Film and TV

The Music of True Blood, Episode 1.10: Dr. John Don't Wanna Know About Evil, But We Sure Do

Alan Ball was known for his masterful use of music in Six Feet Under. He's lost none of his touch when it comes to his current HBO series, True Blood - which happens to be set in the Louisiana swamps, not terribly far from Houston. With Season 2 just completed, Rocks Off is now working our way backwards through the episodes we missed as HBO begins reruns.

Episode 1.10, "I Don't Wanna Know"

Much like Screaming Jay Hawkins, whom we've covered previously in this column, Dr. John can be considered an overlooked originator of goth music and theatrical production. His very name, Dr. John, comes from a legendary voodoo practitioner of the 1800s.

Also known as John Montaigne and Bayou John, this man was busted in the 1840s for voodoing and running a whorehouse with Pauline Rebennack, who may or may not have been a distant relative of Dr. John's. Dr. John's early shows involved entire voodoo ceremonies and elaborate headdresses. So basically, you have Skinny Puppy playing New Orleans blues.

John's song "I Don't Wanna Know About Evil," originally from the Night Tripper's 1998 album Anutha Zone, takes us through the credits of this week's True Blood, and as usual Alan Ball's musical choices hit perfect center. As mentioned previously, Dr. John's early career involved a lot of gris-gris, and so has the last couple of episodes.

Sookie's best friend's mama has decided that where Jesus failed in helping her overcome alcoholism, voodoo might work. So she finds and old woman who talks funny and lets her murder night creatures on her behalf to draw demon rum on out of her. To Tara's surprise, it works, and the she-shaman offers to help cure Tara of her own inner rage for $800. (Aside: That's a good deal. Google prices for anger management courses and you'll see it's a bargain.)

Convinced by her mother's turnaround, Tara meets the old woman in the woods and proceeds to stab a childhood vision-version of herself after scarfing a MASSIVE amount of peyote. Though the exorcism seems to work, it's all undone the next day when Tara discovers the sha-woman working at Walgreens wearing a wig and stocking Vagisil.

Alan Ball's music choices are general either ironic, or just sinisterly appropriate, and "I Don't Wanna Know About Evil" falls firmly in the second category. Would we be better off in ignorance of the lies, the pain and the downright douchebaggotry of the world around us? As the soft, Santana-like guitar lines guide us down a dead-end street jam, you can sort of see the sense in believing right up to the end that the end is not nigh and that it won't be bad.

It's a hell of a way to end an episode that delves into the some of the darkest corners of the human mind's potential to conjure up demons... and banish them. It's also just a great jam that keeps the night nice and spooky.

True Blood airs Saturdays at 8 p.m. on HBO2.

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Jef Rouner (not cis, he/him) is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner