a return trip from the pharmacy, or because the only costume available to young women was Sexy Typhoid Victim.
While I can’t provide you with a satisfactory explanation, I can provide you with this gem from 1913…
look, people; I love the Ramones as much as you do. The were true originals and I probably wouldn’t be a musician today if had never donned leather jackets and shouted “1,2,3,4!”. That said, some of their later work seemed kind of rushed (maybe the had an instinctual sense that they weren’t long for this world). For example, Dee Dee didn’t even show up for the recording of “Pet Sematary” (which he wrote); the producer played bass on it and added the synth later. Maybe if the Ramones had been allowed a little more time to craft the song, they would’ve ended up with something akin to Helalyn Flowers‘ cover version – which I think really captures the spirit of the tune.
Fun fact: When my father was young, the sound of an air raid siren would cause him to have a nose bleed. This was shortly after WWII – and at the dawn of Cold War. Dad’s no fool; he knew what those sirens meant. In an effort to provide my father with the best possible medical treatment that they could afford, my grandparents sent for a Pow Wow Man. Rural Pennsylvania is creepy as shit, folks.
This brings us to entry number Lucky 13 on our count-up, The Skeletal Family with “Black Ju Ju”.
From the haunted year of 1965, here’s Dickie Lee with “Laurie (Strange Things Happen)”
Last night at the dance I met Laurie,
So lovely and warm, an angel of a girl.
Last night I fell in love with Laurie –
Strange things happen in this world.
As I walked her home,
She said it was her birthday.
I pulled her close and said
“Will I see you anymore?”
Then suddenly she asked for my sweater
And said that she was very, very cold.
I kissed her goodnight
At her door and started home,
Then thought about my sweater
And went right back instead.
I knocked at her door and a man appeared.
I told why I’d come, then he said:
“You’re wrong, son.
You weren’t with my daughter.
How can you be so cruel
To come to me this way?
My Laurie left this world on her birthday –
She died a year ago today.”
A strange force drew me to the graveyard.
I stood in the dark,
I saw the shadows wave,
And then I looked and saw my sweater
Lyin’ there upon her grave.
Strange things happen in this world.
Children of the Dark – Mono Inc.
Rain – Project Pitchfork
Sunday Queen – Astari Nite
Black August – Kirlian Camera
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (12″ version) – The Specimen
A Thoughtful Beast – Ritual Howls
Human Fly – The Cramps
Something Is Coming – 16volt
Born To Rule – Android Lust
Orient Xmal – Deutschland
Give Me a Reason – Selofan
Martial Love – The Agnes Circle
Small Prey – Bestial Mouths
Twilight – Corpus Delicti
Beautiful Lie (Let It Die) – Date At Midnight
Wait Now – In Letter Form
Shattered In Aspect – Faith And The Muse
Sebastiane – Sex Gang Children
Vitriol – Hapax
In Cold Water – Hante.
Back to Nature – NOIR
Long Lost Dead and Gone – Ashbury Heights
Such Such are the Joys – Shriekback
Forked Tongue – Wychdoktor
For some of you younger readers, this might be hard to believe, but songs about killers used to dominate the airwaves. Heart had “Magic Man”, which was about Charles Manson. Then there were the Boomtown Rats with “I Don’t Like Mondays”; their ode to mass shooter Brenda Ann Spencer. And, of course, David Soul had huge hit with “The Ted Bundy Twist”.
With that in mind, let us now turn to the Punk band that should’ve been bigger than Nirvana – Killdozer. Here’s their 1984 ballad about a hard-working Wisconsin farmer.
There was once a time when, if you wanted to see a horror movie, you had to settle for crap like Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein.
We’re lucky to live in a Golden Age of Horror that has given us Innkeepers, The Babadook, The VVitch and Hereditary. The variety of Dark Music have also expended greatly in the past few decades. When I was young, if you wanted to hear something scary, you had a choice between Alice Cooper, Kiss, or David Soul.
Somehow, this all leads us to The Bestial Mouths [I’m not sure how we got her, but we did, so let’s just enjoy it for what it is.] whom I’ve always considered the Unofficial Band of Halloween. There are some bands that have to work at being spooky, but –somehow- it just seems to come naturally to The Mouths.