Every now and then I go on a vampire kick. Can you blame me? They’re pretty sexy monsters. I also wrote a short piece about how Dracula is my favorite vampire movie for The Vault of Horror/Brutal As Hell collaboration, Lucky 13, so I’m sort of in that mode right now. Movies are one thing, but if there’s another place that the vampire allure has also proliferated, it’s music. The idea of young and sexy forever is extremely compatible with rock. So for your enjoyment, here’s 10 songs about vampires.
The Pretty Reckless – Make Me Wanna Die
My wife, Denise, turned me on to this one. Prior to her mentioning the band, I’d never heard of them or their singer, Taylor Momsen, who I guess is some kind of actress on Gossip Girl. Never seen the show but she turns out a fairly smoky performance of a song full of veiled references to vampires.
Concrete Blonde – Bloodletting
By the time Concrete Blonde released Bloodletting, they’d been at it a while without making much of an impact on the rock world. They had a brief hit with their single Joey but that was about it and it’s a shame because they’re pretty good and singer, Johnette Napolitano puts on a hell of a show. This song lifts a lot of themes from Anne Rice novels.
Bauhaus – Bela Lugosi’s Dead
Chances are if you’re reading this, you know who Bauhaus is and if that’s the case then you definitely know Bela Lugosi’s Dead. It’s not entirely clear what the song is actually about and even though the band is on record about how the song was some kind of obtuse joke, they unwittingly spawned an entire genre of music with devotees clad head to toe in black, silver jewelry and white makeup to get that vampire look just right.
Roky Erickson – Night of the Vampire
Roky Erickson made his name as the frontman for The 13th Floor Elevators, allgedly the first band to coin the term psychedelic rock. Heavy acid use and some troubles with the law in native Texas wound Roky up in a mental facility where he went even crazier and when he came out, he released a collection of songs with a heavy horror bent.
Wesley Willis – Vampire Bat
Continuing with the theme of vampirism and mental illness, here’s Wesley Willis. The late Chicago schizophrenic “musician” was known for a shit ton of songs about whatever happened to be on his mind at the time and were often performed to the preset songs on his keyboard. Most of them began with the words “once upon a time”. Wesley is confused about the differences between bats and birds and exactly how a bat might extract blood from a human but then again, Wesley was confused about most things.
Mazzy Star – Taste of Blood
It’s a shame that Mazzy Star never broke out bigger than they did. Back when radio was hungry for anything moody and “alternative”, their single Fade Into You popped into MTV rotation and then they were never heard from again, leaving most people with the impression that Mazzy Star was the name of the singer, whose name is actually Hope Sandoval. In actuality, they released three really good albums full of moody, jangly pop songs, combining shoegaze with The Doors. Among those pop songs is this one about being killed by a vampire.
Slayer – At Dawn They Sleep
It’s actually kind of alarming to me that Slayer has a song about vampires. The horror of their lyrics has often been relegated to Satan and true-crime death metal variations on horror. This one’s from their second album, Hell Awaits, an album that I really don’t care much for. Show No Mercy hasn’t exactly aged well, but it’s still a killer album and a tough one to follow and in my opinion, Hell Awaits doesn’t really stand up, but here’s what it sounds like when a thrash band takes on the vampire thing. See? It’s not just for goths!
Outkast – Dracula’s Wedding
Speaking of not just for goths. Here’s what happens when hip-hop takes on vampires. Dracula’s Wedding appears on The Love Below half of the Outkast double album with Speakerboxxx, that is, Andre 3000’s half of the album. Outkast has always been on the edge of hip-hop conventions but without Big Boi to tether him, Andre 3000 released what basically amounts to his interpretation of Purple Rain. The whole album is abstract and silly but everything lived in the shadow of Hey Ya, a single so strong that is absorbed just about everything else on the album.
Calabrese – Vampires Don’t Exist
I really wanted to avoid writing about a horror punk band because just about every one of them has a song about a vampire and just about every one of them sounds like The Misfits but Calabrese is the official band of Cinema Suicide and I fucking love this song.
Type O Negative – Black No. 1
I hate to speak ill of the dead but I always hated Peter Steele’s lyrics. The guy had a great voice, for sure, but the melodrama of “happy Halloween, baby” gives me eye strain from rolling them so hard and let’s not even approach the lyric, “boo bitch craft”. What the fuck is that? What would a list of vampire music be without at least one Type O Negative song, though? That was pretty much their thing and sometimes Peter Steele’s issues with enunciation in the vocals department led me to believe that he was singing with a pair of plastic fangs capping his canines.