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Beastie Boys and the Butthole Surfers, live on NYC cable access TV, 1984
06.18.2014
07:32 am

Topics:
Music
Television

Tags:
Butthole Surfers
Beastie Boys

Beastie Boys & Butthole Surfers
 
Ah, 1984, back when hardly anyone knew who the Beastie Boys and the Butthole Surfers were, and even a lowly New York City cable access show like The Scott and Gary Show could snag them—because nobody else was booking them yet! This is some kind of retrospective episode of the show (lasting about 30 minutes) in which Scott Lewis and Gary Winter reminisce about some of the show’s most memorable moments. The Beasties appeared in January 1984, not long after their pranky single “Cooky Puss” had made the rounds, and the Buttholes’ appearance dates from October 1984—their first visit to New York. (They popped up on MTV the next day.)

The Beastie Boys were two solid years away from the release of Licensed to Ill, and if I understand their history correctly, they hadn’t really considered doing rap in any serious way yet. Meanwhile, the Butthole Surfers had a single solitary EP to their name when they appeared on the show.
 
Beastie Boys
 
The Beastie Boys are frankly pretty terrible, prompting the thought that a lateral shift from feckless hardcore to feckless rap was a pretty good career move! Mike D. is in charge of the vocals, Ad-Rock is on the guitar, and MCA gamely tries to keep up on the bass. The drummer is Kate Schellenbach, who would later be in Luscious Jackson. Actually, Schellenbach probably has the best moves of anyone here.

How did I miss what an incredible ham/camera-hog Mike D. is? I don’t think I knew that before, I always thought that Ad-Rock was the hammy one. Well, there’s a reason that Mike D. has the mic here, and in the interview portion afterwards, he obstinately refuses to cede control to Scott, forgetting that he’s supposed to speak into the mic he’s clutching for it to function properly. (Side note: It was interesting to hear Mike D. confess that he attended Vassar briefly. I went to Vassar a few years later, and we would whisper this “rumor” that one of the Beasties had dropped out of Vassar…. this was all a couple years before Paul’s Boutique came out.)
 
Butthole Surfers
 
The best adjective for the Butthole Surfers segment is “sweaty.” The Buttholes’ segment is a salutary reminder of the effectiveness of using two drummers—man, that shit works really good. If you have two drummers going at it balls-out, you can flail around on the guitar and throw yourself all over the stage, and it’s going to sound good. (I think Kid Millions has already figured this out.) Also, disrobing is a viable strategy. Gibby has spectacular polka-dotted boxers, and supports someone named Gilbert A. Rodriguez for county treasurer. By the time they’d gotten to October, Scott and Gary had figured out how to superimpose images, so sometimes the footage of the band will fade to an image of a mushroom cloud or something, it’s all pretty rad. Afterwards, Scott asks the audience, “Where else are you gonna see the Butthole Surfers?” and receives the reply “Uganda,” in return.

The commonality between the two clips is obviously Scott’s lack of authority as the host, which is actually kind of charming.
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Butthole Surfers’ Gibby Haynes, college jock
06.04.2014
09:02 am

Topics:
Music
Punk
Sports

Tags:
Butthole Surfers
Gibby Haynes

Gibby Haynes
 
It don’t get a whole lot better than this. Many people have seen that news story from the 1970s of Guided By Voices frontman Bob Pollard throwing a no-hitter in college. Quite recently we posted a pic of a newspaper article about Stephen Malkmus, later of Pavement, from his high school days describing his exploits of playing in a punk band and also playing soccer for the high school team.
 
Gibby Haynes
 
But it turns out that Gibson “Gibby” Haynes of the Butthole Surfers was a star forward for his basketball team when he attended Trinity University in San Antonio. That’s right: The mastermind behind Locust Abortion Technician and Rembrandt Pussyhorse averaged 11.5 points a game and 4.7 rebounds as the starting forward on Trinity’s team. As we can see, Gibby was an “Accounting and economics major,” which makes sense given that he once landed a gig at a top accounting company in the area. Note that he also made the Dean’s List—kids, stay in school and you too can become as upstanding a citizen as Gibson Haynes!
 
Below, the full Blind Eye Sees All live concert video, shot in Detroit in 1985.
 

 
via WFMU and Marc Masters

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The legendary X-rated Butthole Surfers show at Danceteria
05.16.2014
02:39 pm

Topics:
Music
Punk
Sex

Tags:
Butthole Surfers
Danceteria


 
The Butthole Surfers show at Danceteria in early 1986 has become the stuff of legend, but as is often the case, “legends” can be imperfect and are often reported on by someone not even born when the event in question transpired or by someone who didn’t bother to even check a single source other than Wikipedia.

Here’s Gibby’s version, as told to Option Magazine in 1993:

At the legendary Danceteria in New York during the early days of the Butthole Surfers, Gibby got caught drinking and tripping with his pants down. “Ten minutes into the show, I’d put on ten dresses - you see, I used to put dresses on and then tear ‘em all off,” he explains. “But I’d gotten so trippin’ and so drunk. I forgot to put on my underwear. So I got down to my last dress” - he pauses for a well timed hiccup - “and, goddamn it, I was naked. “I looked over at [band members] Cabbage and Kathleen: Cabbage had come out from behind the drums and she had this Fred Flintstone plastic baseball bat filled with urine and was sprinkling it on the crowd. Kathleen was totally naked and bald. And all of a sudden it became like this sexual thing, and there I was with a semi-erect penis onstage, in between this girl’s legs, and about to do this thing. Then it kinda suddenly dawned on me what was going on and I was like, Whoa!”

After the show, the mentally and physically impaired Gibby caused some more trouble. “They tried to pay me and I tore up the check and threw it at the guy,” he says. “And I almost got in a fight with this gigantic doorman who would’ve just thumped me.” He pauses for a well-timed sheesh. “There’s just so many of those kinda things. “But really,” he adds, like a surgeon general, “before anybody goes out and takes a bunch of psychedelic drugs, they should first go and visit Roky Erickson down in Texas. He’s a casualty. That can happen, too, you know.”

 

 
Guitarist Paul Leary told the tale this way to the Phoenix New Times in 1991

The frenzied peak of this touring period came during a gig at New York’s Danceteria club in 1986. The show started out predictably enough. Lead singer-guitarist Gibby Haynes—with economy-size bottle of lighter fluid in hand—was up to his usual pyrotechnics. But then the onstage shenanigans got out of hand—even by Butthole standards.

“I walked around with a screwdriver and started playing samurai with every single speaker,” Leary says without a note of either pride or regret. “And then Cabbage, our drummer at the time, and our dancer Kathleen were taking turns peeing into the tiny hole at the end of this plastic Fred Flintstone baseball bat. They filled it with piss and were shaking it around everywhere.”

By the end of the gig, almost all of the Buttholes were naked, including Gibby and Kathleen, who were fornicating at the foot of the stage with the casualness of X-rated movie actors. Maybe more went on, says Leary, but time—and over consumption of acid—has blurred his memory of many of these seamier shows.

In Paul Young’s book L.A. Exposed: Strange Myths and Curious Legends in the City of Angels, it’s said that Haynes was copulating with a female audience member. Kathleen Lynch, says that no actual fornicating took place. She ought to know (but the video evidence seems less certain…)

Then again, there is Kramer’s account, as told via his pal Macioce in Michael Azerrad’s book, Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground 1981-1991. He was playing bass onstage that night:

In early ‘86 they drove from Los Angeles all the way to New York just to play two lucrative weekend shows at the Danceteria club, only to arrive to find that the second night had been canceled. The band was livid; Haynes got quite drunk just before show time. “During that show it was just complete bedlam,” says Leary, a man who knows from bedlam. After only a song or two, Haynes picked up a beer bottle and viciously smashed Leary over the head with it. Leary’s eyes rolled back in his head as he crumpled on the floor. Then he quickly got up and resumed playing. It was a stunt bottle, made out of sugar. Then Haynes picked up a real bottle and heaved it the length of the room, where it exploded above the exit sign. Soon Haynes had set fire to a pile of trash in the middle of the stage. “And you’re really thinking, ‘Should I get out of here?’” says Michael Macioce. “That was the type of feeling you had - you were* in danger* at one of their shows.”

Then Lynch jumped onto the stage from the audience and began dancing. Macioce then left - it was about three in the morning by this point - but he called his friend Kramer the next day to see how the rest of the gig had gone. “That girl, she pulled down her pants and Gibby started sticking his thumb up her ass!” Kramer told Macioce. He was fucking her with his thumb just back and forth and this went on for like a half hour or forty-five minutes, just like that!” And that was only the beginning. The band had played only five shambolic songs before Leary leaned his guitar against his amplifier, producing ear-splitting feedback; the strobes were flickering, sirens were flashing, the films were rolling, and through the dry-ice fog a couple of open fires burned brightly. “Gibby filled up a plastic whiffleball bat full of urine - he managed to pee in the little hole in the end of the bat,” says Leary, “and made this ‘piss wand.’” Haynes then began swinging the bat, spraying urine all over the crowd. But it didn’t stop there - Lynch, now completely naked, lay down on the stage and Haynes, in Leary’s words, started “mounting’ her. Later Leary saw video footage of the scene. “Her legs are up in the air and there’s Gibby’s pumping butt in the strobe lights and the smoke,” says Leary, chuckling. “it’s really fuckin’ hideous, man.”

In the midst of the chaos, Leary went around discreetly poking screwdriver holes in every PA and monitor speaker in the place. After the show there was a tense confrontation between the Danceteria management and the band. The Buttholes got paid, but they literally walked out of the place backward as the club’s hired goons not so subtly showed them the door. “You’ll never play New York again!” the club’s manager screamed after them. “And we were playing CBGB within two weeks,” Leary crows, “*for more money!”

 

 
Someone on the Internet named JoJo Jones writes:

at danceteria, gibby came out in a bloody dress with a pregnant belly that soon exploded and cockroach confetti sprayed everyone…then he had sex right on stage in the fog with some buxom lass…then get up and ranted on the bullhorn then went back down in the fog…totally nude…blood and roaches. Anyone who says these were not one of the most amazing live shows really knows nothing about the infamous late 80’s nyc shows. There is more to a “show” than music my friend. Danceteria had some license problems after word got out about the live sex. They were soon banned by many clubs and had bouncers all over them at the Cat Club show.

I was actually at this gig myself, but more or less by accident. I wasn’t there to see The Butthole Surfers—I had never heard of them—Danceteria was just where I hung out at that age, so I happened to be there. At a certain point during their set, the buzz about the (literally) balls out lysergic Dionysian insanity that was going on the first floor of the club started to climb the steps and I went down to check it out. My memory of this gig is that Gibby Haynes had his feet and calves up to the knees covered in clay like he was a tree with roots going into the floor and that he was naked otherwise. Maybe he was standing in a potato sack?

Or maybe not. It would appear that my own standing-in-the-audience memory is a faulty one, too, but apparently no more faulty than the conflicting reports and the Rashomon-ish variations in the tale as told by band members themselves and people who, like me, were there that night

I was at the Cat Club show, JoJo mentions, too and it was equally demonic. I saw the Butthole Surfers many, many times in their heyday. The first time was this Danceteria gig. For several years, the era when the drugs were still working for them, rather than against them, the Butthole Surfers were the most fearsome live act in rock, bar none. Their NYC shows were the sort of events you had your drugs sorted out for well in advance!
 

 
Here’s Gibby Haynes telling the story again in 2011:

Ah, there are so many, but one of them was that we were playing in the Danceteria, one of the first of the big shows in New York here, and we went on about 4 o’clock in the morning and we were waaaaasted! The first band had played for about 3 fucking hours and we were ready to play at midnight man! So we had just kept drinking the hard stuff, oh man, we were wasted, and we went on stage and we immediately just took off all of our clothes and just started making noise! I tried to burn one of our amps and it wouldn’t stop working, it was just burning! And I tried to kick it with a bare foot and stubbed my toe! I was totally naked and I remember looking over at Paul was behind the drum kit without any clothes on with 2 drum sticks playing with his dick!

And then I started dancing with Kathleen our dancer and I grabbed her and was like humping her between her legs, and then my dick started to get hard and I was like “whoah this shouldn’t happen!”, so I put her down, and she was like “whoah!” and I walked back to my gear to fuck around with the delays or something and I looked up and there was this guy with a 16mm camera filming this and he was freaking out, and when I was walking towards the camera, my dick was sooo big, I looked like a God! (haha!) That was a crazy night!

Indeed it was, no matter how few brain cells any of us who were there that night have left…

Another account from SPIN, 1990.

Below, you can see a bit of the Butthole Surfers at Danceteria in Jem Cohen’s short film “Witness,” which was also shot in Texas and in San Francisco. Be warned, at the 8:15 mark it might get a little uncomfortable if you’re watching this at work… (Part II is here).
 

 
Thank you kindly, Ken!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘No Slam Dancing’: Black Flag, Dead Kennedys and… Jon Stewart?


Henry Rollins and Greg Ginn during a Black Flag show
 
I’ve read an absolutely embarrassing amount of books on pop music for someone who’s never read Dostoyevsky, and over the years I’ve learned to make my recommendations with care. I’ve found out the hard way that not everyone is as interested in Ronnie Spector’s autobiography as I am (ingrates), and that it’s difficult to convince someone that you don’t have to be a metal fan to enjoy a book on the history of heavy metal. However, I’m completely serious when I say everyone will enjoy No Slam Dancing, No Stage Diving, No Spikes: An Oral History of the Legendary City Gardens—it’s just that universal.

To give you some background, City Gardens was a music venue in the most unlikely of places, Trenton, New Jersey, a city that’s been on the rapid decline for decades. After the assassination of Martin Luther King, riots ravaged the downtown, and even the cops were looting (for welding masks and catcher’s helmets to protect their faces from flying debris). Insurance companies began to drop businesses’ claims, deindustrialization exacerbated unemployment, and suburban flight grew in droves—Trenton, NJ remains a pretty dismal place, economically.

However, where there is a void, there is also opportunity, and a giant warehouse in a rough part of town became the site of a musical oasis, all through the tireless efforts of a few committed fans and staff. The actual City Gardens building had been re-purposed many times before, from a grocery store to a car dealership, but when it was reopened as a disco in 1980, local DJ Randy Now approached the owner, hoping to find a venue receptive to his New Wave tastes. What began as a few weekly dance nights quickly paved the way to booking some of the best bands in underground music.
 

The Descendents in front of their perilous tour bus
 
Before you write off City Gardens as just another scummy punk venue, realize two things. First, the Trenton neighborhood it called home was volatile. While slam-dancing can certainly incur some injuries, to say City Gardens was merely “violent” is an understatement. It saw a lawsuit in 1981, not a year after it began booking bands, when a woman was brutally beaten with a pool cue in inside the venue. And this is to say nothing of the skinhead riot that occurred later. The late Dave Brockie, better knows as GWAR singer Oderus Orungus, said City Gardens was so bad, they’d never go there as fans. Second, when I say “some of the best bands in underground music,” I think City Gardens’ booking philosophy is best summed up in Mickey Ween’s forward when he said, “they did not cater to the audience.”

This was not just a punk or hard rock club. For every Black Flag and Danzig (who had their very first show there), there was a Bo Diddley, Sinead O’Connor, Lydia Lunch, Iggy Pop, DEVO, Bauhaus, The Ramones (who played numerous times), Ricky Nelson, The Violent Femmes, RIcky Nelson, or Toots and the Maytals! The Daily Show‘s Jon Stewart was bartending during a Butthole Surfers set with a topless dancer and some careless DIY pyrotechnics! The Beastie Boys almost didn’t play and got their tires slashed, presumably for being late! Someone threatened to break down the dressing room door to stab Jello Biafra! The chaos and sheer wildness of City Gardens is what truly made it unique, and it even hosted all ages shows!
 

Al Jourgensen of Ministry
 
Co-Author Amy Yates Wuelfing pinpoints the preposterous success of it all:

City Gardens was in the middle of nowhere. Not Philly, not New York, but it was still a big club.  That fact that it was so close, and in the middle this dead zone, made the community of people who went there stronger and tighter. It was almost like college, you saw the same people all the time so they became your friends. That was the main thing for me. And unlike the clubs in Philly and New York, the pretentious element wasn’t really there.

What’s truly captivating about No Slam Dancing is the story-telling—it’s a complete oral history, meticulously collected from the memories and reflections of bands, employees, regulars, and all manner of City Gardens alumni. Over a hundred interviews were conducted to create an amazing compendium of anecdotes, and they don’t pull punches. Not everyone comes off well, and sometimes everything goes wrong, but the spirit of the moment is exciting and ambitious, and it’s all the more inspiring when you realize the entire fourteen year musical renaissance of Trenton, New Jersey was built from the ground up by Randy Now, the hobbyist DJ with a day job as a mailman. It’s an insane story, and I highly suggest you pick it up.

Below, Jon Stewart, Ian Mackaye and others talk about City Gardens in a trailer for Riot on the Dance Floor: The story of Randy Now and City Gardens.
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
‘Entering Texas’: This demented Butthole Surfers video could permanently barbecue your brain
08.29.2013
01:34 pm

Topics:
Music
Punk

Tags:
Butthole Surfers


 
At a time in the ‘80s when hardcore was on the wane and college radio was increasingly dominated by future yuppie-rock arena stars like REM and U2, the Butthole Surfers stuck out like an angry boner. True to their Texas roots, they did nothing small, spiking their twisted but virtuoso experimental punk with heretical genres like acid rock and prog, all half-digested and projectile-vomited onto the burgeoning audience for the music that would eventually come under the catchall of “indie rock.”

The Butthole Surfers were creatively fearless, gleefully unpredictable, utterly glorious. Live performances were overwhelming and often just flat-out frightening multimedia affairs featuring projections of alarming/disgusting surgical footage, a nude dancer named “Ta Da The Shit Lady” who’d reputedly indulge a bandmate in the occasional onstage sex act, a pair of tandem tribal drummers, and vocalist Gibby Haynes recklessly playing with fire WAY too close to the audience (and his own penis). Nothing else at the time came close to that level of danger and excitement, and even when they toned the volatility down after improbably getting signed to Capitol Records in the heat of the ‘90s corporate-alt moment, they still remained one of the key yardsticks by which fuckedupedness was measured.
 
Just when you thought it was safe to wipe…
 
filer
 
One particularly hilarious but not often seen expression of the band’s demented lysergic ethos was “Entering Texas” (a/k/a “The Bar-B-Que Movie”), which surfaced in 1988 on a VHS oddity called Impact Video Magazine. If you can track it down (and afford the punitive, if not downright larcenous prices decent copies can fetch), there’s much to recommend it. Directed and compiled by Alex Winter (“Bill” of Bill & Ted’s Yadda Yadda Yadda fame), it includes segments on Jane’s Addiction, Public Enemy and Bill Hicks, but “Entering Texas” is the tape’s high point. Starring the Surfers as an unhinged Texas Chainsaw Massacre-ish clan that’s enticed an unwitting family to join them for a barbecue… well, just watch it.

Heads-up for trainspotters: See if you recognize the nervous dad.
 

 
If this is the sort of wrongness that appeals to your baser instincts, it may interest you that the band is reissuing its first four albums on vinyl. The press release from their label, Latino Bugger Veil, claims that these will be the first vinyl pressings since the original ‘80s releases on the Touch And Go label (whom, it can’t go unmentioned, the band infamously sued in 1996, a move which cost them significant goodwill in the underground that made them famous to begin with), though CDs and digital downloads have been continuously available. 1984′s Psychic, Powerless…Another Man’s Sac, 1986′s Rembrant Pussyhorse, 1987′s Locust Abortion Technician (the one to get if you can only get one) and 1988′s Hairway To Steven will all be re-released on October 1st. The press release makes no mention of the contemporary Butthole Surfers (a/k/a Brown Reason to Live), Live PCPPEP or Cream Corn From The Socket Of Davis EPs, all of which include some must-have material, but even without the EPs, these four albums, taken together, comprise a crucial document of the development and creative peak of the single most combatively weird band ever to find a mass audience.
 

 
For a taste of their signature weirdness from their embryonic period, we leave you with some rare footage of the band in its early days, in a wonderful performance/interview segment from NYC cable access’ The Scott And Gary Show in 1984.
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
The Butthole Surfers bring the gospel to West Virginia, 1985
01.19.2013
02:42 pm

Topics:
Punk

Tags:
Butthole Surfers


 
Like canaries flying into a coal mine, the Butthole Surfers fearlessly travel the long and lonely stretches of American highways spreading the word of rock ‘n’ roll and clearing the way for others to follow. Bringing light to where darkness reigns. In this case, Morgantown, West Virginia. The year is 1985 and the natives are restless.

Gibby: vox, sax   Paul: guitar, vox    Kramer: bass    King: drums   Teresa: drums.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Cheerfully insane footage of the Butthole Surfers up to no good, backstage, 1986
05.14.2012
09:23 am

Topics:
Music
Punk

Tags:
Butthole Surfers
Nelson Sullivan


 
The late video artist Nelson Sullivan captured this laugh-out-loud funny moment of backstage mayhem 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). It’s right up there with the “Bed In” interviews seen on the classic Blind Eyes See release. I’ve had a copy of this video, that Nelson gave me himself, just a few months after it was shot. This is a classic, trust me on this one. I’ve posted it here before, but in case you missed it then, well, don’t make that same mistake this time… Not unless you want to miss Gibby drawing a dick on a mural of Thor, finding “Lewis & Clark” and… much, much… more.

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 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 a bit older—in this getup was perplexing to say the least, under any circumstances or in any setting, yes, even backstage at a Butthole Surfers’ concert. 

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

 
More of Nelson Sullivan’s unique videos of NYC nightlife in the 1980s can be seen at the 5 Ninth Ave Project on YouTube.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Butthole Surfers live in Austin September 11, 2011
09.12.2011
03:06 am

Topics:
Punk

Tags:
Butthole Surfers
Austin
Emo's


 
Emo’s, Austin’s venerable, historic and aging rock venue, has opened a new state-of-the-art space that launched last night with a classic performance by the Butthole Surfers.

In the early 80s, BHS formed in San Antonio, an hour drive from Austin, and drew inspiration from Austin’s psychedelic musical past, particularly from the Crown Princes of Texas-style mindbending rock and roll Roky Erickson and The Thirteenth Floor Elevators. It seemed karmically ordained that BHS should christen Austin’s newest church of rock.

At tonight’s gig, BHS did what they’ve been doing for the past 30 years: creating sonic shamanistic magic with Paul Leary’s acid-infused guitar licks, looped feedback, gut rattling rhythm from Jeff Pinkus and King Coffey, and lead singer Gibby Haynes’ Echoplexed and bullhorn-mutated vocals. Throw in a diabolical light show and you’ve got a Devil’s brew of rock and roll voodoo.
 

 
Last time I visited with Gibby, he was 30 pounds heavier, I was 30 pounds lighter and we were both 20 years younger. In my case, the weight difference could be the hair.

 
I’m excited by the new Emo’s. It raises the bar for live rock and roll in Austin. It’s got great sound, air-conditioning, a huge dance floor and a stellar staff. I predict that bands from all over the planet will embrace this fabulous new club that offers both the artists and the audience a perfect environment to exult in the power and glory of rock and roll.

Despite the sentimental notions of a bunch of punk rock nostalgists, playing in shitholes doesn’t give you hip cred, it gives you the crabs.
 
I shot this video expressly for Dangerous Minds’ readers and I hope you dig it. Watch it in high definition. And crank up the fucking volume!
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Emo’s East: Austin’s new rock venue gives audiences and musicians some respect
09.07.2011
01:38 am

Topics:
Music
Punk

Tags:
Butthole Surfers
Austin
Emo's


 
The closest thing Austin, Texas has to a CBGB-style rock venue is the venerable shithole Emo’s, a dilapidated, barn-like dump with bathrooms that come close, but not quite, to the urine-soaked hell-holes of Hilly Kristal’s legendary Bowery punk venue.

Like CBGB, Emo’s has established itself as one of the great rock and roll venues in the world and, like CBGB, it’s a lousy place for bands and audiences to experience rock and roll. Fuck street cred, we’ve all outgrown rock venues that charge $30 and more for a ticket and in return offer an environment suitable for firing squads and hangings.

I’ve been pissing and moaning for years that rock audiences are masochists, willing to put up with the worst kinds of settings in which to listen to the music they love. I can’t imagine theater goers, opera or ballet fans lining up to take a shit in port-o-johnnys that are belching methane like over-stuffed plastic cows or suffering through security checks by no-neck thugs looking to find contraband like bottled water and video cameras.

I guess Emo’s arrived at a similar conclusion: rock audiences need to be treated with respect and so do the bands that entertain us.

This coming Sunday, Emo’s will be opening a new state-of-the-art music club with a performance by The Butthole Surfers and I think the new venue will be great for the bands and the fans.

What the audience will pay for (and, hopefully, benefit from) includes elephant bark flooring (great for acoustics and soft on the feet), 100 tons of A/C, a group of tiled bathrooms, three large bars, double sheetrocked walls (again, for sound), a large outdoor smoking patio and 500-plus parking spots.

The bands will kick back in a green room with flat screen televisions, a washer and dryer (life on the road is tough) and shower facilities; and, of course, they’ll have ample tour bus parking with a private back entrance.

For smaller acts, the 1,700 capacity room can be partitioned into one with an 800 cap.

Great for both band and ticket-holders? A 48-foot ceiling that transitions back to a 12-foot height, meaning there is hardly a bad line of sight in the house.

The Butthole Surfers’ gig is a test run for the venue, not its official opening. The fact that the Surfers wanted to do this on the tenth anniversary of 9/11 seems either perverse or perhaps something else…we will see. I’ll be there and get back to you.

In the meantime, here’s Alex Winter’s homage to Texas Chainsaw Massacre featuring Gibby and the boys.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
The Butthole Surfers: The Shah Sleeps in Lee Harvey’s Grave
04.25.2011
10:29 pm

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Tags:
Kathleen Lynch
Butthole Surfers

image
 
Between 1985 and 1989, I saw the Butthole Surfers play several absolutely unforgettable gigs in New York City. They were a swirling, lysergic tornado onstage, producing a dirty, unholy wall of sound that was so utterly unhinged and deranged—and yet weirdly beautiful—that I feared for the sanity of the musicians making it. Few acts I’ve seen before or since have achieved anywhere near the sonic or psychic intensity of an 80s Butthole Surfers gig. With their demonically-possessed go-go dancer Kathleen Lynch (who I have written about here) and the violent bedlam of the music, no other group of the era came close to the brutal skull-fucking they subjected their audience to (except for maybe the Swans and Einstürzende Neubauten, although I’d still give the Surfers the edge).

Let me put it to you another way, who except the Butthole Surfers would hire GWAR as their opening act without fearing in the slightest that they would be upstaged? That’s an achievement! It’s well-known that Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love met at a Butthole Surfers concert and this makes perfect sense.

I saw the Butthole Surfers at the Pyramid Club, Danceteria, CBGBs, The Cat Club, The Ritz, The World, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. A “typical” evening with the Butthole Surfers involved nudity, tearing stuffed animals apart, strobe lights, Gibby lighting his own hand on fire with lighter fluid (he’d stare at his flaming hand like a drooling moron before putting the fire out by sticking his hand down his pants) and then the drumkits.

The last time I saw the group live, it was at The Lyric Theater, a faded 42nd Street porno palace that was about to be torn down. It smelled of semen and bleach and the floors were sticky. The fact that this fleapit was going to soon be leveled seemed to give the band—and the audience—the license to destroy it early.

I have it on good account that the promoter of the show gave lead vocalist Gibby Haynes six hits of acid before this performance, thinking he was giving him enough for the entire band, only to see him pop them all into his mouth at once. Watching him on-stage that night, as the group played a berserk version of Gordon Lightfoot’s folky epic “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” I wondered if he, or the audience, would ever recover.

Gibby screamed into a bullhorn, the dual drummers hit flaming cymbals and they projected 16mm films of bloody operations, people with Down’s syndrome dancing in top hats and tails and a man with a gigantic sombrero that was revealed to be much larger than a house. If Beelzebub himself would have come out to jam with the band for the encore, no one would have been the least bit surprised.

If the music they made in the 1990s is anything to go by, the bad-living caught up to them. After 1987’s Locust Abortion Technicians, they quickly became an uninspired parody of themselves, tarting up their sound to appeal to MTV’s 120 Minutes audience. I’ve had copies of all their albums since and I could seldom get past one listen.

Sadly the brain-crushing early work of the group has become somewhat obscure and I don’t think a lot of younger people know much about them. This is a real pity. Their Psychic… Powerless… Another Man’s Sac (1984) is a flat-out masterpiece. A stunner. Nothing—and I mean nothing—else sounds like it. 1986’s Rembrandt Pussyhorse and Locust Abortion Technician (1987) are also quite amazing albums. Here’s a sampling of some of their finest moments

“And son, if you see your mom this weekend, be sure and tell her….” Listen to one of the Butthole Surfer’s most infamous numbers, a tongue-in-cheek Black Sabbath tribute called “Sweat Loaf”
 

 
My favorite Butthole Surfers song, the bone-crushing “Cherub”:
 

 
Below, a moment edited from the laugh-out-loud funny “Bed In” interview from the Blind Eye Sees All live video. (See complete video below)
 

 
This video somewhat captures the infernal, chaotic insanity of a Butthole Surfers show and you can (more or less) see what Kathleen Lynch got up to onstage with them at about 30 seconds in. Shot in Bremen, Germany in 1987.
 

 
After the jump, backstage with the Butthole Surfers and live in Detroit, 1985.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Space rockers Lumerians play ‘Black Tusk’
12.28.2010
11:42 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Butthole Surfers
Lumerians

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Strangely mesmerizing Bay Area space-rock combo, Lumerians, will be the opening act for the Butthole Surfers shows in Brooklyn this week (12/30 and 12/31) at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. Lumerians’ debut full-length, Transmalinnia, is due in March on Knitting Factory Records. In the clip below, they perform “Black Tusk” on cable access.
 

 
Via Brooklyn Vegan

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Download 911 American Hardcore Tracks From 1981-1986 For Free

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Steven Blush, author of American Hardcore: A Tribal History, has uploaded 911 hardcore tracks of his favorite bands for free.  Some of the artists include: Flipper, Minor Threat, Bad Brains, Minutemen, Hüsker Dü, Dicks, Butthole Surfers, Cro-Mags and more!

Travel on over to 24 Hours of Hardcore compiled by Steven Blush and download the goodness while it lasts. 

Side note from Steven: “COPYRIGHT HOLDERS: I will delete your tracks at your request.

(via Das Kraftfuttermischwerk)

 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
The Beme Seed: God Inside
11.22.2010
04:08 pm

Topics:
Music
Punk

Tags:
Kathleen Lynch
Butthole Surfers
The Beme Seed

In place of the DM talkshow this week, here is a music video for an enigmatic cult band called The Beme Seed that I co-directed in 1989. The Beme Seed were fronted by Kathleen Lynch, the utterly psychotic go-go dancer whose distinctly dada take on the art of burlesque made Butthole Surfers’ concerts so demonically powerful in the 1980s. Although never an official member of the group, she was a major, major part of their reputation for legendary live shows (along with the pyrotechnic cymbals, Gibby’s flaming hand, the films of dental and penis reconstructive surgery, etcetera, etcetera). Kathleen’s inspired go-go dancing was as surreal as it was pagan. At one late 80s New York show I saw (held at The Ritz nightclub, now Webster Hall), she went from sporting a huge afro wig and an extremely hairy “merkin” to being completely naked (and shaved) and then back again, as violent strobe lights provided cover—in other words, it happened in such a way that it seemed like a special effect to the audience—stunning, I tell you. Later in the show, she came out nude, painted gold and wearing tennis rackets on her feet.

For someone who has made an entire career of seeking out oddballs, I’d have to say that Kathleen Lynch, truly, is one of the weirdest people I’ve ever met. But in a good way! There was nothing negative or mentally unstable about her, she was just fuckin’ odd. But cheerfully weird. Her weirdness was organic, not forced, let’s just say. I’d call her a hippie, but she was too punk rock for that. She was a most singular creature, Kathleen, fitting no easy categories.
 
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Above, Kathleen Lynch on the cover the Butthole Surfer’s Double Live album.

Here are a few statements made about Kathleen Lynch by the Butthole Surfers themselves:

Paul Leary - “The whole band got scabies once, and we had to hold Kathleen down and get her medicated. She had decided she didn’t want to kill the scabies because they were her friends.”

Gibby Haynes - We’d roll into a town, I was booking the shows, we didn’t know where the clubs were. We’d literally pull over somebody and say, “Hey, where do the queers hang out? Where’s the college area?” Just follow the queers to the club. We played the Celebrity Club in Atlanta when RuPaul, Lady Bunny, and all the other drag queens were hanging out there before they all moved to New York. It was this weird, artsy, funky, disco crowd in Atlanta that for some reason liked us. Kathleen was friends with this friend of ours from Atlanta.

Teresa Taylor (AKA Teresa Nervosa) - Later we met Kathleen again in New York. She was working for Sex World in Times Square. She was known as Ta Da the Shit Lady, she could really control her shit. We took her on the road as our dancer and started building the whole package. She was kind of into her spiritual thing; she stopped speaking for a year, and I asked her why, and she wrote down that God had told her to take a vow and stop speaking. She loved the human body, smells of the human body, dirty socks, urine, things of the body were really beautiful to her, b.o. was beautiful, and we had a hard time making her bathe. I remember once we pretty much had to hold her down and do her laundry, and she was yelling, “no, no!”

Paul Leary - We were at a house and we watched Kathleen perfectly pee a spoonful of urine without spilling a drop, she put that teaspoon of urine into a pot of old dried macaroni and cheese, and that’s when this drag queen came in and started eating the dried macaroni and cheese with that spoon and we were like, Felicia, didn’t you just see Kathleen putting her pee in that pan? She said, “I’m eating on the side.”

Jeff Pinkus - We all went down to Key Largo—it was one of our first vacations that we actually took as a band. We decided to go snorkeling, but Ta Da stayed on the boat with the captain. We come back and the captain of the ship was just looking at us like we were all crazy, and we couldn’t figure out what was going on, he wouldn’t talk to us. Later we found out that when we were in the water Ta Da had thrown up and had diarrhea at the same time. She had the diarrhea in her hand and she threw up into the water. She said she was feeding the fish.

Paul Leary - “What’s my resume going to say? For the past 12 years I’ve been touring with someone who shits in their hand and feeds it to the fish in front of a bunch of people?”

Okay, I think you must get the picture by now. (So, she was a little eccentric. Haven’t we all shit in our hands and fed the fishies at least once in our lives? No?)

When I met Kathleen, I think she was paying the bills by being a professional dog walker, but she’d been a “live nude girl” at Sex World in Times Square. That’s where she got her evocative nickname. Since I’m sure this has already been told elsewhere (and because it’s so damed funny) here’s the gist of it: She was working, had eaten some Chinese take-out and gotten food poisoning. While with a customer, she had an “accident,” which caused the poor guy to run out of the booth, exclaiming what had happened. The octogenarian woman who owned and ran the place—one of old skool 42nd St’s more memorable characters—could be seen there daily wearing a mic around her neck the way Bob Dylan wears his harmonica, hawking her live nude girls over the PA system. Without missing a beat, she started hyping, “Step right up guys, ta-da, it’s the shit lady!”

I heard that story directly from Kathleen, herself. I recall being in tears from laughing so hard the way she told it.

So the Beme Seed. I don’t know much about the actual band. I think they were actually broken up at the time we made the video and may have reformed with different members later. The music of Beme Seed was psychically disturbing and featured a lot of chanting and quasi-formless guitar feedback. They sounded really evil and their live show was like a LOUD seance. (The closest comparison I can think of is the early Virgin Prunes). They made three albums for the Blast First! record label, who also distributed Sonic Youth, Butthole Surfers, Afghan Whigs and Big Black and disbanded for good in 1992.

The entire budget for the “God Inside” video was around $60 bucks. It was co-directed with a friend of mine named Alan Henderson, who was also the editor. Although it may seem very “so what?” by today’s standards, the digital layering on this video had only recently made possible, due to the introduction of what was then a brand new digital video compositing computer known as the Abacas A-62 (which cost $160,000 at the time—Alan and I were both working in a high tech digital video post-production facility and used their expensive equipment off-hours). What Alan did was to feed an signal through the device and then he could control the level of feedback via an analog video switcher while he controlled the output. (Such was the level of technological advancement 21 years ago. Now, of course, After Effects is a million times better than anything available then for a fraction of the price).

We considered the “God Inside” video an homage to Kenneth Anger, albeit one with tiny, tiny budget. Kathleen herself, initially at least, was not down with this treatment for the song, but she also didn’t want to turn down a professionally produced music video, something she knew she’d never be able to afford otherwise, so she went with it. (Her idea, which surprised me when she told me about it, was to use all found footage and archival films of people doing nice things for each other—a nurse helping a patient, someone pushing an elderly lady in a wheelchair, uniformed school crossing-guards with children—and I was like “What?” She also told me that the song was about the female orgasm and masturbating, so the “happy people” concept was a real disconnect for me).

The costume, as such, consisted of Kathleen painting her naked body white, wrapping tin foil around her teeth and cutting a lock of hair from her head and gluing it to her chin. She also had these yellow, almost glow in the dark, strands of fake Halloween costume hair which she glued to her arms. The overall effect, I think you’ll agree, was striking. I also had something I really wanted to shoot for this and that was Kathleen emerging from water like some sort of sea creature. To get this shot, we got up at 4:30AM and hightailed it up to Central Park for sunrise and hoped no one would be around. Kathleen was wrapped only in a sheet. There were a few joggers, but we got the shot.

In the studio, we shot take after take, especially of the lip-sync. I wanted her to do the speaking in tongues part at the end and really go to town on that, but each take was too subdued. She complained that we were working her too hard, but I insisted. Finally, I think she was so mad at me, that she let loose and did what I wanted and you can see this in the final video. As soon as that was in the can, we turned off the camera and went home.

When the video was finished, I showed it to Kathleen and she cried tears of joy. Then she asked me if I could leave the room and she watched it several more times alone. She really loved it. However, later that night when I showed it to the young woman I was living with at the time, she was so freaked out that she asked me—I’m not kidding—to remove it from our apartment! (Turn it up loud, so it seems extra infernal!)

Needless to say, a music video featuring full frontal nudity was never going to be shown on MTV or anywhere else for that matter. The “God Inside” video, made 21 years ago, for all intents and purposes (a few crappy YouTube versions aside) is being premiered here now. I hope you enjoy it, if that’s the right word…

Beme Seed (The Book of Seth’ at Julian Copes’ Head Heritage)

Beme Seed MySpace page

How Did It Come to This? An Oral History of May 3, 1987: The Day The Butthole Surfers Came to Trenton, New Jersey (The Rumpus)

Previously on Dangerous Minds:

Bongwater: The Power of Pussy

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Gibby Haynes on Fox News Channel
05.29.2010
01:19 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Butthole Surfers
Gibby Haynes
Fox News Channel

 
Ummm… Err….

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment