Gothtopia: Searching for the Perfect Vampire Anthem
Note: Lost in all the inaugural hoopla this week was the fact that Monday was Edgar Allan Poe's 200th birthday. No better time, then, to debut Rocks Off's new Goth column...
Recently, my wife and I made our way down to the Houston Public Library to hear a talk with Charlaine Harris, author of the Sookie Stackhouse novels. Now, I am admittedly a bad Goth in that I am as sick of modern vampire fiction as I am of modern vampires. I prefer my nosferatu as blood-bloated corpses mouth-hugging and dry-humping virgins, not as angsty Tolkien elves trying to make friends by looking sad in the corner.
Still, I thoroughly enjoyed Harris' Dead Until Dark and True Blood, the HBO series loosely based upon her books and starring the occasionally naked Anna Paquin. (The amazing music selection by creator Alan Ball is another plus, to be discussed at another time.) The show lacks one aspect of the books, thus far, that I had to ask Harris about: Where, oh where, is her cat-eating vampified version of the King of Rock and Roll, referred to in the novel only as Bubba?
With Elvis Aron Presley turning 72 this month, wherever he really is, I just felt that his noble, if somewhat brain-damaged, fictional counterpart deserved a little advocacy. Well, said Harris point blank, "I can't comment on Bubba showing up on the show," which tells my spider-sense that an appearance may be in the works. Even better, when I followed up the question by asking who she would choose to play Elvis, she answered, without hesitation, "Bruce Campbell, of course."
All I can say is if I can see Bruce Campbell play Vampire Elvis - Bubba Ho-Tep, holla! - I will blow my cable box. Which transitions, however awkwardly, into the subject of vampire music and what is the best vampire anthem?
Skipping the painfully obvious choices, like Concrete Blonde's "Bloodletting" and Bauhaus's "Bela Lugosi's Dead," we consider Sting's ode to Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles, "Moon Over Bourbon Street." Or how about a great vampire movie theme song like "Cry Little Sister" from The Lost Boys, or perhaps Rasputina's "Transylvanian Concubine" from the second season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer?
Flipping through the books for Vampire: The Masquerade, I noted a vampiric affinity for the music of INXS, particularly "New Sensation." Judging by the number of Indigo Girls lyrics reprinted in the texts, there are also a lot of lesbian vampires out there. But no, I feel that the true vampire anthem comes from Dallas' underground psychobilly sensation Shadow Reichenstein.
I caught them several years ago at Numbers, and I have to say that they win the award for most elaborate set. It was a 30-foot wide, two-dimensional backlit representation of a haunted house with a knee-high wrought iron fence between band and audience. That must have been fun to fit in the truck. The show was off many things, including the hook, and I tripped a 14-year-old girl in order to secure a T-shirt thrown into the audience.
One of Shadow's many crowd-pleasers was their reworking of the Animals' "House of the Rising Sun," appropriately re-christened "Fear of the Rising Sun" and my pick for the greatest vampire anthem of all time. Watch it here, and enjoy, bloodsuckers...
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.