Skip to main content

Piss bombs, fire and nudity: the weird and wonderful world of Butthole Surfers

Think of the most outrageous gig you’ve ever seen. Forget it. Butthole Surfers took balls-out (that’s just for starters) anarchic performance ‘art’ to a debauched new low

Legends can grow in many ways. In the case of the Butthole Surfers, theirs was forged on the road, where they took auto-destruction to a lurid new level of trippy performance art. “I think we inspired other people to be more debauched,” says bassist Jeff Pinkus. “At a show at the Danceteria in New York there were piss bombs, there was glitter, fire, nudity, fake penetration – possibly real penetration – and screwdrivers mixing with monitor wedges. A lot of aggression came out that night, a lot of emotions. It was a brown rainbow.”

That night at the Danceteria, in early 1986, the band made it through only five songs before the entire gig blew up in a maelstrom of feedback, flames, flashing strobes, film projections and thick dry ice. Plus the spectacle of naked frontman Gibby Haynes and dancer Kathleen Lynch appearing to hump each other in front of the drum riser. This may have been extreme by Butthole Surfers standards (certainly the onstage sex, simulated or otherwise), but not overly so.


From the archive

From the archive

TeamRock+

More from this edition

Get Involved

Trending Features

Promoted

Top