Assorted Declarations from Editor Tom Graham

I’m a Dead Man (fan)
As the countdown to Halloween marches on, I can’t help to feel the excitement growing inside. I’ve been bombarding my senses with all sorts of spooky surroundings and pumpkin spice overload. Unfortunately, I’m not into visiting haunted attractions anymore. I personally love hopping on a hayride and getting scared while in the pitch-black middle-of-nowhere. But years ago, when my wife decided she was going to threaten a hayride actor with bodily harm if he so much as looked at her again, I decided that my days of scare-seeking were over — strictly for the physical safety of the young part-time actors attempting to scare my wife.

That doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy the season in other ways. I love my scary movies. Classics like Halloween, Friday the 13th, Nightmare On Elm Street are some of my favorites and are usually readily available for my viewing pleasure on AMC, SyFy, OnDemand, etc. Unfortunately, these fright fest marathons seem to have lost some steam in recent years and are now just getting started, halfway through October. And some of these channels don’t really seem to know what horror is. Tremors? Aliens? Lake Placid? Come on!

When it comes to music, I always loved the shock-and-awe showmanship of Alice Cooper. Smoke, snakes and blood — all brought to you by the boogeyman. I must admit when Marilyn Manson took that persona, added a bit of the gore from the Saw movies with a dash of Evil Dead and serial killer lore, I was interested for a quick minute. But I never thought one of my favorite Halloween records would come from a genuine, certified Hollywood heartthrob.

Dead Man’s Bones was a collaboration between actors Ryan Gosling (The Notebook, Driver, Blue Valentine, Lars and the Real Girl) and Zach Shields. In 2009, the duo released their self-titled debut album, Dead Man’s Bones. (Initially, the album was titled Never Let a Lack of Talent Get You Down, which I like much better.)

The two decided to involve a children’s choir in Dead Man’s Bones from the very beginning. The pair recruited a choir from the Silverlake Conservatory of Music, a Los Angeles music education facility cofounded by Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist, Flea. The choir members’ ages ranged from five to 17. The chorus adds yet another creepish layer to songs like “In the Room Where You Sleep,” “Buried in Water,” “My Body’s a Zombie for You,” and “ Flowers Grow Out of My Grave.” Other tracks on the record include the spoken word “Intro,” the cinematic build of “Dead Hearts,” and the indie-rocking groove number “Pa Pa Power.”

The duo has been silent since, leaving fans behind with little hope of hearing another record or the possibility of another live show.

Give it a listen and let me know what you think … if you dare.

Here’s what’s in my headphones this week: Dead Man’s Bones Dead Man’s Bones (ANTI) 2009.
Editor Tom Graham is a musician and singer/songwriter rooted in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Send email to

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