SfDB was a recorded 3-hour song cycle, a series of performances, and a collection of photos and texts about nostalgia in popular music and cultural memory, with textual examples ranging from the “golden age-ism” of various Greek and Roman authors, to the Biblical account of Eden, Chuang Tzu, the Mahabharata and other non-Western sources, to T.S. Eliot and various other 20th C. authors’ writings on the decline of arts and civilization. The project culminated in a mock-burial performance at Ann Arbor’s WORK Gallery, complete with 300 pounds of dirt shoveled onto the floor, band wearing funeral attire, flowers and other memorials offerings.
The title of this project comes from a little nugget Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards offered up in a 1997 interview with Toronto Sun writer Jane Stevenson, widely repeated since then in gossip columns across the globe and online. When asked how he felt about Elton John’s reworking of his song “Candle in the Wind” (formerly a Marilyn Monroe tribute) for the occasion of Princess Diana’s death, Richards described John as writing “songs for dead blondes.”
The band MEPHI played these songs at various locations in Detroit and southeast Michigan between 2003-2005. The band’s original lineup included Joe Genden (drums), Jay Friend (guitar), and John Woodruff (electronics) who initially organized the group.
Songs for Dead Blondes live studio recordings (2004) – Selected songs from the original three-disc cycle, edited for length and recorded mostly live, with some overdubbing, at 40 Oz. Sound in Ann Arbor, MI. With with: Jay Friend (guitar), Mike Dundon (bass), Jeff Porter (drums), and Ben Began (engineer).
Songs for Dead Blondes original demos (1999) – selected tracks – Recorded in various basements. With: Andrew Phillips (lead guitar), Tim Williams (engineer), Ben Began (engineer)