Butthole Surfers

Who gives a f*ck about punk ethos? We were never a punk band. We were/are a punk band to spite punk rock.

King Coffey of Butthole Surfers and Trance Syndicate Records logged in from his home in Austin, TX for February's edition of Slack City Live (hosted by editors of Austin's io Magazine).There was much discussion of the "alternative" phenomenon, human excrement, ska, and Surfer lore. Read on, if you dare...


KING COFFEY Howdy all, am I here or what?

SLACK CITY Yes you are, King, loud & clear. Welcome.

KRUSTY I think it's 10:00 here.

KING COFFEY Well thank ye, Willie Nelson is on the radio, so at home in cyber New York.

SLACK CITY You're right, it's 10 there. But this is rock & roll so we can't start on time, can we?

KING COFFEY Good, do I have time to go the store -- I meant to grab some more beer?

SLACK CITY How far is the store?

KING COFFEY Round the corner -- no big deal really -- I'm only half kidding.

KING COFFEY Where's the alcoholic Domino's when you need them?

THE KING Right here.

SLACK CITY Well, we're starting to attract a crowd. I'm Ben, to all you visitors, and my guest is King Coffey, drummer for the Butthole Surfers and founder of Trance Syndicate records.

KING COFFEY Kruster we used to dial the 555-weed # all the time whilst in NYC.

KING COFFEY Good things about NYC, but glad I'm not there.

SLACK CITY Did you live in NYC, King?

KING COFFEY Sorta, we crashed there for months in between "tours" off and on for years.

LO-KI Is the weed great in Austin?

SLACK CITY Weed in Austin? I don't here anyone complaining -- they're too busy inhaling.

KRUSTY Are you guys (Buttholes) touring now/soon?

KING COFFEY f*ck no -- hurrah -- we have to record an album first, in May. Then we'll see what happens.

SLACK CITY When will the record be out (in the stores)?

KING COFFEY The album is slated for early fall (and if we're lucky it'll sound like early Fall too).

KRUSTY I never hear you guys played on the radio in NYC. Do you get played in Austin?

KING COFFEY The radio is worse here, by far. Tho' I think playing the Buttholes would make almost any station sound worse.

THE KING Does Gibby have a thing for firearms?

KING COFFEY Gibby has a thing for everything, but his biggest crush is on me.

KRUSTY Is this the album that will get you guys all over MTV?

KING COFFEY God, I hope not.

THE KING I'd have a crush on you, but the whole Narcissus syndrome...

KING COFFEY Myself - yes'm I'd clone you too, but there's almost too much perfection already - you.

SLACK CITY Actually, King, did you see the Beavis & Butthead episode you made? Butthead kept calling out Gibby! Gibby! when the video played.

KING COFFEY It was weird when Capitol told us the album was being helped by Beavis and Butthead. You know it's the end of civilization when Beavis and Butthead are dictating tastes.

SKASKA What do you guys think of the Bosstones?

KING COFFEY The Bosstones are great if you like ska. My mom does.

SKASKA I thought you guys were mad about the tour stuff.

KING COFFEY Sure, we were pissed at the Bosstones, they canceled a US tour on us, sent us packing home to Texas. It was our final tour for the last album. They're jerks, at least the lead singer is the biggest single whiner I've heard in my entire life.

THE KING What was up with those films of sex changes you used to show in concert?

KING COFFEY [Echo] Why do we show those films? Why does a dog lick his balls? Actually we never showed any sex change movies, I think the surgical reconstruction film might have scarred you for life.

LO-KI Hey, what about that Nintendo commercial?

KING COFFEY Nintendo -- it was very strange, they had to get members of the Screen Acting Guild to make a mosh pit. Weird.

LO-KI Doing a Nintendo commercial isn't exactly the most underground thing to do. You tend to get a lot of cash to say you like a product. That's selling out.

SKASKA Come on guys. At least they don't get paid to wear shoes, like some bands...

KING COFFEY Lo-ki - Sorry I'm too busy fuming at the Bosstones. We sold out from day one. Who gives a f*ck about "punk ethos?" We were never a punk band. We were/are a punk band to spite punk rock. I'm a punk rocker. If Nintendo wants to give me money to use. . .

KING COFFEY . . .if Nintendo wants to give us money for a pre-existing song I'll take it. They ain't the Nazis.

KE Hey Coffey? Whatever happened to Jerry Jr.?

KING COFFEY KE - Jerry Jr.?

KE Yeah. Jerry Jr..

SLACK CITY Who is that, KE?

KE Don't you remember who you cooked?

KING COFFEY Oh, geez...

KE The kid you cooked at the family BBQ.

KING COFFEY Somebody took a magnet to my brain, you people with memories are scary!

KE GRRRRRRR...

KING COFFEY So, we ate the kid in the video and we made a million! I love America!

KE I ate a kid once. The younger the more tender!

SKASKA How much did you get paid? Or is that personal?

KING COFFEY ska - It was a joke. KE is making a reference to a really obscure home movie we were involved with, that appeared in a "video magazine" called Impact. We did it for the sheer yucks, and to eat flesh.

SKASKA Who do you plan to take on tour?

KING COFFEY Somebody cool. The Reformed Shaggs, hopefully.

KE Hey Coffey! Can our band tour with you if we promise not to drop out?

KING COFFEY Sure. If you got the money honey, we got the time!

KING COFFEY The Bosstones thing was a terrible idea, somebody should've slapped us silly first.

SKASKA Come on guys, they're a good band and you know it. What they did was wrong, but you should have known that their fans like to go on stage and they let them... I understand your stuff on stage is worth money.

KING COFFEY Ska - The Bosstones knew that we couldn't move our equipment (as it takes forever to set up). That was their chief grief. They had to play in front of our stuff on big stages. They didn't like it, but they knew going into it. They're a good band if you like ska.

SKASKA King Coffey, but they are not a ska band. Most people who like ska do not like them. They hate them.

KING COFFEY Skaster - I don't like new ska, I liked the Specials when they first came out and I like Desmond Decker and the old, true ska, but I can't stand the MMBs. Does that make me a true ska fan?

SLACK CITY King, tell us about the new Roky Erickson album. It's out now, right?

KING COFFEY It's Roky's first album in a decade. It's on Trance. He doesn't mention Satan once but it is beautiful, as is Roky. I could spin many a yarn about Mr. Erickson, but I'd get blisters on my finger tips from creating the cyber sweater.

SLACK CITY How did you end up working with him?

KING COFFEY SCity - I loved Roky so much (and gave my life savings to his estate) that Trance scored the record.

KRUSTY Do you workout or do you stay in shape by beating the crap out of the drums?

KING COFFEY Krusty - I jack off mostly, but with gusto.

SUZIE Have you ever jacked off on America Online?

KING COFFEY SUZIE - I think every aspect of the internet is one big jack off, that's why we're all here I'm sure.

SUZIE Have you ever tasted your own cum?

KING COFFEY I love my own cum, it's my manly essence. Somebody kill me.

SUZIE Is it true that everyone in Austin practices free love?

KING COFFEY SUZIE - I usually have to pay for my love (one way or another - sorry, that's a Blondie song).

KE Coffey, have you ever had a hermaphrodite?

KING COFFEY What makes you think I'm not an hermaphrodite?

SUZIE What was the thing on your double live album cover? That mutant with the boils or whatever on it's back?

KING COFFEY That was Kathleen our dancer/guru at the time, digitally enhanced by the aid of the computer.

LO-KI How come you guys used symbols instead of names for the songs on "Hareway to Stephen?"

KING COFFEY Um, we used symbols because we never came up with good names for the songs. We're lazy ass f*cks, really.

LO-KI I always thought it was so people couldn't call out the names of songs at your shows. But do you find it annoying when people request songs?

KING COFFEY I like people requesting songs, but usually our set is written. By the encore though, we'll play something if it's a good song we want to play.

KE What ever happened to your sister?

KING COFFEY Teresa is working at the Texas School for the Blind and writing a history of the 80's touring Buttholes. Which is great as all I have to show for it are some destroyed brain cells. Fortunately she still has her brain in check.

KE When is that book going to come out?

KING COFFEY Teresa's book is still in the writing stage.

KE Hey Coffey, I heard Gibby tried getting on the Rush Limbaugh show.

KING COFFEY The Gibby/Rush thing was a hoax. Apparently some guy claimed to be Gibby or Rush and made the whole thing up.

(MICHAEL KNOWLTON) What do you guys think of Bedhead?

KING COFFEY I think Bedhead is one of the best 10 bands on the planet (seriously).

SUZIE Hey Coffey, what's up with all these musicians moving to Austin?

KING COFFEY Austin is a pretty city, with a liberal atmosphere and doesn't demand much from you. It's soothing for people who are used to big cities. But don't move here, it's getting too crowded!

SLACK CITY Yeah, King, have you been to Jourgensen's mansion out in the hills?

KING COFFEY Never been to Jourgenson's. I'd rather watch Medical TV. KE Hey Coffey, what did you want to do when you where a lad?

KING COFFEY I wanted to be, and still want to be, the first band to play on the moon.

KE Can we come?

KING COFFEY Sure. All of SonicNet. Let's go to the moon!

KE When is the new Jack Officer album going to come out?

KING COFFEY Maybe never, as Jo was pretty much Gibby and Jeff, and Jeff left the band.

LO-KI Hey KC, when and why did you guys switch from two drummers to one?

KING COFFEY LO - I'm not sure why. We switched when Teresa left. Maybe '88 or something (back when we were good).

SLACK CITY King, what are you gonna be doing at South by Southwest?

KING COFFEY Trance is having a big blowout showcase w/ Bedhead, Ed Hall, Crust, plus our fine new bands: Sixteen Deluxe, Furry Things and Desafinado. Bob Mould is also playing a short set between Bedhead/Ed Hall. Mostly though I plan to get drunk during sets.

KE Hey Coffey, I have to go wipe something out of my ass, I will send you my demo. My group's called, f*ck Monkey and the Pimp.

KING COFFEY You guys are going to be huge!

SUZIE I want to give Newt a BJ with a straw.

KING COFFEY We're all shuddering at the thought of giving Newt a blow job!

SUZIE Newt's shuddering at the thought of getting a bj.

SLACK CITY He'd call a press conference the next day to talk about how much better his dick tastes than any Democrat's.

KING COFFEY I bet that's part of the Contract With America.

(MICHAEL KNOWLTON) I'm about to vomit myself.

SUZIE Vomiting is sooooooo sexy.

KRUSTY Does Trance have a Web location where we can hear its bands?

KING COFFEY Kruster. My webby friends are getting it set up, in fact, those at SonicNet want to have something, so maybe soon.

KING COFFEY We're doing a long compilation on Trance this summer of all the bands. It'll retail for $6 so take a chance on it (hype, hype, hype).

SUZIE I love being here! Where else can we talk about cum and vomit?

KING COFFEY SUZIE - It's time to apply to the NEA for SUZIENet!

(MC DUGAN) Get the application in soon.

SUZIE I'm f*cking the NEA reps for a grant, actually.

KING COFFEY Well, I hope you're a good f*ck. (smiley face)

(MICHAEL KNOWLTON) Sign me up.

(JIM BIXLER) I'm up for it.

SLACK CITY I thought the NEA people preferred golden showers?

SUZIE Jim, did you know your in initials backwards spell bj?

(JIM BIXLER) Thanx for pointing that out.

KING COFFEY I see SonicNet attracts a very high brow crowd.

(JIM BIXLER) Nothing but.

SUZIE Actually, the Butthole Surfers attracted this crowd.

KING COFFEY I stand accused. (I'd like to thank the academy...)

SUZIE I do have a serious question, Coffey. What do you think of all the hype about "alternative" music/culture?

KING COFFEY The only real "alternative" culture gets no hype. It's a contradiction in terms. Bands like ourselves our incredibly mainstream really.

SUZIE Who would you consider alternative then?

KING COFFEY Well, you know in a way, I guess Fugazi could be considered "alternative" as they do try to work outside the corporate net of rock and they are still (relatively popular). But, hell, I don't consider anything alternative, ultimately.

SUZIE Isn't alternative just another marketing niche?

(MC DUGAN) The American way, SUZIE.

KING COFFEY I think there is no real innovation right now, and any innovation is based on something traditional and therefore I don't really find it alternative...

(JIM BIXLER) Isn't that what art and creativity are all about? Working on and with previous masters' works?

KING COFFEY Maybe, they'll be another whole different school, like what happened in punk rock in the 70's, but I'm not holding my breath.

(JIM BIXLER) After all, what is new and "original?"

SLACK CITY What could any band do, at this point in time, that hasn't been tried before?

(JIM BIXLER) Exactly.

KING COFFEY I think we're just repeating ourselves musically right now. Great schools of art do emerge - like say Dada - but that's like once, over 3 decades at best? Big deal. Kind of sad.

MC DUGAN But KC, there's the ever-expanding technology side of music. Creating sound from binary numbers and redefining rhythm in an emotional medium must be pushing some frontier, if not the frontal lobes of its listeners.

SUZIE So, KC, what do you think about communicating in this medium?

KING COFFEY I like communicating in this medium, for it's a cheap way to speak to the world. Computers are getting cheap. I like midi technology for it has been possible for kids to have "hits" with songs made in their bedroom. Hip Hop especially, technology is a great democratizer.

SLACK CITY Are 16 Deluxe going to be touring nationally or anything? (They're a local band that opened for Sebadoh the other night, and they're on King's Trance label).

KING COFFEY Yes 16 D will be touring this summer. 7" out this week, album out this fall. Really cool band. I love them a lot.

(ROREE KREVOLIN) I saw you at The Anthrax a long time ago in CT. As I recall, it was a while back.

KING COFFEY I have no memory of that show. I'm sure it happened, like I was saying earlier, I spent most of the eighties being clubbed over the head and losing memory.

SUZIE Now that Bob Mould lives in Austin do you guys ever see each other?

KING COFFEY SUZIE - Bob and I are pals and I often dog sit for him.

SLACK CITY King, will 16 Deluxe make it up to NYC on their tour?

KING COFFEY It's yet to be booked, but I, you, and they should hope so.

SLACK CITY One last question, King. Why'd you go and start a record label?

KING COFFEY Slack City - Why does a dog lick his balls? Cuz I put butter on them. Um, I mean I started the label because I wanted to, and there were some fine Texas bands who needed to be heard. Thanks all, g'night!

SLACK CITY There you have it, folks. Everyone say goodnight to King and thanks for being my guest.