Alice Cooper finishes a recording session. It’s a dimly lit studio, dark, almost claustrophobic. He looks for the harmonica he had been using during takes, it’s GONE! The shock rocker, known for having his head cut off on stage and feeding Frankenstein’s Monster, suddenly feels his blood go cold. He looked around, the only other people who could have taken it were in this room. He freezes as he hears the distinct sound of furniture moving coming from upstairs.
He then does what normal people would do and bolts out of the house.
Months later he talks to his manager, Shep Gordon. Gordon reveals that the house they stayed on record was the house The Amityville Horror was based on. This is not the first time a rockstar has stayed in an infamously haunted house.
Horror and rock and roll tend to bleed into each other seamlessly. One often influencing the other, from mythical deals with the devil, this blog is dedicated to the times rock musicians have recorded at haunted houses. Along with the nightmares that haunt them to this day.
Black Sabbath- Black Sabbath
The pitch-black shape, with eyes of fire was inspired by a ritual performed by Geezer Butler. The Black sabbath bassist was heavily inspired by the occult. During his pre-Sabbath days in a band called Earth, Butler painted his walls matte black and placed crucifixes on the walls. What could go wrong here? Butler then read a passage from an occult book, he placed the book on the shelf and went to sleep. Upon waking up, he saw the figure described in the opening sentence staring at him from the edge of his bed. The figure vanished, allegedly taking the book with it. The story was recanted to Ozzy Osbourne and from there, the title track that would introduce many to heavy metal was born.
Meat Loaf Bat- Out Of Hell
When recording the album Bat Out of Hell, Hell definitely had plans for Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman. During the recording of his smash hit record, he had a few otherworldly encounters. He saw a woman in white drift past his window. Dismissive, he thought it was a groupie of his producer Todd Rundgren. He also encountered a ghost that opened and slammed drawers shut.
Red Hot Chili Peppers- Blood Sugar Sex Magic
Recorded in the Mansion, formerly owned by actor Peeping Tom Errol Flynn. Producer Rick Ruben bought the place in the 90’s and allowed the Chili Peppers to record there. The sessions were not without their fair share of bumps in the night. Drummer Chad Smith refused to record there as he said, “he felt a presence.” John Fruisciante, the Chilis’ guitar player, perceived the spirits as friendly. Going so far as to perform lude acts “in front of them”, or that was just his excuse to do so.
Nine Inch Nails- The Downward Spiral
Trent Reznor rents a house in Ceilo Drive, in Laurel Canyon, California. What could possibly go wrong? He rented the house that was the site of the infamous Sharon Tate Murders. While surprisingly nothing was out of the ordinary, Reznor felt the band was in the wrong recording there. He met Sharon’s sister who accused him of exploiting her late sister’s death.
Wings- Band On The Run
Paul McCartneys landmark fifth solo record was not without its fair share of paranormal experiences. Leading to the band literally being on the run from strange figures in the night. McCartney after years of recording in Britain, wanted to record in Lagos, Nigeria. He decided to do so to relax during the day, and record at night. Though relaxation was far from the mind of Lagos’s residents. Their country at the time was run by a dictator and added a triple threat of hot weather and muggings, made for a miserable experience. The band was even robbed one night at knife point by five men.
Radiohead- OK Computer
Ever wonder why Radiohead records sound haunting? Look no further than at the experience Thom York and the rest of the band endured when recording their landmark album. They recorded at St Catherines Court; a 17th century Tudor mansion owned by Bond Girl Jane Seymour. These boys, like Bond, were shaken not stirred by the encounters that took place at the house. The band experienced being talked to by spirits in their sleep. After a night of hearing voices, Thom Yorke, as if instructed by some unseen force, went to go cut his own hair.
Foo Fighters- Medicine At Midnight
When recording their tenth record, Medicine at Midnight, midnight activity pursued the band as recording progressed. The group recorded the record at a 1940’s era Encino Mansion. Big Iron gates in the front, dilapidated, spooky looking. During the sessions, Dave Grohl noticed spooky occurrences, guitars being detuned, the sound board moving up, weird recordings taking place. Grohl was inspired so much by it that he made a horror movie, Studio 666, shot in that house.
So readers, for those experiencing bumps in the night, know that rockstars experience them too. A final word of warning, be careful when spinning Chicago records backwards, as something otherworldly rises.