The Ron Kane Files

Writing About Music

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


10-31-07 Halloween

For years, I have always tried to write about “Scary Music” on Halloween. Let’s invoke the names of Arch Oboler – “Drop Dead! – An Exercise in Horror” (on Capitol); Nat Freedland “The Occult Explosion” (on United Artists – a double album!); Mort Garson’s masterful “Black Mass Lucifer” (on Uni, re-issued on MCA); let’s not forget the harrowing performance by John Cale on “Leaving It All Up To You” (as found on some copies of the “Helen of Troy” album); Long Tall Ernie & The Shakers “Meet The Monsters” (some lovely Dutch kitsch – famous for being mentioned by Gruppo Sportivo – “Hey, isn’t that Ernie? Long Tall Ernie?”); 45 Grave were always pretty ‘scary’ (on purpose); Screaming Lord Sutch!

In a way, when it’s “Horror-on-purpose”, it immediately takes away some of the possible / probable ‘fear factor’, comparable with putting a scary cover on a comic book – oh, you know in advance that this is going to be scary, so you can ‘prepare’. But how could you prepare for the deathless croak of William S. Burroughs on his debut ESP label album “Call Me Burroughs”? (thankfully it has been re-issued on CD by Rhino Records). Towers Open Fire!

There’s a lot of music that sounds scary – intentional or otherwise. Let’s face it – the singers on “Kohntarkosz” by Magma definitely sound possessed. For ages, I was a huge fan of Magma – pretty much all the way up to “Attahk”. In the pre-internet world, it was pretty difficult to find other people with whom you could discuss Magma’s music. Now, those people are only a click or two away. Scary!

It could be argued that Hector Zazou’s “La Perversita” is scary – it certainly sounds like nothing on Earth. Where’s the CD of that?

So, do any records / CD’s particularly spell “Halloween” to you? Do you ever allow yourself to be frightened by music? Is Halloween about being frightened? Or is it really about pumpkin cupcakes, black / yellow / orange tablecloths, black cats, costumes, trick-or-treat et al?

CD Clubs – scary! Downloading – scary! Viruses – scary! Advertising – scary! Too much sugar – scary! Copy-guarded CD’s & DVD’s = scary! The amount of records in the other room – scary!

Before I was old enough to really understand the problem, I used to be afraid that my LP’s would fall on me while I was sleeping, instantly crushing me. Now that I have enough LP’s that I could be crushed by them, they’re in the other room, in a steel rack that is bolted to the wall. I really wouldn’t like to clean up the mess if the bookshelves that are filled with CD’s in my bedroom came crashing down in the middle of the night – probably due to an earthquake.

Happy Halloween!


Anonymous Jim Donato said...

Re: Scary.

Once my wife and her sister, who was visiting, went to a dive bar in the rural outskirts of Central Florida to see the Ravens, a nice-guy pop band. What the hell were they doing there, I have no clue.

The clientele at this establishment were pretty scary! One gent, in particular, was taken with my [married] sister-in-law. His idea of an unbeatable intro/pickup line was "I'm REAAAAL GOOD at sex!" DAMN scary!

And this bar served some likker thingamabob which they called "Scarry Cherries!" So we use the variant "Scarry" when things are really bad off! Come to think of it, Scarry Cherries probably involved Maraschino Cherries - also very "scarry" in an of themselves!

8:36 AM  
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8:57 PM  

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