I’m no reader or researcher of serial killers, they hardly interest me. Unlike lots of Chicanos from this part of town who seem to be fascinated with the genre, the less I think about the ugliness of humanity, the better. However, they have been the theme of some great songs, a few examples below.
Sufjan Stevens – John Wayne Gacy Jr
A song documenting the sad evolution of John Wayne Gacy, one of this country’s most notorious serial killers.
His father was a drinker
And his mother cried in bed
Folding John Wayne’s t-shirts
When the swingset hit his head
Sufjan Stevens asks at the end of the song, “And in my best behavior, I am really just like him. Look underneath the floorboards for the secrets I have hid.”
Super Heroines – Night Stalker
Super Heroines were a popular band in the early 80s LA punk/goth rock scene. According to local punk rock historian Jimmy Alvarado, the lead singer Eva was penpals with The Night Stalker. I guess she was taken in by the cheekbones and pentagrams.
Most everyone else in Los Angeles during this time was terrorized by Richard Ramirez. He was dubbed The Night Stalker by the media for his night time criminal activities which included horrific murders and rapes and the infamous juvenile Satanic scribblings he left behind.
I lived in South San Gabriel during his summer rampage, it was an extremely hot brutal summer too. Our family seared in our stuffy house, all our windows and doors were closed and fortified at all times. A few of his first victims were killed a mile away in nearby Monterey Park causing much fear in our household – my mother slept with a bat keeping vigil at night. My mom’s comadre and her daughters who also lived in South San Gabriel swear they were followed home one late night by The Night Stalker after leaving our house. The city was in a state of paranoia and true terror! When his photo and name were announced, we were all taken by surprise. A Chicano serial killer? There was an unspoken sense of collective shame. Imagine how proud we Chicanos and Eastsiders were then, when Richard Ramirez was caught and beat down in good ol’ East LA! Everyone celebrated on that day.
To commemorate the 25th anniversary of this infamous bit of Los Angeles history, my blog compadre Al Desmadre is planning a kick-ass walking tour “..with numerous stops and sights beginning in Downtown’s Skid Row and a trip to the “Eastside”, culminating on Richard’s street of broken Satanic dreams;…Hubbard Avenue in E.L.A.” Sounds interesting, no? Here’s the link for more info: The 25th Anniversary Night Stalker Tour.
Amandititita – La Mata Viejitas
Amandititita, the queen of excessive Mexican diminutives and the originator of anarcumbia (anarchist cumbia) uses her music to explore the everyday life troubles of Mexicans, especially of DFeros. With songs covering everything from metrosexual boyfriends to not fitting in on Mexican television for being too dark and short to this “fun” song about a crazy nurse who befriends elderly women and kills them to collect their dentures.
One last note, while doing a small amount of research for this post, I discovered both Richard Ramirez and John Wayne Gacy suffered moderate head injuries as children, Gacy from a swing and Ramirez had a dresser fall on him. In both cases, some feel there might be a relation between these injuries and the abnormal behavior that followed them into adulthood.