Thursday, February 21, 2013

Butthole Surfers -- "Strawberry" (1993)


Sunday, Monday 
Got to settle down
Got to get my 
Feet back on the ground

The Butthole Surfers are a somewhat disturbing band founded by Gibby Haynes and Paul Leary (originally Paul Leary Walthall), who met when they were students at Trinity University in San Antonio in the 1970's.  

Haynes grew up in Dallas.  His father, Jerry Haynes, was the host of a long-running local television show for kids called Mr. Peppermint, and broke the story of the Kennedy assassination on local TV.  (He and his program director had been watching the Kennedy motorcade pass by.)

Gibby was the captain of the men's basketball team at Trinity and the president of his fraternity, and he was named "Accounting Student of the Year."  Here's what the Trinity 1980-81 basketball media guide had to say about him:


Haynes went to work for a large international accounting and auditing firm, Peat Marwick (now KPMG), after graduating.  He left Peat Marwick after a year to form the Butthole Surfers.

Folks, I wish I knew how Gibby Haynes, corporate accountant/auditor, became Gibby Haynes, Butthole Surfers frontman and perpetrator of various onstage outrages, including the following:

Known for taking the stage at early concerts with hundreds of clothespins attached to his hair and clothes, Haynes would often strip throughout a show until he was down to his underwear, or less, by the end.  Other attire included flasher-style trench coats over his nakedness, ridiculously home-styled wigs and cross-dressing; often enjoying a skirt made of an American flag and a large '60s torpedo-style stuffed bra.  At other times he would hide condoms full of stage blood in his clothes and repeatedly fall to the floor, appearing to bleed profusely.  

Gibby Haynes then
Some of Haynes' other favorite tricks involved throwing handfuls of photocopied cockroach images into the crowd, rolls and rolls of toilet paper tossed across the audience, as well as filling an inverted cymbal with lighter fluid, setting it (and sometimes his hand) on fire, and repeatedly hitting it with a mallet.  As previously mentioned he would sing through most anything that would alter his voice, including toilet paper rolls and megaphones . . . . [T]he whole band would often tear apart stuffed animals while on stage.

Gibby Haynes now
My sister Terri also went to Trinity -- she was in the same class as Haynes, and also played basketball.  She is still Trinity's career basketball scoring leader and became the first female non-tennis player to be inducted into the Trinity athletic hall of fame several years ago.

Here's her entry from the 1980-81 Trinity media guide:


If you'd like to see Haynes in action, here's a video of an interview he did while the Butthole Surfers were touring the UK in 1988:



The band's CDs include Locust Abortion TechnicianElectriclarryland, and Hairway to Steven.  (Think about it.)  "Strawberry" is from 1993's Independent Worm Saloon, which I purchased used shortly after it was released. 

If you think of country-western (especially "outlaw" country-western) and mariachi bands when you think of Texas music, you'd better think again.  Groups like the 13th Floor Elevators and Butthole Surfers were as experimental and weird as anything that ever came out of Haight-Ashbury or lower Manhattan.

Here's "Strawberry."  (If you have any idea what language is being spoken in the last 30 seconds or so of the song, please let me know.)



Click here to buy the song from Amazon:

3 comments:

  1. The Los Angeles Times had a problem printing the band's full name in a "family newspaper"--as I recall they referred to the group as the BH Surfers. The idea of someone going from accounting to musical lunacy is rather a stretch, and it's possible that not even Mr. Haynes is sure what happened. There's a story here in the Pasadena CA area about an engineer or scientist at JPL who didn't come home from work one day. It took a while for his wife to file a missing persons report, because he would sometimes get involved in a "rush job" classified project and forget to call home, but when the police finally inquired (and I think the FBI got involved) his collegues had no idea where he was. They did know that things had been rather intense at work, but he left no clues at to where he had gone. This happened many years ago, so I'm not sure how long it was before he reappeared, but, according to the story, he had found work as a stable hand at Santa Anita Park race track, less than 15 miles away.

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