Butthole Surfers
Butthole Surfers


4.5
superb

Review

by Sean H. CONTRIBUTOR (121 Reviews)
November 26th, 2018 | 25 replies


Release Date: 1983 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Chapter 1: A Brown Reason To Live, Played at 69 RPM

When settling into BOSS Studios in 1982, I’d imagine the Surfers caused a bit of a ruckus in the life of one Bob O’Neill. Here came these delusional weirdos practically begging to use his recording space for their band, stating that they were in talks with Jello Biafra and Alternative Tentacles and that AT would pay for the sessions later. As for the remaining Surfers, things were far from peachy - after a physical altercation between Scott Mathews and Gibby Haynes, both Mathews brothers walked. Best friends Haynes and Paul Leary were now without the rest of the group and still had to deliver something to impress the Dead Kennedys frontman. What would ensue with the duo and the new musicians brought on, which included bassist Bill Jolly and a whole slew of drummers, would be forever known as Butthole Surfers.

Or A Brown Reason To Live. Or Pee Pee The Sailor.

Record name aside, the 18 minute EP eagerly spits and/or ejaculates in the face of good taste. The tasteless nature of Butthole Surfers is the reason so many early fans would make sure to show up to their live shows, so it would obviously have to show up on their first release, the first thing most tape traders, anomaly collectors, or AT followers would hear from them in 1983. In this spirit, “The Shah Sleeps In Lee Harvey’s Grave” couldn’t have been a better opener. From the juvenile and brash lyricism to the confused cacophonies between lines, it’s all ridiculous. And while it often feels like the band is merely taking the piss and wasting both Biafra’s and O’Neill’s time with their bullshit, Butthole Surfers entices the appetite of the listener in a way that few other debuts are able to. Absurdist, distorted, and borderline dadaist as they may be, tracks like “Wichita Cathedral,” “Something,” and “ Bar-B-Q Pope” are undeniably catchy and musically layered.

Jolly’s bass playing is plays a lot into what makes this one special, as his backing melodies keep the saxophone playing of Haynes and the guitar work of Leary in line. While it may not be as flashy or dangerous as either of their roles (which include vocal responsibilities) or the sharp rhythmic percussion (which comes from Brad Perkins, future permanent member King Coffey, and various other musicians), the basslines hold the songs together and tend to burn through the rest of the music like a hot poker. This is especially apparent on “The Revenge of Anus Presley” and “Wichita Cathedral.” The rest of the performances orbit Jolly’s work, flailing from the dazed psychedelia of “Hey” to the fiery mockery of Black Flag-esque hardcore seen on “The Revenge…” Everything from the tempo of the drums to the proficiency of guitar and sax is tinged with an authentic layer of amateurism (to put it kindly), but, as with the live show heard on Live PCPPEP, that is where much of the charm is. If everything was exactly in place, if the production wasn’t so foggy, and the songs and solos were more “conventional,” it wouldn’t be as brazenly repulsive and repugnant.

And if it isn’t repugnant, it isn’t Butthole Surfers.



Recent reviews by this author
Bomb the Music Industry! To Leave or Die in Long IslandGrim (JPN) Lunatic House
Weezer PinkertonWeezer Weezer
The Austerity Program Bible Songs 1Jack Stauber Micropop
user ratings (75)
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
AK47 (4.5)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Bloon
Contributing Reviewer
November 26th 2018


2898 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

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

Stream: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgy69St5aS0

Chapter 1...

Previous Review: https://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/78479/Butthole-Surfers-Live-PCPPEP/

Next Review: https://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/78509/Butthole-Surfers-Psychic...-Powerless...-Another-Mans-Sac/

Digging: Streetlight Manifesto - Everything Goes Numb

SandwichBubble
November 27th 2018


10120 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I only heard this one recently, but this is definitely one of the best things they did.

Digging: A Witness - Red Snake

Bloon
Contributing Reviewer
November 27th 2018


2898 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

probably their third best release

ArsMoriendi
November 27th 2018


27086 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

2nd imo, Psychic Powerless then this

Digging: The Unicorns - Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone?

ArsMoriendi
November 27th 2018


27086 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Also hi Bloon : )

Bloon
Contributing Reviewer
November 27th 2018


2898 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

heblo

veninblazer
November 27th 2018


10085 Comments


Is Bart eating The Sin and the Sentence in your propic lmao

Bloon
Contributing Reviewer
November 27th 2018


2898 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i hope hes not chewin on a new record, thats like 20-30 bucks down the drain

veninblazer
November 27th 2018


10085 Comments


If it's a shitty record then it's fair game lmao

veninblazer
November 27th 2018


10085 Comments


Not that TSATS is shitty, but still.

joshieboy
November 27th 2018


6894 Comments


One of the greatest band names l have ever seen

butcherboy
November 27th 2018


9464 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

their best to me.. just short enough for them not to overmasturbate.. great review, Bloony..

Kompys2000
November 27th 2018


3165 Comments


Still need to jam most Surfers albums, I picked up IWS at a thrift store like 7 years ago and loved it but never investigated beyond that for some reason.

butcherboy
November 27th 2018


9464 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

band themselves always said their albums are shite and don’t capture the live sound at all..

Kompys2000
November 27th 2018


3165 Comments


Band smoked anything they could get get their hands on for well over a decade, so perhaps they aren't the most reliable source.

butcherboy
November 27th 2018


9464 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i don't know.. i enjoy their albums.. but from everything i've read about their tours, from both them and their tourmates, seems like the live act in their prime was what all the noise was about.. i believe it, honestly.. a lot of their recorded songs feel a bit flat..

SandwichBubble
November 27th 2018


10120 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

If you're worried about the studio being less crazy than the live, just imagine the songs being played slightly faster and out of tune. Problem solved

Bloon
Contributing Reviewer
November 27th 2018


2898 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i really wanna get my hands on blind eye sees all, i also need to watch more yt footage of their early shows

double live fuckin rules, idk if ill get to it in this series



Bloon
Contributing Reviewer
November 28th 2018


2898 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i appreciate it but im not looking to buy any media rn :]

GhandhiLion
April 24th 2019


5731 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Been sucking on elvis presleys toe nails.

Digging: Slovenly - After The Original Style



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2019 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy