The Joup Friday Album: Butthole Surfers – Independent Worm Saloon

buttholesurfersI just knew that I would eventually get around to writing a little bit about Texas’ answer to psych-punk, acid, noise, and mayhem, the oddball and fascinatingly weird Butthole Surfers. It took me a while to decide on an album to focus on, hopping around from the weirdo psych-metal of 1987’s Locust Abortion Technician, to the strange and acoustic psych-rock meandering of 1988’s Hairway to Steven, and finally to the drag race heavy metal thump of 1993’s Independent Worm Saloon, ultimately deciding on the latter due to it being my introduction to the band when I was in junior high school. It also features Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones on the boards, throwing a little credit to my theory that a band’s rhythm section are often the hippest dudes in the group.

At 14, these guys made my head explode, and I have been a devoted fan since, exploring the band’s more experimental and noisy back catalog as well as the moderately radio friendly material (which is still weird mind you) from later years. And there is so much awesome music to dig through, the chaos of the old live shows, the rampant and flowing recreational drug use, the smoke and fire, the nudity, the rumors of brown noise shenanigans*, and the constant absurdism, but I always come back to Independent Worm Saloon. There is something so quintessentially adolescent about the record that it’s kind of a comfort to me (see also here). It’s wild, and heavy, and immature, and sure to piss your parents off. At 35 years old, there is just something so innocent and pure about that kind of reckless abandon, that middle finger to hoity-toity prudishness, those simple and driving guitar licks that make you want to grit your teeth, bang your head, and break shit against the wall. I don’t know what kind of bullshit the 14-year olds are listening to today, but I will bet my life that we had it better with Butthole Surfers.

Even the name made my parents cringe.

The record starts with a choir of differently pitched voices soothing you and creeping you over the edge, “I’m flying…flying away…I’m flying away…I’m flying…I’m flying.” And then the guitar comes in. And then that riff. And then the band tears in to “Who Was in my Room Last Night?” and the engines rev, the adrenaline floods, the eyes dilate. From there we have the almost Morricone-esque guitar and bell finale of “The Wooden Song,” the tense and paranoid delusions of “Strawberry,” the hard and sunburned psych-rock of “Dust Devil,” and the endless amount of spewing vomit on “Clean it Up.”

Man, I am pumped to listen to this album again. You should be too. I’m 14 again, sneaking beers and cigarettes in the back yard, shoplifting, raging against machines, and vandalizing this tired and boring town.

Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh!!!

So, it’s Friday. Let the sounds of Butthole Surfers be your spiritual guide for the weekend. Go out. Do all the drugs. Get in a fight. Crash a car. Wake up in a strange place with strange people. And then collapse.

And then go buy the album.

Joe, how about leveling me out…

 
*The brown noise is a supposed pitch of sound that can cause one to release his bowels upon hearing it.  Awesome.

 

Thomas H Williams

Thomas H Williams

From a bunker somewhere in Central Texas, Thomas H. Williams spends most of his time with his wife, his two sons, and his increasingly neurotic dog. He listens to a lot of music, drinks a lot of excellent beers, and gets out from time to time. For even more shenanigans, visit heavenisanincubator.blogspot.com.

2 Responses to The Joup Friday Album: Butthole Surfers – Independent Worm Saloon
  1. […] band’s 1993 record, Independent Worm Saloon, which I’ve written about before here, an album of s... joup.co/endless-loop-the-wooden-song
  2. Shawn C Baker

    Shawn C Baker Reply

    LOVE the Surfers. Great pic Tommy! I will follow your instructions vividly…wait, where am I?

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