The Tiger Lillies, “Living Hell”
I used to listen to the Tiger Lillies all the time in high school, then a fair amount in my first few years of college. They have a song called “Banging in the Nails” (reportedly Edward Gorey’s favorite song) that’s narrated by one of Christ’s torturers as he gleefully and obscenely tortures the purported messiah. It has lines like “I’m crucifying Jesus, in my piss he’s bathed, I think I am a pervert, I think I am depraved.” We once played it on a boombox for one of Mizzou’s crazed street preachers. I’m not sure he understood the lyrics. He mostly shouted down the song like he shouted down the students, and probably shouts down his friends and family, strangers at the DMV, what have you.
I think the Tiger Lillies are from an alternate universe where, rather than becoming a chain-smoking drunk, Tom Waits became a castrato. The same musical interests, the same basic path in life, just… no balls. New voice. Not sure how Kathleen Brennan would feel about that. Hell, I’m not sure how Tom Waits would feel about that. Probably neither would be thrilled.
Today I went to a museum and saw an exhibit about horror that featured, among other things, the Creature from the Black Lagoon’s mask and a typed manuscript of “Dracula” hand-annotated by Bram Stoker. That doesn’t have anything to do with the Tiger Lillies or this song (I don’t know, maybe something tangential about Hell?), but holy fuck, it was awesome. I was with a friend who apparently hasn’t seen “Evil Dead 2” before (we watched a brief documentary on the film while we were there), so that means that I get to watch the “Evil Dead” movies with someone who’s never seen them before. I love introducing people to great, weird films. It’s a rare thrill.
So, yeah. Tiger Lillies. Enjoy that.