Audio

The Monster Mash

TRACK #171:

The Monster Mash by The Krypt-Keeper 5

Born from the same scuzzy streets, Foodland chipped ham and shitty, 3-story apartment building in “downtown” Monessen, Pennsylvania that also gave birth to Halloween Shindig, The Krypt-Keeper 5 and this playlist go together like apples and caramel.

A band of bored effects students joined forces in the winter of 2005  to cut a Christmas album. Deck My Balls: Seasons Beatings from The Krypt-Keeper 5 was a substantial, 28-track package of punk covers, originals, re-workings and Christmas classics.

Featuring the vocal stylings and ivory work of a man you may be familiar with; sculptor, mask-dork, punch-technician and friend of The Shindig, Mikey Rotella.

Rhythming it up behind him were bassist and 4th Keeper Chuck Hendershot (aka Klaus Satan Von Chudberg), Timmy “Tiny Timminy Grinch” Estes slinging a six-string, and Todd Russell Parker McCulloch filling in with drum fills, guitar licks and just about anything else required.

They even played a couple of shows which, for any of the poor souls trapped in the Monongahela Valley, was probably the freshest air they’d ever breathed. Unfortunately, The Shindig never got to see them perform live, as it had moved on to the good life out in California’s beautiful San Fernando Valley by 2005. However, we can all pretend like we were there thanks to the miracle of modern video.

Yeah, that’s great an all, but the last time I checked this was Halloween Shindig. Why the fuck are we sitting here, 3 days before Halloween, talking about a goddamn Christmas album?

Well, that’s because buried deep within this seasonal offering is another kind of festive shanty, and it’s the 5’s take on a Halloween Classic, The Monster Mash.

And when Monessen’s own sons, The Krypt-Keeper 5, take on All-Star Boris Pickett’s seminal Halloween hit, there’s nothing but room for them on Halloween Shindig.

So, c’mon Weeners! Join Dracula, his son….and the wolfmaaan! It’s a graveyard smash.

 

Audio

It’s Halloween

TRACK #170:

It’s Halloween by The Shaggs

Supposedly Frank Zappa once called The Shaggs “better than the Beatles.”

Kurt Cobain cited their sole album, Philosophy of the World, as his 5th favorite album of all time.

So they’ve got that going for them.

That same album has also been called “the worst album ever recorded,” and “hauntingly bad.”

Wherever the truth lies for you will somewhat depend upon your temperament, as with most things of this nature. Say what you will however, The Shaggs, with only 1 album to their credit, managed to record a song about Halloween and we all know what that means as far as The Shindig is concerned. Pick em up!

More bizarre than the song itself perhaps is how The Shaggs came to be.

Hailing from New Hampshire, The Wiggin sisters were forced together with instruments by their obsessive father Austin. Seems their grandmother had a prophetic vision that one day her son would sire girls who would form a famous band.

That was good enough for old Pops Wiggin, who set about providing training and putting secondhand instuments into the hands of his less than willing daughters. The results were, well…

Legendary singer, songwriter and music critic Cub Koda probably sums it up most accurately:

“There’s an innocence to these songs and their performances that’s both charming and unsettling. Hacked-at drumbeats, whacked-around chords, songs that seem to have little or no meter to them … being played on out-of-tune, pawn-shop-quality guitars all converge, creating dissonance and beauty, chaos and tranquility, causing any listener coming to this music to rearrange any pre-existing notions about the relationships between talent, originality, and ability. There is no album you might own that sounds remotely like this one.”

However, this one from Rolling Stone’s Debra Rae Cohen is pretty spot the fuck on as well:

“The Shaggs warble earnest greeting-card lyrics in happy, hapless quasi-unison along ostensible lines of melody while strumming their tinny guitars like someone worrying a zipper. The drummer pounds gamely to the call of a different muse, as if she had to guess which song they were playing – and missed every time.”

Just one go-round of this tune and every one of these descriptions will all become clear.

As typically is my nature, I’m mostly moderate on the matter. The Shaggs produce not the worst music I’ve ever heard but it’s more than just a little difficult to sit through. I wouldn’t say their better than The Beatles, as Zappa suggests, but I do think they’re more interesting. And despite Kurt’s empathic inclusion, I won’t be putting Philosophy of the World on any top five albums list.

What I will be doing however, is including It’s Halloween on The Shindig, because c’mon, how could you not?

“It’s time for games, it’s time for fun. Not for just one, but for everyone!”

 

Audio

Samhain

TRACK #169:

Samhain by Samhain

Samhain, as many of you may know is pronounced Sah-win, or Sow-Ween. A Celtic word, it was the name of a festival marking the beginning of winner, or perhaps more astutely, the end of the year.

It is said that during this time the barrier between the living and the dead is at it most thin, making communion with the spirits, whether wanted or unwanted, all the more successful.

Huge bonfires would be lit to ward off evil. Disguises would be worn to trick them, and lights would burn in gourds to ferry the spirits of loved ones long gone home.

Many of the customs associated with modern day Halloween originate from this festival. Mumming or guising and going door to door in search of offerings being chief among them.

As for Samhain the band, they were formed in 1983 by Glenn Danzig as a side project to The Misfits. Once The Misfits disbanded though, Danzig focused all his attention toward Samhain. They would eventually evolve into the band known simply as Danzig, adopting both their logo and font, while taking their sound into more metal-like territory.

Heavier and darker than the comparatively cartoonish tone of The Misfits, Samhain is perhaps the least celebrated of Glenn’s outfits. But Danzig being Danzig, they offer up a song perfectly suited to our Shindig; the band anthem Samhain.

At the time of this writing, it is less than a week away from Halloween and it is currently 102 degrees in Los Angeles. There are 3 fires currently burning across various parts of the county.

Feel the warmth of the Samhain flame.

 

Audio

Prince of Darkness

TRACK #168:

Prince of Darkness by Alice Cooper

In 1987, after struggling to work within the studio system and the unfortunate box-office performance of Big Trouble in Little China, John Carpenter decided to go rogue once again.

And rogue indeed, producing a straight-faced and strange (maybe even ahead of it’s time) film that I can’t imagine any major studio green-lighting.

What emerged was an atmospheric, dread-drenched affair of Science converging with Religion to prove the existence of God.

Or perhaps more appropriately, the existence of Satan.

Sub-atomic. Moving within the atoms of things, where logic need not apply. Liquid evil. A green, putrid substance filled with all the abominations of the earth.


It was captured and sealed up long ago. A race of Humanoid Aliens, of which Jesus was a member, kept watch. But the truth was hidden. Wrapped in metaphor and buried under ritual.

Now, in light of our faithlessness, it has awoken, and it wants control.

I like Prince of Darkness. It’s a little talkie, sure, and maybe a tad slow, but I don’t mind. I could listen to Egg Shen spout off about theoretical physics all night. Donald Pleasence is solid, even if he feels like he’s just plugged in from The Devil’s Men, and A.J. Simon is only distracting if you actually used to watch Simon and Simon, which you probably didn’t. The supporting players do a fine in their respective roles, including Carpenter regulars like Victor Wong, Peter Jason and Dennis Dun.

And, once the scientists start getting slowly absorbed by the evil and the hobos begin to gather, John turns on the gas a bit.

Speaking of the street people, Alice Cooper jumps in to play the pale-faced, beanie-rockin, head-hobo. He even kills a dude with a rusty, old bike. A dude who happens to be listening to this very song on his Walkman….meta.

Seems this bike was Alice’s own personal prop too, as he used to do this gag live during his stage show. Now thats pretty bitchin’.

Here’s reigning All-Star Alice Cooper rockin’ again with Prince of Darkness.

 

Audio

Dead By Dawn

TRACK 167:

Dead By Dawn by Deicide

How does one follow up The Ultimate Experience in Grueling Horror?

Well, if you’re Sam Raimi, you revisit the same basic concept and style, crank that shit the fuck up and call it “The Sequel to the Ultimate Experience in Grueling Horror.”

Fair enough.

You also create one of my favorite horror experiences of all time.

So, how does one follow up The Ultimate Experience in Grueling Metal?

Well, if you’re Halloween Shindig, you take a page outta Sam Raimi’s book (of the dead), use another death metal song, this time about Evil Dead 2, follow the same basic concept and style, and crank that shit the fuck up!

And with that spirit firmly in mind, Halloween Shindig presents Deicide’s Dead By Dawn, or The Sequel to the Ultimate Experience in Grueling Metal!

Enjoy!

Audio

Trick or Treat

TRACK #166:

Trick or Treat by Acid Witch

Acid Witch rules.

Just look at that album cover. That shit is awesome. That’s one of the coolest album covers I’ve seen in a long time. I know they say you shouldn’t judge stuff by it’s cover and what have you, but c’mon, look at that fucking thing. There’s no way the band hiding behind this cover doesn’t rule.

And they do.

Sludgy, doomy and packed front to back with Halloween imagery, Acid Witch delivers the goods. Hailing from Detroit, it seems they’ve taken up the mantle from Motorcity’s own Halloween and dubbed their music “Halloween Metal.” Goddamn right.

As such, they’ve got plenty of Halloween fodder for the Shindig, and like their local brethren, are first ballot Shindig All-Stars.

They even cut an EP last year called “Midnight Movie” featuring covers of songs already included on the playlist, with samples and everything. It’s like they covered the Shindig! It’s insane. I love these dudes.

First up from Acid WitchTrick or Treat. Chuggier than shit and more unsettling than that, it’s written from the perspective of a true predator on Halloween, lurking in the guise of a mild mannered neighbor.

With his thicked-rimmed glasses, trimmed mustache and white cargo van, he relishes in the opportunity Halloween provides to snatch up children to feed his cannibalistic desires. His is the house you stay away from on Halloween, and every neighborhood has someone like him.

Creepy.

Sampled up with clips from the Tales From the Darkside pilot Trick or Treats, featuring a different kind of Halloween predator, Mr. Hackle.

Banker and land baron to a small farming community, he has the whole of the town indebted to him through IOUs. Every Halloween he allows the children a chance to enter his haunted abode and search for the IOUs to clear their parent’s debt. There, they find he has a few tricks up his sleeve for them. But this year, the spirits of Halloween have a few tricks in store for him.

Featured within is one of the scariest witches to ever grace the screen, who’s cackle and entreaties for treats are the stuff of nightmares.

What better combo for Acid Witch and their All Hallo’s horror.

Trick or treeeeaaaat.

 

Audio

Trick or Treat

TRACK #165: 

Trick or Treat by Halloween

A band named Halloween wouldn’t be worth their weight in candy corn if they weren’t coming correct with a song called Trick or Treat.

Thankfully, Detroit’s Heavy Metal Horror Show doesn’t disappoint. From Halloween’s 1985 debut album Don’t Metal with Evil comes Trick or Treat, just like it says on the tin.

Bookended by random clips from both Hack-O-Lantern and Halloween 2.

So, in case you’re feeling like you’ve been trick or Treated to death these last few nights, Dr. Loomis is gonna let you know…

You don’t know what death is!

 

Audio

Trick or Treat

TRACK #164:

Trick or Treat by Witchfynde

Witchfynde eh? What’s their deal?

Another British band singing about Halloween? What gives, Ed? You said the Brits don’t give a toss for All Hallo’s.

Well, I don’t get the impression that they do. I’ve never claimed to be the authority on any matter, not even Halloween Horror Music, and I’ve written far too many words concerning that subject.

Whether that impression is true or not is neither here nor there when it comes to this ‘digger, because it’s a clear case of a band disguising a song as a Halloween song.

Witchfynde’s Trick or Treat details the dealings of a two-faced sort of character that has much but always wants more. Eventually, not being able to satiate his desires, he takes to B&E, a bit of murder, and gets himself tossed in the clink. Not exactly a love song, but definitely not specifically about Halloween.

Still, it’s a pretty groovin’ tune from a weird, occulty band called Witchfynde where the lyrics “Trick or Treat” get repeated a number of times, so we’re lightin’ it up.

Throw in a little festive atmosphere from the Tales From the Darkside episode entitled Halloween Candy, and you’ve got yourself a perfect number for an Oct. 20th’s evenings.

 

Audio

Trick or Treat

TRACK #163: 

Trick or Treat by Otis Redding

Similar to Chuck’s tune, Otis Redding’s Trick or Treat isn’t necessarily about Halloween either. It is more related though, if only because Otis actually uses the word “Halloween.” That’s a bonus.

Despite his utilization of the name, he mostly seems concerned that this floozy is playing games with his emotions. First she’s hot on him, then maybe she gets a little chilly.

Either way, Otis just wants to know what the score is, cause he ain’t about to wait until Halloween to find out he ain’t gettin’ a Treat, which I can only assume is some sort of sexual favor.

What does any of this even have to do with Halloween? Nothing really, I suppose. Then why use Halloween at all? It’s a good question. He gets to incorporate the phrase trick or treat, but I don’t see that as a huge selling point from a song writing perspective.

Here, it implies that it’s a treat if the girl loves him, and a trick is she only likes him. That’s pretty odd though, to consider being “liked” a trick. I get what Otis is saying, but it does seem a little strange to perceive the state of being “liked” as mere trickery.

I’d rather be liked than disliked, or straight up hated on, but hey, that’s just me.

At any rate here’s another Trick or Treat song with dubious usage of Halloween, albeit from one of the greats, Mr. Otis Redding.

 

Audio

Trick or Treat


TRACK #162:

Trick or Treat by Chuck Berry

So, Chuck Berry pretty much invented Rock ‘N Roll, right? Well, at least how we might conceptualize it now anyway? That rhythm and blues styled, riff-based, axe-out-front, backbeat driven, power-stance Rock ‘N Roll? The kind that soothes Bob Seger’s soul? Yeah, I think that’s pretty widely agreed upon.

You know what else Chuck Berry did? He wrote a song about Halloween.

Well, kinda.

See, this tune makes no real overt reference to the holiday itself or its traditions. It is, however, called Trick or Treat and that phrase is repeated quite a number of times.

So, when the true King of Rock ‘N Roll straps one on and starts wailing “Trick or Treat, Baby,” The Shindig isn’t about to split hairs.

You know that new Halloween sound you been looking for? Well, listen to this!