Sax Rohmer #1


 Heretic Pride




the Mountain Goats



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"San Bernardino"

Sax Rohmer #1 is the first song on the album Heretic Pride. The song has an official music video directed by Ace Norton, which can be viewed here.

Press Kit notesEdit

Sax Romher #1

Written in my cave-like office in Durham.

Sax Rohmer wrote pulp spy novels, and there's lots about them that's pretty objectionable; The character Fu Manchu is his best known invention.

But there's a feeling of menace and threat in his stories that's kind of addictive, and the tight-frame atmosphere he crafts has a real appeal to it, especially if you're working in a room with concrete floors and without any natural light. Second guitars here, the electric ones, are by Annie Clark of St. Vincent.


Fog lifts from the harbor, dawn goes down to day
An agent crests the shadows of the nearby alleyway
Piles of broken bricks, sign posts on the path
Every moment points towards the aftermath
Yeah ah ah

Sailors straggle back from their nights out on the town
Hopeless urchins from the city gather around
Spies from imperial China wash in with the tide
Every battle heads toward surrender on both sides

And I am coming home to you
With my own blood in my mouth
And I am coming home to you
If it’s the last thing that I do

Bells ring in the tower, wolves howl in the hills
Chalk marks show up on a few high windowsills
And a rabbit gives up somewhere, and a dozen hawks descend
Every moment leads toward its own sad end
Yeah ah ah

Ships loosed from their moorings capsize and then they’re gone
Sailors with no captains watch awhile and then move on
And an agent crests the shadows and I head in her direction
All roads lead toward the same blocked intersection

I am coming home to you
With my own blood in my mouth
And I am coming home to you
If it’s the last thing that I do

Comments by John Darnielle About this SongEdit

  • "[Rohmer]'s kind of a problematic guy to be a fan of - him and Lovecraft both are 'products of their time' if you're being polite or 'total racist assholes' if you're being realistic. So, you know, any fanhood I have of his stuff is mitigated by the way he describes Asian characters ('cunning', 'inscrutable', etc, but that's just the tip of the iceberg) - my wife's from Thailand, I can't be down with tired Orientalisms. At the same time, though, the cartoonish danger-lurking-around-every-corner Fu-Manchu-about-to-invade-England-by-sea world he's imagining has this druggy bizarre filmic quality to it - as landscapes go, Rohmer's have got real depth, and texture, and grain. So a lot of the images in that song are stock stuff of the sort that Rohmer could do blindfolded - agents in the shadows, that sort of thing. In that sense, it's a tribute to his skills. But you always want to keep your distance from a dude like Rohmer. I almost changed the title but thought I should not front, I like to go with my first impulses in writing." -- hipstereo interview

Things Referenced in this SongEdit

Live Shows this Song Was Played atEdit

Videos of this SongEdit