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The Butthole Surfers

Love them or hate them, the Butthole Surfers are one of the most influential bands in the history of modern music...
In Texas we have many original artists, bands and musicians that have added their own distincitive flavor to other musicial traditions. In the realm of punk music the influence of one band, the Butthole Surfers, has been so profound that it transcends all but the very greatest Texas innovators. BH Surfers (as politically correct radio jocks call them) were the enegerizing force of late 80's and 90's punk, after most punk rock had been replaced by (shiver) Madonna and those of her ilk. The Surfers are one of the most confrontational bands of all time. Their music is right in your face and they continue to experiment to this day, influencing and helping shape our collective musicial futures.
The Butthole Surfers core was formed in 1977 when Giddy Haynes (son of Mr. Pepermint, host of a childrens show in Dallas for many years.) met Paul Leary at Trinity University where both were students. Four years later Haynes received his degree in Accounting and started a band with Leary called the 'Ashtray Baby Heads'. The Baby Heads were short-lived. A radio announcer mentioning the band for an upcoming gig mistook the name of one of their songs as the bands name. Thus, they have been the B.H. Surfers every since. The same year the band signed to indie label Alternative Tentacles and began touring and working on an album. In this era they continually experimented with live perfomances, mixing elements of rock, punk, and montage films played as a backdrop for their performances. Sometimes they would even employ nude female dancers (oh hell yeah).
After releasing a poor selling EP, the band became more successful with the release of their live album 'Live PCPPEP', which had good sales for an indie band. In 1984 the band signed with Chicago based Touch & Go (one of the most successful indie labels in the world) and released 'Psychic… Powerless… Another Man's sac'. Which was a combination of punk, hardcore, and metal, that went far in showing the bands verstitility. The release included many cult hits on it such as 'Cherub' and 'Negro Observer'.
This album and the next two albums (Rembrant Pussyhorse in 1986, Locust Abortion Technician in 1987) are considered the absolute genisis of what became grunge music (Nirvana, Bush, et al). It whe first time psychadelia, punk, and heavy metal were combined.
Due to their band name and the controversy of their live performances, the band would not be quickly signed to a major label. Their influence at this time was spilling over into the mainstream, when their albums started to be reviewed and played nationally. All the time they continued to record and release at least one album a year until 1991, when the band was the first group signed to play for the very first Lollapalooza tour. This prompted an adventurous executive at Capitol Records signed the group. Captiol quickly released the band's newest album, 'Pioughd' which had been recorded for the Rough Trade Record label. A wave of shock carried through their fan base, as this was considered "selling out" (a common punk insult). A number of singles from the album were released to critical acclaim and double-platinum sales.
In 1993 the band went into the studio with former Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones to record their Capitol debut 'Independent Worm Studio'. The group also recorded a music video for their first single 'Who Was In My Room Last Night?' To the chagrin of many media outlets, the band achieved an enormous success with the single - thus they became big news. The suits of the industry were angry over the bands name, and thus referred to them as 'the BH Surfers'.
After years of side projects and delays the band released their much anticipated and revered 'Electriclarryland' that contained the major hit 'Pepper'. In 1996 the band faced many legal struggles when Capitol got indigestion over an album of new material, 'After The Astronauts'. The dispute ended with the band being kicked off the label and being signed by Hollywood Records (owned by Disney!). The second legal battle was over their catalogue from their time at Touch & Go, a case they won. During this era the band contributed songs to numerous movie soundtracks, including Mission Impossible.
Finally, after their legal disputes had been settled, they released a new album in 2001, 'Weird Revolution'. The album showed the continued experimentation of the band with House Music and Electronica. In 2003 they released 'Humpy Dumpty LSD' an album that furthers their experimentation of the previous albums.
Some bands arrive late to a music scene. They always carry a stigma of being called fakes. The Butthole Surfers were the first to play grunge - a popular style of music that carries on to this day, although much more mainstream then the Surfers intended it to be. The Surfers were never mainstream, but they were (and are) excellent.

J Charles Miller 2005