I don’t remember how Jake and I got on the topic of Siouxsie and the Banshees one night hanging out at my digs on the east side of Manhattan in 2017. I knew that he had had some exposure to Siouxsie Sioux through the show Hannibal, which he’d introduced me to, because she composed the song “Love Crime” for the finale. Still, I’m not sure what ultimately prompted me to ask Jake if he’d liked or heard of Siouxsie and the Banshees, but his answer was “no.”
Jake and I have known each other since high school. Our families live literally a block away from each other. We didn’t really become tight friends until reconnecting in our twenties through Ben, a mutual friend from high school. I got into Siouxsie and the Banshees in 2016, when I started getting into The Clash, punk, and new wave. The combination of her gothic style, theatrical performances, and outrageous showmanship did it for me. I was still very much into her by the time I asked Jake about her.
I don’t know why out of all her songs I chose “Kiss Them for Me” for Jake’s introduction to Siouxsie and the Banshees. Though in time, Jake and I would listen to many Siouxsie songs, like “Dazzle,” “Hong Kong Garden,” “Spellbound,” “Dear Prudence,” and “The Passenger,” it was “Kiss Them For Me” that we heard first. To the sound of a tabla banging and Siouxsie singing baroquely, Jake seemed skeptical if not outright confused by the song selection. He looked like he had never heard anything quite like Siouxsie and the Banshees before that moment and wasn’t quite prepared for her sound as a result. “This is how I would imagine people reacted to rock n roll back in the day,” Jake later said.
Soon, his look started to change. His eyes began to light up and he started to smile. He was starting to get behind Siouxsie and the Banshees. Jake said, “I feel like I’m at an Indian wedding on acid.”
That day, I watched as my friend became a believer in Siouxsie. Years later, in 2019, walking around the lower east side, I spotted a totally rad Siouxsie Sioux shirt. I texted Jake a photo of the shirt, and he replied, “kiss it for me.” I did one better than that. I bought it.
(Song recommendation by Douglas Menagh)