“Deep Red Bells” by Neko Case

“Deep Red Bells” tells us about Case’s memories growing up in Tacoma, Washington while serial rapist and killer, Gary Ridgway aka “The Green River Killer” was actively committing his crimes in the area.

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Neko Case's Deep Red Bells at Lyrics.org.

He would charm his victims, usually prostitutes or girls who ran away from their homes, by showing them a photo of his son and gaining their trust before getting them to have sex with him. He would then proceed to murder them, sometimes while engaging in intercourse with them.

In an interview with The New York Times Magazine, Case said that she “don’t want to be a spoiler for the listener” and that she “want(s) people to feel able to make the song their own” when asked about the open-ended lyrics about “Deep Red Bells”.

My assumption, however, to what “Deep Red Bells” could possibly relate to would be, given the inspiration behind this song, a bloody clito*is. With further reference to “deep as I have been done”, it could translate to forced penetration, i.e. rape, which could cause bleeding.

lyrics to Neko Case's "Deep Red Bells"

Ridgway would bury his dead victims around the Green River, and purposely contaminates the burial grounds to throw police off. Sometimes, he would also dig up buried bodies and transport them elsewhere. The longer a body stays buried, nature would soon grow over it, and animals like the fawns would graze it.

Gary’s Victims

Noting Ridgway’s choice of victims, Case sends a sympathetic note to them with “Does your soul cast about like an old paper bag/ past empty lots and early graves?

This brings about a sadness to think that they were chosen because there had nobody who cared about them enough to know if they were missing, which is probably the reason why Ridgway got away with it for a long time.

“Deep Red Bells” Details

Primary Artist(s): Neko Case
Album/EP: “Blacklisted”

Credits for “Deep Red Bells”

It was written by Neko Case. Neko also worked on the track’s production along with:

  • Craig Schumacher
  • Darryl Neudorf

What Genre(s) is “Deep Red Bells”?

It belongs to the alternative/indie genre.

Deep Red Bells

More about Gary Ridgway

Gary Leon Ridgway is the real name of the American serial killer popularly known as The Green River Killer. He was convicted of 49 separate murders in the United States, one of the highest real murders by a serial killer in America’s history. His first five victims were found dead in the Green River, making the media nickname him the Green River Killer. 

Before his arrest and sentence, he worked as a painter for thirty years and married three times. Although he was a religious enthusiast, most of his painting customers were sex workers. The Green River Killer’s murder spree began in 1982. At the time, many prostitutes and underage runaways were reported to be missing in Washington. He was responsible for their disappearance.

Gary would capture his victims and bring them to his home, where he would sexually abuse them and strangle them with his hand and ligatures. After his victims were dead, he would dump their corpses in forested and remote sites in south King Country. He would often return to the corpses to abuse them again.

On November 30, 2001, he was arrested for murdering four women. All four cases shared a link to Ridgway through DNA test matches. He received life imprisonment without parole in 2003.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may also like...