Music Reviews

Butthole Surfers

Butthole Surfers + Live PCPPEP

Latino Bugger Veil / Revolver

Repackaged shock-punk hardcore classics from the best-named band in the land, this release couples Butthole Surfers’ two first EPs, both on Biafra’s Alternative Tentacles, and adds four unreleased tracks to the set for good measure. Some may know their eponymous 1983 debut under then-name Brown Reason to Live, but whatever, it’s the same EP and the same tracks on here. And what a great debut it was! The world hadn’t heard anything like it up to that point, and it’s unlikely anything similar will pop up again. Butthole Surfers drag their twisted hardcore punk through hell and back, moving from the furious “The Shah Sleeps in Lee Harvey’s Grave” to the frantic “Bar-B-Q Pope” and the twilight zone boogie punk of “The Revenge of Anus Presley.” Gibby Haynes screams and frowns like there’s no tomorrow, and Paul Leary’s guitar cuts and bites like it’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre all over again.

Live PCPPEP, from 1984, revisits many of the same songs, and while those versions aren’t as unequivocally overpowering as the originals, there are still enough madness and audience harassment to keep things interesting. An offensive, uncompromising agro-punk attack that shows Butthole Surfers as the furious and hungry young band they were.

The bonus tracks may not be equally interesting as what has come before, but are certainly keepers and not worth skipping through. “Gary Floyd” and “Matchstick” are great outtakes from Live PCPPEP, “Sinister Crayon” a nice Public Image Limited-ish outtake from the first EP, and we get a less-intriguing demo version of “Something.”

Butthole Surfers redefined hardcore punk, and took it to a whole other level of sheer weirdness and frantic aggressiveness. Their songs are fucked-up anthems for a new generation of hardcore punks, one that moved beyond sheer sloganeering or alcoholic celebration, to celebrate social disorder and angst. This is where it all started, and it’s worth getting just for that. Magnificent and volatile, with passion and purpose.

Butthole Surfers: http://www.buttholesurfers.com


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