True Blood, Episode 10: Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "Frenzy" and a Naked Crazy Town In Peril

Categories: Gothtopia
Alan Ball was known for his masterful use of music in Six Feet Under. He's lost none of his touch when it comes to his current HBO series, True Blood - which happens to be set in the Louisiana swamps, not terribly far from Houston. Though we're picking up midway through Season 2, from here on out as each new episode airs, Rocks Off will bring you a short report on the featured music.

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There's only one episode left in the second season of True Blood, which means that very little of any import happened Sunday. Episode 2.11, "Frenzy," was like Monday Night Raw the week before a pay-per-view: People talked a lot of mess, but you know that it's all just going to be hype for the title fight. We did get to see a vampire play Yahtzee, so Rocks Off can mark that off the list of things we wanted to see before we die, but other than that, it's just more naked crazy town in peril.

So instead, we're going to talk about Screamin' Jay Hawkins, whose song "Frenzy" was Sunday's featured track. Many have been called the father of goth, but none deserve the title more than the boy from Cleveland, Ohio, who recorded the hit "I Put a Spell on You." The original Blacula began rising from a coffin onstage after being paid $300 by an Akron DJ.

The gimmick proved so popular that he began to embellish his live performances with rubber snakes and a smoking skull on a stick named Henry (the skull's name was Henry... it's unkown if the stick had a name). These antics earned him the label of "the black Vincent Price," and also herald him as one of, if not the first, shock-rocker. Until his death in 2000, Hawkins continued to tour, and worked with Goth giants the Cramps and Nick Cave.

There's a legend about Hawkins that trumps almost all other legends in the history of rock music. Hawkins served as an entertainer in World War II - at the age of 13, after forging a birth certificate - and ended up a POW in the Pacific theater. After being tortured for some time, Hawkins was liberated.

According to him, upon being freed he did away with his captor by taping a grenade in his mouth and pulling the pin. Sort of makes Tupac and Biggie look like dying in quietly in bed, don't it? And just to make it a little bit more fun, above is a recording of the song set to some Bettie Page. Now that's Gothtopia!

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