by MIKE CHAIKEN
Musician Argyle Goolsby comes from the school of rock known as horror rock.
A former member of the noted band Blitzkid, and who has played with members of The Misfits, the singer exudes a frightening persona—perfect for Halloween.
But for one day, Oct. 21, Goolsby set aside his rock and roll stage persona to revert to his birth name, Steve Matthews so he could wed Jordan Paoletta.
But befitting his musical interest in the scarier dimensions of his life, Matthews and his bride-to-be chose to be married close to Halloween at The Witch’s Dungeon at the Bristol Historical Society on Summer Street in Bristol.
In a room illuminated in a candlelit worthy dim, the tablecloths were black. There were miniature pumpkins in the centerpieces of each table. The busts of Frankenstein’s Monster, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and a multitude of skulls overlooked the guests in the community room at the Historical Society. And in the next room over, the lifesize statues of the Mummy and Dracula lurked in the Cortland Hull’s famed tribute to old Hollywood horror.
Continuing the old Hollywood horror theme, Matthews and Paleotta were wed by Victoria Price, the daughter of horror movie legend, Vincent Price.
How did a rock musician who traveled the world find this corner of Connecticut and choose it for his wedding?
“I moved up here in 2015 because my fiance Jordan is from Connecticut,” said Matthews.
“A friend of mine lives in New Britain,” said Matthews. “He said now that you’re here, there are some things you might want to check out. He mentioned Witch’s Dungeon.”
“I did some research about it on-line,” said Matthews. “I realized Cortlandt Hull (who founded the Dungeon) was the great nephew of Henry Hull, the actor in ‘Werewolf of London,’ which was one of my all-time favorite movies as a kid.”
“And I realized, (Hull) was playing movies here (at the historical society) on 16mm,” said Matthews. “It was just a no-brainer and we (he and Jordan) started coming here.”
“This is what we’ve been doing ever since,” said Matthews.
Around Halloween, horror entertainment is everywhere.
But Matthews said he likes what Hull has done at The Witch’s Dungeon. “I think (I like) the preservation of these classic movies, which in this day and age are largely forgotten.”
“I enjoy all the haunted attractions as well,” said Matthews. “There’s an element of preservation (here) of these ideas and concepts to these films.”
“There’s so much more than monsters. They’re a representation of an era and a way movies were made,” said Matthews.
“I admire Cortlandt for basically dedicating his whole life to preserving these concepts,” said Matthews.
As for making the leap from watching movies at The Witch’s Dungeon to getting married at The Witch’s Dungeon, Matthews said, “We were here and we were watching a movie. It was intermission and we looked at each other. ‘Let’s get married here.’”
“That’s how it happened,” said Matthews. “It was that simple.”
“We mentioned it to Cortlandt. He was flattered by the idea,” said Matthews. “We was happy to have a wedding here. We just kind of put things in motion from there.”
For the wedding, Matthews said he and Paoletta worked on a theme based around the 1946 French Jean Cocteau film, “Beauty and the Beast.”
“I really enjoy old silent horror movies,” said Matthews. “The film isn’t technically a silent film. But it has a lot of the atmosphere and elements that I find present in those styles of films.”
“Rather than choose ‘Nosferatu’ or ‘The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari,’ which are favorites of mine, we figured it would be more appropriate (to base it on ‘Beauty and the Beast’) because it’s basically… a love story.”
“We felt that would be more wedding appropriate.”
As a member of Blitzkid and as Argyle Goolsby, Matthews’s music mines the universe of horror.
“As a kid I grew up in the Appalachia Mountains,” said Matthews. There, he was surrounded by bluegrass music. He said there’s an offshoot of bluegrass called “Murder Ballads.”
“They’re more grim,” said Matthews. “They’re not gory… they’re just more recountings of things that happen. Most of them are historic acts.”
“Hearing that music as a kid kind of intrigued me,” said Matthews. “It’s kind of scary, but very melodic and very interesting.”
Along the way, he also discovered the music of Screaming Jay Hawkins and Jerry Lee Lewis. Those artists weren’t horror directed (however, Hawkins would arrive at shows in a hearse and rise from a coffin). But the musical sounds of those artists were attractive to him, Matthews said.
Additionally, Matthews explained, his interest in horror was piqued by his upbringing in West Virginia, where there are many cryptozoological tales such as the Moth Man and the Flatwood Monster.
“I was surrounded by all of these whimsical, awesome ideas that worked their way into my songwriting,” said Matthews.
Here are some images from the wedding of Steve Matthews and Jordan Paoletta.
PHOTOS by MIKE CHAIKEN