Sad Boy Radio: Spellbound

My first exposure to Siouxsie and the Banshees was one afternoon vapidly glaring at MTV and Peek-a-boo came on. It was odd, it was jarring, and I found myself liking it, a lot. I didn’t pursue the band at the time. Some years later I heard their version of All Tomorrow’s Parties by The Velvet Underground. That’s when I knew I had to listen more closely.

Siouxsie and the Banshees formed by Sioxsie Sioux and bassist Steve Sevrin in 1976 to fill a last-minute open spot at the 100 Club Punk Festival, in September of that year. They enlisted the talents of Marco Pirroni on guitar and Sid Vicious of The Sex PIstols  was the drummer. It was supposed to be a one-off performance but, they were asked to play again. The line up has changed several times. In 1981  the band included Budgie (Peter Clarke) as their permanent drummer and John McGeoch on Guitar. It was in that year they released the album Juju, and with it the single Spellbound.

Spellbound is intense and dark, with a big sound. The Guitars and percussion are strident and with Siousxsie’s vocals give the impression of something dreadful galloping in front of an impending storm. The sound is a bit of departure from their more synthesizer heavy Kaleidoscope album.

Though the band didn’t like the having the label of “gothic rock” applied to its work, the album has been a major influence on many artists of the genre.

The band would perform until 1996 when they finally disbanded, with Siouxsie and Budgie continuing to record as The Creatures. A side project they started in 1981, the same year Spellbound was released as a single.

That’s it for this week let me know what you think about this song, or suggest other songs/ artists for me to cover.

Sad Boy Radio: The Loveless Fascination

A week of distractions and mild frustration with the world around me has gotten me off track with my regular blogging but I figure if I don’t have time to post a Sad Boy track and say a few things about it I might as well hang it up.

In a near unprecedented event my wife checked out my blog because she heard me talking about this little project and she suggested Under The Milky Way by The Church. She thought that it might be “more romantic than mopey.” To which I say  moping without a sense of romance is merely idle depression.

So this one goes out by request.

The Church released their first album Of Skins and Heart in Australia during 1980 and issued the single The Unguarded Moment in ’811. It was eight years and three albums later that the band came to LA to record the album Star Fish and with it the track that they are probably best known for.

The band didn’t enjoy Los Angeles much, nor did Steve Kilbey much like the final product, Saying in 2006;

“It’s actually flat lifeless ‘n’ and sterile. Great song, sure, but the performance, the sounds are ordinary. We coulda got that in Australia in a week or two for a 20th of the money we spent. Hey, it’s sold almost a million in the US alone, but we’ll never see any money ’cause it cost so much to make”2

They might not have seen the money then but that might not be counting the how often the song has been licensed since, appearing many add, in the movie Donnie Darko and a slew of published covers including this thoroughly annoying one by Powerman-5000.

And yes, the song is romantic, but it is moody and forlorn quality to it. The “bagpipe” solo adds a further gloomy dimension. Fun Fact: The bagpipe sound was  actually produced on an electric guitar using some manner contrivances including an Ebow and a Synclavier3. So we all learned something today.

Also I think I may have set a new record for number of links in one of my articles.

As always, any thoughts, or suggestions leave me a comment either here or elsewhere on the internet. Seriously I like hearing from people.


  1. Incidentally this is my favorite track of theirs so here it is
  2. Source Wikipedia,  their citation is here 
  3. And I have no idea what the fuck that all means but that’s why there’s google. 

Sad Boy Radio: Fate Up Against Your Will

It’s been a few days since I’ve said anything, seems I spent some of my free time reliving the angsty bullshit lifestyle from the later stages of my adolescence. Can’t say I missed it that much but it’s a nice place to visit if you can make the trip.

In that vein let’s talk about more of that mopey eighties music.

First appearing in 1978 as an opening act for a band that singer Ian McCulloch had been fired from, Echo and the Bunnymen started seeing some success with their 1982 album Porcupine. The Killing Moon is from their 1984 album Ocean Rain and, is probably their best known song (though I suppose one could make the argument for Lips Like Sugar holding that distinction).  The song has great guitar and bass work and moody lyrics and an overall despondent tone to it. The single marks their addition to the american teen listlessness of the nineteen eighties, or as Stewart Mason from All Music puts it;

“The Killing Moon” is the point at which Echo & the Bunnymen turned from second-string post-punkers into members of the pantheon of heroes to the mildly alienated suburban teens of the mid-’80s,

For what it’s worth, I’m glad they turned that imaginary corner. I’d hate to imagine a world with out my Sad Boy music.

That’ll do for this week. I’m still looking for more entries into this genre. If you’d like to contribute leave me a note, either here or using any of the options on my contact page.

Sad Boy Radio Mix Tape Thingy

I was born in the seventies, when punk was new and vital. This means by the time I was actually listening to music, punk was going through its teenage years, started wearing his mom’s make-up and hissed when it saw the sun.  Yes, amid the garden of bubblegum new wave pop artists that I spent most of my time in, until most of my friends discovered metal, grew the sad little weeds that was goth music.

Their infectious spore managed to get into my head and hide until my adult years. Now, deprived of peer pressure and top forty radio, when I think about the music I really enjoyed during my formative years I drift towards Joy Division, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and The Cure. I have begun to lovingly refer to it as “Sad Boy” rock.

We may have gotten a lot of things wrong in the eighties but at leased we did gloomy right, even managed to put a glamorous and romantic spin on it.

This is all to say that I’ve been obsessing on this for a bit, spending evenings crawling around YouTube and even started a Pandora station, which is a work in progress. I started it off on one song, a latter entry by one of the founders of the genre. One that I couldn’t get out of my head several weeks.

Peter Murphy was the front man for the iconic post-punk band Bauhaus (I’m sure I’ll be posting about them sooner or later) before they split up in 1983. Cuts You Up from 1989 was a single released off his third solo album Deep. The song is Murphy’s largest hit with mainstream america reaching number one on Billboard’s Modern Rock Tracks and number ten on Mainstream Rock Tracks. The haunting violin sound and the singers dark styling make for a somber, yet celebratory love song.

Anyway like I said I am working on a station on my Pandora. In the spirit of the eighties tradition of creating  and sharing mix tapes I’ll keep you posted on how it’s going and what other artists and songs I add. I am looking for input as well.

Given this as a starting point who or what would you add to the play list?

Let me know in the comments, on this blog’s Facebook page, via Twitter, or in your own blog post. Leave me some details about the song/ artist and a link to the song if it’s available on YouTube (maybe we can put together a playlist there) or other easy to access internet venue.

A Morning

You pour the coffee and wait. Sitting there in the dark you reflect for a moment about how this has never been your time. This early morning shit is for the birds. You take your first sip as the alarm beeps, causing your phone to dance around the table. The crack of dawn has arrived. Then there’s what has to be done.

You get up from the tiny table to cross the cramped apartment. You walk to the bed and look down. There she is peaceful, beautiful, asleep, perfect in the moment. You move the long hair covering her face. You rub your eyes. It can’t wait much longer. It’s the right thing to do, so you nudge her awake.

She starts with grumpy, she always does. Soon enough you are both angry, your opposing schedules colliding. Too tired to fight, too short on time, you try to discuss breakfast. She waves you off. She’ll have breakfast when she gets there today. Just some juice for now, maybe a piece of fruit. There are bananas in the kitchen. You finish your coffee and soon she has herself clean and dressed. By the time her hair is brushed she is all smiles and sunshine. She takes her bag from your hand and you both walk out the door, down the stairs.

The morning outside is cool and grey, the world seems blurry in this early light. The street is quiet, the neighbors barely awake, save for the one or two just starting their cars. You walk in silence, hand in hand. So many things you want to say. About hopes for the future. Apologies for the past. Things that could be, the way they should have been. Your time together is too short each day so instead you talk about nothing. Just happy for what you have right now. This morning. That’s all there is.

You walk on to the intersection, waiting for the walk signal. She bumps you with her shoulder and smiles. It’s always that smile, that what gets you. You wonder how she does this every morning. She doesn’t even drink coffee. Ten minutes that all that remains, six blocks and then your time together is over. You it fill as best you can with laughter at little jokes you both make.  You are so tired, your feet seem to drag on the cement and she begins to almost skip with each step. She is looking forward to the day and you are looking towards finally getting some sleep.

When the building comes into sight she wants to walk the rest of the way by herself. Your heart sinks, but you know you have to let her go on. You say goodbyes and watch her walk away. She turns one last time to wave at you. You know their only so much time before it’s someone else’s heart she’ll be breaking. You smile and wave back.

 

You’ll get to spend one more hour with her later when you bring her home from school. Before you have to work. Now you just head home, and go to bed.

You Just Have to Admit

At one point you have to just admit it. You stopped short of many of the goals you set in life, because they really weren’t goals. They were more like things you thought up to do in order avoid any real responsibility. I mean let’s face it if you had worked towards any one singular goal in the past decade or so you would probably have more to show for it, well as far as material possessions go at any rate. That’s not to say money means that much but a little security on the financial front might be nice. You had your fun though. Oh there were great times of free wheeling, hot and cold running hedonism and debauchery. For a time a life well lived in was its own reward.

But, you one day you sober up and find yourself middle-aged, and spinning your wheels. You’ve been working the same job for ten years, that you meant to quit after five. Because even though you kept running from life and responsibility they, still caught up with you eventually. They took you by the throat and wrestled you into the nice comfortable rut you live in today.

It’s only then can you realize that life is really about just pulling your pants up and marching on and being miserable.

None of it is true of course. It’s just the perspective you get from the particular vantage point of being over tired from work and worn down by worry and aching from the abuse of the advancing years. Your diet probably isn’t helping either,  there’s probably a limit to how much pepperoni is beneficial to a person. Come to think of it when was the last time you got out on your bike and went for a nice long ride? Yeah, chances are you just need more exercise.

You just shrug and let out a deep sigh. You finish drinking your coffee, and get ready for work.

 

The Way It Makes You Feel

It is an amazing  mystery to me how a song, or even a small portion of it can utterly change your mood and transform your day.

Like that morning cup of coffee, the right song first thing in the morning gets you up and going, possibly with your half-asleep booty shaking once or twice in the process.

A song from you past can fill you with nostalgia those weekends high school, right after you got you license and you would see how many of your delinquent buddies could pile into a 1985 Mercury Lynx and drive into Seaside Heights to terrorize the boardwalk, and play pinball every damned weekend.

It was like watching a clown car unload. Provided that the clowns all wore trench coats and denim jackets, chain smoked, and swore at the top of their lungs

It was like watching a clown car unload. Provided that the clowns all wore trench coats and denim jackets, chain smoked, and swore at the top of their lungs

Then there’s that song that your ex used to just love so much you thought for sure they would be the first person in history wear CD out. Well either that or you were going to snap the fucking thing to pieces and force them to eat it; and when you hear it after all these years, you still wonder why you didn’t.

Ever notice how just the first few bars of some old tune can be a bittersweet reminder of a loved one who passed away several years ago, but now you can still hear them singing along just as clearly as if they were standing next to you.

It is so easy for the way we feel to be influenced by music. I was reminded of this when one day when leaving for work. Just like every other day I put in my ear buds, opened up my internet radio. I had been feeling a little beaten down by life and then the music started

I quickly discovered it is impossible to walk down the street listening to this and not feel like a total badass.

Even if you are drinking a sparkling mineral water.

Mercury Lynx photo taken by Bull-Doser and is in the public domain.