wings stuck on liquid bones
Original Format: cassette
This blog is now 1 year old, having launched last Halloween with Fear of a Black Cat. Of all the goofy little projects I do this is probably the most pure fun, and also the least-viewed, with four regular readers that I know of. Hi, Bob. Hi, Christian. Hi, Jim. Hi, Sam. Happy Halloween!
My Beautiful Organ The Count
“Once I tried to count my chickens before they hatched. In the end, what I thought were 10 chickens were, in reality, five chickens, three turtles and two alligators. The people who thought they were buying chickens were not amused.” —Count von Count
Toccata & Fugue in D Minor J.S. Bach
D minor, as we know, is the saddest of all keys.
Take Me Back Siouxsie & the Banshees
I recently ran across this vintage picture of Siouxsie, circa 1976. Look what cute little punk she was:
Strangers Die Everyday Butthole Surfers
This week I’ve been reading Gibby Haynes’ first book, Me and Mr. Cigar, a sort of psychedelic young adult novel (complete with drawings by the author). Like the Buttholes’ oeuvre, it gets pretty far out there while still maintaining a certain accessibility. (“Strangers Die Everyday” is on the far-out side of the spectrum.) Here’s the picture of Gibby that appears on the inside cover flap:
In Every Dream Home a Heartache (Live) Roxy Music
When they were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame last year, Roxy opened with this song, one of their longest and weirdest. Ballsy.
They’re Coming to Get You, Barbra Russell Streiner & Judith O’Dea
Although you see it spelled both ways, all indications are that the official spelling of the female character’s name is “Barbra,” as in Streisand. Maybe that means something, maybe not; but now you know.
(Screech!) Bernard Herrmann & Janet Leigh
“There were rumors that Herrmann had used electronic means, including amplified bird screeches to achieve the shocking effect of the music in the shower scene. The effect was achieved, however, only with violins in a ‘screeching, stabbing sound-motion of extraordinary viciousness.’ The only electronic amplification employed was in the placing of the microphones close to the instruments, to get a harsher sound.” —Wikipedia [Ed. Note: George Martin and The Beatles used the same technique for “Eleanor Rigby.”]
Psycho Killer Talking Heads
“This was the first Talking Heads song. It was written in 1973 at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), where David Byrne and drummer Chris Frantz had a band called The Artistics. When Byrne presented the song, he explained that he wanted a Japanese section in the bridge, but when he asked a girl who spoke the language to come up with some murderous words, she understandably freaked out. Frantz’s girlfriend, Tina Weymouth, spoke French, so they had her write a French part for the bridge instead. She drew inspiration from the Norman Bates character in the 1960 Alfred Hitchcock thriller Psycho.” —Songfacts.com
There’s a Ghost in My House The Fall
I always knew this was a cover, but for some reason it never occurred to me until recently to think about of whom. (Is that grammatically correct? It looks weird, but never mind.) Turns out it is actually a Motown song, written by Holland/Dozier/Holland with the song’s vocalist, R. Dean Taylor. This is a pretty odd number for Motown, and when released in 1966 did no business in the U.S.; but it became a cult hit in the UK, and when reissued in 1974 it went all the way to #3. This explains why it has been covered by a bunch of British bands, including the Fall, whose 1987 version was their first single to reach the UK top 50.
Real Child of Hell X
“I was inspired by a guy named Robert P. Williams, a blues guy. And he said ‘no man or woman knows what trouble really is in this world,’ and I took it to mean [that] it could always get worse. And that’s the sort of thought you can never really identify true trouble or the blues or whatever because always it can go further. And so the song’s about the real child of hell, which you never really see. You’re in a bar, or you’re in some place, and something strange starts happening, and then all of a sudden you feel like that thing is there, that real child of hell is there, and causing this thing, working its evil way. You turn around to look for it and you can’t see it.” —John Doe
Frankenstein 1984 Edgar Winter
I remember seeing the video for this on MTV and going out and buying the 12-inch single. (There is also a regrettable rap version.) So to me this is the original, and the guitar-based 1972 version somehow came later. Thanks MTV.
The Unfortunate Ichabod Ed Begley
That’s Ed Begley Sr., not the one who drummed for Spinal Tap (among Ed Jr.’s many other accomplishments, of course). Ed Sr. had a long and busy career, his IMDB page padded out by tons of westerns, war movies, and old TV shows; his credits include 12 Angry Men, Hang Em High, and The Mod Squad. Here he is reading Washington Irving, who in This Is Spinal Tap is being read by “someone called Dr. J.” I didn’t even think about that connection when I started this paragraph. Some days it all just falls into place.
Lullaby The Cure
“When I was really young I had a very strange uncle (also called Robert!) who delighted in finding as many ways to scare me witless as he could. One of his favorites was to whisper grim bedside stories into my ear, stories that often related the twisted deeds of a horrible boy-eating creature called simply ‘the spiderman.’ One night he actually went so far as to climb in through my bedroom window after the lights had been put out… I screamed for what seemed like days. The ‘spiderman’ stories ended that night, but my fear of the dark and spiders persisted for quite some time.” —Robert Smith
Movement of Fear Tones on Tail
Three years ago, when Daniel Ash and Kevin Haskins’ Poptone was on tour, I was unable to make it to their Bay Area dates. So I flew to Minneapolis to see them, which seemed like a rank indulgence at the time, but in retrospect seems more and more reasonable. They did this song, a bunch of other Tones on Tail songs, “An American Dream,” “Slice of Life,” and a cover of “Cracked Actor.” It was worth it.
Making Love to a Vampire with a Monkey on My Knee Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band
There’s a lot of competition, but this is quite possibly the greatest song title ever.
The Black Dog Runs at Night Angelo Badalamenti
You might think this is just killing time so I can end the side with Roky Erickson. You might be right.
Burn the Flames Roky Erickson
I never knew until today that the Jefferson Airplane’s Jack Casady plays bass on this. Said Casady, “Of course we knew him from the San Francisco days, and in the early days of the 13th Floor Elevators. He had such a tremendous voice. But apparently, he had taken a break from the cruel world of rock and roll and immersed himself into the religious world. And he came back out of that period of time. I think the producer was having trouble with him, because Roky of course had written a bunch of new songs and they were about his experience with Jesus. The producer was tearing his hair out, because the record company wanted to have more of Roky’s, as they call it, satanic devil music. He had eschewed all of that stuff. So any case, it was really an interesting session, but we did end up doing a couple of songs that were more in the vein of what the record company really liked.”
Shut Up! George Hamilton
And we’re brought in for a landing by Tanmaster Hamilton, ironically portraying the tan-averse Dracula in Love at First Bite.