After sobering up and reading this over, it became clear that an extremely thick person might think this was a critique, not the highest of praise, and that an addendum was needed to clarify that I wanna ride Dead Skeletons sonic carriage all the way into the afterlife. Listen kiddies, I love Dead Skeletons as everything they do seems to turn to dust and y’all should get hipped to the deathtrip. Listen, we all got something that makes us special, and if you can ring one bell and ring it well, we’ll all love ya for it. Dead Skeletons ring a bell nobody else has ever rung, so love ‘em.
The band for this week is Dead Skeletons. They’re important spiritually perhaps more than many of the bands we talk about here because of exactly what it is that they do well. What they do well is death. Don’t’ gimme yer bullshit music industry insider deathtrip bullshit on this one Joe, don’t be writing they’re the Dead Skeletons but they sound so alive. Fuck you and fuck your hack shit because these guys are dead as the proverbial doornail. Their imagery is a clusterfuck of kaleidoscopic eastern philosophy fed through a blender and the songs are empty hollow skeletons of rock and roll, like what Om do, but their songs are a starved Buddha, this is the enlightened remains. Death is something almost entirely excised from our society, death is the inevitable conclusion of the journey of life and to be unaccepting of its inevitability is to be fundamentally spiritually weakened and yet many people hobble on with this cosmic crutch. We don’t see death or the dead very much at all in this world, we cover them up, we hid from them and we don’t have any great wars or crime where we can come to terms with it. What Dead Skeletons do is essentially raise a series of corpses, some newly buried and many in various stages of decay, and dredge them up and then place them on the main float at Mardi Gras. They call them songs, but they’re corpses really. The rotting stench of putrid flesh pervades every silent crevice of this album. Yah sure they look like real humans, why wouldn’t they, they’re the logical next stage, yah sure they occasionally exhibit some energy, but that’s just muscle spasm, there isn’t any life behind the eyes.
The difference between someone in a coma and a dead body is very little to the human senses, that’s how ‘zombies’ rose from the dead in the witchcraft rituals brought to Haiti; so when mainstream rock and roll died, very few people noticed. But instead of burying it when rock was just comatose, we continued to treat the rotting remains like they were just in a deep slumber, all the while unaware of the maggots burrowing their way inside, or that the whole fucking thing was revealed to be just a shell, a vessel for a life-force which had long since flown the coop. Dead Skeletons play the sorta rock and roll that we really all ought to be listening to, funeral procession dirge fit only for rock’s funeral. This is the dismal rain-drenched trudge across the graveyard, clad in black and sombre to lay the corpse of rock and roll to rest, the parts of it at least that didn’t have the good sense to drop dead in the late seventies. It isn’t some astounding mood-piece mumbo-jumbo though folks, it’s intensely personal. Dead Skeletons invite us through their mumbled mantric lyrics to look deep into the void (Nietzsche shit, eh?). Internet buzz goes thus: the songs are all about death because one of the band members was diagnosed with HIV in the early nineties, I can’t confirm but it would go some way to explaining why these tired cadavers of musical pieces are staggering through my town!
It was just after I got my INGNODWETRUST tee (once again, column incoming), and I’d been wearing it for about fifteen days, sleeping and jogging in the motherfucker until it was rank with sweat but I didn’t care. I’d been giving this record an almost constant heavy rotation and was beginning to get a buncha strange looks, either for my Gnod shirt or my constant quivering a feverish obsession with sound, be it headphoned or plugged into the biggest soundsystem I could find. It was in this weird phase that I realised, this is the sound of death. Sure it be psyche rock on the surface except maybe the death rattle vocal prattle which never raises above a disquieting murmur, but it seems to be making people highly uncomfortable; and then it hit me (stampede), this ain’t the zombie train having a dead pride parade down my street, this is what they’re groovin’ to that none of us’ll be able to hear until we cross over. Fuck only knows how Dead Skeletons were able to clamber aboard this sonic caravan bound for eternal bliss in damnation (all the greats are going to hell, as Bangs deftly observed) and remain here long enough to channel it but they do, throughout. If the afterlife is anything, it’s the aussie outback. A vast featureless desert, by turns beautiful and unforgiving, brutal and spiritual. Life is a childhood, perpetuated by snatches of the dreamtime perhaps but essentially a coming of age, death is our real puberty and the afterlife is our cosmic walkabout. You have to spend time in the sonic abyss of sensory deprivation to understand your soul. This is why music is such a vital conduit for gazing into the burning eyes of the Godhead and momentarily contemplating their infinite splendour, a walkabout is the act of tracing yer songlines, music is a part of who we spiritually are, yer heart is beating a rhythm right now in yer chest and your lungs are strummin’ bass in time. Maybe we have to stop all those organic percussions so we can all really grasp what it means for our soul; what, as they say, is the point of it all. Certainly aboriginals were renowned for disappearing without warning and reappearing just as suddenly, having undertaken journeys to other realms in the intervening time, death is an extended trip to the dreamtime and nobody has yet come back. Maybe ‘cuz they’re all jiving to Dead Skeletons…
Written under duress by Steven.