Of all the strangest headlines for my blog, that is currently in the lead. This is the story that an American indie-folk band, the aforementioned ‘Mountain Goats‘, have recorded a new album entitled Goths. The launch was promoted with the release of the track ‘Andrew Eldritch is moving back to Leeds’.
Frontman John Darnielle explained the bizarre title, telling Stereogum:
This song began its life on a 1973 Guild while I was at the beach a couple of summers back; I wrote the first verse and the chorus and then I put it away. In the darkness of my desk-drawer it gathered strength and plotted its return to the surface …
In the lyric, I imagine one of my teenage heroes, Andrew Eldritch, returning to the town where the band worked and played when they were young. His friends give him a hard time about ending up back where he started, but not because they’re mad: it’s good to see an old friend wearing the marks of time on his hands and face like well-loved tattoos.
So shall it be in these times: your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions, and Andrew Eldritch, whose music has reached spirits in every corner of the globe, will move back to Leeds.
As any dedicated Sisters fan/stalker will tell you, Eldritch never truly left Leeds – at the last General Election, the sporadically updated website of the legendary Goth-apologists had a message urging those in Leeds to vote Labour, as the band would be doing so.
The green-biro brigade swear blind he still keeps a base of some description in the People’s Republic despite his long-held affection for The Mainland – no doubt only enhanced in these post-Brexit times.
Still, I liked the reference to ‘old friends in Motorhead jackets’, I’m sure even the Paramount Leader would approve of such awareness.
Any factual inaccuracies aside, the song – and the album – seems to refer to what bassist Peter Hughes calls those “whose gothic paths were overtaken by the realities of life”. As I’m still merrily two-stepping down my own dark path, I’ll consider this a bizarre artefact that shows just how widespread the influence of bands like The Sisters of Mercy is – and what unusual results can emerge!