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Halloween Songs


J. Dan

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First - just curious, do any of you do any special songs for the holiday?

 

This year since Halloween is on a Saturday, we have a pretty special Halloween Gig at a Historic Venue, and decided (as we TALK about most years) to do some Halloween Songs.

 

So being an 80s band, we picked:

Thriller - Michael Jackson

Somebody's Watching Me - Rockwell (or Geico)

Ghostbusters - Ray Parker Jr.

 

We were off this weekend, so I scheduled practice for Mon night thinking I'd use the weekend to work on these.

 

Holy Crap I spent all night Friday and all day Saturday just doing Thriller. Howls, Wind, Door slams, Lightning, Organs, Brass, Synth Bass, EP, Osc Hard Sync Bass (on my JP6!), Vincent Price, pads, blah, blah, blah, and I still gotta work on backup vox.

 

I got it passable (still needs a few parts) and moved on to the Rockwell. Gotta say the vocoder part is fun, that one's been easier, but I still need some of the ear candy parts.

 

I haven't even started Ghostbusters yet and Practice is in 18 hours and I have to sleep sometime. But I've done that one before - should be able to nail it out in a few hours.

 

Still have to learn the words and practice them along with playing the Rockwell (I'm singing that one).

 

A lot of work for one weekend! And I still have to put together some video. And I'm in Memphis for Sales meetings half the week. PITA.

 

So just curious if you guys go to such effort for holiday stuff, etc. Weddings are another question. We get paid well for them, but often have to learn songs for them that we generally don't play otherwise - do you guys do the same?

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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I think Halloween is a time for covers in general, or "musical costumes," if you will. This year, a friend of mine asked me to play Halloween with his band, and they're covering the entire Sublime self-titled album. In previous years, my main band, which was an original instrumental band, did something similar. A couple years back we did a re-arranged, instrumental Radiohead tribute on Halloween, which was incredibly successful. Last year we did the same with Pink Floyd, although we decided to go a little more "by the books" on that one, sticking closer to the original versions, and enlisted the help of some talented singers to cover the vocals. Playing Great Gig in the Sky with a singer who can really nail the vocal solo is pretty awesome.

 

I don't think I've ever actually heard anybody cover Ghostbusters. I bet the crowd is gonna love that one.

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Man, Thriller is hard to nail! Our singer couldn't get the phrasing together in a short time, so we gave up. We mostly learn new covers if they are easy to put together, because we're an originals band and our song-writer is pretty prolific. We usually have a back-log of unlearned original songs.

 

I love doing weird tunes for Halloween, even if they aren't Halloween tunes. We're an originals band so doing covers at all is a bit of a disguise.

 

Last year our guitarist put together a Devo costume. We played "Whip It".

 

We did a ska version of "Monster Mash". This year we're doing "Boris the Spider"-- I've always loved that song and I cant wait!

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Man, Thriller is hard to nail! Our singer couldn't get the phrasing together in a short time, so we gave up.

 

Our singer is female, so she has an easier time of it. It's a fairly sparse tune though, and easy to overplay to fill in the space.

We had a buddy come over to jam who's going as Elvis to the party we're doing, and singing Suspicious Minds. He said it sounded really good.

What we record in life, echoes in eternity.

 

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If you want to scare the young girls into thinking they will turn into something 50 years old and hopelessly uncool you could play 'In the Court of the Crimson King' or something from Uriah Heep's 'Demon and Wizards' or 'The Magician's Birthday'.

 

If you want to really give them the creeps go for Peter Gabriel era Genesis or Arthur Brown.

 

If playing John Entwistle nothing wrong with 'You're Mine' from 'Smash Your Head Against the Wall'

 

'Don't Fear the Reaper' is safe as is Kitsch like 'Godzilla' or Ozzy's 'Iron Man'.

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Dan, why don't you guys do some Village People?

 

70's... unless you were talking to DanS

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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We started doing "Werewolves of London" years ago for halloween gigs and then people started requesting it all the rest of the year. I kind of wish that would have happened with the Atlanta Rhythm Section's version of "Spooky" ,a fun tune to jam with, but but it never gained traction beyond the Halloween jobs. I'd love to work up a ska/calypso verion of that old classic, "Zombie Jamboree" but I can't sell the band on it.
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There's always Classics IV "Spooky".

 

These are 80s, yes/no?

Psychedelic Furs "The Ghost In You"

Japan "Ghosts"

David Bowie "Scary Monsters"

Bauhaus "Bela Lugosi's Dead"

Jim Carroll "People Who Died"

The Specials "Ghost Town"

 

Might be a bit to obscure for some of our crowd. Somebody suggested Oingo Boingo - Dead Man's Party. That might be a good one.

 

Had practice tonight, the 3 we're learning actually sounded pretty frickin good after a few times through them. Gotta make some tweaks and add a few more parts (I ran out of time and left a few things out that weren't critical). I also found out that I need more practice singing the verses and playing the organ at the same time in "Somebody's Watching Me" - that screwed me up a few times. I always find those "talking" parts to be more difficult to do while playing than actually singing.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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Man that intro to Ghostbusters is so great. I must say I spent several hours dialing in the creepy 2 note chromatic pedal sound in a MOTIF performance with a little ring modulator, and then put the strings in the bottom half of the keyboard. It was worth it though and sounded great. The second you play that, then the drums fill into the main theme, the audience goes crazy. It's a real crowd pleaser.

 

Also, for Halloween songs, although it isn't a party song or anything, there's always 'The Great Pumpkin Waltz' which is really beautiful and gets me in a real Fall mood.

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Lucky me....for Halloween I get to learn .... wait for it.....

 

J U M P.

 

:P

 

Unfortunately, that's not the only atrocity I get to learn for this weekend.

 

What do you mean Learn? I would have thought you'd be playing that one in your sleep!

 

 

My favorite sound on this batch is the low C# note at the end of Thriller during the Vincent Price part. Pulled out my Jupiter 6 and dialed in some Osc Hard Sync for that one, got it just right, and sampled it.... phat! Can't wait to do it through a big PA with lots O' subs!

 

Ghostbusters will definitely have to be an Audience Participation one.

 

Oh, I also love the Vocoder on Who's Watching Me - the Triton Vocoder came through with flying colors.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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Monster Mash is easy if you have the vocals.

 

Time Warp from Rocky Horror. It's a show tune, but went over well for my band last halloween.

Burt Johnson: I don't drink because drinking affects your decision making.

Arthur: You may be right. I can't decide.

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Lucky me....for Halloween I get to learn .... wait for it.....

 

J U M P.

 

:P

 

Unfortunately, that's not the only atrocity I get to learn for this weekend.

 

In keeping with Halloween, Jump will take on a very sinister sound if you convert all the major chords to minor. Try the intro that way- it's pretty funny.

 

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Lucky me....for Halloween I get to learn .... wait for it.....

 

J U M P.

 

:P

 

Unfortunately, that's not the only atrocity I get to learn for this weekend.

 

In keeping with Halloween, Jump will take on a very sinister sound if you convert all the major chords to minor. Try the intro that way- it's pretty funny.

 

...and use a cathedral organ sound to do it. :thu:

What we record in life, echoes in eternity.

 

MOXF8, Electro 6D, XK1c, Motif XSr, PEKPER, Voyager, Univox MiniKorg.

https://www.abandoned-film.com

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Thriller is a hard song to nail, especially the chorus harmonies. So how about Superstition ;) ? For Halloween, I remember once doing a very slowed down, stupidly funktastic version of it, focusing on the words. People wouldn't dance to this one at first, just watch the band groove. After a mad drums/bass breakdown, the song would speed up and end on a suitably rousing note. Works a treat! [Geddit?]

 

Seriously, for something completely improbable - the singer could actually ham it up for maximum effect - why not try Music of the Night from Phantom? Stripped down to gothic organ, a well-placed cello patch, hauntingly mellow piano, and wind effects, slap bang in the middle of the set, it could go down well. Think Evanescence and the gorgeous Amy Lee . Did I mention she plays keys? :love:

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Lucky me....for Halloween I get to learn .... wait for it.....

 

J U M P.

 

:P

 

Unfortunately, that's not the only atrocity I get to learn for this weekend.

 

What do you mean Learn? I would have thought you'd be playing that one in your sleep!

 

Regarding JUMP, Dan, I've just never had to play it, or was ever in a band that WANTED to play it (which was perfect for me!).

 

I took a sub gig for Halloween, so there's a whole bunch of stuff I've been learning that probably constitutes staples in That 80s Band's set that I've been fortunate enough to never have to play: Jessie's Girl, Jump, some Bon Jovi... I don't mind learning new things, or even a few songs that I don't particularly care for, but there seems to be a preponderance of stuff here that has remained off my radar intentionally.

 

However, I like the suggestions of playing Jump in minor chords with a pipe organ sound! I might as well go full boat and open with half a minute of Toccata in Fugue...in C!

 

Although in its defense, there is one wonderfully squirrelly/strange synth part during the guitar solo; it seems Eddie might have been listening to Abacab a lot during that recording because that synth riff is very Dodo-like, in terms of its weirdness.

Hitting "Play" does NOT constitute live performance. -Me.
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All the pipe organ talk made me think of Ozzy Ozborne - Mr. Crowley!

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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