no cover -  
  • Lyrics
  • Information
  • Top Tracks
  • Related Tracks
  • Related Artist

Sufjan Stevens - John Wayne Gacy, Jr.

His father was a drinker
And his mother cried in bed
Folding John Wayne's T-shirts
When the swingset hit his head
The neighbors they adored him
For his humor and his conversation
Look underneath the house there
Find the few living things
Rotting fast in their sleep of the dead
Twenty-seven people, even more
They were boys with their cars, summer jobs
Oh my God

Are you one of them?

He dressed up like a clown for them
With his face paint white and red
And on his best behavior
In a dark room on the bed he kissed them all
He'd kill ten thousand people
With a sleight of his hand
Running far, running fast to the dead
He took off all their clothes for them
He put a cloth on their lips
Quiet hands, quiet kiss
On the mouth

And in my best behavior
I am really just like him
Look beneath the floorboards
For the secrets I have hid

This is a song about John Wayne Gacy, Jr., an American serial killer. He was convicted of and later executed for the rape and murder of thirty-three boys and men, 27 of whom he buried in his crawl space, between 1972 and his arrest in 1978. He became notorious as the "Killer Clown" because of the many block parties he attended, entertaining children in a clown suit and makeup. From an interview mentioning the song: ... GB: In a strange paradox, even as it describes sexual molestation and murder, "John Wayne Gacy, Jr." has the most tender sound of these songs. What do you see going on in those lyrics? SS: I made a concerted effort to scrupulously evoke the series of events which led to his crime, and, considering the circumstances, that was not a pleasant task. In all the crime novels I'd skimmed and in all the news clippings I read, there was a deliberate obsession with finding the source of his depravity. What went wrong, everyone asked. What made him this way? Was it his abusive father? Was it a head injury? A doting mother? I'm less interested in cause and effect, in terms of human iniquity. I believe we all have the capacity for murder. We are ruthless creatures. I felt insurmountable empathy not with his behavior, but with his nature, and there was nothing I could do to get around confessing that, however horrifying it sounds. Looking back, I see another thing going on here. It's no mistake that the song follows a 9-minute diatribe against the pretenses of commerce, advertisement, and bad art[namely, "Come on! Feel the Illinoise!"]. John Wayne Gacy embodies the crime of disguise in the most human way possible.

Bands you might like

Bon Iver