“Zigfreed” is the final song on Bachelors Anonymous’ eponymous six-song album, remastered and re-released digitally. Bachelor Rob Berg tells the story behind the song.
I first became acquainted with Wagner’s Ring of the Nibelung opera tetralogy in the early ’70s. I was twenty years old and living a very San Franciscan hippy life—in a gay commune, near the Castro. It was called “Honey House” because the Kaliflower Food Conspiracy stored their giant honey barrel in our basement.
Somehow our household met this guy Richard—an opera queen with a state-of-the-art sound system and vast collection of classical music records—and he loved to drop acid and listen to records on his expensive headphones. Who wouldn’t?
That’s when I first heard Wagner the way that his music should be heard—LOUD! I was smitten. I had to read everything about the Ring. And I loved the story. I loved the Norse gods. Who knew that, 35 years later, Thor, Loki, and the gang would be grossing billions of dollars worth of movie tickets in the Marvel Universe?
Finally, in 2008–10, I got to see a live performance of the Ring cycle at the L.A Opera, directed by Achim Freyer. It was far from what I had imagined. So many of the singers had masks that covered their entire faces! WTF!
But I digress…. Somehow that Wagner/Ring obsession spilled over into my songwriting in the ’80s. What would a modern Siegfried hero look like? Where would he hang out? Obviously, in a crowded mall! I had often stared surreptitiously at impossibly beautiful young men. They could be gods incarnate—ready to be worshipped under the right conditions—if only the right Hollywood agent would sign them.
When the song was actually recorded for the first Bachelors Anonymous album, it became very dark. Foreshadowing how most heroes meet untimely deaths. As a child of the ’60s, I had lived through the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, and the Kennedy brothers. Then Harvey Milk in 1978. And of course, John Lennon in December 1980.
I was also very inspired by Bowie’s “Ziggy Stardust” character. Thus Siegfried became Zigfreed.
About the Recording
John Callahan interviewed the Bachelors in 1986.
John: There are a lot of sound textures on there, and effects. And I know that you utilize these in your live performances; I’ve seen them. Would you talk a little bit about the kinds of things you included in that particular [song]?
David: Well, at the very beginning you might have heard a sort of a moaning sound, and that was a recording of an owl slowed down and echoed and—
Rob: Backwards. Upside down.
David: At the very end what you heard as it trailed out was an applause track. And then there was a horn at the end of it and that was a corrugated tube that was blown through, like at a football game.
Rob: At the other end of the tube was an oil funnel.
Golden hair ablaze in the solstice sun
The perfect body built for the chosen one
And those eyes so blue, so electric blue
You are the victor, no one else will do
You’re the symbol, you’re the symbol
You’re the symbol of noble truth
You’re the vision, you’re the vision
You’re the vision of heroic youth
O command your forces and lead us on
O take your sword, show us right from wrong
Slay the dragon, slay the dragon
We saw you striding through the crowded mall
They turned and stared at you against the wall
And what are we to do with this vision of art?
Can we be a part of your splendid heart?
Make us free
Free from mediocrity
When I find myself in a negative space
Wish I could manifest your beauty and grace
Just one look in your eyes and I’d know the source
The power to be real, such a positive force
Make us free
Free from mediocrity
You must be
Be the hero of our dreams
Slay the beast
Bring the light back to the streets
Lyrics Reprinted by Permission
See album credits