“It was every man for himself at that point.”

Egads, the Butthole Surfers…

Via Laurenn McCubbin, a post at The Rumpus recounting one of the most hilariously entertaining rock n’ roll stories I’ve heard in years: An Oral History of May 3, 1987: The Day The Butthole Surfers Came to Trenton, New Jersey. Not too surprisingly, it involves Gibby Haynes setting himself (and others) on fire. A choice excerpt:

Randy Now: We had this big on/off breaker switch that fed the power to the stage. It was gigantic; it looked like something out of a Frankenstein movie from the ’20s it was so huge. He’s yelling, “Pull the plug! Pull the plug!” And that thing just cut the power to the stage and so we pulled it.

Tony Rettman: Gibby set his arm on fire and he was waving it at people. When things got crazy, I was too young to be scared, I didn’t know enough to know that things like that aren’t supposed to happen.

Tim Hinely: Everyone realized the plug got pulled and was pissed. People were yelling, “Bouncers suck!”

Mickey Ween: And that set off a whole series of events. The lights came on and the PA went out, and the whole place was filled with smoke, either from a smoke machine or his burning arm, and when the house lights go up, you could see everyone for the first time. The two drummers kept going and Gibby had the bullhorn and it turned into this tribal hell. That’s what was so great about seeing the Buttholes, it was like you were in Hell, especially if you’re on drugs.


The entire transcript is fucking golden. It’s taken from the upcoming book No Slam Dancing, No Stage Diving: How a Seedy New Jersey Club Defined an Era, “an oral history of ’80s and ’90s-era alternative/punk music told through the portal of one club-Trenton, New Jersey’s legendary City Gardens.” (Someone should really expand that Wiki stub!)

7 Responses to ““It was every man for himself at that point.””

  1. Mer Says:

    Wow… that’s two posts in a row on Coilhouse with the word “butthole” in them. Classy! Also, totally unintentional.

  2. Seth Says:

    If ya got a special op ed piece on quality wine bungs, we can keep this train on rollin’, Mer!

    I love the Buttholes… Forget this celebutard crap. Back when I was a kid, we had REAL rockstar addicts, goddammit! Guys who’d snort Drano and punch out highway patrolmen. You know; rock stars! Yet I also identify with these guys quite strongly.

    I too had a shirt. It too was hurt. And sadness filled the air.

  3. six06 Says:

    i am kicking myself for missing their recent show here in houston.

  4. Infamous Amos Says:

    It just does not get more rock and roll than the Buttholes. Real rockstars are not just hotel room destroying assholes, they become one with the hotel room and they all self destruct together. They are absurd catastrophes that defy logic, physics, and thermodynamics everywhere they go, and God bless em’ for it.

    My favorite Butthole Surfers story is in the book Our Band could be your Life by Michael Azerrad, about the time Gibby rubbed his crotch all over Jimmy Carters luggage.

    I am totally getting that book if there are more bon mots like that in it.

  5. Nadya Says:

    Oh my god, that was priceless. Thank you, Mer.

  6. Ben Morris Says:

    This post inspired a metafilter post on the Butthole Surfers (said post specifically cites Coilhouse). The best part of which is the many personal anecdotes about the Surfers in the post’s comments.

  7. Mer Says:

    Heh, thanks for that heads up, Ben. What a kick to read all of those crazy BHS stories in the Metafilter thread.