Saturday, November 21, 2009

Rock and Roll Riot haunts the Cameron House

The October date for my monthly DJ night at The Cameron House, Rock and Roll Riot, just happened to fall on Halloween this year. This gave me extra incentive to dig into my collection for Halloween-themed songs, and believe me, I’ve got no shortage of those! Looking over my selections of spooky tunes for the evening, I noticed that there were lots of songs from the ‘50s through to the ‘90s (and beyond), each decade having its own particular flavour of ghoulish offerings.

Horror songs in the pop/rock world from the ‘50s and ‘60s tend to be novelty hits along the lines of Bobby “Boris” Pickett’s immortal “Monster Mash”, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins“Little Demon”, and Link Wray’s “Jack The Ripper”, fun party songs with a sense of menace and monsters lurking in them. There is also a big monster element in garage rock, from its heyday in the ‘60s to the present, as well as in surf music. The crazy fun of schlocky b-movie horror and freaky monsters has been well absorbed into the fabric of garage and surf (along with references outer space and aliens), even to the point of revival bands adopting identities such as The Gruesomes, The Phantom Surfers and The Mummies. This garage punk obsession with pop culture's cheap thrills and low-brow art would definitely be an influence on the next generation, and The Ramones and The Cramps, among others, would take it to a new level.

By the ‘70s, creepy themes initiated by ‘50s rockers and ‘60s garage/psych/surf bands were embraced by punk rock groups, who latched on to the horrific, and the outsider quality of monsters to add to their shock content (not to mention the strain of horror rock and heavy metal emerging in the late ‘60s and being championed by Alice Cooper, Kiss, Black Sabbath and others on a more mainstream level). The Damned, The Ramones, The Stranglers, New York Dolls and their peers all wrote material that seemed to jump out of the pages of EC Comics. Most notorious of all were The Cramps, who lurched out of the grave telling tales of Cavemen, Human Flies, Goo Goo Mucks, and all sorts of unfathomable night creatures with insatiable libidos (Creature From the Black Leather Lagoon, anyone??). The influence of The Cramps alone is hard to understate, and it is still being felt today, even after the premature death of frontman Lux Interior. Their love of all things strange and groovy has resulted in much obscure music from the early years of rock and roll being preserved and reissued, and many eccentric artists from the past being rediscovered. They have also spawned countless imitators (and were a big inspiration behind psychobilly), and led a successful career as outsiders for more than three decades.

From there, we move into the post-punk bands, the psychobilly groups, and the early new wave artists, whose material was similarly laced with fantastic content and larger-than-life characters, often taken right from the movies or fiction, largely dystopian in theme. The ‘80s was populated by bands such as Bauhaus, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Alien Sex Fiend, and The Meteors, with the goths and psychobillies keeping horror front and centre in their music, perhaps with a more explicitly shocking approach. Industrial outfits like Skinny Puppy and Cabaret Voltaire delved even deeper into the dark side, but that’s another nightmare… Meanwhile, here is a selection of my playlist from Halloween night at The Cameron. It was fun, and the only night of the year I can get away with spinning “Frankenstein” by both the New York Dolls and Edgar Winter! As someone who grew up reading comic books and watching monster and horror films, I really dig being able to play all these great chilling and thrilling tracks every year. And there is alot of first rate scary Canadian music to draw from, so I made sure to include a healthy portion, everyone from Nash the Slash to Deja Voodoo, compulsory Halloween listening. Enjoy!

Halloween playlist from The Cameron House – Oct. 31st, 2009

Richard O’Brien (from The Rocky Horror Picture Show OST) “Science Fiction/Double Feature”
David Bowie “Diamond Dogs”
Jim Carroll “People Who Died”
Ramonetures “Johnny Hit and Run Paulene”
Talking Heads “Psycho Killer (live version from The Name of This Band Is Talking Heads)”
Wire “I Am The Fly”
Breeding Ground “Reunion”
David J “I Can’t Shake This Shadow of Fear”
The Fall “There’s A Ghost In My House”
Land Of Giants “Cannibal Dolls”
Death Among Friends “Warm Leatherette”
Alien Sex Fiend “I Walk The Line”
Bauhaus “Terror Couple Kill Colonel”
United State “Automaton”
Nash The Slash “Dead Man’s Curve”
Suicide “Ghost Rider”
Severed Heads “Dead Eyes Opened (Remix Three)”
The Walker Brothers “Nite Flights”
Japan “Halloween”
New York Dolls “Frankenstein”
The Birthday Party “Release The Bats”
Public Image Ltd. “Graveyard”
Dead Boys “Sonic Reducer”
Blue Mercury Coupe “Detroit City (On A Saturday Night)”
Chris Spedding “New York City”
Television “See No Evil”
Edgar Winter “Frankenstein”
Reverend Organdrum “Experiment In Terror”
Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet “Shake Some Evil”
Link Wray “The Shadow Knows”
The Swanks “Ghost Train”
The Von Drats “Church Key”
Round Robin “I’m The Wolfman”
The Rumblers “Boss”
Los Straitjackets “Jack The Ripper”
Ronnie Hawkins And The Hawks “Who Do You Love”
Elvis Presley “Fever”
Nouvelle Vague “Human Fly”
Tom Waits “Lucinda – Ain’t Goin’ Down (live)”
Screamin’ Jay Hawkins “I Put A Spell On You”
The Groupies “Primitive”
The Cramps “Goo Goo Muck”
Suckerpunch “Let’s Get Evil”
Dex Romweber Duo “Lonesome Train”
Southern Culture On The Skids “Zombified”
Christian D And The Hangovers “Vampire Lover”
Three Blue Teardrops “Go! She-Devil”
Frantic Flintstones “Shake The Undertaker”
The Sin-Tones “Knot Of Wood”
The Novas “The Crusher”
Tijuana Bibles “It’s Gamera!”
Carl Mann “Ubangi Stomp”
Billy Lee Riley “Flying Saucers Rock 'n' Roll”
House Of Knives “Death Museum”
Deja Voodoo “Bound For Glory”
Batfinks “She’s A Vampire”
The Quakes “Growing Up Evil”
Deadbolt “Hank Watson Stalks The Earth”
Wes Dakus And The Rebels “Creepy”
Ray Condo And His Hardrock Goners “The Sinister Urge”
Jerry Cole & His Spacemen “Night Drag”

United State, “Automaton” 45 single sleeve


darkmuse said...

Alice Cooper, KISS and BLACK SABBATH??? it must be really cool!! love all these heavy bands. great!!

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Anonymous said...

fucj eyah!! all my favorite ever band together!! it's absolutely must have for any real rocker!! cool

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