When Pop Will Eat Itself sang “Alan Moore knows the score” in 1989′s “Can U Dig It?,” they were also referencing — in a small, indirect way — the long, less noticed, pastime of the comic world’s greatest writer. Moore, the author of Watchmen, V For Vendetta, From Hell and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, has moonlit as a lyricist and vocalist throughout his 30-year career. He’s even on the bill for this year’s All Tomorrow’s Parties in London, where he’ll collaborate with experimental doom metal musician Stephen O’Malley.
As comic fans flock to San Diego this weekend for Comic-Con International, which includes the unveiling of Volume 2 of Moore’s Gentlemen, we take a look back at Moore’s diverse musical endeavors throughout the years.
1. The Mystery Guests (1980)
Moore began his songwriting career writing two tracks, “Wurlitzer Junction” and “The Merry Shark You Are,” for avant garde UK trio the Mystery Guests. Band member Alex Green had been a friend of Moore’s since the mid ’70s and, in a glorious conflict of interest, Moore would profile the group in a 1981 issue of now-defunct UK music magazine Sounds.
2. The Sinister Ducks (1983)
Moore and Green would eventually team up with Bauhaus bassist and old friend David J to form the experimental rock band the Sinister Ducks. He already had a writing credit under the pseudonym Brilburn Logue on Bauhaus’s sophomore album Mask. Under the name Translucia Baboon Moore wrote and sang two songs for Sinister Ducks, beginning his long, sporadic writing partnership with David J. [Listen to "March of the Sinister Ducks" here.]
3. Highbury Working (2000)
While penning tracks for various underground groups in the 1990s, Moore, along with other occultists and performers, formed the Moon and Serpent Grand Egyptian Theatre of Marvels and performed various poetry readings set to music. For the third of these monologues, Moore teamed up with producer Tim Perkins to perform as Highbury Working, detailing an investigation by a spiritual policeman (to drastically simplify). [Listen to "Lady, That's My Skull" here.]
4. “Leopardman at C&A” (2008)
Detroit garage rock group the Dirtbombs used Moore-penned lyrics for “Leopardman at C&A,” a song from their 2008 album We Have You Surrounded. The lyrics first appeared in illustrated form in 1996, after Moore had originally written them for Bauhaus, who never used them in a song. [Listen to "Leopardman at C&A" here.]
5. Unearthing (2010)
After a falling out with Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewitt over a planned collaboration for Gorillaz, Moore teamed up with various like-minded musicians including Mike Patton, Stuart Braithwaite of Mogwai and Adam Drucker (AKA Doseone) to record an album of the author’s lyrics — spoken by Moore himself — over various scores. And like Moore himself, the album is bizarre yet, mesmerizing.