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August 9, 2012 7:45 AM   Subscribe

Envisioned as an experimental side project by cEvin Key while he was in the new wave band Images In Vogue, Canada's Skinny Puppy has since become one of the biggest industrial bands of the age. As we close in on their 30th anniversary why not settle back for two hours and enjoy the entire of Skinny Puppy's Greater Wrong of the Right concert on YouTube while you download the free fan-made DVD Eurosolvent?

Formed in 1983 by IIV's drummer, Key in order to experimenting more with sound,
Skinny Puppy became a full-time band with the addition of vocalist Nivek Ogre and the late Dwayne Goettel.
Other notable members include Ministry singer Al Jourgensen (Hexonexxon) and Bill Leeb, who would later go on to found the similarly long-lived Front Line Assembly.

By 1984 they has signed to Vancouver label Nettwerk and released their first cassette, Back And Forth, in 1984 and two albums in '85: Remissions and Bites.
The band reportedly made their live debut by breaking into a Vancouver art gallery.

Drugs and tensions ended the band in 1995 with the release of The Process. Ogre quit Skinny Puppy in June 1995 to establish OhGr and Goettel died of a heroin overdose two months later, sparking wide-spread rumours he had been killed by the Satanic The Process Church of the Final Judgement (sort of previously).
But first they turned up for a cameo scene in The Doom Generation.
Key's main project was electronic noise group Download.
There is a not inconsiderable list of side projects and associated acts to check out too.

The reconstituted in 2003 with Kitchen Confidential theme writer Mark Walk after a short reunion in 2000.

The first new Skinny Puppy track in several years, "Optimissed", appeared on the Underworld soundtrack in 2003.
The Greater Wrong of the Right, released in 2004, contained Pro-Test, the band's first music video since 1996, and one that features a memorable krumping showdown between a group of breakdancers and goths.

Singles have been:
Dig It
Addiction
Chainsaw
Stairs & Flowers
Censor/Dogshit
Testure
Tin Omen
Worlock
Tormentor
Spasmolytic
Inquisition
Candle
Track 10
and
Politikil

Other notable songs from their extensive body of work include:
Assimilate
Deep down Trauma Hounds
Killing Game
Smothered Hope
Far Too Frail
The Choke
Cullorblind

Some of these videos may be NSFW/NSFL.

Here's an interview from 1985, from 1989 (part 1, part 2), and again in 2005 (part 1, part 2)

The anti-Bush administration stance taken by the band at their live shows drew the ire of the Patriotic Americans Boycotting Anti-American Hollywood which attempted a boycott of college radio stations that played Skinny Puppy.

HanDover was released in October last year and a new live album Bootlegged, Broke And In solvent Seas, recorded in 2010, was released in June.

There's also Eurosolvent - a free DVD bootleg from the fans for the fans. Fully downloadable here.
Recorded live at Diesel Club, Budapest, August 19, 2010 and uploaded earlier this week.

As a bonus, here's Ogre as Pavi Largo in Repo! The Genetic Opera, and here he is talking about the role.
And here's their TV Tropes page.
posted by Mezentian (44 comments total) 45 users marked this as a favorite

 
Post inspired by Artw's use of FLA earlier today. Tip o' the chainsaw hand for that one.
posted by Mezentian at 7:47 AM on August 9, 2012


Patriotic Americans Boycotting Anti-American Hollywood

Seriously, if you made that name up as a goof people would say you pushed it too far...

Great post... I bought a Skinny Puppy cd in the 90s and it wasn't my thing. That Pro-Test video is awesome.
posted by Huck500 at 8:04 AM on August 9, 2012


These days, cEvin Key also has his own line of appropriately decorated modular synthesizer modules...
posted by Spacelegoman at 8:08 AM on August 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Thanks for this, Mentzentian.

I wore out the Remission & Bites cassette when I was about 15, on a paper route, listening to it non-stop. I can probably still sing? recite? chant? growl? the whole thing from beginning to end. Even “Icebreaker.”

My first concert ever was the Too Dark Park tour, at the Concert Hall in Toronto, Ontario. It ruined me for life: no concert I have seen since has come remotely close to that combination of theatre, agitprop, punishing volume and brutal effects.

I've never been to a GWAR show, obviously
posted by Shepherd at 8:08 AM on August 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


One of my favorite bands of all time. Relentlessly creative stuff. It's fascinating to me how many imitators they had in industrial music, but also how completely impossible they were to imitate.

Another great project from the Skinny Puppy universe is Hilt, which grouped cEvin Key and Dwayne Goettel with vocalist Alan Nelson. It's like an alternate universe version of Skinny Puppy, where the emphasis is less on darkness and industrial gloom than on flannel-clad bong-loading rock 'n' roll.

Oh! And the Tear Garden! You all simply must investigate the Tear Garden.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:12 AM on August 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


One of the first videos I ever sought out on the internet was Skinny Puppy's infamous "Worlock" video.

(Don't.)
posted by Sys Rq at 8:14 AM on August 9, 2012


I picked up Mind: the Perpetual Intercourse on CD back around.. 96 or 97, I guess? at the recommendation of someone. I never quite got into it, but I did use the track names as chapter names/themes for a Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri fanfic contest.
posted by curious nu at 8:14 AM on August 9, 2012


Thirty year anniversary? Way to make me feel old, geez.
posted by Forktine at 8:24 AM on August 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


This is great. Skinny Puppy was a regular fixture in my musical environment for years and years. I saw them live at, I think, St. Andrew's Hall back in the 80s. Where industrial was concerned, I was more a fan of Front 242 and Front Line Assembly than of Skinny Puppy, but they existed in a space of their own and it was amazing to see a band with so expansive and unique a vision. Then I had a college roommate who was (and remains) the biggest Skinny Puppy fan ever, and we had their live videos and bootlegs playing almost constantly on our apartment TV. It proved to be a pretty good litmus test for visitors.
posted by The World Famous at 8:29 AM on August 9, 2012


Mind:TPI is probably the most opaque of all of SP's releases – not a great introduction, unless your immediate association when somebody says "industrial music" is Throbbing Gristle or Einsturzende Neubauten.

I'm working my way through the singles now, and I'm surprised by two things:

1. How tame it all seems. At the time, this was weird, violent, dangerous music for my young self, raised on Huey Lewis and Phil Collins. “Real” industrial music was a little too bizarre for my ears at the time, but Skinny Puppy, Ministry, and FLA all seemed raw and crazy. I'm shocked at how much the sound has been co-opted, and how now it sounds like... music, but not like a revolution.

2. How fresh it all seems. Unlike a lot of contemporaries (FLA/Delerium, Nitzer Ebb, KMFDM, early NIN), I don't feel a little silly listening to a 25-year-old Skinny Puppy track. These albums could come out today. Tomorrow. Five years from now. There's some sort of alchemy here that makes SP completely timeless.
posted by Shepherd at 8:35 AM on August 9, 2012 [5 favorites]



Man, I LOVED Skinny Puppy. Nice post.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:45 AM on August 9, 2012


1. How tame it all seems. At the time, this was weird, violent, dangerous music for my young self, raised on Huey Lewis and Phil Collins. “Real” industrial music was a little too bizarre for my ears at the time,

Yeah, I had the misfortune (or perhaps fortune) of not seeing the live Puppy show until late summer 1986, by which point Expo 86 had exposed me to the likes of Einsturzende Neubauten and Test Department. The Puppy show didn't measure up, not even close. I mean, how do you even begin to compare the visceral politicized industrial angst of Cold War divided-city Berlin and Class War divided-nation Britain to that of guys from the affluent Canadian suburbs who seemed to, you know, dig death and gore and noise and stuff? You don't and you can't.

But hell, tons of folks seemed to dig them (and still do apparently), so what do I know?
posted by philip-random at 8:54 AM on August 9, 2012


Great post! A notable omission is Ode to Groovy, which sounds so different from most of the SP catalog.
posted by Craig Stuntz at 8:55 AM on August 9, 2012


Man, I just streamed a bunch of those singles on the official YouTube channel and there's a "Featured Videos" thing on the right-hand side and what the dooley happened to Nettwerk? I. mean. seriously. what. the. fuck?

Moev, Severed Heads, Single Gun Theory, Delerium, MC goddamn 900 Foot Jesus, the Tear Garden, all replaced by vague beardy white dudes strumming acoustic guitars and singing about how everything is just fine. It's like finding out the super-pierced punk with all the great weird mail-order shit you knew in high school is now a mother of three, office manager at an insurance company, and deacon at the First Church of Whitebread in Blandsville, Ohio.

What the hell happened?
posted by Shepherd at 9:07 AM on August 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Not past tense. Current tense. Mind:TPI and the Addiction single are still incredibly challenging stuff.
posted by 1adam12 at 9:09 AM on August 9, 2012


I can't reminisce about Skinny Puppy without also Portion Control.
posted by No Shmoobles at 9:22 AM on August 9, 2012


I still remember seeing them live at The Concert Hall in TO in 1990(ish). Spasmolytic was so loud it just about gave me kdney failure.
posted by Blake at 9:22 AM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh! And the Tear Garden! You all simply must investigate the Tear Garden.

Absolutely correct. Tear Garden is excellent, one of those rare side projects that rises above (for me, at least) the main acts of those involved.
posted by item at 9:38 AM on August 9, 2012


My first concert ever was the Too Dark Park tour, at the Concert Hall in Toronto, Ontario. (me)

I still remember seeing them live at The Concert Hall in TO in 1990(ish). (Blake)


So my first ever concert was also my first ever MeFi meetup! Cool!
posted by Shepherd at 9:53 AM on August 9, 2012


I've liked me some skinny pup, but that concert sounded pre-recorded.
posted by uraniumwilly at 9:59 AM on August 9, 2012


What the hell happened?

Bills, man. Bills.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:00 AM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Skinny Puppy is the worst band name ever. It was years before I got past that and found my puppy love.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:13 AM on August 9, 2012


Seconding HILT as a very memorable side project of SP. Both LPs are eminently listenable. SP production values without the growling. Lots of genre hopping, solid hook-based songs and anything goes noise-mongering as well.

Awesome post Mezentian!
posted by erebora at 10:43 AM on August 9, 2012


Skinny Puppy is the worst band name ever.

It is a terrible name. But Hoobastank is worse.
posted by The World Famous at 11:20 AM on August 9, 2012


But Hoobastank is worse.

Poi Dog Pondering

with Moxy Fruvous a very close 2nd.
posted by philip-random at 11:33 AM on August 9, 2012


GALIFIANAKIS: Hoo......................ba stank?
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:37 AM on August 9, 2012


Ned's Atomic Dustbin. I rest my case.
posted by blue t-shirt at 1:15 PM on August 9, 2012


best episode ever of the Goon Show
posted by philip-random at 1:27 PM on August 9, 2012


Welcome to Collidoskope
posted by homunculus at 2:30 PM on August 9, 2012


The anti-Bush administration stance taken by the band at their live shows drew the ire of the Patriotic Americans Boycotting Anti-American Hollywood which attempted a boycott of college radio stations that played Skinny Puppy.

Heh, some were also angry over the video for maJiK.
posted by homunculus at 2:38 PM on August 9, 2012


Man, I LOVED Skinny Puppy. Nice post.

They Love you too.
posted by homunculus at 2:40 PM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the post. I was a big fan back in high school, but they lost me around Tin Omen. Still, it was fun to go through all the old videos.
posted by Otherwise at 3:03 PM on August 9, 2012


Every time I try to get Too Dark Park out of my car's CD player, I think, "Oh, this is a good song, at the end of this song." And then the next song starts, and oh, this is a good song, at the end of this song...
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:29 PM on August 9, 2012


I'm shocked at how much the sound has been co-opted, and how now it sounds like... music, but not like a revolution.

I'm probably a bigger Nitzer Ebb fan than Skinny Puppy because "skinheads with Casios"!

Skuppy are like this big, almost impenetrable juggernaut to me (now). Back then, they weren't my thing, until I picked up Too Dark Park in the late 1990s.

But I was comparing The Greater Wrong of the Right live (which does sound pre-recorded) to some clips of Nitzer Ebb recently (like Murderous or Getting Closer) and it looks and sounds like music. But two boys bouncing around doing the call bit of call and response. The last FLA album was tepid, and Front 242 went chasing the techno dollar (which, sadly Test Dept and Cabs did too), but I can remember hearing Headhunter (no link, it's probably in your head right now) and Tragedy For You for the first times and they seemed so cyber-cool. This was probably aided by the fact I did not have to see the videos.

Music moved on, and we moved on. But it's great to see that while FLA is just treading the same old tracks with Improvised Electronic Device or Nitzer Ebb with Industrial Complex, Skuppy is just this wild "see what sticks" mentality.

I'm not even sure what's going on with the sound and the weird capitaliZatioN, but Handover is a really interesting album.

In summation: I am old, and what was once cool and exciting is now old, and what is cool and exciting is scary. And my lawn needs a good raking.

But I love the fact I can sit here and watch whole FLA on my TV in this dystopian future anyway without tape trading over the post. And seeing how "small" cult acts arestill going, and changing things up.

For those interested in this sort of thing, generally the older UK stuff, I can highly recommend
Synth Britannia. I gained new respect for The Human League and the like from watching that.

Real musicians solder their own sythns.
posted by Mezentian at 3:56 PM on August 9, 2012


Awesome post. I’ve been an SP fan as long as I can remember and always will be. I used to take the bus before I got my license and hang out at places like Shake It and Everybody’s Records in Cincinnati as a teenager looking for their stuff.
posted by vkxmai at 6:10 PM on August 9, 2012


Yeah, I had the misfortune (or perhaps fortune) of not seeing the live Puppy show until late summer 1986, by which point Expo 86 had exposed me to the likes of Einsturzende Neubauten and Test Department.

I guess I had the right first experience then. I bought Rabies on cassette tape, having no idea what I was about to get into. Put it on my Walkman and started doing homework. When the vocals hit, I slammed the stop button in a panic, thinking the tape was ruined.

I fell in love with them. To me they are still the industrial band. I'm wearing my Dig It shirt today as it happens.

(Yesterday I wore my Prometheus Burning shirt; they're also quite good.)
posted by Foosnark at 6:22 PM on August 9, 2012


To me there's a few different styles of 'industrial', you have your Throbbing Gristle-style tape-fuckery, your banging metal stuff like Einstürzende Neubauten and Test Dept, Skinny Puppy style electro-chainsaw stuff, Ministry-ish metal tinged-stuff, and then your more modern disco stuff like Covenant and.... VNV Nation.

Personally, I don't think you can go much past bands that do stuff like work with the South Wales Striking Miners' Choir
and Skuppy.

But that's just me.

Incidentally, I just found our that Einstürzende Neubauten are touring here for the first time since '91 with My Bloody Valentine, Swans and Beasts of Bourbon. So I'm pretty psyched.
posted by Mezentian at 6:38 PM on August 9, 2012


your more modern disco stuff like Covenant and.... VNV Nation.

Futurepop! It's what happens when goths and rivetheads figure out that they like trance.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:44 PM on August 9, 2012


I fell in love with SP at age 15, shortly after the 1991 tour rolled through SF and I missed my chance to see them live until a decade later.

What’s amazing about their earliest work is how well it holds up. There are moments on Back And Forth Vol. 2 like Monster Radio Man, Dead Of Winter and Unovis On A Stick where it might just be some Canadian kids messing with tapes, but the texture is perfect, evocative and untouchable. Their best albums have a number of single-quality tracks up front and then slowly dissolve into sonic haze by the end. I was listening to cassettes at the time, so the albums were full linear experiences unlike my shuffle-driven listening of today.

I wish I could say I enjoyed their newer work as much, but Last Rights is the end for me. A friend and I have a theory about the creative environment around a band, and the way that certain groups have periods of quality marked by visible changes: Last Rights is the last SP release with Jim “I, Braineater” Cummins as a cover artist, and Iron Maiden stopped working with Derek Riggs around the same time. Maybe a better theory is that the 90’s happened.

The band was also my introduction to online communities, when I joined the Smothered Hope mailing list in 1995 expecting concert news and getting actual discussion instead.
posted by migurski at 10:00 PM on August 9, 2012


My best friend in high school was a mega-fan but I could never get into them. Didn't dislike them, just .... meh. Then just yesterday I was visiting friends in small-town British Columbia and came across their entire catalogue on LP, in the recently arrived used bin, for like 5$ apiece. Almost bought them anyways, in case they might be worth something, since I could always just pack them up and mail them to my old friend in Ottawa. In the end it just seemed like too much hassle.

On the other hand - Einstürzende Neubauten live with MBV and Swans!? Where exactly is 'here'?
posted by mannequito at 12:25 AM on August 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Here is Melbourne, Australia.
The All Tomorrow's Parties fest next year.
posted by Mezentian at 12:35 AM on August 10, 2012


> Skinny Puppy is the worst band name ever.

Where did they get the name Skinny Puppy? What does it mean?
While the name can be interpreted a number of different ways and has many different levels of meaning, the basic idea is that of an abused, neglected animal who doesn't speak much but when he does it is a pain filled yelp. This 'concept' seems to have been retroactively created after the name was already envisioned, but is still quite relevant. Early on, the concept for the band was to look at the whole world through the eyes of a dog, "seeing through the keyhole", as it were. This resulted in Ogre's lyrics for 'K-9', which became what is in some ways the first Puppy song.
posted by ostranenie at 12:58 AM on August 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Tin Omen was the first Skinny Puppy song I heard, and it scared me to death. I was about 13 and I got a mix tape from a friend at school full of stuff like Nurse With Wound, Violent Onsen Geisha, Dissecting Table and Coil. I remember thinking SP sounded like a band of monsters or demons who figured out how to make music from some other dimension.

Anyway, I looked up the lyrics to Tin Omen on the internet (yay for Lynx!) and the subject matter (the Kent State shootings) and was fascinated. No one else I'd heard of at the time tackled subject matter like that in that way. It was sort of a nightmarish, violent version of topical folk music.

Then I found out the singer was called Ogre and I was hooked for life.

Also: Pavi. The bird mask.

This freaked my dad out one night when he found me listening to it in the dark.
posted by ostranenie at 1:20 AM on August 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's a long shot, but does anybody have a more up-to-date version of the Industrial Sample Sources list than the 1996 one? I've had the nostalgia bug to find it for a week, but it seems like the old maintainers have all dried up and blown away -- sloth.org is gone, rmi is dead, and the original maintainer's e-mail address just delivers "delivery delayed" messages ad nauseum.
posted by Shepherd at 8:53 AM on August 15, 2012


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