Butthole Surfers, Otto's Chemical Lounge, Frightwig "Live At The VFW#18 in KC, MO Oct 31, 1984"

Captured by my portable tape recorder in 1984 was one of my favorite Halloween nights to date: Frightwig out of San Francisco, Otto's Chemical Lounge from Minneapolis, and Austin Texas's own Butthole Surfers, right in the thick of their double drummer strobelight heyday (while Lawrence, KS champs the Mortal Micronotz are on one of the flyers shown below, sadly they didn't play).

There was already a weird vibe all evening with tons of cool costumes (my favorite being the guy who went as "Lou Reed in a Fishtank" -- he'd photocopied the cover of "Transformer" & built an aquarium-like apparatus around his head complete with dangling fish) and a sudden torrential rainstorm outside which effectively pinned the crowd inside all night. I didn't know Frightwig going in but they came up to me beforehand and fingered my mail-order KISS Army jacket (yeah, I was going as "a KISS fan" -- I swear this seemed a lot more novel 22 years ago) and once they started playing they easily won my 15 year old Flipper-fanatic heart. Next up Otto's Chemical Lounge pulled out a cover-heavy set full of Bluesy/ Bar-Bandish Acid Rock that went right over almost all of my (heavily Punk informed) cultural reference points at the time, and finally after some back and forth between the "Group Productions" promoters (Keith Patterson & Eric Schindling) and the local vice squad, the Butthole Surfers hit the stage. I didn't really know what to expect since only the "Brown Reason To Live" EP & the "PCPPEP" followup (which was almost all the same songs) had been released at this point, but I kinda doubt I would have been fully prepared no matter what. Gibby came out with 100 clothespins in his hair and rat-traps on his nipples while pushing a shopping cart full of paper and the megaphone he would later grab to sing the opener "Cherub" through. Teresa and King stood behind their drums with a constant strobe shooting up from below, and the rest of the band looked to me like they'd been living in a psychedelic garbage can or something. Just a crazy visual mess (by the end Gibby was nakedly twirling about as the rolls of toilet paper he'd covered himself in throughout the show had fully unraveled) that was equally matched by the music; though I'm not sure if you'll really be able to tell from this low-fi recording or not. Still these performances have never been shared (and I know how obsessive some of those Butthole Surfers fans get), so enjoy!

Boy, what a great night. I couldn't hear for the next 3 days.

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Frightwig "Live At The VFW#18 in KC, MO Oct 31, 1984" (192 kbps)

Otto's Chemical Lounge "Live At The VFW#18 in KC, MO Oct 31, 1984" (192 kbps)

Butthole Surfers "Live At The VFW#18 in KC, MO Oct 31, 1984" (192 kbps)

Naked Raygun "Live At The VFW#18 in KC, MO Aug 11, 1984"

This is a live recording from the first time (of what would eventually be many times) that I ever saw Naked Raygun, and it's fair to say that they blew me away. I'd only heard the "Flammable Solid" single and a few tracks off the "Code Blue" tape at this point, and I guess I really didn't know what else to expect (though I certainly DID expect "Surf Combat" -- when it starts you can hear my friend Larry shouting "YEAAAH!" and then turning to me with a "Let's go!" right before we ran into "the pit"). I knew there was a Big Black connection, but (aside from THEIR track on "Code Blue") had mostly only heard "Steelworker" by them a few times on my local college station & that was little help.

Naked Raygun were opening here for Iron Cross (also recorded, I'll post it eventually), and were added to the show a little late -- effectively filling in for Heart Attack who had cancelled. Few people in the crowd seemed to know who they were, but they did two short sets (sadly during the second one my tape runs out before "New Dreams" is over) and everyone I talked to walked away really impressed. In retrospect this was something of a transition point for them (I'm told by my friend Randy that "everything off of Basement Screams was pretty much dropped from their live performances about a year later with the exception of the occasional inclusion of Potential Rapist"), but mostly what I can tell you is that I was sorta shocked when they pulled a sax out for a few songs (hey, I was 15 and still really just a hardcore kid for the most part). By the way, what you're not hearing here is the totally crummy interview I did with them after the show for my zine "Room 101". Even at the time I knew it was bad, and I didn't even run it. You'll live.

So here's the only flyer I have left that mentions the show:

and a detail that links to the goods themselves:

Naked Raygun "Live At The VFW#18 in KC, MO Aug 11, 1984" (192 kbps)

RKL "Live At The Foolkiller in KC, MO May 5, 1985"

I wish it was under better circumstances, but here's the debut entry from a series of live tapes I made of Punk Rock bands in the mid '80's back when I lived in Kansas. I'm kicking it off with this one because Jason Sears, the singer for RKL, died this week (compounding this is that the original drummer Bomber -- the guy drumming here -- passed away only a few months ago.)

I made this recording on a crummy handheld Sony tape deck upstairs at the old Foolkiller in KC, which is where I saw a lot of my first punk gigs. I took the trip up from Lawrence to KC for shows all the time, but since I was under the driving age and lived about an hour & a half away from the club I was totally dependent on others for the rides up and back. Usually it was no problem, but for some reason this time it wasn't happening -- either no one was interested enough or they weren't able to pull it off, and I was getting desperate. The lineup looked so good too; it was not only RKL (who I knew from their debut single on Mystic which I had been playing constantly), but also Dr Know who were great when they'd come through 6 months earlier (on their "Plug In Jesus" tour). Eventually it was looking SO grim that I called up the local college radio station (KJHK) and begged them to announce my situation; "15 year old kid wants a ride up to KC to see a hardcore show. Any takers?". Seemed pretty last ditch to me but as luck would have it, a friend of mine I hadn't thought to call WAS listening and offered to hook me up (thanks Gil!). My evening was saved, the show was great, and I'm proud to be able to present it to you in all it's lo-fi glory 21 years later. Like I said, I just wish it was under happier circumstances.

Oh, and the flyer here is one I made for a show that ended up falling through about a year later (I still have the original lurking around). I can't remember now if the Melvins ended up playing by themselves or if the whole thing was scrapped, but as you can see I more or less just swiped the art from the "It's A Beautiful Feeling" single whole hog.

UPDATE: Stunt from 7 Inch Punk has graciously offered to host the file off his 12 Inch Punk server, so now there are two download options. Thanks man!

Link One: RKL "Live At The Foolkiller in KC, MO May 5, 1985" (192 kbps)

Link Two (12 Inch Punk): RKL "Live At The Foolkiller in KC, MO May 5, 1985" (192 kbps)