“1983 waynecoyne as Adam Ant & our nephew Dennis of Stardeath&White dwarfs”
– Michelle Martin-Coyne (Wayne’s Wife), October 27, 2010 via twitter
“The first rock show I ever went to was Alice Cooper… he was beginning to do his Welcome to My Nightmare tour where he no longer had the group. It was kind of a big theatrical thing…”
-Wayne Coyne Remembering Seeing Alice Cooper in 1977, brooklynvegan.com
Some bands make Halloween special (like The Grateful Dead… or Pearl Jam – they dressed up like DEVO Halloween 2009 and played their new wave classics). For others bands, all their show seem like they could be on Halloween (like The Flaming Lips and Of Montreal – watch Captain America pump up a crowd for the former, and the latter at their 2008 Halloween gig covering The Clique’s “Superman” – as popularized by REM – complete with a superman costume, naturally).
Than there are those bands that don’t have special attractions or costumes perse but still look – and sound – like the dark side of Halloween: Bauhaus, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Cure (see a clip Halloween of them below), Love and Rockets, Skinny Puppy, Ministry, NIN and – especially – White Zombie (whose main man Rob Zombie has also directed seasonally-appropiate flicks House of 1000 Corpses,The Devil’s Rejects, the 2007 remake of 1978’s Halloween, and, yep, its 2009 sequel, Halloween II) and Alice Cooper – the pioneer of all rock theatrics whose influence ranges from Kiss to The Flaming Lips. In fact, last year Cooper released the single “Keepin’ Halloween Alive” (and promoted it with a YouTube video contest awarding $1,000).
Alice Cooper increasingly got more into costumes – gloom and doom stuff that was sillier than it was scary: perfect for Halloween. Others have followed his path in various ways (Adam Ant, Slipknot, Insane Clown Posse, Marilyn Manson), but only one turned it into a formula for being the hottest band in the world…
“When I went to Kiss when I was 18 I wanted to see the costumes and I wanted to see the fire.”
-Wayne Coyne, Spin May 2006, p 60
For decades of young rockers, Halloween has meant dressing up like their favorite member of Kiss… after all, they are the Knights In the Service of Satan, right? They have blood (spitting from their mouths no less), silly costumes, face makeup, and an aura of something-menacing-but-all-in-good-fun. Kiss in other words, are Halloween in the form of an arena rock band… minus the candy.
In 2009 four of the rock youngsters who took to the Kiss task were Mike Mogis and Conor Oberst (of Bright Eyes), M. Ward and Yim Yames (aka Jim James of My Morning Jacket). Collectively they make up the “supergroup” Monsters of Folk, but last Halloween they seemed more like the Monsters of Rock they’re name parodies. They played Kiss klassic like Detroit Rock City and Rock and Roll All Night, but also their own material. Here’s “Whole Lotta Losin'” from their exceptional eponymous debut album, released just 5 weeks before this show (October 31, 2009 – Palace Theatre, Louisville, KY).
As it so happens, Kiss themselves were playing that same night at the Voodoo festival in New Orleans, and in the audience were The Flaming Lips (who played the next night) … of course they were, it was Halloween afterall…
All rock star pumpkins pictured above from tonedeaf.