nI like the idea of “Monster Mash” mastermind Bobby Pickett spinning in his grave. Not that you could say anything negative about the novelty song that Pickett hadn’t already acknowledged (when playing it live, he’d introduce it by claiming Elvis called it the “stupidest thing he’s ever heard”); it just seems like a fitting image of a man who made a career based around the dead getting down. n
In an effort to broaden our Halloween playlist, City Weekly asked three Salt Lake City musicians to divulge their favorite spooky tracks. Here’s what they slayed, er, said:n
Dan Thomas (Tolchock Trio, Vile Blue Shades, Red Bennies, Glinting Gems)
nI’m a big fan of those old records that feature Count Dracula singing Top 40 hits of the day. They are cheesier than you could ever imagine—the voice sounds just like The Count from Sesame Street. You haven’t lived until you’ve heard “These Boots Are Made For Walkin’” with a faux-Transylvanian accent!
Also, The Count’s counting songs on Sesame Street usually gave me the heebies and the jeebies.n
“Helter Skelter” has got be one of the more frightening songs (The Beatles version, although I do admire Mötley Crüe’s cover from their landmark album Shout at the Devil, which features scary lyrics and even scarier make-up). The fact that McCartney wrote this song and “Martha, My Dear” on the same album is also scary. What dark corners of the soul he must have visited to come up with such a demented song. It’s all topped off with two disorienting false endings, and John’s crazed yell: “I got blisters on my fingers!” It makes me wonder if those fellas weren’t on dope!n
Finally, Gentry Densley’s new album, Ascend, with Greg Anderson of Southern Lord Records. Ascend is the personification of terror—a noisy, droney, foreboding album, only made more frightening when you see the photo of the two bearded men who concocted this evil music. Think Mad Max wandering through the desert in exile in Beyond Thunderdome. “Two men enter. One man leaves!”n
Dave Madden (Nonnon)
nDuring the entire month of October 2001, I worked for a haunted forest, jumping out of holes in the ground, waving chainless chainsaws at passersby (the guests traveled by tractor and wagon) and getting pelted by dirt clods and rocks by asshole teenagers who wanted to show how not scared they were. The guys who ran the place heard that I “listen to a lot of music” and asked me to make a “spooky” mix-tape. I think they were hoping for “Monster Mash”, but I gave them Stockhausen, half of Autechre’s Confield, Nine Inch Nails’ “Further Down the Spiral” and Aphex Twin’s “Come to Daddy”—and it actually went over well. I can’t hear, specifically, that last track anymore without thinking about wearing a stifling rubber mask (it gave me a rash but protected against rocks), crouching in a dirt hole under a piece of cardboard and waiting to terrorize children (the complete opposite message of that video, actually).
Joe Greathouse (VCR5)
n311, “Jack-o’-Lantern’s Weather”: Pointing out that this seasonal 311 song is the lamest and most poorly manufactured song of all time is like criticizing the taste of urine. But at least it’s unprecedented, and it’s practical. The song, that is—not urine.
The Cure, “Lullaby”: I know it’s probably metaphoric, but some Spiderman is having Robert Smith for dinner tonight! He is giddy. Awesome.n
Stars, “Hum”: Remember those glow-in-the-dark plastic stars that were really awesome? To meet the status quo, you’d need to have at least a thousand or more across your ceiling. Then when you got sick of them and took them down, you had like a million dabs of glue still stuck to the paint. Cool. They sold these at the Halloween store. Random, I know.n
Type O Negative, “Summer Breeze”: Type O Negative is just spooky all around, then this song comes along and mocks that old easy-listening song with all its anthemic guitars and organs and Oxycontin vocals, making it that much creepier. Love it, though.n
Stone Temple Pilots, “Big Empty”: This was the signature track from a great Halloween movie, The Crow, the story of which takes place on “Devil’s Night” (Halloween). This song is just really epic.