Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Butthole Surfers—
Independent Worm Saloon


Released 1993 on Capitol
The Seth Man, May 2000ce
In the mid-eighties The Butthole Surfers were the latest layer of rich Antediluvian silt on the raging river bed of Texas rock and roll, setting upon the almighty bedrock of Pee Wee Crayton, Buddy Holly, The Bobby Fuller Four, The Elevators and ZZ Top. And this album showed a vicious return to form after the 1990 misstep “Pigoud,” a total abortion in contrast to their previous albums. But this album did raise a cry of “Sell out” from many purist fans who dismissed it as a mere ‘rock’ album, and none of them were able to turn a blind eye to the Capitol Records logo and (therefore) weren’t about to listen to it. It’s to the eternal credit of guitarist Paul Leary that this album has so many truly spastic and orgasmic rock outs, four of them gonzo-Krautrock punk workouts of the extreme. “Dancing Fool” is one of them, where Leary leaps to the microphone screaming, “I AM THE DISCO KING!” over a ravaging, near-psychotic take on “Mother Sky”. You don’t believe me? Leary’s record collection MUST filled with titles issued by United Artists between 1970-73 (and I don’t mean Paul Anka either, though you can never be too sure with The Buttholes) because the hardcore psychedelic guitars that can be found on that label’s early releases by Can, Amon Düül 2, Hawkwind, The Groundhogs (with a gobs of Punk Fairying thrown in for good measure) are all absorbed and channeled through Leary’s punk and proto-metal informed brain, all stentorian, discordant and pulverising as hell. “Dust Devil,” “Leave Me Alone,” and “Edgar” are a veritable sick and twisted Leary triptych, his raging guitar churned and gunked up through all manner of digital delays, distortion as he throws his whole body into it, cross-eyed no less. The majority of the album are all deranged, damaged psycho punk thrash outs with Gibby barely singing -- more like throttling -- the words out of his Texas-twanged larynx. Most of it is raw and alive, as they are digitally captured by producer John Paul Jones. And the ex-Led Zeppelin bassist also lays down a steady bass on the acoustic/banjo country outing, “The Ballad of Naked Man.” “Goofy’s Concern” is all buzzsaw, breakneck powerdrive punk with feedbacking at the end, while “Dog Inside Your Body” and “Some Dispute Over T-Shirt Sales” are likewise dominated by Leary’s hasty’n’tasty gold top Gibson Les Paul. He named his dog Mark Farner, so you know how crazy and inspired they are.

Unfortunately, their next album, “Electric Larryland” was so terrible I threw it in the garbage after one play. But their earlier releases more than make up for one Beck-inspired dud, dude.