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.

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