Something she said to me last night, something she said to me...
February 16, 2007 2:45 PM   Subscribe

This is NSFW. It's crass, crude, cheap, rude, nasty and vulgar. This is a one link 10 minute YouTube video that shows cannibalism, fire, nudity, nerds, fried sperm, rednecks, and perversion aplenty. It is certainly not to everyone's taste, but that's because it's the Butthole Surfers' BBQ.
posted by Elmore (49 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Oh, fantastic! How I wish I had sound here at work!
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 2:51 PM on February 16, 2007

It's always been amazing to me that there's a group called the Butthole Surfers. I always think, What does that mean? Then I sort of shudder. You try it.
posted by grobstein at 2:59 PM on February 16, 2007

Oh wow - I remember watching that when I was in college - very cool to see it again after all this time!

I saw the Butthole Surfers live at The Channel in Boston in 1987 (I think) - it was the best, most insane, live show I've ever seen.
posted by suki at 3:03 PM on February 16, 2007 [1 favorite]

Great post, I hadn't seen this in years, either... Makes me have to look and see if I can find anything current on them.....

(Are they still going?)
posted by peewinkle at 3:24 PM on February 16, 2007

Legend has it it's on account of how they used to skate at a concrete bowl, or pool, or drainage ditch, that was known as the 'butthole'.
posted by Flashman at 3:26 PM on February 16, 2007

"The band did not initially perform as the Butthole Surfers, though they did have a song by that title (possibly an early version of 1984's "Butthole Surfer"). This changed at their first paying concert when an announcer mistook that song for the group’s name. They decided to keep the moniker, and have largely been billed as such ever since. Prior to that, the Surfers performed under a different name at every live show. Early aliases included the Dick Clark Five, Nine Foot Worm Makes Own Food, the Vodka Family Winstons, and many others."

From Wikipedia.
posted by peewinkle at 3:31 PM on February 16, 2007

For about two years, they were the best live band in the US, but then weren't.

They did, however, become the biggest dick assholes (in a totally non-artistic way) in the US music scene.
posted by foodeater at 3:32 PM on February 16, 2007

Huh, I always wondered about the name too, but really didn't care enough to look it up.

Thanks, peewinkle, for helping me to learn something I was too lazy to look up on my own!
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:34 PM on February 16, 2007

I heard they might be reuniting for the Grammys
posted by Flashman at 3:38 PM on February 16, 2007 [1 favorite]

Foodeater, tell me more. I'm not clued in to the American music scene, I'd be interested to hear how they fucked up.
posted by Elmore at 3:58 PM on February 16, 2007

I think that foodeater is talking about this. Basically, the Surfers sued the crap out of Touch and Go because they felt the label wasn't doing all they could to promote their albums.
posted by Jeff_Larson at 4:12 PM on February 16, 2007 [1 favorite]

I hadn't seen that in ages! Thanks! :)
Reminds me of Rocky Horror Picture show in a way, with that whole "nerdy couple meeting corrupting freaks" plotline...
posted by miss lynnster at 4:18 PM on February 16, 2007

You'll note that the actor who plays the straight man is Sal Stat on Deadwood.
posted by Bookhouse at 4:20 PM on February 16, 2007

I've talked to members of the Butthole Surfers on several occasions, and they've always been extremely polite and civilized to their fans. I've heard various things about the Touch and Go lawsuit...
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 4:35 PM on February 16, 2007

Oh, that was so much fun.

Their shows were utterly astonishing. oh, oh, oh. Even crazier than the one in the movie, and with great musicianship to boot.

I saw them in the early 90s. What a great show. Even their later shows were fantastic.

I went to TX a few years ago because they did some oldies shows and they were still in fine form, even considering that the initial shock of seeing them had worn off.

(BTW, little if any of the music in the video are album versions of the songs... very nice to hear!)
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 4:51 PM on February 16, 2007

I saw them in 89 or 90 and they were pretty good. I remember Haynes throwing beer bottles up in the air and standing still and they'd come down and smash or bounce off his head. I pretty much forgot about them after they sued T&G as did, I think, many people. Overall, I think Karma really caught up with them. They got fucked by Capitol, had it out with their manager, and will probably never put out another record on a reputable indie label again.
posted by dobbs at 5:08 PM on February 16, 2007

Never understood the appeal of these guys, either for their music or their general schtick.

(And yes, I'm a hater who took the time to type that out.)
posted by bardic at 5:10 PM on February 16, 2007

That tasty little nugget was directed by Mr. Bill S. Preston, Esq. himself, Alex Winter!

Alex also starred and directed the short lived but equally warped "Idiot Box" which can be found here.
posted by Bappy Lorenzo at 5:11 PM on February 16, 2007

I'm not sure what that was, exactly, but that was unquestionably something.
posted by cortex at 5:12 PM on February 16, 2007

Pendejo! [That's good meat!]
posted by languagehat at 5:16 PM on February 16, 2007

I saw them in 1987 I think. Weird scary stuff. I'm pretty sure one of them was on fire. It was loud, really loud, but not loud enough, so the singer had a megaphone, and then it started to hurt more. If music could be like a truckload of firewood falling on you, this was it. The Buttholes were bringing us something real and different back then, when this kind of stuff was what you found on regular radio. It was really shocking and painful, but we knew we needed it.
posted by Area Control at 5:20 PM on February 16, 2007 [4 favorites]

I remember listening to Locust Abortion Technician with a vicious hangover, over and over for four hours until I got home, climbed into my bed and it continued to play in my inner ear for another twelve hours until I sobered (if that's the word) up. It was weird, educational, and unquestionably something. I love the Buttholes, dearly.
posted by Elmore at 5:26 PM on February 16, 2007

That tasty little nugget was directed by Mr. Bill S. Preston, Esq. himself, Alex Winter!

Hm, figures. He also directed Freaked. Worth watching...once, anyway.
posted by bob sarabia at 5:41 PM on February 16, 2007

Never understood the appeal of these guys, either for their music or their general schtick.

It's definitely not for everyone -- the shows were utterly apocalyptic. They had three movie projectors running at one time showing all sorts of material, from nature films to surgical training movies, monstrous lights and massively processed vocals. I was completely terrified the first time I saw them -- I thought they were going to kill me.

(However, if they weren't also fine musicians, I wouldn't really like 'em.)

Oh, dear.... I just found this video. Worth taking a bong hit, turning the lights down and cranking it up...
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 6:05 PM on February 16, 2007

lupus_, the last time I saw 'em the three simultaneous and overlapping films were of: a goat giving birth, gender-reassignment surgery and shimmering schools of deep sea fishies.

Although it is true that I had a good two hunnerd mikes of the best in me at the time, I cannot swear that I did not witness Gibson Haynes split vertically in two. Kuntz.
posted by adamgreenfield at 6:11 PM on February 16, 2007

"Yaaawwwwwlll want some scorpion teeea?"

Wow, the dad is John Hawkes!
That's Sol Star, bookhouse
posted by redteam at 6:14 PM on February 16, 2007

Oh, that's weird. I thought he looked strangely familiar. I liked him in "You & Me & Everything We Know."
posted by miss lynnster at 7:13 PM on February 16, 2007

I printed T-shirts for them for a little while in the late 80's, and the only really memorable recollection I have was of Gibby on his mobile phone during a press check. They needed a dupe made of a 16 mm film, I believe it was the famous penis surgery video they showed for years, and he was on the phone with the duplication house in Hollywood, having it out with the owner of the company, who found it too distasteful to reproduce. Gibby's side of the conversation was something like this: "You're talking to me from Hollywood... the World Capital of sin and perversion, that spreads its disease across the globe in films, and you're telling me that you're not going to copy a print because it's distasteful?!?" He was kind of in disbelief.

At any rate, their cover of American Woman is the second-greatest cover song of all time, second only to Devo's Satisfaction, of course. And Moving to Florida describes that bizarre state to a T. Greatest dada-ist lyrics evar. Never did see 'em live, though.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:30 PM on February 16, 2007

I absolutley hate the butthole surfers. one dimensional shock type crap. Their schtik got old for me quick...
posted by subaruwrx at 8:21 PM on February 16, 2007

Haha, I remember this. They had actually become surprisingly accomplished instrumentalists by the Hairway era. Jeff Pinkus has gone on to very worthy projects like Daddy Longhead and Honky since.
posted by The Straightener at 8:29 PM on February 16, 2007

the Surfers sued the crap out of Touch and Go because they felt the label wasn't doing all they could to promote their albums.

Well, something like that. They sued T&G to get out of their verbal contract they had made years and years before, while they were a small band that was struggling and living out of vans and touring constantly to make ends meet.

T&G is a very non-conventional label in that they give bands great deals up front, verbally. Many many punk bands that never would have been able to make it were given 50-50 cuts on all their albums, which is amazing, given the typical deal a band gets from almost any other label. The clincher is that T&G retains the rights to distribute and make the 50% cut from the albums in perpetuity. It's the deal they give every one, and a whole shitload of bands owe their very existence to T&G and gladly give the label the proceeds forever. T&G has always operated with a handshake, and has no desire to change at all. They have this integrity thing they're trying to keep going.

BS were cool with the whole deal until they became famous. When Electric Larry Land came out, their first major label release, their old catalog kinda went through the roof with the popularity of Pepper or whatever. They then felt that T&G, which had promoted, recorded and distributed some of their albums (which were not nearly as successful as ELL) for like 10-15 years were getting 50% of their fame and money for, what they felt, the BS's hard work. BS sued T&G to get out of their verbal agreement on the grounds that T&G had no right to 50% of their now valuable catalog, and won.

A lot of people are now really pissed at BS. I understand, even though Paul Leary is and always will be GOD SATANGOD.

On preview: subaruwrx: "shock crap?" (bad quality youtube vhs rip but undeniable) Maybe you don't know what you're talking about.

Here's something more your speed, perhaps...
posted by dozo at 8:52 PM on February 16, 2007 [1 favorite]

"Never understood the appeal of these guys, either for their music or their general schtick."


So says the Maya Arulpragasam fan. I still remember gasping at the intensity of the suck I encountered in following a link from your thread a ways back.

Thanks for sharing. Good call.


Thanks, Elmore. Great post. The Butthole Surfers have long been one of my favorite bands. Their live shows were in a class of their own. I've never heard a better psychedelic album than Hairway to Steven.

For the other fans, check out the long chapter on them in, Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground 1981-1991. It gives the Touch and Go story from their side along with a number of other amusing stories, the mute stripper, Gibby almost having a breakdown picking up bottles, King Coffey attacked in public by rednecks etc. And yeah, even when the Surfers are telling it, they kind of come off like assholes.
posted by BigSky at 9:57 PM on February 16, 2007 [1 favorite]

Daddy, What Does Regret Mean?
posted by freebird at 11:14 PM on February 16, 2007 [1 favorite]

Once upon a time during one summer in the mid-90s Gibby would occasionally late-night DJ on an Austin alternative radio station. He would play and say whatever he wanted. One night Christopher Walken called in to the show. Walken and Gibby then proceeded to subject the audience to the longest, slowest, most mundane mono-syllabic and deliberately dead-air filled conversation in the history of radio. If a recording of that show exists I've never heard it, but those who heard the original broadcast, including myself, remember it with great fondness.
posted by anticlock at 12:16 AM on February 17, 2007

That's Sol Star, bookhouse

That was typos, not ignorance. My bad.

I bought Hairway to Steven from a mall record store when I was fifteen, based on the name and the freaky album cover. That first song about child rape scared the crap out of me. I was a big fan for the next couple of years, but I guess that was the downhill side of the slope. I never did get to see them live, though.

You can also thank the Butholes for being a pretty big early influence on the Flaming Lips.
posted by Bookhouse at 1:01 AM on February 17, 2007

I saw them twice in the late eighties, early nineties, once in Richmond Va., in a bar with maybe a hundred people. It was a lot in the best way. I don't think they were anybody at that point.

The next time was a few years late in NYC at 'the World' a club in an old theater/operahouse on the L.E.S.

The second show was great but really slick. After the show guys with guns, looking not to epate la bourgeoisie but steal the boxoffice, showed up and when they couldn't get into the club terrorized the crowd outside. I friend I hadn't known was going to be there got in the way and he got slugged, then pulled back into the crowd.

We ran around the corner to get away and smack into New York's Finest taking down a squat - street lights out, horses coralling the protestors, barricades up and full riot-control in effect. They were pulling down the fire-escapes so they could condemn the building and people were trying to physically stop them.

The Butthole Surfers were good that night, but that first time, they were exceptional. I have no idea what else I did that night...
posted by From Bklyn at 1:27 AM on February 17, 2007

I liked this video so much I posted it to metafilter! Had I known I could get a FPP out of it I wouldn't have done so, as one link youtube posts are not my favourite thing.

Live at Glastonbury was a good album. Psychedelic Jam - you know it is.
posted by asok at 2:49 AM on February 17, 2007

Maybe I'm being a little slow, but I still don't entirely understand the lawsuit. Were the Surfers going to sell the back-catalogue themselves or were they going to give it over to their major label?

Seems like their major would screw them on percentages, as usual, and they'd make a lot less money, even if the raw numbers were higher.
posted by pandaharma at 3:10 AM on February 17, 2007

The first Butthole Surfers' album I bought was "Independent Worm Saloon"; I loved it, bought all their other albums and my brain hasn't taken the straight path from point A to point B ever since.

Alas, I've never seen them live, but thanks to Internet Archive I can at least listen to them performing off of a stage in their heyday.
posted by soundofsuburbia at 3:11 AM on February 17, 2007

Those of you who never met the buttholes (Gibby and Paul, especially), might think it's cool that they're assholes. But they acted very grateful for all the help they would receive back in the day, and then had no problem screwing whoever was helping them to get to the next level.

Corey and Lisa were so generous to them. Does anyone think that they'd get as big as they did on Alternative Tentacles???

A very good friend of mine played for the Buttholes for a year or so in the mid-80s.....wrote songs, recorded and toured....., and he got SCREWED by them. Gibby and Paul taking all the credit.

Still, I imagine some of you thinking..."cool".
posted by foodeater at 6:41 AM on February 17, 2007

the best thing about the butthole surfers for me is the fact the Gibby Haynes father is Mr. Peppermint.
posted by PugAchev at 8:35 AM on February 17, 2007

The first time I saw them was in The World, a huge illegal club on Avenue C. It was really a religious experience for me. I was just starting to process my voice in my band and I thought I was being sooo clever.... then I saw a master.

Not to mention the lights. And the music. And the movies. And the crowd. And the feedback. And Gibby's carnival barker's voice, howling, laughing, looping and growling. (And the shrooms (scored on the street that evening! those were the days!))

Oh, yeah. I literally cry sometimes to remember these and other shows. It's hard to find really exciting shows these days though by no means impossible. And I believe I missed the peak of live music -- I didn't come to New York till 1983 and I didn't really start attending concerts till several years after that.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:44 AM on February 17, 2007

When the group came to my largish public university ca 1990, the (not at all prudish) student union director verbally referred to them as the 'a-hole surfers'. [I was working in the same office as the student union operations at the time].
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 1:25 PM on February 17, 2007

posted by Heywood Mogroot at 1:28 PM on February 17, 2007

Sorry, I dont get it. (yawn). Course I cant stand Howard Stern either. lol... Im such a party pooper!!
posted by BillsR100 at 3:45 PM on February 17, 2007

Well, at least you dropped by to poop, anyway.
posted by cortex at 4:06 PM on February 17, 2007 [5 favorites]

It's okay though, everybody does it.
posted by Catfry at 5:50 PM on February 17, 2007

Yeesh. What do the Butthole Surfers have to do with Howard Stern? Because they mention poo-poo? Do you consider Frank Zappa also in the same category as Howard Stern?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:04 PM on February 18, 2007

And to think that they now have a (quite tame) song on the Scrubs soundtrack...
posted by Dean King at 2:00 PM on February 19, 2007

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