Hello my pretties,
How are we on this oddly sunny but crisp day? So remember when I said I was going to attempt to post twice a month, then I left you in the dark for three weeks? With Halloween right around the corner, I would love to say I was waiting for the perfect day to debut. And what’s more perfect than the day where it is socially acceptable for your inner-freaks to be let off the leash? Not that my inner freak is inner…more all round, out in the open, waving a flag just in case someone misses her. But let’s be honest I’m not the most prepared of creatures, but I’d like to think that the God’s of Rock ‘n’ Roll had all this planned. A chosen path. Destiny if you will. That I was supposed to fall behind with life resulting in putting this off a little while longer just to give us the perfect opportunity.
Shall we get on with it? As this is a Halloween Edition it seemed only appropriate to present my top ghoulish artists, I will say this: narrowing this down to my four horsemen was like a mother choosing her favourite child…scratch that that’s pretty easy, it’s like being exiled to a desert island and only being allowed to take three CDs to last you a lifetime…yes I’m old fashioned and prefer CDs over streaming sue me! Oh! Oh! Before I move on I need to share this. I made a discovery today. Whether it’s a good or bad one I’m still trying to figure out. We all know how much I love Elvira. I mean have you seen the woman? Sexy, sarcastic, witty, funny, the list is never ending! She will always be the first horseman of my unofficial list, I’m not talking in the biblical sense, whereby the Revelations say the apocalypse will be marked by the presence of four horsemen: The Anti-Christ on his white stead; War on his red; Famine on his black and Death on the palest of them all. No mine is far more…fun? Is fun the right word? Ah well, it’s what I’m going for. Elvira is my first horseman: The (Horror) Hostess. Back to my point…Well as I was compiling my ‘Killer Playlist’ for you lovely lot (which I will continue adding to until the next post) I found two tracks by mother dearest. Yes. You read that right. Elvira has not one but two Halloween tracks! Calm down, of course I included them on your playlist. I wouldn’t deny you the entertainment. They are awful. Soooo wonderfully awful. I love and idolise the woman but oh. My. Goth. They are so cringy…think her movies (Mistress of Darkness still stands as one of my favourite films of all time!) One even has a music video. Yes, a video. Of course I included it! However, if I find out you’ve skipped to the end and ignored my magnificently mind-blowing post there will be hell to pay. And not the good kinda hell. I’m talking time out on the steps of the pearly gates while Peter lectures you about the importance of Rebel’s posts. No music. No one wants that. We all on the same page? Good! Now on with the show…
Next the brilliantly bizarre Danny Elfman the Horseman of Eccentricity composer for pretty much every Tim Burton’s film; founder of new wave band Oingo Boingo; 1990 Grammy winner for Best Instrumental Composition for the Batman Theme on top of another 34 awards and 75 nominations. To say this man knows what he’s doing is an understatement. We have a tradition in my house, watching Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) every Christmas Eve night. My sister and I have done it for as long as I can remember. Fun fact: not only did Elfman write the original film score, he also voiced Barrel, the Clown with the Tear Away, and while Chris Sarandon voices Jack Skellington, Elfman is the skeleton’s singing voice. All because he fell in love with this incredible character:
“We were creating this eccentric character, and while writing the songs and fleshing it out, I became very attached to him. I said to Tim, ‘There are better singers than I am, but nobody is going to do Jack’s character better than I can.‘” – October 28th, 1993, Los Angeles Times
To me, it Elfman and Burton’s relationship makes perfect sense. They are both unique and incredibly fascinating, with horror-orientated enthusiasm that compliments each other perfectly. I mean when asked Elfman answers, “For me, writing something in the spirit of Halloween is like Mother Teresa writing on charity and sacrifice. It’s just second nature to me” (1993, Cinefantastique). So yeah Elfman’s peculiarity has been part of my world for a ridiculously long time. Most of my life. There’s something haunting about his compositions. Remember Victor’s Piano Solo from Corpse Bride (2005)? I managed to convince my sister to walk down the aisle to it. Not that she took much convincing. Notably, I have always been infatuated with Elfman’s lyrical genius, simple, elegant, yet do every story justice. And those harmonies?! Next time you watch a film Elfman has scored, if there’s singing listen to how he stacks harmonies! You will not be disappointed. And the playing of three characters in songs such as Kidnap Sandy Claws is just inspiring. It would have been so easy for someone to just write three straight characters taking turns singing lines, however, Elfman has Lock, Shock and Barrel playing off each other, keeping the comic relief but also ensuring the song aids the plot rather than just being there for the sake of it. But back to lyrics as we know that’s ma thing. Lines such as “There are children throwing snowballs
Instead of throwing heads” and “The sole redeeming feature from that little creature/ Is that she’s alive, overrated/ Overblown, everybody knows that’s just a temporary state” I envy his storytelling, strong sense of characterisation, and ability to compliment the narrative. Here I was wondering why I write the way I do…
Rebel Yell’s Top Five Danny Elfman Soundtracks:
Now I can go on and on about Elfman but I should move on to pinup number two. Ghouls and gals put your claws together for Mr Alice Cooper the Godfather – The Horseman of Theatricality. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing this man live back in 2015 supporting Mötley Crüe on their farewell tour. Despite being in this late 60s he rocks harder than most 20year old bands I’ve seen. Maybe it’s the experience of touring for the last 50 odd years, the wisdom of surviving in this industry…side note did you know he has a schedule that includes spending six months each year on the road. Or maybe it’s just the deal he’s got going with the big man upstairs (I originally wrote Devil but you will understand why I changed it later). Who knows? Either way, he spares no expense at putting on the best live shows ever known. From guillotines to electric hairs, snakes and swords, it truly is a madhouse of eccentrics – you will never be bored at a Cooper event I can tell you that! What’s more, he surrounds himself with outstanding musicians who can keep to his fast-paced, run-away train gigs. Nita Strauss, brought in in 2014 to replace Orianthi on guitar, has to be one of the best guitarists I’ve seen in a long time. You can tell she knows what she’s doing, but it’s overdramatic or arrogant about doing so. Just driven by the flawless enjoyment of her instrument.
Notably, Alice Cooper was initially a band, releasing their first record in 1969, with Vincent Furnier on vocals. Who’s Vincent Furnier? Well, that is the real name of the Godfather of theatrical hard rock. Ask anyone and they will say writing hits in unconventional ways is almost unheard of. Impossible you could say. Yet that’s exactly what Cooper has managed. He nailed the commercial market in 1971 with I’m Eighteen, School’s Out 1972, and if that wasn’t enough the band reached their commercial peak with their album Billion Dollar Babies. For someone who idolises theatricality, to successfully marry it with commercialism (whether intentional or not) blows my mind. Arguably Cooper paved the way for music as we know it; his experimentation leading to glam metal, new wave, art rock. He completely re-vamped (no pun intended) the heavy metal/hard rock world. His stage persona built around this idea of satire, horror, and absurdity that is oddly refreshing.
One of my favourite stories about Alice Cooper is one my Dad always tells me…so prepare for a good ol’ dad story. And that this: now Cooper is a huge golf fanatic, apparently during his early years he used to only golf at ridiculous hours so that people wouldn’t recognise him and break the illusion his whole career relied on. Now I’m not sure how true this is but I do find it the idea of Cooper hiding in bushes and golfing as daybreak’s just to avoid the media extremely entertaining. Also, I find it highly amusing that throughout pretty much all of this career he has been labelled as a Satanist, yet I’ve never seen or heard anything satanic or anti-Christian in his shows or records. Did you know he is a hard-core Christian? This is another reason I love this man so much is because he never compromises who he is. Yes, he has a stage persona. Yes he, arguably, has a costume. But I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had an argument with someone over what a stage persona is. IT ISN’T A COMPROMISE OF YOUR TRUE SELF. It isn’t hiding. He taught me from a young age that it’s okay to express yourself however you want. It doesn’t matter if it makes someone else disapprove or turn their noses up. As long as you’re not physically hurting someone or intentionally causing harm then screw everyone else and their opinions.
Rebel’s Top 5 Alice Cooper Tracks:
Again I could go on and on about Mr. Cooper but I need to move swiftly on to my fourth and final horseman, the ghastly gorgeous Miss Ash Costello The Horseman of Fierce Femininity and her equally as macabre band New Years Day. I’ve been in love with this woman since 2010 with the songs My Dear and I Was Right (released 2007) before her signature half head red and black locks. Although still mildly theatrical they were a band still going through the motions of discovering themselves. Almost as if Nikki Misery was the missing puzzle piece, the band soon altered the image to how the world knows and loves them today. So why did I label her as the horseman of Fierce Femininity? Because she is one of few female icons in the music world today who is giving the lads a run for their money. What’s more, if you follow her on Instagram, you will have seen her posts about overcoming confidence issues. She is an icon for any woman. Whether you’re aGoth kid struggling to fit in or a cheerleader look-a-like tearing herself apart in the mirror. Like Cooper, Elfman, Elvira have all inspired me to pursue creativity and theatricality, Ash has too. But her strength and courage reiterated the importance of taking care of yourself.
Okay before this gets too heavy back to the music…her vocals are crazy! She has the grit so many female rock singers would kill for.
But she doesn’t restrict herself to her chest voice. She takes full advantage of her entire range – which is pretty incredible, next time you listen to them take note of those crazy high notes she pushes for. AND SHE SCREAMS! She’s an icon with talent – something extremely hard to come by nowadays. Artists such as her, LZZY Hale, Taylor Momsen prove not all girls have to be shy and sweet with the way they sing. They can get as dirty and dangerous as anyone. But what makes them the most deadly is being about to flick between the two. She’s on my “want to write with one day” list so next step is to make that happen!
Rebel’s Top 5 New Year’s Day Tracks:
Told you, these posts would be me rambling on and on about my interests. Educating you lot in the ways of Rebel. Gaining a deeper insight to the delightfully devilish life I lead. It’s messy and full of cobwebs. But I wouldn’t change a thing.
As promised here is Elvira’s new level of cringe video, as well as this month’s playlist to keep you all amused for the time being.
Every other post (probably the last one of the month) I will be including a playlist to get you through the quiet and lonesome days without me. So here’s the first one for you lovely creatures:
Until next time,