Currently reading "This Band could be your life" by Michael Azerrad which chronicles the American underground scene during the 80's. In fact the chapter in Simon Reynolds "Rip it up and start again" that deals with American progressive punk is a condensed version of this book. However, I have just finished the frankly hilarious chapter on the Butthole surfers and it got me reminiscing about the times I saw them play in London during the 80's. The first time particularly sticks in my mind, at the Clarendon in Hammersmith, where I met John Peel and had a brief chat with him and he was charming and polite as everyone says he was and took time to talk to the gormless indie-kid that I was. Local east-end boys AR Kane were supporting and played a mild mannered and subdued set compared to what was to come. Russell soon left AR kane after this show to form the much more feral Terminal Cheesecake, I like to believe that he was inspired by the forthcoming event. Because it was truly an event! A constant strobe, smoke, flames, highway disaster films and onstage anarchy all soundtracked by a whirling psychedelic din. Afterwards I sat shellshocked on the tube going home.
The next day I was listening to John peel on the radio and he remarked how utterly gobsmacked he was after the surfers show.
After seeing another surfers show in Notting hill years later, I was with a group of friends chatting and drinking and singer Gibby came over to hang out and chat with us. We were in awe and wanted him to regale us with wild on the road tales but he was more into talking about his new found obsession of firing guns! He hung around for hours while we bought him drinks making for a memorable evening, the kind that can happen quite often by chance in London, which makes me miss London all the more.