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We performed this tune on a cable TV show on KTSF before the words were all finalized, a couple of years back way before recording it. Guess we were excited to play it live.

Dr. Vitus Werdegast is the name of Bela Lugosi's character in the early '30s horror classic The Black Cat, directed by Edgar Ulmer. What's more, it's one of Bela's finest acting jobs. I grew up in a high school where Zeppelin was second only to the Grateful Dead. While I enjoy Led Zeppelin--especially John Bonham--Robert Plant's falsetto gives me the creeps. I watched old movies when I was a teenager and listened to the Psychedelic Furs, among other worthy bands ranging from Gang of Four to Camper Van Beethoven to the Buzzcocks to XTC. Kelly was a huge fan of Bauhaus and Peter Murphy--thus "Bela Lugosi Is Dead," a song that will always precede the actor's under-appreciated abilities. Examples: The Human Monster (Dark Eyes of London, UK title), The Bodysnatchers, Mark of the Vampire. Every time I smoked pot in middle/high school, I felt like I was going to die, so I didn't do much of that. The "you," therefore, is my perception of my classmates at that time, however dismissive or exaggerated. Suburban escapism, on everyone's part.


Back then you were a 12-year-old stoner,
You listened to Zeppelin all day,
Zeppelin all day
You thought Jimmy Page was a god.
A double-necked guitar,
A white swan in your arms and swan songs are long.

The Psychedelic Furs were the best band.
They made the '80s melody sad,
Happy and sad
You called me a fag,
You said I didn't know what was rad.
A black shirt ripped in half,
The shirt back read that
"Bela Lugosi's Dead"

"Bela Lugosi Is Dead"
Tell me who that is.
A morphine addict's grin you saw on television.


from Famous People Marry Famous People, released July 11, 2008
Music, lyrics: Greg Giles


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20 Minute Loop San Francisco, California

Original music for the hook-hungry mob, the nervous foot, the jaded indie-phile.

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