Sad Vampire: American Gothic

Way back towards the first of the year I received the honor of being awarded FIRST PLACE in the 2017 Evil Squirrel’s Nest Contest of Whatever. My entry was the story of a horror adventure told by Vlad, King of the Vampires (yes, cute Vlad from Vampire Diary, click here to see it.)

As a prize I was able to pick out something from The Evil Squirrel’s Cafe Press shop. Oh I can’t tell you how delighted I was to receive my American Gothic Bag a few weeks later. I LOVE THIS. I’ll be taking it on my cross country trip from Orangevale, CA to Lincoln, NE this summer. I’ll be taking it to a coffee shop this morning. I’ll be taking it everywhere.

I love this version of “American Gothic.” Oh my goodness have you EVER seen anything so cute? Love love love this. Thank you ES.

To get your own Evil Squirrel’s Nest Bling click HERE.

The first time I saw the Grant Wood painting “American Gothic” at the Art Institute in Chicago I was surprised at how small it is.  It is only 30¾ in × 25¾ inches. I remember walking around a corner and seeing it sort of an afterthought. I thought it would have a larger presence. But in real life it is absolutely stunning. Thank you Grant Wood, for that and ALL of your art. Grant Wood Rocked. Check out the faces in “Daughter’s of the Revolution.” You can’t get better than that.

And more from Grand Wood…

So in my rush to attempt to be clever and creative I took out a pen and pencil and did a quick sketch of “Vampire Gothic.” It took me all of five minutes. I believe Mr. Wood spent more time on the original version than I did on my sad Vampire version.

 

Seriously, I can draw when I want to. No, really, I can. Well, um…

Now I’ll do some shameless promotion. You can get your own Vampire Maman shirts and other items on Red Bubble. Good quality and unique fashion is just a few clicks away. Click Here.

 

Sad Vampire is a semi-regular feature on vampiremaman.com featuring somewhat quick and somewhat sad sketches, but sketches non the less. 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Yes it is complicated (almost as much as a unicorn, a squirrel and a possum going into a bar…)

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Yes it is complicated (almost as much as a unicorn, a squirrel and a possum going into a bar…)

When you belong to a Vampire family the dynamics with other people, creatures, living things in general can get complicated.

My brother Andrew is staying at our house for a few days. He’ll be performing at one of the larger clubs with a semi-well known band (they get some radio play) later this week. Andy is an opera singer but he’ll sing anything in any style with just about anyone if asked.

Last night was a lovely clear evening so we (Andy, my husband Teddy and I) went out on the deck for a glass of wine. Aside from Andy being my brother he is also close friends with my husband. They grew up together back in the days before Teddy even knew what a Vampire was (but that is another story.)

I always had to smile at Andy and his personal sense of style. He was in a velvet vest, white shirt with french cuffs and jeans. His chestnut colored hair fell straight to his shoulders. Of all of us siblings (all 5 of us) Andy was the one who held on to the 19th century we all grew up in more. But that wasn’t always a bad thing.

To make a short story even longer… it is February so the conversation turned to romance. Well sort of.

I wondered how he was getting along with his new girlfriend Shawna.  He’d met her when he’d stumbled upon her camp in Patagonia (yes, THAT Patagonia.) She was digging for dinosaurs. I’m not exactly sure what he was doing there. Andy tends to just wander the world at times when he feels, well, like he needs to. By the way, Shawna isn’t a Vampire. Yes, it is complicated. And yes, she has met our mother which makes it even more complicated.

I asked about Shawna so Andy vented.

“Shawna knew why I’d gone out. It really wasn’t any of her concern. But when I got home she wouldn’t touch me. I assumed she’d understand that I can’t live off of kale and tofu. I need human blood to survive. She couldn’t get past the idea of me drinking blood then kissing her. For God’s sake by then I’d brushed my teeth and we’d had a couple of glasses of wine.”

He looked at us expecting a response but we let him continue to vent. “It isn’t as if I’d had blood dripping down my chin.”

“Give her time,” I gently told him then thought how stupid that sounded.

“I even had a baby unicorn but that ended badly as well,” said Andy.

“What were you doing with a unicorn? Oh my goodness Andy.” It has been years since I’ve seen a unicorn.

“Keeping it for James.” Andy said. James is a friend of Andrew’s. James is sort of nuts but he does lead an interesting life.

I have to admit that one of the cutest things in the universe is a baby unicorn. They’re like tiny iridescent donkeys or maybe a cross between a fawn and a pony, with all of that tiny baby sweetness. Their little hooves look like white mother of pearl. And there are few things as soft as a baby unicorn nose. Oh my goodness they’re precious. Best of all they smell good – like jasmine and roses.

Andrew continued his sad story. “As soon as Shawna walked in the room the unicorn started to cry. I’d forgotten that they’re afraid of humans. And forget the bull crap about being pure at heart. It doesn’t matter. There she was standing in the room with this baby screaming at the sight of her. It was a disaster.”

Yes, love is rare, but not as rare as a screaming baby unicorn. Sigh.

“I can understand Shawna’s fears,” said Teddy.  “I know how repulsive we seem to humans.”

Andy gave Teddy a glare. “Repulsed? How could she be repulsed? I’ve been nothing but wonderful to her. I’ve literally swept her off her feet. I’ve made her feel things she thought she’d never feel.”

Teddy patted Andy on the shoulder. “You’ve made her feel fear. Remember I used to be like her.  It took me weeks, actually years to accept the reality of Vampires and the fact that we’re not completely evil or completely dead. The very idea of a Vampire is more terrifying than, well, than she was to that baby unicorn. Maybe even more so because humans know we’re on the top of the food chain over them. It puts fear and disgust in them like cannibals or serial killers.”

“But if they tried to understand…” said Andy.

“What we do is morbid and disgusting,” said Teddy.

“They drink coffee that has been pooped out of a cat. What can be more disgusting than that?”

“Civets. The coffee is expelled by civets.”

“Whatever Theodore. Humans don’t know anything about us or what we do,” said Andy.

“And we need to keep it that way. I don’t know why you let her know you were a Vampire in the first place. It was a bad move on your part Andy.”

“But…”

Teddy gave Andy one of those looks. The kind that teenagers dread. “Andy, you can’t expect someone to suddenly embrace something they’ve feared their entire life. I don’t care how many times you tell her that you love her. We’re the undead evil, just above zombies and ghosts.”

“Not to mention ticks and werewolves,” I added in.

The soft sound of moving branches distracted us. Climbing up the Italian Cypress to the deck rail came another nocturnal creature. It was Teddy’s possum. For the past year the possum had been making nightly visits and Teddy had decided to make friends with it. He spoke quietly to the soft gray creature and handed him a few raw peanuts he’d put in his pocket earlier. The Possum sat still while Teddy brushed its beautiful coat. She looked at us with her black possum eyes and showed a little bit of primitive sharp toothed possum grin.

Possums are gentle and often misunderstood creatures. Nobody ever hears of a possum attack but people still fear them. Sure sometimes they might have rabies or fleas but for the most part they’re harmless. I wouldn’t recommend you try to pet one or pick one up, but Teddy has a gift with animals and he is a Vampire. And like our possum friends we (Vampires) are also misunderstood.

“You can’t keep a possum as a pet Andy, just like you can’t keep a human as a pet,” I told my brother.

“Shawna isn’t a pet,” Andy said. He scratched the possum between it’s ears as it sat quietly.

“Maybe not, but she isn’t a Vampire. I know you lived with Aurora for almost 50 years, but that was the exception. That was something extraordinary. She never feared us. She never saw us as unnatural,” I said.

Andy looked out at the night sky as if he was looking for Aurora, a woman he’d lived with until her death from old age. She stayed with her until the end, never pressuring her to become a Vampire, never leaving her side. We all loved Aurora. Maybe too much. Despite the heartbreak she was a gift, like all of our dear human friends. We’re sad for her passing but we wouldn’t trade the sadness because of the love.

We all knew Shawna was warming up to the idea that she was living in a world populated by bizarre creatures and strangeness that she could never have imagined. Then again, she studied dinosaurs so she knew about strange creatures that defied imagination, logic and all reason. Time would tell.

I said good night (good morning to us) around 4:00 am to Teddy and Andy. The kids were sleeping due to school and their daytime schedules.

Around 7:00 am, just as the sun came up I was in my dining room, laptop open, glancing out through the windows at the trees. The Possum had gone to her bed, but on the deck rail was a squirrel. This particular squirrel is always out in the morning doing a little dance with jerky movements while his squirrel friends jump through the oak trees like circus acrobats. He stands in the sun and eats from the window box and from the bowl of nuts and seeds I leave for him. He’ll turn his head and look at me but he isn’t afraid – at least not unless I open the door for a closer look or try to take his photo. When I go outside sometimes he barks at me with his odd almost unearthly squirrel voice. I call him my friend, but he’ll never consider me to be in his inner circle. But that’s OK. He’s a squirrel. That is all I need him to be. And he never needs to know I’m a Vampire.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

everybodylovesapossum

So what inspired you to write this odd little story Juliette?

This was my 2014 Entry to the Evil Squirrel’s Nest Contest of Whatever.

A unicorn, a squirrel and a possum go into a bar… to find out what inspired this post in which every single word is absolutely true:
http://evilsquirrelsnest.com/2014/02/03/you-may-already-be-a-winner/

And if you aren’t following the Sharp Witted, Brilliant and Talented Bill Brown and The Evil Squirrel’s Nest you ought to be. 

Squirrels Rock the Goggles

Squirrels Rock the Goggles

For the official back story on Andrew and Shawna go to the links below:

Innocenzio Dantonio

Innocenzio Dantonio

gothic design

http://evilsquirrelsnest.com/2014/02/03/you-may-already-be-a-winner/

I Won The Evil Squirrel’s Nest 2017 Contest of Whatever

 

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The last Vampire Diary involving Shelf Critters has been awarded the WINNING prize for The Evil Squirrel’s Nest 2017 Contest of Whatever. I am so honored.

Click Here for my winning entry (from Vlad’s Vampire Diary.)

Click Here to learn more about the Contest of Whatever.

Thank you so much Evil Squirrel.

As a bonus, in place of the usual Short Story Sunday I’m going to repost my Contest of Whatever entries from 2014, 2015, and 2016.

When you get a chance check out The Evil Squirrel’s Nest Blog and become a friend of the nest.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Around the bar important men and women were meeting over drinks and food.

Around the bar important men and women were meeting over drinks and food.

Vampire Diary: Shelf Critter Theater

Dear Diary,

My young friend Willow, a baby by Vampire terms, asked me tonight about wine, women, and song of long ago when I was Vampire King.

It made me think of when my friend Randolfo and I were traveling to the edges of the civilized world. We were in exotic territories that were not to be found on most maps of the time.

My friend Randolfo said, "Vlad, we should go out on the town and find some beautiful women and drink their blood."

My friend Randolfo said, “Vlad, we should go out on the town and find some beautiful women and drink their blood.” This portrait here is of Randolfo taken 423 years after this tale which I am about to tell you.

 

 

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We arrived at an old castle on the hill where it was rumored there was a tavern. We knew it must be an important place because of the armored guards. We were allowed inside because we were obviously important, and because we were Vampires.

 

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Some of the most beautiful women I had ever laid eyes upon were sharing wine. I knew I’d have blood, and maybe even bring one or two of them back to the castle in which we were staying for a late night snack.

 

 

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As I walked by all of the women looked my way. Women always look when I walk by. I am told that is because I am cute.

 

Around the bar important men and women were meeting over drinks and food.

Around the bar important men and women were meeting over drinks and food. They came from all corners of the Earth. The beautiful women we had passed earlier continued to drink and act like fools.

 

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“Come join us,” said Lady Lynx. “As you can see,” she purred, “we have plenty of food and drink. What brings two such handsome Vampire Lords to our far corner of the unknown world?” The Two-Can added, “We have cases of chili and fruit cocktail. It is the kind with cherries. We also have 3,000 pounds of goldfish crackers from the exotic ponds of Madam Lili. Please partake with us Vampire Lords.”

 

I noticed how drunk the women had become. "What time is it?" Randolpho asked Count Crow. "I believe it is Never More, but you need to go ask Alice."

I noticed how drunk the women had become. “What time is it?” Randolfo asked Count Crow. “I believe it is Never More, but you need to go ask Alice.”

 

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“Seriously Vampire King, you must go ask Alice because I am a lowly bird and do not know how to tell time.” I knew the bird was a liar, as all crows are, but still went in search of Alice.

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We found Alice sitting on a rare and valuable exotic rug by the window. When I asked her about the time she said, “Shirley you jest?”

 

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Then Shirley said, “I NEVER jest. Stop saying shit about me bitch.”

 

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Then a lone skull warming himself on the hearth said, “Does anybody really know what time it is? Does anybody really care?”

 

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“It is almost 2:00 a.m.” yelled one of the Armadillo armoured, I mean Armored guards. You can always count on an Armadillo to tell you the correct time.

 

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“Music,” yelled the Unicorn. “Where is that Rainbow Donkey when we need him?” Then he blew his trumpet and the party became out of control.

 

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Lord Two-Can and Lady Lynx wanted to play some Jazz records but unfortunately records had not been invented yet.

 

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Love was in the air.

 

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I told them to be careful or they would end up in an unfortunate way.

 

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Even one of the guards found romance that night.

 

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Even the Lord Mayor ended up romancing the shy woman who lived in the frame. Before she had ignored him but now she was quite frisky. Tonight love was completely black and white to her.

 

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Suddenly there was a scream. A great beast had grabbed one of the women.

 

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I rescued the woman and disabled the Hell Hound.

 

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The women celebrated and danced in formation, like human flowers.

 

"LAST CALL," yelled the bartender.

“LAST CALL,” yelled the bartender.

 

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By then all of the women were too drunk to drive home. The bartender was mightily pissed.

 

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Then the strange and serious ghostly Woman in White said, “We need Vampire Blood – NOW.”

 

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I turned to see a bloody alter waiting for Randolfo and me. What Vampire had gone before us? We could only guess.

 

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BLOOD BLOOD BLOOD. The sound of their cries shook our very Vampire bones to the core.

 

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We ran, and they ran after us like Zombies. Only they were faster than Zombies.

 

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Then the Hell Hound jumped up and rescued us.

 

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The Hell Hound reduced them all to well chewed bones.

 

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Then an angel appeared and said, “Get the Hell out of here Vampire scum. Go on, don’t be stupid. Get your pretty asses moving.”

 

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When we arrived back at our lodgings my sister told us that we were fools. Then I told her, “only fools fall in love, and we have not fallen in love for anyone.” She was not amused by my joke.

Willow wiped a tear from her beautiful brown eyes and told me that she was touched by my story. After that we went in search of blood, booze and goldfish crackers. We found all in a place with no skulls, or Vampire killers. I think I am beginning to like Modern Life.

~ Vlad

 

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Note: This wild and crazy tale is my 2017 entry to the Evil Squirrel’s Contest of Whatever. Thank you ES for providing the most frustrating and silly contest I have EVER entered in my entire 157 years. Holy Ghost Balls – what were you thinking?

Hope you all enjoyed this silly Shelf Critter adventure. For more information about The Evil Squirrel’s Nest (where all the cool squirrels hang out) and Shelf Critters CLICK HERE.

Previous Contest of Whatever Entries from Vampire Maman (and I love all of these posts):

https://evilsquirrelsnest.com/2017/01/29/the-fourth-annual-contest-of-whatever/

Three True Tales of Terror (with teens, rats and possums)

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Tale #1: High School Horror

This morning as I dropped sixteen year old Clara off at school I saw a girl walking across the parking lot. I know I shouldn’t have, since I am the parent, I said, “She has that geek walk. You know, very fast and deliberate.”

Then Clara looked at me in a cold chilling manner. “She is sooooo weird. Her finger nails are really long.” Clara made a hand motion showing four to five inch long nails. Yikes.

My child proceeded to recount a short list of weirdness. Then she said, “She never shaves her legs. Her skin is super dry. And then she scratches her legs during class. It sounds like this.”

And my daughter scraped her nails against the woven upholstery of the car seat – a loud, heavy, scraping noise. To imagine that was a human leg made me wince.

Then Clara scraped her nails along the pebbled plastic dash board of the car. “Just like this.”

Then she got out of the car with her hundred pound pack full of text books (no lockers for these kids) and headed off to her first class.

On the way home I thought of The Tell Tale Heart.

I know, I’m a parenting blogger. I should have said, “it is ok for a girl to have hairy legs if that is her choice.” But I didn’t. Deal with it.

Scrape. Scrape. Scrape.

 

Tale #2: The Rat

Once upon a time, back before the life I’m living now, for a short time I lived alone in a small shack of a house in the woods.

I was sleeping and awoke to the sound of crashing, and two sets of four feet running through the room.

My small long haired tabby cat Eureka was chasing a rat.

Eureka was named so because I found her. The name is on the seal of the great state of California. It means “I have found it.”

The rat and cat both ran into the storage room, and I closed the door.

There was more crashing and banging. Then it stopped.

Then mewing noises came from behind the door. I opened the door. The cat had the rat trapped between a wall and my sewing machine case.

Now what?

I kicked the sewing machine against the wall, once, twice, three times.

On the third kick the rat flew out and landed dead on the floor. This rat was huge – half the size of the cat.

Disgusted I went back to bed. I’d deal with the rat later.

About an hour later I was awakened by a sound.

“Crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch.”

Eureka the cat was by the side of my bed, eating her rat. Crunch, crunch, crunch.

I’d deal with it later. I pulled the covers over my head and went back to sleep.

When I woke up again there was no fur, no tail, no bones, no rat at all except one foot, something that looked like a kidney, and the head of the rat staring up at me with dark black beady eyes.

 

Tale #3: Not Dead Yet

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The last time my son was home from college he was going through some boxes in the attic looking for vintage vests and ties he could take back to school. He found something else, something I’d forgotten about. What a treat. It was almost like Christmas again.

I will never forget when he looked at me holding the box and asked, “Mom, what the hell?”

My parents traveled to California in 1849. It was the year the great California Gold Rush Started. Among their party were two young women, Martha and Leyna.

Unlike my father, and pregnant mother, Martha and Leyna were not Vampires. Martha had been a young slave who’d been purchased (at the age of thirteen) in 1848 by my mother, and immediately given her freedom. Martha was smart and sweet girl who liked baby blue ribbons and anything to do with roses. Leyna was a sturdy one eyed teen with a black eye patch, and a head full of long blonde curls and pale blue eyes. She was to marry a man in his 40’s but she’d have none of that. She ended up in the service of my mother who appreciated her common sense and sense of humor. The contrast between the small dark slender girl and the Amazon like pale girl was almost extreme, but the two became inseparable friends.

By 1866 my parents had produced five little Vampire children. My brother Andy’s Italian music master was falling in love with Martha. Leyna was happy to be her own woman and running the kitchen. Both were still working for my parents.

Yes, we had a kitchen, for Vampires do eat food from time to time, especially with growing children. Another reason (which has a lot to do with the whole point of this story) is that my parent’s entertained a lot. None of their fine Nineteenth Century friends had any idea that Jeremy and Samantha and their five darling children were Vampires. It was all about appearances.

So during the party season of 1866 strange things started to happen around town. Even the illustrious households like the Standfords and Crockers reported disturbances of the most disgusting manner.

Women reported they’d feel something pulling at their large skirts, only to hear running, and a hissing laugh, followed by a cloud of flies and fleas. Sometimes they’d smell horrible fart like gas, or feel the brush of soft fur against their legs.

From fine homes, to local bars, alcohol supplies started to run low. Someone or something was getting into the supply.

Even our house was not exempt from the strange bad smelling visitor. I could hear my mother talking to my father about it. She said she’d heard of such event near St. Louis.

All the while my brothers and I were watching for whatever being was causing the disturbance. There were rumors of a dwarf escaped from a circus, or Werewolves, or ghosts, or even trained devil dogs.

Then one day we saw them walking along the edge of our house. A large greasy possum, his fur slicked back, and wearing one of my father’s ties around his neck, crept along with his teeth showing, and his dark eyes darting around. He was followed by a small creature who staggered along like a drunk. It looked like a small armadillo. The possum was disgusting, like the drunken dandy Werewolves who thought they were God’s gift to women. The armadillo creature was small and sweet.

Soon all Hell broke loose. The possum was trying to “romance” our cats. Alright, he was trying to mount them. That led to a possum face full of bloody scratches. Our dogs barked but he just flipped him off. Next we chased him into the house where we lost him for a few hours. We found the armadillo creature in a corner curled up around a bottle of whiskey.

The sound of scratching claws could be heard against the hardwood floor. The rank smell, and trail of my mother’s lacy unmentionables, led us to the kitchen.

“Look what that demon spawn has stolen from Samantha’s room,” we heard Leyna yelling.

Martha ran down the hall telling us to help her pick up the mess.

Then my mother appeared in the doorway. She was not happy. “It is called Buster. Martha, Leyna, we must eliminate it. NOW.”

Of course my seven year old brother Val and I started to scream at them not to kill it. We wanted to put it in a cage and tame it. We wanted to have it as a pet. We’d wash it and train it. We’d teach it tricks. We’d be famous.

Mother said NO.

The creature put his head up and looked at my mother with his shining black eyes, then hissed out the words, “Want some tail between your legs beautiful?”

The was a collective gasp, even from the Vampires in the room.

Martha, in a whirl of blue ribbons and lace, grabbed a broom. Leyna grabbed a large cast iron frying pan.

The creature hissed again. “Love it when the bitches get all fired up.” Then a cloud of fleas, flies, and fur swirled around the room.

Martha, Leyna and the possum thing called Buster disappeared into the kitchen. My mother followed, slamming the door behind her.

We stood with our ears to the door listening to the carnage. It sounded like a bar brawl.  When the door opened my mother came out, her hair falling in messy curls down her back, her hands covered with scratches and blood. Martha and Leyna stood in shock.

A possum jaw was stuck in the back of the door, teeth sunk into the wood like nails. The rest of the animal was on the cutting board, a mash up of fur and a long rat like tail. Blood ran off of the surface onto the floor.

“Is it dead?” I asked.

My mother started to laugh. Then Martha and Leyna laughed too, until the three of them couldn’t stop.

“May I have the fur?” Asked my brother Val.

My mother smiled. “Whatever for my darling?”

“I’d like to make a doll out of it for Juliette.”

Val was a darling child.

Then Leyna spoke, “My sweetheart can do taxee-dermy. He’ll make you up a nice dolly for Juliette.”

Val and I jumped up and down clapping our cold little Vampire hands. We couldn’t have been more excited.

A week later Buster came back gutted and stuffed. His eyes had been replaced with shiny black buttons. His jaw and other loose parts had been sewn and wired back on. He was as good as new. And to make things even better Layna had made Buster a fine dress of green silk, with tiny yellow bows. Eventually my mother got tired of Buster’s stinking dressed up corpse and put him away.

As for the armadillo, he turned out to be a rare pigladillo. I would sit with him purring in my lap for hours. He lived to be almost forty years old. Such a sweet thing, even when he was drinking.

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~ End

 

So what prompted me to write three such disgusting and random tales? It is part of the Evil Squirrel’s Third Annual Contest of Whatever.

This is the third year I’ve entered this thing.

There is still time if you want to enter the contest. Just CLICK HERE for the rules.

Thanks Evil Squirrel.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

The Third Annual Contest Of Whatever!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strange Days Indeed (Guest Post from Our Favorite Squirrel)

Great post about one of the best cover songs ever and my favorite Vampire movie….

You can’t go wrong with the Evil Squirrel!

Evil Squirrel's Nest

It definitely doesn't get much stranger than this. It definitely doesn’t get much stranger than this.

It’s the day only a fat, lasagna eating, orange unemployed cat could possibly hate… good old Monday morning!  And at The Nest, you know what that means.  DJ Scratchy and her two little record fetching Sponkies are ready to press Play on the next exciting song in our Top 30 Cover Songs of All Time Countdown!  We’re in the upper echelon of cover song greatness now, and your eardrums have to just be quivering with anticipation over finally getting to hear what lucky song number seven is going to be!  Let the muzak play!

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#7. “People Are Strange” – Echo & the Bunnymen

The Doors were one of, if not perhaps THE predominant American rock band of the late 60’s.  They broke on through not only with a series of multi platinum albums, but with a little help from their audacious frontman…

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