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Butthole Surfers

Arguably the most infamously named band in the annals of popular music -- for years, radio found their moniker unspeakable, and the press deemed it unprintable -- Butthole Surfers long reigned among the most twisted and depraved acts ever to bubble up from the American underground. Masters of calculated outrage, the group fused the sicko antics of shock rock with a distinct and chaotic mishmash of avant-garde, hardcore, and Texas psychedelia; sleazy, confrontational, and spiteful, songs like "The Revenge of Anus Presley," "Bar-B-Q Pope," and "The Shah Sleeps in Lee Harvey Oswald's Grave" seemed destined to guarantee the Buttholes little more than a lifetime of cultdom. Yet, by the mid-'90s, they were left-field Top 40 hitmakers, success perhaps their ultimate subversion of mainstream ideals.

The seeds of their formation dated back to 1977, when future frontman Gibby Haynes, the son of the Dallas-based children's TV host known as "Mr. Peppermint," met guitarist Paul Leary while attending college in San Antonio. Four years later, Haynes -- then completing his graduate work in accounting -- and Leary formed the Ashtray Baby Heads, later dubbed Nine Foot Worm Makes Home Food; they became Butthole Surfers only after a radio announcer mistakenly took the title of an early song to be the group's name. In 1981, they signed to Dead Kennedys frontman Jello Biafra's label Alternative Tentacles, and two years later issued their hallucinatory eponymous debut, also issued on colored vinyl under the name Brown Reason to Live.

After a number of bassists and drummers, the Surfers' lineup fell into place in 1983 with the addition of drummers King Coffey (formerly of the Hugh Beaumont Experience) and Theresa Nervosa; at the same time, their bizarre live gigs -- a traveling freak show combining nude dancers, film clips of sex-change operations, and Haynes' pyromaniacal behavior -- began to win a devout cult following, and in 1984 they issued the concert set Live PCPPEP. A move to the Chicago-based indie Touch & Go precipitated a turn toward even greater thematic offensiveness, as evidenced by tracks like "Concubine" and "Lady Sniff" from 1985's Psychic...Powerless...Another Man's Sac.

After the EP Cream Corn From the Socket of Davis, the Buttholes resurfaced in 1986 with Rembrandt Pussyhorse, a twisted trip into neo-psychedelia featuring a brutal deconstruction of the Guess Who's "American Woman," as well as new bassist Jeff "Tooter" Pinkus. The introduction of Haynes' "Gibbytronix" vocal effects unit increased the level of dementia for 1987's Locust Abortion Technician, an extremist fusion of punk, metal, art rock, and worldbeat rhythms. Following 1988's faux-Zeppelin rant Hairway to Steven, the group issued Double Live, a mock bootleg released through their own Latino Bugger Veil imprint; after a pair of EPs, 1989's Widowermaker! and 1990's The Hurdy Gurdy Man, they remained uncharacteristically silent until 1991's uneven Pioughd, recorded for the Rough Trade label.

For many observers, the biggest shock in a career built on outrageous behavior arrived in 1992, when the Buttholes signed with major label Capitol, which promptly reissued Pioughd following the demise of Rough Trade. After entering the studio with producer and former Led Zep bassist John Paul Jones, they emerged in 1993 with the LP Independent Worm Saloon; the first single and video, "Who Was in My Room Last Night?," both garnered a surprising amount of airplay, much to the chagrin of the many media outlets which begrudgingly referred to the group as "BH Surfers." Following a series of side projects -- most notoriously Haynes' group P, which also featured movie star Johnny Depp -- the band (now a trio consisting of Haynes, Leary, and Coffey) returned in 1996 with Electriclarryland, scoring a major chart hit with the trip-hop-flavored "Pepper." In 1998, they recorded a follow-up, After the Astronaut, but disputes between the Surfers and Capitol prevented the album from being released, though advance copies were sent to reviewers. Three years later, Butthole Surfers emerged with their first for Hollywood/Surfdog Records, Weird Revolution, which recycled some of the songs from After the Astronaut, but in new recordings. ~ Jason Ankeny
full bio

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Comments

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Heheh. You said, "annals"
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fozy121
annal
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The greatest band name in the history of music
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I can't get enough
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anthony64702
hairway to Steven \ Rembrandt p**sy horse \ the pink Floyd of punk rock Gibby's bad a@@ hole surfer.
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anthony64702
we'll go eat some cream corn then!!
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bzaske2
This band is freaking gay
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stgnola
saw the butthole surfers 92 Baltimore ,
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isawickyleon a r d
People think I'm weird for liking these guys when I'm only 12
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isawickyleon a r d
I don't give a f*** about anything!! AHHHHHHHHHHH H H H H H H H H
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Independent Worm Saloon is still one of my all time favorite albums. There's just so much variety in that album yet it all goes together perfectly.
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tommytitanfa n
DUST DEVIL.....WH O WAS IN MY ROOM LAST NIGHT?.....G O O F Y ' S CONCERN MY 3 FAVES
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Love their voice and style i love the song pepper most
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aktrollo
The similar artists list is yawn at best, I like those bands yet only Primus is one that could compare. What about Laughing Hyenas, God Bullies, or Elvis Hitler?
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You can tell alot about somebody
By what kind of person they
Are!!!
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the funny thing about regret is that it's better to regret
something you have done than
to Regret something that you haven't done
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amye45
I was punked by Portland Coffey.
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Pepper is my favorite
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Hairway is the best album by any band EVER!
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Coming down... Boom!
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how I feeling old to ead the commoents.>>
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Good music to cut meat to.
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I just discovered these guys! They're badass!
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I love Pandora's ESP, I was just thinking about this song at work a few hours ago!
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There's a time to f**k, and a time to crave, but the Shah sleeps in Lee Harvey's grave!!!
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There's a time to f**k, and a time to pray, but the Shah sleeps in Lee Harvey's grave!!!
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How about The Annoying Song?
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Where the hell is Independent Worm Saloon?! They mention it in the description but I can't find any songs in the library!
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redmash73
love love love these guys. Where the hell is their comeback album??????? I mean how many bands from that era have returned with questionable results Demand New BUTTH@le surfers album america
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redmash73
love love love these guys. Where the hell is their comeback album??????? I mean how many bands from that era have returned with questionable results Demand New BUTTH@le surfers album america
Report as inappropriate
redmash73
love love love these guys. Where the hell is their comeback album??????? I mean how many bands from that era have returned with questionable results Demand New BUTTH@le surfers album america
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Lol
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Love them. I'm from S.A. GIbby still rocks!
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WHY WONT PANDORA UNDERSTAND THAT I ONLY WANT TO HEAR 80S BUTTHOLE SURFERS!?
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God bless the surfers
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These guys made me what I am today...
An enjoyable lunatic.
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bobonnit is truly a s**t eating f*g who would bob on a cactus because he wouldn't know his a** from a hole in the ground plus his name says it all -- nit wit- bhs is the greatest thing out of texas and i mostly dislike texas
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@griffin.nel s o n . w w Pandora likes to credit the wrong people
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Uhh, the credits for Pepper are listed as the members of Linkin Park... xD
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Bobonit is a f**got
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Over rated losers
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Wow....the name...
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if you ever want one of the wierdest conversation s in your life, gibby, half asleep and still drunk from last night, had the privledge in '89 in Athens GA, still trying to figure it out...
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I have heard coming down the mountain 4 times and nothing else what is with Pandora your hit station.
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veronicawarr e n 2 0
wow....what times surfers acid and the early 90's...nothi n g like old 80s surfers and the texas heat.
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Smosh referenced these guys twice in their Scribblenaut s video. That made my day.
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whereistheal b u m p c p m e l t d o w n ^ .
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It's like Denny's but with a different name.
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What the hell is a perkins.
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The band was meant to be called Nine Foot Worm Makes Home Food. That's kind of like Jimmy Eat World. How unfortunate.
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