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When the drugs were still working: Cheerfully insane footage of the Butthole Surfers backstage, 1986
03.10.2016
01:27 pm
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When the drugs were still working: Cheerfully insane footage of the Butthole Surfers backstage, 1986


 
This laugh-out-loud funny footage of backstage mayhem at a Butthole Surfers show was taped at Atlanta’s 688 Club on February 28 1986. It’s probably one of the two or three most sublime (non-musical) moments caught on tape of the Butthole Surfers in their lysergic prime (when the drugs were still working for them and not against them, in other words). It’s right up there with the “Bed In” interviews seen on their infamous classic Blind Eye Sees All home video release from the year before.

I’ve had a copy of this video courtesy of the person who shot it—the late New York-based video artist Nelson Sullivan—who, knowing I was a big Butthole Surfers fan, gave it to me himself just a few months after it was taped, along with the entire show, which is more or less too dark to really enjoy. But the after show hijinks? This is a true classic. If you are a Butthole Surfers freak, trust me on this one. I’ve posted this here a long time ago, but in case you missed it then, well, don’t make that same mistake this go round… Not unless you want to miss Gibby drawing a dick on a mural of Thor or not find out what he discovered when he went lookin’ for “Louis” & Clark.. and other things.
 

 
Here’s something that you have to know to be able to make maximum sense out of what’s going on here: Nelson—who had been invited to the show by then-drummer, Cabbage (Kytha Gernatt)—was behind the camera obviously. However, what you can’t see is that he was attired in an absolutely outlandish outfit comprised of red, white and blue plaid matching bell-bottom pants, vest and cap. It was truly an ensemble that “Rerun” from What’s Happening!! would have been ashamed to wear out of the house. The sight of Nelson—who was probably 37 at the time, but who came off as much older—in this getup was perplexing to say the least, under any circumstances or in any setting, including yes, even backstage at a Butthole Surfers’ concert.

So when you hear Gibby point at the camera and exclaim “Look at this dude, man!” or “What a dude!” he’s referring to the guy behind the camera, who was far, far freakier than him or anyone else in the room that night, I can assure you.

This is absolutely the most hilarious fly-on-the-way backstage footage that I’ve ever seen. Of the Butthole Surfers or of pretty much any other band. But clearly these guys knew how to party extra hard.

Speaking of the Butthole Surfers, there is a new history/biography of the group, James Burns’ utterly exhaustive, nearly 500 page book Let’s Go to Hell: Scattered Memories of the Butthole Surfers published by Cheap Drugs.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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03.10.2016
01:27 pm
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