Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series, “Spooktober Edition” where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music from the 60’s to today. Weekdays At Noon EST. Enjoy the trip!

Sufjan Stevens – John Wayne Gacy, Jr. (2005)

Gory tales of serial killers are some of the most frightening subject matter. They will haunt people for decades because they are not only horrific, they are true. More terrifying than most works of fiction. Grisly stories about the grim side of human existence are actually kinda fascinating, so it’s no surprise some of our favourite bands have taken inspiration from the world’s most notorious murderers.

John Wayne Gacy dubbed the “killer clown” was an American serial killer and sex offender who raped, tortured, and murdered at least 33 young men and boys. Gacy regularly performed at children’s hospitals and charitable events as “Pogo the Clown” or “Patches the Clown”, personas he had devised.

It’s easy to focus on serial killer John Wayne Gacy’s part-time job as a clown, casting him as the real-life Pennywise. But on his 2005 album Illinois, singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens approaches the murderer with haunting grace. Instead of focusing on the killer’s horrific circus antics, he looks at the dulcet, human side of this broken soul and his terrible deed. The track is all the more frightening because it can make the listener cry, and reminds them that for all the cult of personality that surrounds them, serial killers are – God help us – people.

Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series, “Spooktober Edition” where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music from the 60’s to today. Weekdays At Noon EST. Enjoy the trip!

NINE INCH NAILS – PIGGY

(The Downward Spiral, 1994)

Nine Inch Nails’ magnum opus, The Downward spiral, is a bleak, visceral and harrowing concept album that explores some of the darkest points of human experience. Holding no punches, it is an industrial, nail-biting, jaw dropping, nut-crunching exploration into humankind’s eternal conflicts. The psychological duality of helplessness and defiance; vulnerability and bitterness; misery and rage. In all senses it is a cathartic explosion that rallies against the American mainstream, the superficiality of modern consumerism and the crippling isolation of the culturally disenfranchised.

Despite appearing on The Downward Spiral, an album chronicling the destruction of man, Piggy isn’t necessarily evil in and of itself. It’s the context in which the song was created that makes it truly unsettling.

In 1992, Trent Reznor scrapped his original plan to record the follow-up to Nine Inch Nails’ debut Pretty Hate Machine in New Orleans, decamping instead to 10050 Cielo Drive in Los Angeles’ Benedict Canyon. It was here in 1969 that actress Sharon Tate (the pregnant wife of director Roman Polanski) and four others were brutally murdered by the Charles Manson ‘family’. Although Trent suggests he only discovered the address’ grisly history after he’d decided to record there – claiming it was chosen for the suitability of the space – he subsequently read up on the incident, suggesting ‘The Tate House’ “didn’t feel terrifying as much as sad.” Despite the sense of melancholy, Trent would use it to record 1992’s Broken EP, The Downward Spiral and Marilyn Manson’s debut album, Portrait Of An American Family, which Trent produced.

The song’s title has been the subject of speculation. Former live guitarist Richard Patrick, who would later form the band Filter, has suggested he was once given the nickname ‘Piggy’, while The Beatles’ song Piggies was said to have had considerable influence on Charles Manson. Despite Trent redubbing the address ‘Le Pig’, a reference to the word that was written in blood on the front door by the murderers – and The Downward Spiral also featuring a song called March Of The Pigs – Trent denies either was directly related to what had taken place at the site of their makeshift studio.

In a sobering postscript, Trent ended up meeting Sharon Tate’s sister. She asked him about whether he thought he was exploiting her sister’s death – an encounter Trent admits caused him to breakdown, having suddenly seen things from her perspective.

Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series, “Spooktober Edition” where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music from the 60’s to today. Weekdays At Noon EST. Enjoy the trip!

“Spirits in the Night” by Bruce Springsteen

This song tells about ghosts who haunt people during the night. The ghosts are spirits of those who were wronged and unable to rest due to their murderer still being alive. It’s very rare for a song about this topic to become popular.

Greasy Lake is a lake near Howel NJ. It gets its name from the idea that homeless people living around the lake used it for bathing, washing dishes, etc. The homeless people were known as “Gypsy Angels” or the “Spirits In The Night.”

Part of Springsteen’s first album, it was a #40 US hit for Manfred Mann’s Earth Band when they covered it in 1977.

Springsteen wrote this after Columbia Records rejected his first attempt at an album, telling him to make some songs that could be played on the radio. He came up with this and “Blinded By The Light.”

Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series, “Spooktober Edition” where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music from the 60’s to today. Weekdays At Noon EST. Enjoy the trip!

The Nomads “Where the Wolf Bane Blooms”

This one has all the hallmarks of the genre, from the loud-ass drums to the swirling organ in the background. The guitar solo that starts howling at 1:02 is an appropriately lupine touch.

But it’s the lyrics here that really stand out, all about “the pale light of the moon” and “ancient voices” capped off with a reworking of The Wolf Man’s famous poem about lycanthropy to suit the tune, “you may be pure of heart, and pure of soul, but you’ll become a wolf when the moon is full.”

Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series, Spooktober Edition where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music from the 60’s to today. Weekdays At Noon EST. Enjoy the trip!

Tim Curry “Sweet Transvestite”

“Sweet Transvestite” is a song from the 1973 British musical stage production The Rocky Horror Show and its 1975 film counterpart The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The song is performed by the character, Dr Frank N. Furter, originally played by Tim Curry released in 1973.

Regardless of your thoughts on The Rocky Horror Picture Show and its attendant subculture, we are certain of one thing: if you don’t like “Sweet Transvestite” you don’t like rock n’ roll. That guitar kicks in at 52 seconds into this clip, and what follows is one of the most perfectly arranged, muscular tunes of its kind, capped off by Tim Curry’s raised eyebrow “zero fucks given” vocal.

Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series, “Spooktober Edition” where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music from the 60’s to today. Weekdays At Noon EST. Enjoy the trip!

THE SONICS: The Witch 1965

The Witch” is a song by the American garage rock band The Sonics, written by vocalist Gerry Roslie, and first released as the group’s debut single in November 1964 (see 1964 in music). It also appears on the Sonics’ debut album Here Are the Sonics!!!. Arguably among the most frantic and heaviest recordings of the era, “The Witch” is regarded as being a quintessential stepping stone in the development of punk rock.

This may be blasphemy, but if not for this one song, The Sonics would probably be considered a fairly tame, forgettable early-’60s garage band. So thank god for this primitive, staccato wonderment which predated all those witch songs that would come along a decade later with it’s cautionary tale of the new girl in town, the one with the long black hair and long black car who may or may not be a witch or.

Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series, “Spooktober Edition” where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music from the 60’s to today. Weekdays At Noon EST. Enjoy the trip!

Jizzlobber” is the 12th track on Faith No More’s fourth studio album Angel Dust. Its one of the bands most frightening and disturbing pieces.

From a literary perspective, the song is ambiguous. Beneath the cultural allusions and apparent themes within the song (shame, anger, violence, sexual compulsion) there is some faint story about someone with an aggressive and unhealthy sexual nature who is supremely disgusted with himself but remains incontinent and powerless against his ravaging addiction (“I am what I’ve done, I’m sorry, I’m sorry”). A sexual deviant or rapist perhaps would be apt roles for this character. The song’s title combines the word “jizz” (a crude word for semen), and the verb “lob” (to propel in a high arc). “Jizzlobber”, therefore, can be understood as “Ejaculator”.

The track begins with the sounds of a swamp, and segues into a metered minor chord played on keyboards in an extremely discordant and creepy fashion. This is coupled with a complex drum part, arranged in a form that’s quite conducive to syncopation. Heavily distorted guitars and vocals kick in and at once the song acquires traction. The main body of “Jizzlobber” is raucous and boiling with rage, bloated and over the top. It eventually reaches an unlikely climax with an epic organ and choir ensemble.

According to vocalist Mike Patton, the song is about his fear of going to jail. “I know it’s gonna happen someday,” he told Hot Metal. “I’ve been there once, but I have a feeling I’m gonna go some day for a very long time.”

Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series, “Spooktober Edition” where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music from the 60’s to today. Weekdays At Noon EST. Enjoy the trip!

The Doors – “Not to Touch the Earth”

“We should see the gates by mornin’/ We should be inside the evenin’,” Jim Morrison croons, dizzying any listener into his spell. It doesn’t take much with this one. Off The Doors’ underrated third studio album, 1968’s Waiting for the Sun, “Not to Touch the Earth” is a technicolor hell in audio and a supernatural catastrophe that captures Morrison at his strongest and most deranged lyrically. Inspired by the writings of Scottish social anthropologist James Frazer, the song shifts in a multitude of directions, lamenting the dichotomy between heaven and hell with allusions to the occult and even ’60s politics. Terror aside, “Not to Touch the Earth” glues each member together in an assembly of strengths that really exude the warped psychedelic jazz rock The Doors would keep as their own forever. Love ’em, hate ’em, they were on another plane of existence.

Moment the Spine Tingles: Right out the gates, thanks to Krieger’s damning repetition, but here’s when the spine shatters: At 1:35, when Morrison warns: “Dead president’s corpse in the driver’s car/ The engine runs on glue and tar.” How angry, violent, and damning he sounds. I’ve always imagined Hell’s finest shuffling between this and “Sympathy for the Devil”.

Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series, “Spooktober Edition” where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music from the 60’s to today. Weekdays At Noon EST. Enjoy the trip!

Sonic Youth – “Death Valley ’69”

The strangely tuned clanging of Lee Ranaldo and Thurston Moore’s guitars sometimes qualified as eerie, but this Bad Moon Rising single is downright scary. Seemingly drawing inspiration from the Manson murders (he and his family lived out in California’s Death Valley, and their murder spree occurred in ’69), Moore moans out lines from the perspective of a man out in the desert, angrily compelled to “hit it” when a girl screams, blurring the lines of violence and sex. Add in some pained backing howls from guest vocalist Lydia Lunch and Kim Gordon’s propulsive bass, and you’ve got a dark ride through an isolated gulch under a burning sky.

Moment the Spine Tingles: When Lunch and Moore flat line the words “Deep in the valley/ In the trunk of an old car.”

Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series, “Spooktober Edition” where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music from the 60’s to today. Weekdays At Noon EST. Enjoy the trip!

The Beatles, “Run for Your Life”

Early Beatles set the standard for guitar-based pop rock for the following 50 years. But not everything was bubblegum like “I Want to Hold Your Hand” or “Love Me Do.” By 1965’s Rubber Soul, the Fab Four were incorporating different styles of voice in their songwriting. And the voice in “Run for Your Life” is that of a man who’ll kill his significant other if he finds she’s been with someone else. That unforgettable line — “I’d rather see you dead, little girl / Than to be with another man” — was lifted from Elvis Presley’s “Baby Let’s Play House.” But John Lennon took it and ran with it, adding atop The Beatles’ gleaming guitar jangle that he meant everything he said. “Baby, I’m determined / And I’d rather see you dead.” Now that’s creepy. For all the peace and love Lennon was about, maybe he wouldn’t have been so down with smashing the patriarchy.

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