Musical influence of Art Bell

I’m going to do my best to post a lot before Halloween because indulging in creepiness is one of the things I do best. I have so many creepy books, favorite creepy movies, and creepy sites to share that it would be a shame not to take advantage of this time of the year and write about all the eerie weirdness rattling around in my head.

This entry came about in my typical circuitous “getting lost on the Internet” method of gathering information. I wanted to discuss some really disturbing, dark songs about child predators, and had a specific song in mind, two songs, actually, about a predator assaulting a child and the child seeking revenge, but couldn’t remember the name of the songs or the band that performed them. In my attempts to run the song to ground, I fell into a YouTube hole that completely distracted me from my original goal. I’ll eventually discuss songs about child predation but not today because I found mystery wondering how many songs there are that are inspired by Art Bell’s Coast to Coast AM. (By the way, the band I was originally searching for is G.G.F.H. and the songs are “Little Missy” and “Missy’s Revenge” and while the songs are still outre and upsetting, they aren’t as viscerally disgusting as they were to me when I heard them years ago. I fear I am becoming jaded…)

Discussing Art Bell’s influence on music is really apropos for me this time of year because I always listen to his Ghost to Ghost episodes right before Halloween. I was putting together a playlist earlier this month but when I was searching for G.G.F.H.’s body of work, I found a title that piqued my interest and it turned out to have an Art Bell sample (the Venetian Snares song I discuss below – that is the song that linked me from child exploitation to Art Bell). After listening to the song with the Coast to Coast AM sample, I decided to see how many songs I could find that were influenced by Art Bell in some manner. Art Bell is interesting and somewhat weird in his own right, a man whose life has taken several unexpected turns, and he has been a personal hero of mine ever since he sued Ted Gunderson (who is hopefully right this very minute encountering the Satan he insisted was lurking in every daycare and influencing every politician since Washington) for slandering him as a pedophile.

Art no longer hosts Coast to Coast AM (and while George Noory is okay enough, he lacks a certain edge, I think, that Art brought to the table) but his long tenure on the AM and online radio program featured many bizarre and memorable shows. One of the most memorable was the night a man who claimed he was a former Area 51 employee called into the show in a panic, revealing that the US government was being duped by inhuman creatures posing as aliens from outer space, and that these creatures meant mankind harm. He claimed to be on the run from the federal government and sounded to be completely unhinged by the gravity of his discovery. In the middle of the phone call, something happened to the satellite and at least 50 separate radio stations went dead for around half an hour. Understandably, this caused Art and his listeners to freak out, assuming that indeed the feds were tracking the frightened caller and had interfered with his attempt to share his story. The man behind the Area 51 call eventually called back to Coast to Coast and explained it was indeed a hoax but that he had no idea what had happened in regards to the satellite failure. That, evidently, was just a coincidence. There are some who still believe the Area 51 caller was real and that the later call revealing the hoax is the real hoax, but that is the nature of conspiracy. This episode is called either the “Area 51 Caller” or “The Frantic Caller.”

However real or fake the Area 51 call may have been, it’s now a part of Area 51 lore and anyone who has much interest in fringe or conspiracy culture has likely heard of it. It’s definitely influenced some musicians, famous and obscure. One of the more famous bands to sample the Area 51 call is Tool, in the song “Faaip de Oiad” from the album, Lateralus Faaip de Oiad means “the voice of God” in “Enochian” (the supposed angelic language recorded and likely invented by John Dee and Edward Kelley) – Maynard Keenan is a sort of Renaissance man of the weird and I think he runs a winery now, of all things.

“Faaip de Oiad” doesn’t freak me out the way it does many Tool fans. I think that’s because I’ve heard the source material too many times, and had heard it many times before ever hearing this song. But I can see how this would be jarring or alarming to someone who might not know the source of the jangled, frightened man talking in the middle of the song. I link to this particular video because it has the “lyrics” in the upload notes section.

Also sampling the Area 51 caller is this song from The Faceless. Christ Allmighty, where has this band been all my adulthood? The Faceless is a death metal band out of California (and please cut me slack about genres because I know they’re probably some incredibly arcane subgenre of metal but I’m old and no longer have to care about industrial this and goregrind that) and this song comes from an album called Planetary Duality. Planetary Duality is a concept album derived from the ideas expressed in David Icke’s Children of the Matrix.

I sense a cross-over entry coming up one day wherein I discuss Planetary Duality and Icke’s book. Mr OTC was sitting in front of my whacked theory shelves and I asked him to check to make sure I have The Children of the Matrix and indeed I do. He fetched it from the shelves, thinking I wanted to read it, and he almost opened it. In the house. Luckily I screamed and saved us from what madness lurked within. One day I will take it to the rest stop outside Salado and read it there. But even if I fear Icke’s nonsense like I fear dying in a crowded elevator, I’m still going to listen to this entire album because it sounds amazing. The song with the Area 51 caller, “Planetary Duality I: Hideous Revelation” is short but good, and it’s nice to see that the kids in this band have their alien shit together. The Area 51 caller says in the original recording that the aliens he fears are actually extradimensional beings, which is some Zecharia Sitchin stuff right there, which neatly segues into Icke’s equally interesting ideas (muh reptoids!). I love it when falling into YouTube holes yields finds like this.

Moving on to a different Coast to Coast, Art Bell sample: “All the Children Are Dead.” In 1999, a man called into Coast to Coast, telling a story about his grandfather, who told him that 74 children in a small town in America were murdered and that a thirteen year old boy was responsible as well as maybe demons – the “mutilated corpses” were found in a river near a mill or some such. Here’s the original clip and I just love Art’s “mmmhmm” responses to this insane narrative. This is a completely unbelievable story, but Venetian Snares samples from it effectively to create a very creepy, upsetting song that beats either of the two Area 51 samples cold.

Large sections of the call are sampled. At 1:28 there is the section about the “cylindrical room” where the bodies were found. At 1:42, you hear a slow voice saying, “And he looked at me and he said, ‘Do you believe in monsters? Do you believe in demons?'” Also from the Coast to Coast call, at 6:47, “All the children are dead. All the children are dead.” There are probably more samples but I can’t listen to this sort of music too closely – it frankly makes my head hurt, which is entirely the point, I think. There’s something to be said for music that inspires nausea and pain but it makes it hard for a person like me to investigate the music too closely. I’m not a big fan of the Venetian Snares but I appreciate Aaron Funk’s aesthetic. The album “All the Children Are Dead” is taken from is Doll Doll Doll and the entire album would have fit my initial impulse to discuss music about child predators. The album is devoted to child murder and samples from a number of disparate sources, notably from “The Miranda Tapes” from serial killers Leonard Lake and Charles Ng.

Equally as famous as the Area 51 call, if not more famous, is a clip from Coast to Coast AM wherein Art Bell played a snippet from the infamous Siberian Hole to Hell. According to the the legend (actually, a hoax, but try telling that to half the fundamentalist Christians in America), for some reason Russian engineers were drilling a many-miles deep hole in Siberia and broke through to Hell and recorded the sounds of the tormented and tortured souls consigned to an eternity of misery. Here’s the Art Bell clip wherein he plays the sounds of Hell.

Nahvalr is wholly new to me yet sounds like old school, Norwegian black metal. I dug up a little about the band and evidently the guys in this band, Dan Barrett and Tim Macuga, also make up the band Have a Nice Life. Dan Barrett also went on to make music under the band name Giles Corey, which I have heard of but cannot place at the moment. Given the name, Giles Corey sounds like it would be right up my alley. I should look into it soon. Until then, this Nahvalr song begins with the Siberian Hell Sounds intro from Coast to Coast, and before the hell sounds can begin segues neatly into the song, “Chorus of the Blasphemes.” Maybe a little hokey but it’s an interesting use of a piece of fringe culture.

I am sure the “Transmission of Hell” from the Siberian Hell Hole recording has made it into a lot of metal songs. I know Cradle of Filth used a recording of the sounds in their EP Evermore Darkly, but the Siberian Hell Hole recording is all over the place and CoF’s introduction to the noises comes from a different source. I have to think these sounds and this concept pop up in all kinds of fringe music, possibly even (or perhaps especially) Christian rock. I don’t know though – I haven’t found any other examples but I also am pressed for time at the moment.

I also have to think that Art Bell’s show has influenced more music than I present in this discussion, and if I find more I may append those discoveries to the end of this article. Have you any opinion on these bands? Do you know of more music influenced by Art Bell or Coast to Coast AM? Do you have a favorite Coast to Coast recording (I really love the Malachi Martin interviews)? Share with me!

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