[Creator Corner]

The Bardo Bash by Gramps the Vamp — A Halloween Music Video

Bardo Bash

I’ve long lamented the fact that there isn’t a more developed genre of Halloween music. Beyond a few visionary classics like “Thriller,” “Ghostbusters,” and the “Monster Mash,” most Halloween playlists are filled with songs that are not written for Halloween at all, but just happen to have a lyric about monsters, evil, and the like. While much of this music is wonderful in its own right, I know there are many more Halloween heads out there who would love to hear more music written specifically for our favorite holiday. As a composer and lifelong Halloween lover myself, I’ve made it my mission to try and write music for a distinct Halloween genre.

My band Gramps The Vamp is a retro-horror instrumental collective that has been exploring the dark corners of groove-based music since 2011, combining an eclectic array of influences (like funk, jazz, surf, psych-rock, afrobeat, and ethio-jazz) into something that feels distinctively Halloween. We’ve earned a reputation for our Halloween shows, which grow in attendance every year and have taken us on the road to over 20 US cities from coast to coast. This year, since we can’t perform live, we are excited to present a new song and video filled with Halloween spirit!

The Bardo Bash is a short energetic burst of surf guitar, horns, theremin, and a retro-rock beat that feels like fuel for a 1960s Halloween dance party. It takes after The Munsters theme song, but is harder driving and more sinister. The video for The Bardo Bash, directed by horror-film maker Alaric S. Rocha, is shot in a fitting black and white for the ’60s feel. Starring Chicago comedians Jordan Wilson, Hannah Ingle, and Bobby Sullivan, the video follows a newlywed couple who moves into a house, only to find it infested by a ghost band, none other than Gramps The Vamp! Scares, screams, and a dance party all ensue with a tongue-in-cheek, wry sense of humor and some spooky fun retro camera tricks. I hope this song brings you some Halloween spirit this season and makes your playlists for Halloweens to come!

-Maxx McGathey, Gramps The Vamp

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Maxx McGathey

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Gramps The Vamp is a genre-bending, cinematic instrumental collective that has been exploring the dark corners of groove-based music since 2011. Corralling its eclectic influences (funk, ethio-jazz, surf, afrobeat, psych-rock metal, avant-garde jazz) with a unifying retro-horror/sci-fi aesthetic, Gramps The Vamp weaves tight grooves, heavy thrashes, and epic themes together into a post-apocalyptic dance party. Gramps The Vamp released its debut self-titled LP, produced by Orgone’s Sergio Rios, in 2014. This sample-laden avant-funk album established the Chicago-based group both as a mainstay in the city’s robust funk-jazz scene, and as a group of renegades intent on breaking the mold of the genre. Experimentation continued for its 2016 sophomore effort, The Cave of 10,000 Eyes, a 70’s B-horror-film-inspired concept album that was recently added to the list of “Best Chicago Albums of the Decade” by the Chicago Reader. The seven-piece is now set to release its third record “Keeper of the Void” in October 2020, a 10 song journey into the unclassifiable unknown, the one genre where Gramps The Vamp feels most at home.

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