Here is the second part of my morbid miniseries, written at your eyes from the past.
Singer-Songwriters and Serial Killers, part two – ‘Richard Ramirez Died Today of Natural Causes’ by Sun Kil Moon
From the album Benji (2014)
Sun Kil Moon, the recording pseudonym of Mark Kozelek that rose out the ashes of Red House Painters in the late 1990s/early 2000s, serves primarily as a vehicle for Kozelek’s intricate, personal and time-anchored storytelling and nowhere is this more evident than on 2014’s critically lauded Benji. ‘Richard Ramirez Died Today of Natural Causes’ is a reflection on Kozelek’s movements around the time of Ramirez’s (famously known as the Night Stalker) death at the age of 53 whilst awaiting execution. The song name-checks James Gandolfini, the star of the Sopranos who died (again very prematurely) a few days later, and Kozelek ruminates on the ageing process, how it has affected his childhood friends (prison and death mostly) and the troubles that it is giving him:
I don’t like this getting older stuff
Havin’ to pee 50 times a day is bad enough
Got a naggin’ prostate and I got a bad back
When I fuck too much I feel like I’m gonna have a heart attack
There are many more stories like this to be found on Benji, as well as Sun Kil Moon’s earlier albums, including a personal favourite of mine, ‘Dogs’, in which the listener is treated to (possibly too intimate) details of Kozelek’s early sexual explorations, framed by the eponymous track from Pink Floyd’s Animals.
So thus ends the two week sojourn into a bizarre subsection of American history; normal service should resume next week, jet lag pending.