Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Reader on Rabid Rabbit "Suicide Song"

Here is a nice review of the Rabid Rabbit song that I contributed vocals to - "Suicide Song" - written by Miles Raymer and published in the Local Release Roundup section in the new Chicago Reader:


"Suicide Song" b/w "Gnos Edicius"

In 1936 a shoemaker in Budapest named Joseph Keller killed himself. In his suicide note he reportedly quoted the lyrics to a 1933 song called "Szomoru Vasarnap" (usually translated as "Gloomy Sunday") by pianist Rezso Seress and poet Laszlo Javor. Within the year another 17 suicides were rumored to be linked to the song, and soon wild stories spread that put the worldwide "Gloomy Sunday" death toll in the hundreds. In 1968 Seress jumped from his apartment window to his death.

If this sounds a bit like an urban legend, well, I won't argue—the folks at are skeptical—but you have to admit it's also totally metal. Rabid Rabbit thought so too, and the local doom-metal quartet's new cassette single is a very loose cover of the song, performed by an expanded lineup that features guests Michael Zerang on percussion, Dave Rempis on saxophone, Mark Solotroff on vocals, and Bruce Lamont on sax and vocals.

Many of the first recordings of the song sound better suited for a serenade scene in an early talkie than for a long bath with a razor, but in RR's hands "Gloomy Sunday" is definitely miserable enough to push a potential suicide over the edge. Nearly 12 minutes long, it moves from sludge rock to an everything-is-melting psychedelic interlude and then into a vocal part where Lamont, Solotroff, and RR bassist and singer Andrea Jablonski sound like a gang of cenobites performing some sort of macabre musical theater. On the flip side the entire thing plays backward (the tape is actually a continuous loop), which is needless to say even creepier. It's the best artifact yet to come out of the increasingly intimate and somewhat mystifying relationship between Chicago's metal scene and its improvised-music community.