Butthole Surfers
Live PCPPEP


4.0
excellent

Review

by Sean H. CONTRIBUTOR (102 Reviews)
November 25th, 2018 | 12 replies


Release Date: 1984 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Prologue: The Tumultuous Tale of the Dick Clark Five

When discussing the history and evolution of the Butthole Surfers, it’s important to start before the first EP. While Live PCPPEP was technically released after Butthole Surfers, it’s arguably the closest one could get to the band’s early live show days on record. Much of the Surfer’s’ early infamy came from the band’s often shocking and disturbing live shows that would include stripping, over-the-top outfits, fake blood, stolen strobe lights, and a projector displaying disturbing videos, like penis reconstruction surgery or gory driver’s school footage. The shows would often push the band to a point of exhaustion and result in large amounts of property damage for the venue. Fires were started at nearly every show. Members of the audience would suffer from epileptic seizures due to the disorienting, pulsating lights. Frontman Gibby Haynes would use whatever equipment he possibly could to distort and manipulate his voice. Every last bit of the experience was cited as dangerous, violent, sickening, and disturbing.

People fucking loved it.

One of the many people who loved it was Jello Biafra, who would go on to sign them to Alternative Tentacles and release their first two EPs. And, well, it’s easy to see why. Even without visuals to display the event at hand, the music recorded from this venue definitely tells a story. 5 people appear on the stage, asserting their dominance like wolves pissing on their territory. Screams and saxophone wails become indistinguishable as “Bar-B-Q Pope” and “The Shah Sleeps in Sleeps in Lee Harvey’s Grave” pound on. Oppressive basslines hold loose melodies that fall upon deaf band members on “Cowboy Bob,” as Leary jumps from riff to riff on guitar, often times reaching tonally confused solos and drones. Both King Coffey and Teresa Nervosa bang away on the drums, playing with and against each other on “Wichita Cathedral” and “Something.” Songs jump from forebodingly dazed to worryingly frantic. “Dance of the Cobras” is amateurish take on tape music that builds up “The Shah Sleeps.”

To refer to Live PCPPEP as a mess would be an understatement. Instruments often cut out mid-song, the members of the band lose track of the song and come out of sync, and Paul Leary and Bill Jolly, on guitar and bass respectively, abruptly switch from improvisation and written riffs seemingly at random. In other words, this show is clumsy, hulkish, abrasive, and fundamentally flawed.

At the same time, this makes Live PCPPEP brutally honest and loyal to not only the groups live beginnings, but also their spirit as a band. In its flaws, I find unpredictability and imperfections that strengthen the show’s character. These imperfections, these blemishes, they define the band, whether they were announced as The Dick Clark Five, Ashtray Baby Heads, Vodka Family Winstons, or the name that stuck. They didn't show up to the venue drunk and stoned to entertain snobs, they showed up to fuck around, fuck up, and fuck you.



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user ratings (15)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Bloon
Contributing Reviewer
November 24th 2018


2559 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks to granitenotebook for looking at this with new eyes and helping me out.

Stream: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8T1vaJDsT7w

Prologue of a Butthole Surfers review series…

Next Review: https://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/78486/Butthole-Surfers-Butthole-Surfers/#lastpost



Digging: Woody Guthrie - My Dusty Roads

Bloon
Contributing Reviewer
November 25th 2018


2559 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

where my surfer bois at

butcherboy
November 25th 2018


9464 Comments


bands live shows were apparently wild! You doing a full discog review?

Bloon
Contributing Reviewer
November 25th 2018


2559 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yes sir, these guys are one of my favorites and i find all their material interesting (im also hoping to rewrite my earliest review still up cuz it aint too good)

if theres any show i could go back in time and be at, it would probably be a really early bs show

Dedes
November 25th 2018


6319 Comments


This sounds simultaneously horrendous and amazing.
If I dig their other stuff I'll prolly come around to this

butcherboy
November 25th 2018


9464 Comments


this is going to be a fun series!

Bloon
Contributing Reviewer
November 25th 2018


2559 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i hope so :]

bbgames
November 25th 2018


501 Comments


good album

Kompys2000
November 26th 2018


2358 Comments


Good review Bloon, looking forward to the rest of the series!

Bloon
Contributing Reviewer
November 26th 2018


2559 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thanks!

SandwichBubble
November 26th 2018


9413 Comments


Somehow missed this, cool review series

Digging: R. Stevie Moore - Children's Museum

SharkTooth
February 19th 2019


13963 Comments


I dream of one day humanity achieving time travel just so I can experience one of those live shows



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