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October 31st

TRACK #209:

October 31st by Acid Witch

For 2018’s 3rd belated official-induction of a Shindig All-Star, direct from Motor-City, it’s Halloween Metallers Acid Witch. They’re coming correct with the calendar date on which this whole holiday has always taken place.

Posting this song on any other day seemed, well, it seemed pretty stupid. So, we’re kicking off a heavy metal Halloween double-header with this tune, sure to make your Halloween a little more rockin’.

We’ve led it in with a sample from Halloween 2, where Loomis explains the meaning of that strange word they just found graffitied on the school chalk board to Haddonfield’s finest.

Of course, Donald Pleasence pronounces “Samhain” phonetically, but we can forgive him that transgression because, as always, he just sells the fuck out of this dialogue.

Happy….October 31st.

 

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Born On Halloween

TRACK #200

Born on Halloween by V. Ice (feat. Violent J)

V. Ice, as the horror-core iteration of Robert Van Winkle (aka Vanilla Ice) refers to himself, was actually born on Halloween. October 31st 1967,  to be precise. That’s pretty awesome as far as The Shindig is concerned. What’s more? He cut a referential Halloween track about it.

Double bonus.

Depending on your perspective that is.

From The Shindig’s perspective, it’s an all around winner. First and foremost, its a Referential Halloween Monster Rap. That’s pretty special. Referential Halloween tracks are a rarity, and the few others that appear on this playlist are weakly included in either direction. Not V. Ice’s jam though. Born On Halloween a card-carrying referential Halloween Monster Rap.

This is not a good song though. I love it. At times it fills me with Halloween joy. At other times it makes me laugh. I rock out to it in my car. Genuinely. I don’t change it at red lights when cute girls or tough guys pull up next to me.

It’s on The Shindig, hands down, no question, but it can’t really be called good. I love a lot of things genuinely that are not objectively good. Go scrolling randomly through this playlist; the evidence to that fact is compelling. Many things about this song are not good.

Starting with it’s absolutely ridiculous chorus. Random weirdo’s chant “Born On Halloween” in a manner that sounds suspiciously like This Is Halloween from A Nightmare Before Christmas. Fitting then, 100 songs after posting that track, we’ve finally decided to post this one.

Add to that some of the weakest referential rhymes to hit The Shindig since The Maniac Cop Rap, and it’s hard to make a strong case for the quality of this song.

“Some call him Psycho
the Norman Bates of Hip-Hop.
The ladies call him Alfred
Cause they’re all over his Hitchcock”

Wow.

No one calls V. Ice that, full stop. I doubt anyone calls him V. Ice for that matter, but hey.

I’ll also set my watch and warrant that no woman anywhere has ever referred to Vanilla Ice as “Alfred” for the sole purpose of alluding to his cock.

There’s no fucking way that’s mathematically possible. The amount of cognition involved in devising such a reference, divided by the relevance and knowledge of Alfred Hitchcock to any ladies within shouting distance of Robert Van Winkle on any given night, produces a probability that could only be visible through a high powered telescope, so fucking insane is it.

The kicker is that this incredibly juvenile rhyme…doesn’t even rhyme!

All of the above would be completely forgivable (as with most ridiculous rap boastings) if the lyric was actually clever. This one is not. And I fucking love it for that.

Violent J (not in fact born on Halloween, as he [perhaps] suggests) shows up to add some much needed street cred to the whole affair. I’m sorry, what?

When a rapping Clown from the Posse Insane is noticeably stepping up your track’s game, something is fucking broke. J quite honestly puts V. Ice to shame on this song with better rhymes, better rhythm and a tone becoming of the subject matter. It’s a breath of fresh air when J steps up to the mic. And that’s not a joke, either. That’s my sincere assessment.

The weirdos will intermittently spout off  “With my mask I trick or treat, spooks and freaks all over your street” and “born on Halloween” to everyone’s delight, giving the song it’s air of Halloween spirit.

My research suggests that most listeners will find that all of this nonsense adds up to about 4 minutes of Halloween torture they’d rather have no part of. Can’t blame them for that. The more masochistic audiophiles however or any undercover Juggalos in your crowd might actually enjoy this business. Can’t blame them either, except maybe the undercover Juggalos, for well, being a fucking Juggalos.

I’ve been hard here on V.Ice here, as has the world as a whole for the last 25 years or so. Most of that is completely reasonable considering the seemingly disingenuous output of Robert’s career.

But seriously V.Ice, if you’ve somehow miraculously stumbled across this blog and are reading this, The Shindig loves this song, both genuinely and ironically, all at the same time. It loves that it exists and hoists it proudly amongst the ranks of Halloween rockdom. We wouldn’t change a thing about it. Your references, as weakly constructed as they are, jam-pack the front end of this track and the Halloween quotient is undeniable, right down to the cribbing of Danny Elfman and the good people of Halloweentown.

Please accept my apologies if this I have made you feel, through any of the above criticism, that I am anything less than a fan of this track. There’s a lot of Halloween music I hate (a few ICP songs that come to mind here) that I roundly refuse to include on this playlist. Born On Halloween is not one of those tracks. Born On Halloween is a Halloween song for the ages.

 

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Born On Halloween

TRACK #199:

Born On Halloween by Blue Magic

By far the spookier (and more mellow) track with this title, Blug Magic’s Born On Halloween may take the prize for smoothest song on The Shindig. This a slow jam of the baby making variety. Provided of course you’ve found the right spooky lady.

No one affiliated with Blue Magic appears to have been born on Halloween. That’s okay though, because their song is not about themselves, but rather the spookiest girl in town; the Queen of Witchcraft.

She was born on Halloween, and since I’m 99% sure she’s 100% fictional, that can hardly be cross-referenced. We’re just gonna have to take their word for it.

So grab that witchy woman, dim the orange lights and fire up your favorite horror movie, cause Blue Magic’s about to smooth up your holiday with Born On Halloween.

 

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Born On Halloween

TRACK #198:

Born On Hallowe’en by Russ Ballard

We’re gonna slow things down a bit here, just before our run to Halloween, when things are bound to get all types of hairy.

In my research for an upcoming (and long overdue) addition to The Shindig, I came across not 1, but 2 different songs of the same title. Now you know what we say around here whenever that happens…

Pick ’em up!

From the 1976 album Winning from Russ Ballard comes Born On Hallowe’en.

Now, in case you were incredulous (I know I sure was) Russ Ballard was in fact born on Halloween in 1945, somewhere in Britain, if I recall correctly. Pretty spooky.

Unfortunately, this is the least spooky of the 3 songs featuring that title. Fine by us, as a song needn’t be spooky to find itself on The Shindig. It certainly helps, but it’s not a prerequisite.

While I’m quite sure none of us are terribly familiar with Russ, we’re probably familiar with his generous professional output, as many of his songs have been recorded and turned into big hits.

Originally the lead singer for the rock outfit Argent, who’s hits Hold Your Head Up and God Gave Rock N Roll To You are surely recognizable to anyone with even passing interest in classic rock or has seen Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey.

He’s also responsible for America’s comeback hit You Can Do Magic, Rainbow’s Since You Been Gone, Santana’s Winning, Peter Criss’ Let Me Rock You and the Ace Frehley solo track New York Groove.

Coming in at #198 to pump the breaks a little, here’s a mellow rocker from Halloween Hero Russ Ballard, who was definitely Born On Hallowe’en.

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Halloween

TRACK #190:

Halloween by Iron Cross

I love finding dusty, old songs called Halloween by forgotten metal bands.

It’s always the same exhilarating rush and it’s happened a number of times over the years. Bands like Halloween, Ostrogoth and Hallows Eve have all presented themselves to me in this way. Rest assured there are others whom have yet to have their day on The Shindig.

But, just when I think there couldn’t possibly be any more, I’ll discover a completely new one, as though through my own sheer will I’ve conjured it into existence.

Such solipsistic tripe is absolute nonsense, but I can’t help but feel that wave wash over me all the same, and it’s a bizarre feeling for a paranoid sort such as myself. Did all of these songs really already exist? Am I just now finding them because the playlist needs them? Is it synchronicity or something else? Frankly, I don’t think it really matters, so long as we can hear the tunes.

This was the case when I unearthed 3 new ones a few years back. Of course, due to the nature of the playlist, it’s accompanying blog and my stupid, now mathematically erroneous “every 20th, no wait, now every 10th song” clause, these treasures must be issued out slowly over time. Glad I didn’t decide on every 31st song, as would have been more appropriate.

But today, we’ve come to the moment for Iron Cross to step into the jack-o-lantern’s spotlight.

Formed in Pensacola Florida in 1979, Iron Cross played across their home state and Georgia amassing a sizable fan base before releasing a self titled album in 1986. The ensuing years saw more extensive touring, self promotion, and other EPs including “Die Like That” and “Halloween.” Unfortunately, these seeds of hard work did not blossom into wider recognition for Iron Cross.

As with every metal band tearing shit up in the 80’s, the grunge and alt rock scene of the early 90’s took the wind right out of their black sails. Iron Cross disbanded, like their fellow Halloween brethren, only to be born anew once Nu Metal and Corporate Pop totally ruined everything in the late 90’s and early 2000s. Suddenly, as if emerging from a curious slumber, everyone realized that shit was garbage and longed for the days of thrashing flying V leads and falsetto vocals. Iron Cross could rise again!

They reformed, released new compilations of unreleased material, got the self titled album pressed to CD and hit the road once more.

Though this song has appeared in some form on just about every release they’ve had since their 1986 debut, The Shindig has chosen to use the cover from their 2000 compilation simply titled “Iron Cross” because it has a skeleton shooting lasers out of it’s eyes at an actual iron cross, and that fucking rules.

Look at that drawing. Can you think of anything you’d rather have on your album than that? I know I certainly can’t.

Coming in hard at #190, it’s Iron Cross with….of course…Halloween.

PS: For some sample accompaniment, we decided to finally tap into Halloween 5 aka Halloween: A Burned and Now Insane Loomis Repeatedly Screams at a Poor, Frightened 9 Year Old Girl and Uses Her As Bait to Ensnare a Homicidal Al Pacino-Masked Murderer With Whom She Suddenly Shares a Psychic Link.

Boycott ret-conned bullshit! Say “no” to unnumbered sequels and reboots! Stand tall against the repeated and failed attempts to rewrite Michael’s history! This is the true legacy…horrible masks and goofy family sub-plots and all!

 

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Halloween Night

TRACK #189:

Halloween Night by Halloween

Several years ago when Halloween made their Shindig debut on Halloween with their song Halloween, we immediately bestowed upon them All-Star status. This was very premature, because at that point, it was their only contribution.

I knew then that they would have multiple appearances. I have an auxiliary playlist called The Shindig Bullpen for all the planned additions that have yet to make their way onto the blog. They’re all there, but the move was still premature.

Tonight’s track, however, finally makes Halloween The Shindig All-Stars they were born to be.

Since they already had a song called Halloween, I’m sure they were pretty disappointed. Now, they probably could have gone the Danzig route and just made a song called Halloween II, but Halloween opted to tag the word “Night” on there, and call it a day. It’s a solid move.

And since we were just dealing with Dr. Crowley and his Anti-Halloween Machine, we thought we’d check in with Angela Harris, who’s own Anti-Halloween machine, a religious group called HARVEST, is responsible for all the mayhem in 2014’s nostalgia stuffed The WNUF Halloween Special.

Her alarmist petitions seem particularly in contrast to Halloween’s somewhat reassuring song, where they tell you everything’s all right, Halloween’s just a fun night out at the Heavy Metal Horror Show. Nothing to worry about here.

Mrs. Harris, well, she doesn’t exactly concur.

Here’s Halloween, once again singing about Halloween and taking their rightful place on the Shindig All-Star team, with Halloween Night.

 

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Touching Old Magic

TRACK #188:

Touching Old Magic by The Real Ghostbusters

Ok, that Rosemary’s Baby stuff was a little heavy, so to lighten things up a bit, we’re gonna go in the complete opposite direction…or are we?

The Real Ghostbusters fought a fair share of spooks over their 7 season run. So, it should come as no surprise that they had a few different Halloween encounters.

My favorite, as selected for 2016′s Return of the 31 Days of Halloween countdown, is The Halloween Door.

Here, this Franken-headed fuck-face named Dr. Crowley wants to end Halloween forever. He even has his own cheeseball coalition of concerned buttinskis called Citizens United Against Halloween. What a dork. He then tries to enlist The Ghostbusters to provide the assist, but the GB’s ain’t down with that shit.

In fact, they’re so not down with that shit, they show up for a school assembly and bust out this rockin’ Halloween track just to show you what’s up.

Now, I know I’m a bit paranoid, and doing this blog over the years has certainly put me in a weird spot mentally over the nature of Halloween, it’s origins and all the media surrounding it. But, I gotta be honest here, I get a weird vibe from this. Like a Halloween 3 vibe. And that’s weird.

Maybe it’s all the Stonehenge and Celtic imagery, or maybe it’s the extolling of “old magic,” but it seems pretty bizarre. Because, I mean, why the fuck are some cartoon ghost police talking to kids about old magic anyway?

It’s weird, right? What are they saying, and why? And to kids? And is that weird? I dunno, but it sure makes me feel a little weird.

Doesn’t stop me from rocking out though, ’cause this is a Halloween jammer, for sure. You got the whole gang singing, with assembly attendees dancing in costume and Egon here rocking out on a modified Poly-800 while Slimer and his buddies turn into these weird Irish-green Jack-Lantern sperms. It’s all very festive…and probably totally weird.

We wrap it up in the same fashion the show does, with that Halloween prick Dr. Crowley firing up his Electronic, Positronic, Anti-Halloween Machine and…ending Halloween forever, Or opening up The Halloween Door?

 

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Halloween Spooks

TRACK #182:

Halloween Spooks by Lambert, Hendricks & Ross

Here’s another spooky number about spooks from famous Jazz trio Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, only this time, it’s a Halloween song to boot. Double bonus.

This one’s a kinda weird honestly, and the jazz structure can be a bit of a turn-off if that’s not your bag. Additionally, it will all break down about halfway through into a formless sort of scat, where ghostly sounds and spooky noises take the place of actual lyrics.

I like this part. It’s funny to me. I laugh every time I hear these grown adults goofing around and making silly noises.

You may not have the same reaction, and I would understand, but there’s no disputing, it’s a Shindigger for sure.

 

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Samhain

TRACK #169:

Samhain by Samhain

The word “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 winter, or perhaps more astutely, the end of the year.

It is said that during this time the veil 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 LA county.

Feel the warmth of the Samhain flame.

 

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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 that 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 Witch: Trick 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.