by Tom Hallett
Boo! It’s that time of year again, kiddies. That’s right—the time of year when people don masks and fancy outfits, run around acting like idiots for a whole evening, stay up ‘til dawn partying with people they don’t know, and generally make total asses of themselves. What’s that you say? Happy Halloween? Oh, yeah. It is almost All Hallow’s Eve, isn’t it? I was talking about Election Day, but I guess my description works equally well for both October 31st and November 2nd, huh?
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “The Creature from the Black Lagoon is ...
the coolest monster that ever lived. I mean it. I want you to get a look at
him when he comes crawling up from the Black Lagoon. There’s almost something
handsome about this monster.”
— Alice Cooper
SONGS OF THE WEEK: “Dark Entries” — Bauhaus
“Super Tuesday” — Vic Chesnutt
Which is all just my lame-brained way of saying Happy Halloween, and for cryin’
out loud, don’t forget to vote!! In celebration of both events (and in
hopes that we don’t all receive more tricks than treats at each), Round
The Dial will attempt to fairly divide this week’s spotlight (hence the
rare appearance of two “Songs Of The Week” this time out) between
ye olde spooky Halloween nonsense and the coming election. Which one is scarier?
I think we all know the answer to that one—and if not, I refer you to
the grainy security camera footage of a recent rash of store and bank robberies
perpetrated by rogues in “W” masks—there’s nothing more
terrifying than the horrors of reality. Leave it to the criminal element to
make that point, eh?
now, for our Halloween segment, Round The Dial presents ... The Annual Halloween
Party Mix CD Suggestions List!! Here, we’ll offer up a steamy helping
of horror-iffic, scarifyin’ tune-age guaranteed to get even the most stuffy,
traditional Halloween party off the ground and orbiting the ghoul-infested night.
So get out yer burner and a couple of blanks, and get ready to ...
ROCK THE PUMPKIN HEAD OFFA YER SCARECROW:
(A Round The Dial Halloween Party CD Mix)
The Wonderful World Of Disney’s House Of Haunted Horrors Album/Lou
Reed’s Metal Machine Music: There just isn’t a scarier musical
combo anywhere in this universe. Lay MMM down as a bedrock, then bring up the
sound on the Disney album intermittently. You’ll find that no matter how
you stagger the LP, it always comes up with a scream, a cat’s shriek,
or a wolf’s howl that perfectly matches Lou’s album. How does he
do that? Brrr!!
“Aunty Christy/Harlow” by White Witch: Still think metal gods Iron
Maiden were the first hard rockers to come up with the idea of spouting scary
quotes from the Book Of Revelations over screeching guitars? Check out this
otherworldly freak rock, available on WW’s 1973 album, A Spiritual
Greeting. Woe to you, oh earth....Mwah, ha! Ha! Ha! Haaa!
“I Don’t Want To Go Down To The Basement” by The Ramones:
These legendary New York punk godfathers were always into horror pictures and
the like (Johnny, especially, was an avid collector of monster movie memorabilia),
so it’s no surprise that they laid down some genuinely terrifying tracks
in their day. It’d be easy to pick their theme song to the film version
of Stephen King’s “Pet Semetary,” but this classic cut totally
encapsulates the true essence of terror by never revealing what it is down in
that basement. Hmm ... what was Dick Cheney doing around 1975? Oh, yeah! Silly
me! He was worming his way into the White House via the Nixon administration!!
Tricky Dick. Now THOSE were cool Halloween masks. At least you knew what to
“Bloodletting (The Vampire Song)” by Concrete Blonde: I’d
pick the extended version of this one, from the rarities collection Still
In Hollywood. It’s got spooky sound effects at both the beginning
and the end of the song, which is about a reluctant vampire haunting the streets
of New Orleans. If you’re like me, you’re wondering why the producers
of the film adaptation of Anne Rice’s “Interview With The Vampire”
didn’t use this cut on the movie soundtrack. Jesus, just listen to it:
“I’ve got the ways and means/In New Orleans/I’m goin’
down by the river where it’s warm and green/I’m gonna have a drink/And
walk around/I got a lot to think about, oh yeah ...” The music fades,
and the air is filled with lusty groans, horrified shrieks, and madcap laughs
as the ravenous Undead feed on their victim, perfectly capturing the pain and
self-loathing the song’s character is feeling. Almost the perfect Halloween
The Son Of Dracula Soundtrack by Harry Nilsson & Friends: When you’re
tired of playing host and you just want to chillax, have a stiff one (and there’s
lots of those around this here graveyard, children ... heh heh heh), and enjoy
your own party, just throw this little nugget on. An oddball conflagration of
Nilsson tunes, Ringo Starr cameos, Badfinger’s original version of “Without
You” (was Harry—who took his version of the song to #1—feeling
guilty that the band were getting the royal fudge packing from Apple Records,
which was owned by his Beatles pals?), and loads of hilarious dialogue from
the ‘70s cult film, there’s literally something for everybody on
this one. Not to mention the fact that just about everybody (except Ringo, of
course) who starred in the film has been DEAD for years, making this package
all the more a timely, spine-tingling treat. Just don’t forget to stash
the album in a cool, dark place right before dawn—I’ve seen copies
of this one literally turn to dust the moment sunlight hit ‘em ...
OK, that should be a good start for ya—now that I’ve fired up your
imaginations (and surely irritated more than a few of you by not including your
favorite Halloween tracks), go forth and make your own mixes, children of the
night. May you all have a safe, happy, and fun Halloween Holiday. And remember—check
all your candy and apples for any funny-looking little pills and medicine. If
you find any, send them to Tommy at the ‘Dial, and I’ll handle things
from there. In the meantime, we’ll wrap up the Halloween portion of this
week’s column with a review of a rare DVD from legendary, super-scary
mongo rockers The Cramps ...
Live At Napa State Mental Hospital
(Target Video, 2004)
country/folk legend Johnny Cash’s cue, psycho-billy rock ‘n’
rollers The Cramps go one step farther; Instead of performing live at a state
prison for a gaggle of convicted murderers, rapists, and thieves, Lux Interior,
Poison Ivy, and a crew of pals bust their way INTO the Napa State Mental Hospital
and proceed to tear shit up for a depressed hospital ward full of certified
lunatics. How they talked their way into it (takes one to know one, I know),
or who gave permission for such an event, is a mystery to this day, but one
fact remains—this band is CRAZY!!
I mean that in the best possible sense, of course. Although a show like this
may rank very high on the stereotypical Nurse Ratchet’s list of possible
worst case scenarios, it seemed to me from this footage that the audience/patients
exposed to this rollicking, shaking, shimmying rock ‘n’ roll boogaloo
are surely better off for having experienced it. This short gig was filmed in
black and white by one of the first home-model video cameras on the market,
which makes it all the more visceral and engaging to view. Lux whirls, swirls,
dances, jumps, pounces, prowls, and generally rules the tiny stage the band
are set up on, inspiring the pajama-sporting patients to do the same.
Dozens of times during the set, he allows several patients to grab the mic from
his hand and howl out their own personal messages over screeching guitars, throbbing
bass, and pounding, tribal drums. These traumatized, would-be titans of rock
may not know the songs themselves (and this gig contains some tasty Cramps classics,
including “Mystery Plane,” “Way I Walk,” “What’s
Behind The Mask,” “Human Fly,” “Domino,” “Love
Me,” “TV Set,” and a cover of “Twist And Shout.”),
but they sure are in touch with the core of the music. As they stagger, shuffle,
and generally mill about, the music relentlessly stabbing through their Thorazine-soaked
brains, you can see them physically change from uncaring, uncomprehending zombies
into a lively, participating, happy audience. In fact, I’d go so far as
to say that they were better behaved, more attentive to the music, and more
respectful (OK, so the possessed-looking woman who kept trying to take the mic
from Lux even after he’d let her howl a few times was pretty scary, but
no scarier than the band itself) than a lot of local club goers.
Bottom line is, in June of 1978 The Cramps brought their music back home to
roost—in the feverish, wildly imaginative minds of the legally insane,
where it most certainly belongs. Watching the band interact with the patients
right up to the last note, it really does get harder and harder to tell which
are the artists and which are the audience. Talk about letting the patients
run the asylum—I’m betting it was a long, long time before the staff
at Napa were able to quell the fiery musical rebellion inspired in their wards
by this show. Bravo to the band—who are still touring, rocking and partying
their asses off today—for breaking down the barriers and bringing some
decent tunes to people who genuinely needed and loved it. Great stuff for Halloween
or anytime of the year you just want a big kick in the ass- highly recommended.
And now on to the Elections segment of this week’s ‘Dial. I thought
about different ways I could possibly arouse interest in and perhaps spur some
action from some last minute voting shirkers this year—you know who you
are—but I quickly realized that, with only a few days left until Super
Tuesday, I’d best hand the job over to someone who’s put a lot more
time and thought into the situation. With that in mind, check this out ...
Death Of A Nation
(A-F Records, 2004)
rock—at least once it was swallowed whole and spit back out at America
by a generation of disaffected English youth—has always had a political
edge to it. The Ramones kicked it off, The Clash, The Sex Pistols, The Dead
Kennedys, The Minutemen, and others carried the torch—we all know the
big names from the past. Today’s punkers aren’t much different in
that respect—many of the newer acts are very active in Rock The Vote campaigns,
etc.—and many of the issues are the same. Punk started out as a voice
for the outcasts, the dregs of society, the medium of choice for the underbelly
of a gutted political and social system, and thanks to bands like Anti-Flag,
that tradition is still going strong.
This DVD, a collection of tunes captured live on the band’s recent North
American tour, does a lot for the cause. Featuring a glut of AF faves, including
rave-ups like, “You Can Kill The Protester, But You Can’t Kill The
Protest,” “This Machine Kills Fascists,” “Power To The
Peaceful,” “Die For The Government,” and “Fuck The Flag,”
the package delivers on both fronts; All-out punk rock thrash and folk-y, anti-fascist
rabble rousing. Watching the band switch from over-the-top, wall-of-sound assaults
to quiet, intimate acoustic affairs, one gets a sense of how talented—and
solidly behind their beliefs—this outfit really is.
Extras include rare, unreleased video featuring footage of Woody Guthrie, behind-the-scenes
specials and tour footage, interviews, live radio shows, and a whole “Propaganda”
section that gives viewers helpful tips on how to get involved in various causes
and movements, voting information and activism info. This package may not change
anybody’s minds about which side they’re on, or who they’re
voting for, but if it’s in the right hands (or ears) it just might make
all the difference to someone who’s not sure yet if their vote is worth
the hassle. It is. If that’s you—or you know someone like that—buy
‘em this DVD. Don’t let us wake up on November 3rd to find that
Part Two of this 21st Century Orwellian nightmare has become a cold, hard reality.
VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE!
We’ll wrap up this edition of RTD with a peek at some recommended local
gigs and events coming up in the next few days. Once again, I remind you—enjoy
your Holiday, save the good stuff for me, give as many treats as you want back,
expect as many tricks back as you give, never fool with Mother Nature, and last,
but certainly not least, one more time—VOTE!!
Recommended Local Gigs
miss local rock heroes Ol’ Yeller tonight, Oct. 27, at The Triple Rock
Social Club in Minneapolis. The band, who recently underwent a bit of a line-up
change—ex-Beatifics axeman Andy Schultz and erstwhile Glenrustles bassist
Greg MacAloon have joined up, while ol’ Dale “Thunder Thumbs”
Kallman has moved on to other projects—are promoting their latest CD,
Sounder, this time out. The album is, hands-down, singer/songwriter Rich
Mattson’s most inspired slab of down-home, heartfelt, back porch rock
‘n’ roll to date, and with this new line-up, might almost be overwhelming
to experience live. That’s a good thing. Don’t miss this one. With
Two Cow Garage and Lil Cap N’ Travis. 9 p.m. TBA. 21+. 629 Cedar Ave.
S., Mpls. 612-333-7399.
The Drive-By Truckers at The Electric Fetus, tonight, Oct. 27, at The Electric
Fetus in Minneapolis. Man, you’d have to be plumb loco to miss an intimate
performance from this gang of Southern boys, led by singer/songwriter Patterson
Hood. Though their massive double album, Southern Rock Opera, probably
better encompasses the Neil-Young-Meets-Ronnie-Van-Zandt (which he really did,
and the two got along famously)ethos of the ‘Truckers, my fave is still
the live reading of “Eighteen Wheels Of Love” they’re famous
for. “It was my mama’s birthday...” hollers Hood over skronky
guitars, “and I didn’t have no money or nothin’, so I went
and I wrote her this song. It’s called Eighteen Wheels of Love, and every
Goddamn word of it’s true...” Hallelujah, brother! Highly recommended.
6 p.m., Free, all-ages. 2000 4th Ave. So., Mpls. (612) 870-9300.
2nd Annual Triple Rock Halloween Party, Sunday, Oct. 31st, at The Triple Rock
in Minneapolis. Sure it’ll be crowded as hell, you won’t really
hook up with that girl/guy you’ve had a crush on for the last six months,
and you’ll probably end up at some weird house party in Blaine with a
folk band in the basement and a full keg of beer with a broken tapper, but hey,
it’s still “The Place” to be tonight. Plus the bands are “dressing
up” musically like their fave acts, so everyone really will be involved.
Just close your eyes (with that silly mask on, nobody will be the wiser), pour
some liquid salvation down your throat, and enjoy the dulcet strains of acts
like The Cardinal Sin (As The Replacements), Small Towns Burn A Little Slower
(As The Cure), Shit Sandwich (As Spinal Tap- YES!!), and Pistol Pete & His
Gang Of Rockers (As The Mummies). There’ll be time for regrets when the
sun rises, my little sunflower. What’s that? You’re supposed to
be a deadly Venus Fly Trap? Sorry, it must’ve been that smile you got
when I mentioned Spinal Tap that threw me off. Yes, you’re very scary...
9 p.m. $7 ($6 w/costume). 21+. 629 Cedar Ave. S., Mpls. 612-333-7399.
Homegrown Turns 8! Fri., Oct. 29 and Sat., Oct. 30, at The Hexagon Bar and The
Cabooze in Minneapolis. That’s right, your favorite gang of hot rockin’,
harvest-happy radio outlaws has been around for nearly a decade, folks. It’s
hard to believe that Mei Young (Hi, Mei—big ups!!), Dave Campbell, Jody
Fox and the gang have been plugging away promoting local music during the world’s
worst time slot (Sundays at 12 a.m. on KQRS 92 FM) for longer than some of their
favorite bands have been out of high school. But that’s what’s so
cool about HG—it’s fresh, hot and served up with a smile just for
you and your goofy music-lovin’ pals every week and it’s always
a blast. Come out and give a little of that energy back at one or both of these
fun-filled bashes. Friday’s gig at The Hexagon features Bridge Club, Ouija
Radio, Raven, and more doing a tribute to Detroit, Rock City. No cover, $1.92
taps, and appearances from one or more of the gang are assured. Saturday’s
hullaballoo at The Cabooze brings things to a head, with HG faves The Big Wu
takin’ over the joint. God Johnson (great name- Angry Man to God Johnson:
“Just who do you think you are, anyway- GOD?!” GJ to AM: “Why,
yes. Yes I do.”) opens. 917 Cedar Avenue, Mpls. (612) 338-6425.
That’s all for this week, ghouls and bores ... it’s back into the
coffin for me. Tune in again, same time, same place, for more of that old ‘Dial
magic. Until the sun turns us to dust—make yer own damn scary news. ||
If you have local music news, gigs, CDs you’d like
to see mentioned in this column, or you’d just like to complain that,
like everything else about the current administration, your G.W. Halloween mask
has serious design flaws, send replies to: (temporary e-mail) email@example.com.