I hate working out unless it involves backflips and body slams. I used to do all my exercise in a bingo hall with no a/c, in a wrestling ring that was harder than Frank Zappa in a used-panty store.
Since I long ago left my wrestling dreams behind, I'm forced to go to the gym unless I want to become a doughy, pale man-boy since writing is not exactly good for burning calories.
The only thing that gets me through a session on a treadmill or StairMaster is Mortiis's album The Smell of Rain. It's the perfect workout soundtrack, full of driving energy and a sense of self-sacrifice, and montage-worthy lyrics like "How far are you willing to go?" make pointless running in place actually feel meaningful. What other goth music makes a good gym mix?
I decided to ask the Gothic Council.
Joining us this is week are fashion designer Batty; DJ Martin Oldgoth; living historian Morrighanne Burns; Liisa Ladouceur, author of the Encyclopedia Gothica; Regen Robinson of Space Radio; Church of Melkarth's Justin Whitney; and artist Jez Smith.
Batty: I don't listen to music while lifting weights because it distracts me, but when I do cardio, I listen to Oingo Boingo or (gasp) VNV Nation.
Martin Oldgoth: I don't "do" exercise, but if I did, I think I'd avoid all manner of sub-metal industrial/bleep shite and just listen to New Model Army, something to get the blood pumping and me angry enough to run or lift things.
Morrighanne Burns: To quote Martin, "bleep shite" all the way! Skinny Puppy, Combichrist, Mortiis, XPQ-21, KMFDM are all favorites. I have also started the whole diet/exercise thing again and it blows. At least being able to play your own music on a few of the Kinect fitness games helps.
Jef With One F: Wait...so all you grumpy death-rock bastards go electronic when it comes to workouts?
Batty: I'm a grumpy gothic rock bitch, but, yeah, I mix in the electronic. If anything, it's so annoying I can pretend like I am trying to run from it when doing cardio.
Martin Oldgoth: Not all of us. I'd rather put on loads of weight and live an unfit life than listen to crap.
Jef With One F: I feel like I scored a point, but I'm damned if I can figure out how.
Liisa Ladouceur: Goth music is not for exercising. Unless you're doing tai chi. Or training for a round of Extreme Spiderweb Cleaning. Last year I took up running. Hey, I was preparing for a Zombie Obstacle Course Race, so I don't lose ALL my goth points, right? I much preferred it to going to a gym, particularly because I can listen to my own music. I can't say the Cure or Bauhaus or most death-rock works as a soundtrack, but I have included Gang of Four on my running playlist and find that a lot of Nine Inch Nails is built for speed, especially "Mr. Self Destruct," "1,000,000" and "Burn." Now some of you will say NIN's not Goth. To you, I can't help you!
Regen Robinson: I listen to my show. I actually started the show because I wanted something to work out to and all the other shows were a little more on the gothic side rather than EDM/Synthpop. I agree, though, that most "goth" music, although great, is not quite right for working out to.
Justin Whitney: Funker Vogt's Navigator always made me power through cardio when I was able to work out, that or a special mix of bad music that always included a track from Macho Man Randy Savage's horrible rap album, Oingo Boingo and Huey Lewis and the News. When I Lift: HEAVY METAL IS THE LAW.
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Usually Carnivore, Averse Sefira, Watain, Manowar and Gwar, anything to focus my anger into pushing iron; alas, due to poor genetics and health problems not yet resolved, I don't get to work out anymore, which really drives me insane, because it was the one thing besides my kittens I truly love.
Jez Smith: I teach tribal fusion belly dance, and there are certain tempos that work well for different movement types, but if I'm going to go for movement drills on my own time or if I have open-minded students, I'll fire up the songs of my people -- like "Cities in Dust" by Siouxsie, "Every Day Is Halloween" by Ministry, "This Corrosion" -- the classics that I know note for note.
I challenge myself not to fall into decades-old movement patterns when they're on, but since I know them so well, I can anticipate each tempo change and try something new each time. Whenever I find something new that fires me up, I'll play it over and over and try to work out a routine to it, seeing where the song takes me.
Liisa Ladouceur: Well, whatever the soundtrack, I still feel that any kind of exercise apart from dancing is the least goth thing that I do, and I think perhaps I should give it up. I mean, isn't pondering one's own mortality enough of a workout? What's the free-weight equivalent to shouldering the world's suffering?