“There Are Too Many Vampires In This World”: King Dude at Valley Bar, Downtown Phoenix

king dude again

Photo credit: David Martínez

On Sunday, October 4, 2015 I saw T J Cowgill, aka “King Dude,” perform live for the first time. He and his band were on tour promoting his 2015 album Songs of Flesh & Blood—In the Key of Light. Since 2010, King Dude has largely depended on bandcamp to distribute his music, slowly developing over multiple albums and dozens of songs an impassioned following of his Luciferian folk vision. Despite a fascination with God’s fallen angel, Cowgill has less in common with the likes of Ozzy Osbourne—whose alleged Satanism is more comic than serious—and more of an affinity with Nick Cave and Tom Waits. King Dude’s songs evoke a lost world in which prayers are not answered and religion is completely demystified. There are no miracles in King Dude’s world; there’s only the randomness of fate and one’s will to endure.

king dude

Photo credit: David Martínez

“The Silver Crucifix” is the last song of the recent release, a plaintive ballad about an irrecoverable loss. The lyrics do not reveal the object of this cry for relief, only that the singer doesn’t “wanna live in this world…Without you.” As for the crucifix, does it belong to the singer or the one sung about? It’s ambiguous on that point. However, its smallness symbolizes its emptiness and powerlessness to heal the hurt that is driving the singer to reject living in this world. “There are too many vampires in this world.” Yet, the song is far from bleak. Its words and melody turn the upheaval of loss into an object of beauty. The silver crucifix may not be able to “fix this old world,” but this song may soothe your heartache. I hope you enjoy the video I recorded:


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