Vanyaland Premiere: Eddie Japan covers Morrissey’s ‘First Of The Gang To Die’ [ticket giveaway]

Kelly Davidson Photography

This year has been noted multiple times over for its alignment with anniversaries. Classic records released in 1984, 1989, and 1994 have all gotten the retrospective treatment because we all love a nice, round number to commemorate the passing of time. But a year that hasn’t been getting the legacy treatment, just yet, is 2004.

It’s been 10 years next month since Morrissey released his increasingly classic comeback record You Are The Quarry, a stellar effort that arrived seven years after the disheartening Malajusted. It featuring a string of dynamite singles that showed the Mozzer getting his mojo back, including “Irish Blood, English Heart,” “Let Me Kiss You,” and perhaps the more enduring of them all, “First Of The Gang To Die.”

Now as Boston prepares for Morrissey’s live show this Saturday night at the Opera House, “First of the Gang to Die” has been given new life by Massachusetts octet Eddie Japan. The modern rock gang with baroque pop influences has released the single for free download this morning, and we are thrilled to premiere it.

“It’s no secret that Morrissey’s influence hovers above our proceedings,” Eddie Japan frontman David Santos tells Vanyaland. “We’re also known for Latin tendencies via Chris Barrett’s trumpet. ‘First of the Gang to Die’ jumped out at us as the perfect song to record because it allowed us to honor a classic Morrissey song in a way that sounded very much like Eddie Japan.”

Eddie Japan’s “First Of The Gang To Die” is a cover that sounds not just like the original, but like an original. It’s a proper next-step for a band that’s written some very Morrissey-esque song titles (“You Will Find Me Dead In My Comfort Zone,” “A Town Called Nowhere”) and it even comes with very Moz-like artwork, displaying a young Stanley Kubrick, which was created by Eddie Japan singer Kate Connell.

It might even make Morrissey crack a smile.

Listen to “First Of The Gang To Die” below, and be sure to enter to win tickets to see Moz this Saturday night in Boston via Do617.