Thursday, May 12, 2016

Punk Shadows: A playlist EP!


There's no shortage of songs inspired by DARK SHADOWS. Even omitting the tracks recorded by the cast members, there's a pretty weird compilation album to be made from the many, many songs about the original series. Those tracks range from proto-disco ("Barnabas" by Vampire State Building) to reggae ("Barnabas Collins" by the Lone Ranger) but somehow the first wave of punk in the 1970s seemed to miss out on the phenomenon. Ideally, these were the kids that grew up on DARK SHADOWS, but the show was apparently a distant memory once those kids grew up and discovered heroin, sex and guitars.

But DARK SHADOWS was nowhere to be found during the second big wave of punk during the 1980s, either. It wasn't until the show began to air on the Sci-Fi Channel in the early 1990s that DARK SHADOWS began to creep into the punk landscape. By this point "horror punk" was slowly becoming a thing, and was the obvious conduit for anyone wanting to loudly proclaim their love for vampires, werewolves, witches and fog machines. If you want an idea of the role the Sci-Fi Channel played in generating new fans on both sides of the Atlantic, look no further than these songs.

Note: Many of these tracks are by independent artists and aren't available on Amazon or iTunes. I've provided links with each summary to help you upon your quest.

Misfits: Dark Shadows
From the album "The Devil's Rain," 2011.
This is the most blatant cash grab on the playlist, one of many attempts by Misfits holdout Jerry Only to get a song on the soundtrack to a Tim Burton movie. His previous attempts with songs such as "Mars Attacks" and "Forbidden Zone" (inspired by PLANET OF THE APES) were fruitless, as was this tune. I want to hate it, but it's one of the few tracks from "The Devil's Rain" that's actually OK.


The Oval Portrait featuring Gerard Way: Barnabus Collins 
Has More Skeletons In His Closet Than Vincent Price
From the album "Life in Death," 2003.
Yep, BarnaBUS Collins. The actual song doesn't have anything to do with Vincent Price or Barnabas Collins, but it has the kind of reckless abandon that can transform depression into ... well, not joy, exactly. But it has spirit, if not spell check. Confusing, yes, but they earn an E for Effort.


Shadow Windhawk: House of Dark Shadows
From the album "Cremation Garden," 2016.
This is a new one, and the only track on the playlist that I haven't had the opportunity to hear. The band currently has a handful of tunes from this album streaming on their website, but HODS isn't one of them.  UPDATE: "House of Dark Shadows" is now streaming at the band's website.

As an added bonus, the song "The Curse of Thorn" features dialogue samples of DS alumnus Mitchell Ryan from the film HALLOWEEN: THE CURSE OF MICHAEL MYERS. You can listen to it HERE.


The Damned: 'Til the End of Time
From the album "Grave Disorder," 2001.
What does this song have to do with DARK SHADOWS? Possibly nothing. The lyrics might be nothing more than generic romance, the sort of gothed-up treacle so popular during the 1990s. Sure, "I've woken from darkness with passion/You're surely to blame for it" sounds exactly like its riffing on the Barnabas/Angelique dynamic, but that's a storyline that's been ripped off so many times that it might nothing more than a distant literary relative. But The Damned tip their hand in the final moments of the song, which closes on the lyrics "Alone now forever no sweeter pain/Than those memories."

These words are immediately followed by a dialogue sample of Lara Parker from an episode of DARK SHADOWS.


Argyle Goolsby: The East Wing
From the album "Saturnalia of the Accursed," 2016.
Argyle Goolsby, formerly of the band Blitzkid, wins the DARK SHADOWS arms race with this track, which dives the deepest into Collinsport lore. He steers clear of the obvious (no overt references to vampires here) to touch on the mystical misadventures in the closed-off section of Collinwood. Considering the East Wing was shuttered in 1840 (a storyline pretty far removed from the show's prime) this is easily the most obscure and loving tribute to DARK SHADOWS on this playlist.

Note: "The East Wing" first appeared on Goolsby's 2013 album "Under the Witness Stars" and has since been included (along with the kinda/maybe-DS inspired song "Shadows of Night") on "Saturnalia of the Accursed."


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