Spooky imagery plays a big role in Phoebe Bridgers’ new album Punisher and her promotional efforts surrounding it. Now she has taken that to the next level for her appearance on The Tonight Show yesterday, where she played “Savior Complex” with a piano-playing ghost.
It wasn’t just any musical spirit, though, as it was Invisible Irma of Los Angeles’ Magic Castle, where Bridgers performed the song. Bridgers sang the tender song while donning a suit and surrounded by holiday decorations.
A 1987 Los Angeles Times story describes the legend of Irma, “Irma was one of seven daughters of the original owners of the mansion, and that because of her eternal practicing on the piano, she was banished to the attic. When the place was converted into the Magic Castle in 1963, Irma’s ghost emerged to play requests on the piano in the music chamber. Though she remains invisible, Irma plays almost any song a visitor can request.”
In a recent Vogue interview, Bridgers was asked about the relationship between ghosts and her music, and she responded, “I think I read a lot of magical realism, and I just think that a world with ghosts is more fascinating, but also it’s very poetic. I think that ghosts don’t have to be people and can also just be trauma. I think that’s kind of the way that I write, like I’m in a ghost story.”
Watch Bridgers perform “Savior Complex” on The Tonight Show above.