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Butthole Surfers: The Weird History Of The Band Behind "Pepper" & "Who Was In My Room Last Night"

Butthole Surfers: The Weird History Of The Band Behind "Pepper" & "Who Was In My Room Last Night"

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Today we take a look at the band Butthole Surfers.

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#gibbyhaynes #buttholesurfers

Today we’re talking about one of the weirdest
acts in Rock N’ Roll – the Butthole Surfers

and I’ve had a few people ask me to do this
topic and today we are finally going to tackle

it.
The Butthole Surfers started out as a drug-fueled

post-punk band from Texas. After all they
really had nothing to lose to lose. They were

like the bradley cooper of rock n’ roll.
What do I mean? Well they both found major

success much later on in their career.
Their live shows were an assault on the senses

– rumored on-stage sexual antics and disturbing
images projecting above the stage were all

standard. There was also an instance when
full-frontal nudity happened at an all-ages

show. Bassist Jeff Pinkus would tell Classic
Rock Magazine “I think we inspired other

people to be more debauched,”
In an interview with Kerrang online, Guitarist

Paul Leary talked about how frontman Gibby
Haynes went on a bender onstage in Rotterdam

in the Netherlands at a show where the Cult
had just played – he ended up in a dress and

threw chairs at the audience. Ironically though,
this was when the band really started to take

off in Europe! Leary couldn’t take all the
sound equipment back himself so he hid it

under the bushes overnight. At a February
1986 show in New York’s the band used “piss

wands” which were – plastic baseball bats
filled with, well you know, that were waved

around the crowd.
From the get go the band was single minded

in their mission. They wanted to do something
other bands hadn’t with guitarist Paul Leary

explaining to Classic Rock “We’d asked
ourselves what we wanted to see from a rock

band, something that nobody else was doing,”.
“We were influenced by psychedelic bands

so we wanted strobes. Soon we had shotguns,
walls of strobe lights and movies showing

penis reconstruction. It just seemed like
a kick in the ass to do. It helped that there

was no message we were trying to convey. It
was all kinda nihilistic.”

Their onstage behavior soon crossed over to
offstage antics. Leary would explain “It

was just a party every night,” “Gibby
was definitely our ringleader. We would go

into a new town every day, raise as much hell
as we wanted, get to drink beer for free,

act like lunatics, make a big mess and then
move on to the next town” he’d remember

One of their most ridiculous offstage antics
was touching their, uh hmmm, manhood to a

briefcase used by President Jimmy Carter.
And for a band that could be so visceral, they

were actually inspired by some pretty intellectual
philosophies.

Dadism also known as the art of the absurd) and
Fredrick Nietzche’s Nihilism both influenced the group.
Frontman Gibby Haynes and Paul Leary formed
The Butthole Surfers in 1981 in San Antonio,
Texas. Ironically, the band members had pretty

wholesome backgrounds. Hayne’s father hosted
a children’s program in Dallas called Mr.

Peppermint and Leary’s father was the business
school Dean at Trinity College in Dallas.

They were influenced by punk rock bands like
Black Flag, and the Dead Kennedys,

In what should have been a clue for what lay
ahead the pair created a humorous magazine

called Strange V.D., which looked at bizarre
medical problems. Haynes was working at an

accounting firm at the time when he was fired
when his superiors after they found pages from the magazine

in the company printer. And it didn’t really
matter since the Butthole Surfers had already

formed. Leary would paint a funny picture
of what the band’s early rehearsals looked

like saying
“We’d go over to our drummer’s house

in the evening and start rehearsing,. “Gibby
would usually get off work late at the accountancy

firm, stumble into practice in his suit and
tie, and immediately start stripping down

to his boxer shorts while we were playing.
That’s how it got incorporated into our

live show. We’d play until the police came
and turned the power off.”

The early to mid eighties were formative years
for the band. In San Francisco in 1981, the

Surfers met the Dead Kennedys’ Jello Biafra
, who signed them to his Alternative

Tentacles label. King Coffey and Teresa Nervosa
joined the band as percussionists in 1983.

Jeff Pinkus joined in 1986 as bassist.
There was no one label to fit the band’s

music. The band blended elements of punk, metal,
psychedelic rock and just strange noises.