August/September 2005

Music of the Living Dead
Cameron Pierce

Beneath the rotting vegetation and disintegrating tombstones of certain cemeteries, with entrances approximately six feet down, exist activities that go unnoticed to those of the waking world. I am one of the few, perhaps the only, who has found the opportunity to have dreamt of such things, or should I say misfortune....

A select number of graveyards are home to a band, a band of the dead. A vast array of music, some unlike any known to living man, can be experienced if one travels extensively enough, but no map of these realms exist and I have no intentions of encouraging potentially life-threatening behavior. I have heard solo pianists whose every song bursts with thrice the melancholy of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata or the infamous Gloomy Sunday and have even briefly caught the performance of a punk group that certainly put all living acts to shame. I believe they called themselves Boogey and the Men, but all was far too chaotic to officially catch a name or decipher band members from crowd. Pits of the dead are absolute madness, you know, for they are literally in some sort of pit around the clock. Experts, I say.

A peculiar incident in these caverns stands out most vividly, however. It was a group by the name of Spider Blue. The singer had bled to death when attempting to carve hooves out of his feet, and so now he’s a graveyard singer. Yeah, they were one of those groups that insist on telling their life stories between each and every song. Well, Spider Blue consisted of that singer, The God Formerly Known As Pan, along with a blind organ player, midget guitarist, a woman (who died in some random tragedy) on upright bass, and somehow a stillborn on drums.

Now, they weren’t particularly talented; vocals reminiscent of all croaking blues musicians/neurotics, the organ player hits a multitude of apparently wrong notes, and the midget’s fingers failed to finger pick the out-of-tune guitar with any style or grace. The drums and bass complimented each other nicely, but I believe it was said that through a series of complicated events the stillborn theoretically belonged to the woman.

Together they created something wonderfully dreadful, morbidly magnificent, a sound so unique only such clichés could properly describe it. Each song was a death and bone creature (and to imagine that it was all improvised). They started small...a falling leaf, a bruised drop of rainwater, built up to humans, and then came the closing song. All the dead people in the room grew rather excited. They all began to stare at me with strange, unblinking eyes that may have revealed soundtracks to secret worlds and cosmic snuff films if they were converted to audio. The singer of the band said they were closing with a song of the sounds of myself dying. Interesting? At the time. Beautiful? I withhold from using that word to describe anything that the human mind is able to comprehend. Well, I literally died when they played the song. There were no feelings or images involved, just noise, and forever will I now exist through word and sound.

This particular tale, if ever it reaches any living creature, must be taken as a warning, and perhaps its being received via random wave of sound (or even body of text) will prove the threat of what is now thought to be “just a harmless pastime” to be of the extreme. Perhaps I am a shadow of sound, and perhaps I never died, only condensed all existence into this cage of underground audio incest. To be quite frank, I don’t really care what or where I am on any map. I don’t even mind if I truly got here through streams of the bleakest psychedelic technology known as sleep, just want to join me a band, a band of the dead.

Is this some form of blessing, or curse? No use in explaining this network of dead musicians in too much detail, for that might form a map. Nonetheless, maybe someday I’ll see you lonesome in the crowd and...this last song’s out to you.