Butthole Surfers Returning With New Label, Album

After a spate of label troubles, the Butthole Surfers are planning to resurface with a new album early in the year 2000.

The band has been dormant since a falling-out with Capitol Records over its last album, “After The Astronaut,” which was never released.

“It was a feud between our former manager and the former president of Capitol Records,” guitarist Paul Leary told MTV News. “They were both ‘formers,’ but for some reason it set off a chain of events that put Capitol into this ‘grind this f***ing band into the dirt and flush them down the toilet’ mode.’”
But the two parties have now resolved their differences, and the group will be releasing its next project on Surfdog/Hollywood Records. Surfdog label head Dave Kaplan is also signing on as the Butthole Surfers’ new manager, and he told MTV News that his company hopes to issue a full-length Butthole Surfers album in February 2000. The band also plans to tour behind its next LP.

Surfdog is the label responsible for releasing the group’s first output since 1996′s “Electriclarryland.” The group’s cover of the Lovin’ Spoonful hit “Summer In The City” will be included on “MOM III,” the Surfrider Foundation benefit album (see “Lit, Smash Mouth Added Alongside Beck, Beasties, Snoop, Pearl Jam On ‘MOM III’” ). The band has also provided a remix for Perry Farrell’s track on the record, which is due out this August.

But exactly how much of the stalled “Astronaut” album will be included on the new record is still unclear. Capitol got as far as shipping out promo copies of the unreleased album last spring– against the band’s wishes, according to Leary.

Surfers drummer King Coffey told MTV News, “There will be several different songs on the new album, and any material from the album that Capitol leaked is going to be remixed or at least rearranged. It will be different. There’s been a bunch of songs done. We don’t know which ones are going to be on the record. It won’t be all of them unless it’s a quadruple CD.”
Leary confirmed that the group has been recording new material at Willie Nelson’s studio in Austin and at their individual residences, but he dismissed a published report that one song on the new record will be a rap tune called “S**t Like That,” while another track will sport “Beach Boy-ish harmonies.”
One thing to not expect on the album is a song with the commercial appeal of the band’s only hit single, “Pepper,” which charted in ’96 and spurred “Electriclarryland” to sales of over 600,000.

“We got a hit record, and everything went to s**t,” complained Leary. “It was okay when we were a s**tty little band with s**tty little songs that nobody cared about. Capitol loved us. But then we got a hit record, and they started treating us like s**t. We’re not going to do that again.”
Capitol wasn’t the only label battle undertaken by the Butthole Surfers. In 1996, the group successfully sued to get the rights back to the four albums it recorded with independent label Touch & Go Records. That situation caused the band to feel even further more at odds with the industry, Leary explained.

“[The Touch & Go situation] was another case where it was like, ‘Excuse us for being your most successful band.’” said Leary. “They started treating us like s**t, too. That happens whenever we make money for these people.”
The band has just reissued those records on its own label, Latino Buggerveil.

Meanwhile, the trio’s individual members haven’t been as busy as one might imagine during their recent downtime. Leary, known for his production work with Sublime as well as Supersuckers, Meat Puppets, and Stone Temple Pilots, accepted few studio offers. Frontman Gibby Haynes only played the odd date with his side project the Jack Officers. And Coffey shut down his independent label Trance Syndicate because, he said, it was too much work. “I think we were all pretty burned out on the business,” Coffey admitted.

“King didn’t have it in him to be an asshole,” added Leary.