A Cold Moon Shines Down On Every Man

January 6, 2006 at 5:59 am (Uncategorized)

So today’s editions of the New York Daily News contained a story on the murders of Bryan and Kathy Harvey and their two little girls that contained the grisly lyrics to one of Harvey’s oddest songs, “Hey Hey Hey”.

“Who’s that man coming
Says hey, hey, hey, hey
Sharpens his knife singing
Hey, hey, hey, hey
Flashes of pain
Hey, hey, hey, hey
Heartbroken woman
Hey, hey, hey, hey
In the basement
Hey, hey, hey, hey
Begs him for mercy
Hey, hey, hey, hey”

Yeah, ok. It’s an eerie and ironic coincidence. Anyone who’s spent an hour listening to Bryan’s music as a House of Freak could tell you that the guy was steeped in the Southern Gothic literary tradition of folks like William Faulkner and Flannery O’Connor. He was positively fascinated by the folklore of the Old South. Over at AlsoAlso, TJ has a pretty spot-on analysis of Harvey’s lyrical bent that is very much worth a read.

Anyway, the revelation that Harvey wrote some fairly dark lyrics with an unfortunately ironic coincidence during his career spawned all sorts of silliness on the News Channels today, culminating with Dan Abrams on MSNBC asking one of the Daily News’ reporters if perhaps a “groupie” could’ve been responsible for the murders.


First off, thanks to a faulty distribution model in the pre-mp3 age, the album that “Hey Hey Hey” appeared on, 1994’s Invisible Jewel, managed to get fewer than 500 copies into the retail pipeling nationwide. Hell, I’m as big a House of Freaks fan as one is likely to find, and I couldn’t find a copy of Jewel for a couple of years. I finally snagged a copy from a cutout bin Louisville. Anyway, the rarity of that record suggests that there wasn’t any latent Mark David Chapman character out there, reading Catcher in the Rye outside the Harvey’s home on New Year’s Day.

Secondly, a murderous House of Freaks groupie? Forgive my glibness, but if such a thing as that exists, look for Pylon, Love Tractor, and The Connells to go into hiding. Pure silliness.

Here’s what we do know:

1. It wasn’t a murder/suicide. Police have confirmed that they’ve ruled that out.

2. The Harvey’s were subdued and murdered with brutal force by implements within their own house: duct tape, a box cutter, and a hammer. (With that revelation, expect the Daily News to run the lyrics of “When The Hammer Came Down” from Tantilla in tomorrow’s editions.)

3. While there seem to be persons of interest, cops are still looking for leads and a $6,000 reward has been put up for information.

One thing I will mention from today’s round of TV News sensationalism. Former CNN anchorhairdo Catherine Crier has a show on Court TV that featured this story today. She had crimelibrary writer Seamus McGraw on as her main guest, and from some of Seamus’ headlines, he tends to edge a bit towards sensationalism in stories like this. Imagine my surprise then, when Seamus was given some softball questions about the Harveys that could have allowed him to represent a falsehood about this poor family–namely that there are rumors that the family could’ve been killed by a drug addict who was dating a family member that they had intervened on behalf of. Kudos to McGraw though, for being careful in his verbiage, pointing out that the drug angle was one where Bryan and Kathy were the good guys, trying to save a family member from a potentially destructive influence. When Crier brought up the song lyrics, McGraw was careful to mention here too that “those lyrics are probably no more than Bryan’s Southern Gothic influence coming into play” (yeah, he used that phrase). He further went on to say that according to friends and family, once the oldest daughter, Stella was born “it seemed to flip a synapse in Bryan Harvey’s head-a ‘fatherhood’ switch-and he became completely consumed and absorbed with being a loving and doting parent,” implying (as a 1999 inteview did) that becoming a father changed some of Harvey’s deeper and darker thoughts. (Hey, the guy did once write a song like “Pass Me The Gun” about taking care of all the bastards in the world and then deciding he really only needed one bullet…) I’m rambling. It was very good, and I appreciate the press focus on the aspect of the Harveys as being some of the most wonderful folks a person could ever meet.

1 Comment

  1. Torrid said,

    thanks for the link, and the kind words about the piece. Seems many of us are having a terrible time dealing with this. I’m trying to focus on what we can learn from the Harveys, so as not to collapse in yet another burst of tears.

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