My love for the Murder City Devils is no secret. Seeing them at the Great American Music Hall was honestly the best live show I have EVER seen. Even if I remember more of the words to their songs than Spencer does. I crank the volume and rock my face off EVERY time I hear any of their songs. It’s the infectious rock ‘n’ roll that I just can’t resist.
But why would you want to? Just give in.
Art imitates life, and life can also imitate art. And sometimes art imitates art.
Take for instance The Murder City Devils’ “Left Hand, Right Hand” off of their 1998 release Empty Bottles, Broken Hearts.
Not only is “Left Hand, Right Hand” a great fucking song, it’s also telling the story of the 1955 film staring Robert Mitchum and Shelly Winters, The Night of the Hunter.
The Night of the Hunter is the story of the family Ben Harper leaves behind when he is arrested and eventually hanged, for committing a robbery during which two men are killed. Before he is captured, Ben Harper stashes the money and tells his son, John, where the money is hidden.
Ben Harper shares a prison cell with a serial killer posing as preacher, Reverend Harry Powell who tries to get Ben Harper to tell him where the money can be found before Harper is hanged.
Harper’s utterance of a bible verse convinces the Reverend that Harper’s children know where the money is. Upon his release he sets out to marry Harper’s widow and get the children to tell him where their father hid the cash.
This movie is incredible. And I refuse to spoil it for you by going any further into the story. It’s dark, unnerving, and glorious.
So, what IS the story of love and hate?
The Reverend has the words “love” and “hate” tattooed across his knuckles. When he sees young John Harper staring at the words he tells them the tale.
“Ah, little lad, you’re staring at my fingers. Would you like me to tell you the little story of right-hand/left-hand? The story of good and evil? H-A-T-E! It was with this left hand that old brother Cain struck the blow that laid his brother low. L-O-V-E! You see these fingers, dear hearts? These fingers has veins that run straight to the soul of man. The right hand, friends, the hand of love. Now watch, and I’ll show you the story of life. Those fingers, dear hearts, is always a-warring and a-tugging, one agin t’other. Now watch ’em! Old brother left hand, left hand he’s a fighting, and it looks like love’s a goner. But wait a minute! Hot dog, love’s a winning! Yessirree! It’s love that’s won, and old left hand hate is down for the count!”
The Murder City Devils “Left Hand, Right Hand” is a rock’n’roll synopsis of a film said to have influenced great directors such as David Lynch, The Coen Brothers, Martin Scorsese and more. Their song made me want to watch the film. And a damn fine film it is.
In the spirit of Christmas I leave you with the only Christmas song I love. Which is, of course, by The Murder City Devils.
So long as we’re talking Christmas, I would say that a copy of The Night of the Hunter and The Murder City Devils Empty Bottles, Broken Hearts makes a damn fine gift pairing.
Yet another gift set idea: The 2011 New Bizarro Author Series. Not just because I want you to purchase my book (though, I really do) but because it’s Thursday and this is another thing I love dearly. These people, their stories, and the opportunity being given to the eight of us.
The 2011 NBAS is fully eligible for the 4 books for the price of 3 deal. So, if you buy all 8, two of them will be FREE! And you don’t even have to tell the people you give them to that they were free. Or you can keep them all to yourself, and no one will be the wiser.