Homicidal Music


Really, is there anything better than homicidal music? I don’t mean better than anything. Of course homicide itself is way more fun than just listening to songs about it, but unfortunately, most of us lead sheltered lives and can’t let our darkest fantasies run wild.

This is a great song, “If I Had a Gun” by a great new singer. Her name is Diana Jones, and she’s 45 years old. She has an interesting history. She was adopted and never knew her real parents. Moved around the Northeast a lot as a kid, ran away from home at 15 and lived on the streets for a while, then to dead-end jobs, and finally she got accepted at a major university.

She got a degree, then went into an MFA program at another university. Later she wandered around Europe, the whole time painting and playing folk songs trying to sound like Bob Dylan and Joan Baez.

Around 10 years ago, she decided to look up her birth parents. It was hard to do, but she finally found them in Tennessee. She went to visit them, and there they were, people who looked just like her, mountain people. Her grandfather took her to Great Smoky Mountains National Park where they have a redone old village.

There they bought an Alan Lomax album. Alan Lomax was an interesting guy. He was a professor at a university, a musicologist who wandered around recording “forgotten music,” especially folk music.

They were listening to the songs, called mountain music, on the way home, and to her surprise, her grandfather knew them all. Turns out he had been a mountain music musician. That got her interested in the genre, and she has been recording mountain music ever since. The phrase mountain music is hardly known, but this type of music is better known as “old-time music.”

This is is the original American folk music.

It goes back to the early 1800’s and possibly even prior. Its roots were generally in English, Scottish and Irish folk music, and you can hear some of that in this song. The banjo is an essential instrument in this genre, and it has an interesting history in the US.

Most of us think that the Black contribution to US music began at the latest in the early 1900’s with Ragtime. Not the case. The banjo in the US was originally a Black instrument, modeled after some sort of an instrument used in Africa.

In Appalachia, Black musicians introduced the banjo in the early 1800’s. There are not many Blacks in Appalachia now, but there were more back then. There were few if any slaves there, even though most of the Appalachian states were slave states. In the Appalachian parts of these states, there was no use for Black slaves.

Many Black slave runaways probably ended up there after taking off from plantations in Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky and Tennessee. Once you got into the mountains, probably nobody was going to find you anyway, and the mountain folk didn’t care about runaway slaves. These areas were very isolated. Many people never left their small Appalachian town in their lives, and most outsiders never went there.

Old-time music was biggest in Appalachia, but it was also present elsewhere, such as in New England, the Midwest, the South and the West. Since these other areas were less isolated, old-time music tended to go out as people were exposed to newer styles, but the remoteness of Appalachia allowed the music to continue on into the 20th Century relatively unchanged.

Old-time music is folk music, but it is not country or bluegrass music. But! Both country music and bluegrass music came out of old-time music. What’s fascinating is that we never think of all the all-White, redneck country and bluegrass music as being even remotely Black-influenced, but if they both came out of Black-influenced old-time music, there is even Black influence in the Whitest of American music.

I’m not too wild about folk proper, and a lot of bluegrass leaves me cold, but this song is killer! I’ve never heard a woman write a song about murdering her abusive husband before – what a great topic!

Her guitar? A 1967 Gibson. What else?

Further, it’s an excellent rejoinder to “Hey Joe,” the great song by Jimi Hendrix.


Another great homicidal song is “Violence” by Mott the Hoople. Mott was only one of the greatest rock bands of all time, but almost no one has heard of them these days. They were a pretty big underground band in the 1970’s, and their albums Mott and The Hoople were pretty big hits, but then they broke up. Ian Hunter later went solo.

Viiiii-o-lence, viiiii-o-lence, it’s the only thing that’ll make you see sense!

Well, of course. Once you’ve experienced violence up close and personal, you will respect if for the rest of your life. That’s how it makes you see sense.

I’m a missing link, poolroom stink, I can’t talk (Well that’s too bad) What’s going on, something’s wrong, I can’t work Can’t go to school, the teacher’s a fool, the preacher’s a jerk (Well that’s such a drag) Got nothing to do, street-corner blues, and nowhere to walk Violence, violence It’s the only thing that’ll make you see sense Gotta fight, nothing’s right, livin’ nowhere (That’s so sad) Watch out for the gun, snake on the run, hide in my hair You keep your mouth shut, or you’ll get cut. Haha – I like to scare (Bet you’re so mad) I’m a battery louse, a superstar mouse, I don’t care Get off my back or I’ll attack, ‘n I don’t owe you nothin’ (OK) Head for your hole, you’re sick and you’re old ‘N I’m here to tell you something Violence, violence It’s the only thing that’ll make you see sense


From the punk era, there was “Homicide” by 999. Great song!

I believe…in homicide!

Resign to it…


Sorry for this morbid post, but I was in a killer mood tonite and I could not resist.

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16 thoughts on “Homicidal Music”

  1. Homicide itself is way more fun than just listening to songs about it?

    Surely you jest, Mr. Lindsay…

  2. Without checking the wiki entry, I’m pretty sure the fiddle was more emphasized in mountain music than the banjo, which came to the fore in bluegrass.

  3. If you want to read a great little book about the American folk music revival in the ’60s by one of it’s “artist’s artists” find a copy of John Fahey’s How Blugrass Music Music Destroyed My Life. I don’t remember any reference to bluegrass at all. It’s about his rather dismal post-WWII childhood and how forgotten Mississippi delta bluesmen like Skip James and Ishmon Bracey were rediscovered and exploited, but were too dumb and drunk to care because they were getting more co-ed pussy than they could handle. Actually, there’s more to this book than that. It’s full of dark humor and well wrought road weary wisdom.

    One of my all time favorite homicidal music tunes is “Twilight Zone” by the Dutch rockers Golden Earring. After this l982 hit they never returned to tour the US, but they never stopped playing Europe and they have remained essentially the same band they were when they started out as kids in l962. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AwKw6BsrlZM

    1. Dang, I’ve been listening to that song for almost 30 years now and I never even knew it was about homicide. Golden Earring is ok. As you can maybe tell, I’m a glam guy. I’ll be stuck in a 1970’s glam timewarp for the rest of my life, lol.

  4. I love that old time music. It’s got a much higher profile since the ‘O Brother where art thou’ film, and there are some artists in that vein like Gillian Welsh and the Handsome Family who are very good and getting a quite high profile these days. There’s traces of it in the big-selling Alison Krauss/Robert Plant collaboration. Alison Krauss is basically bluegrass, though she doesn’t ‘do it for me’. I used to think bluegrass was just about banjos honking away at 100 miles an hour till I discovered the singing side of it. If you haven’t heard the Stanley Brothers, rectify that – 16 Greatest Hits is the best collection. Ralph Stanley is still alive and performing in his 80s and more respected than ever now. Also try Flatt and Scruggs ‘the Mercury Sessions’, and Bill Monroe’s ‘Mercury Sessions’ – he’s the ‘father of bluegrass’ and is more of an acquired taste, but worth acquiring. Try the Osborne Brothers and Jim and Jesse McReynolds. Steve Earle made a great album, the Mountain, with bluegrass stalwarts the Del McCoury band.

    I’ve been racking my brains to think of a good murder song, but nothing’s coming up. I’ve always felt that gratuitous violence and sadism are not well served in popular music lyrics – even black metal or death metal are pretty tame compared with what the movies can get away with – Saw for instance. I suppose the record companies worry about getting into trouble for incitement, what with all that fuss from the Christians about hidden messages if you play vinyl records backwards – ” blow up the twin towers on 9/11″ If vinyl was still in use, they’d have found that on a Marilyn Manson record by now. Talking of Manson, you’d think with a name like that he at least could come up with a song about torturing people to death, but I haven’t heard of one. Come on record companies! There’s a whole demographic out here that aren’t being served. Who’s going to be first with an album of ‘Horrible Ways to Kill People’. Could be the next big thing.

  5. Oh that last post was me. Keep forgetting to check if WordPress remembers the right name.

    1. Got a new name, huh? Or is that the handle you use when you are feeling homicidal? LOL.

      I kind of like Jock McTrousers. I had a good friend by that name back in high school. Funny guy.

  6. You’re kidding me? Someone REALLY called jock mctrousers? It’s not a new name for me. When the internet was a novelty, I used to use a different name for every blog, because I just like making up silly names, then I got lazy, then Lafayette and jock sort of stuck because I lingered longer on the sites I use them, like this one. jock is the name I usually use on UK lefty sites now. Some of the HP zionists that I’ve wound up over the years have a theory that I’m also someone called Rowan Berkeley. I dunno, maybe I AM in some sense – maybe we’re ALL Rowan Berkeley.
    Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac had a single out (sung by Jeremy Spencer, their Elmore James afficianado) called ‘ Someone’s gonna get their head kicked in tonight’.

  7. i really dig old time music, although i listen to a lot more bluegrass.

    roscoe holcomb is a good example of how that old time music was truly unchanged all the way through up until maybe the 1960s-1970s (just a guess).

  8. Jimi actually disliked “Hey Joe”. He would refuse to play it sometimes. It was his breakout song, given to him to play by the ex-Animal band member that “discovered” him, the late Chas Chandler.
    It wasn’t Jimi at all.
    Jimi was a hit in England first. That’s where he ended his career too, composing his own stuff in the same apartment where Handel lived.
    His girlfriend waited too long to call the EMT’s after she found him laboring to breath around the puke.
    They didn’t help matters either, propping him up in a chair and leaving him there for a few minutes.

  9. Did you hear about that gay guy in Germany who took out a personals ad in a gay paper for someone willing to let him kill and eat them? Someone answered the ad and got eaten. I don’t remember exactly how they caught up with the Teutonic cannibal, but after he was arrested and jailed Rammstein wrote a song about it. The police refused to release any video evidence to them so they performed it in a Grand Guignol “Sweeny Todd” sort of way. Of course, I’m a huge Rammstein fan even though they stole their whole growling in German schtick, and the Kasimir Malevich Suprematist “Black Cross” logo, from the uber savvy Slovenians in Laibach.
    Rammstein – Mein Teil [trans My Piece] (Live in Nîmes, France)

  10. Whodareswings – hate to tell you this man, but the guy ate some of the other guy while he was still ALIVE, starting with his PENIS, ‘cos that’s the way the EATEE wanted it.

    1. Yes, he cooked his dick in a frying pan before he ate it, but he said it didn’t taste good at all, and especially it was very hard to chew. Many others have reported that cooked human penises don’t taste good and are hard to eat. I think they probably need to be cooked in a very special way.

  11. One time aeons ago I was watching the Steve Allen Show on the family TV and The Jim Kweskin Jug Band were guests. They were the farthest out people I’d ever seen. Their jug player, Fritz Richmond, was wearing perfectly round granny glasses the lenses of which he told me decades later had been cut for him by a stained glass window maker in Cambridge, MA. He said within weeks of his appearance on TV John Sebastian and Janis Joplin were sporting granny glasses, too. Fritz was in town accompanying ex-Kweskin bandmate Geoff Muldaur. I cornered him after their gig to ask him about Mel Lyman. When Steve Allen asked the Kweskin band to introduce themselves Lyman told him his name was “Swami Orooni.” Allen was often called “Steve Orooni” by his ensemble of comics so that’s probably why Mel introduced himself in “Vauti.” (“Vauti” is a
    hipster lingo invented by ’40s era jazzbo Slim Gaillard who used the “orooni” suffix a lot in his catchy nonsense songs). But back to Mel Lyman.
    He was a clawhammer banjo picker, not a wind-up Bluegrass showboater like Eric Weissberg and Marshall Brickman. He was also something much much more. He was God. http://www.trussel.com/f_mel.htm

  12. Robert wrot:
    ” Many others have reported that cooked human penises don’t taste good and are hard to eat. I think they probably need to be cooked in a very special way”

    No way.
    Someone once said he was taking a piss @ a Neil Young concert and Ol’ Neil entered the men’s room, took a piss, then left without washing his hands.
    I’m glad I’m not his roadie.

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