Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Who Sleeps Where? What Did You Say?

Butthole Surfers - Live at First Avenue, Minneapolis, MN (4/20/87) Part 1
Butthole Surfers - Live at First Avenue, Minneapolis, MN (4/20/87) Part 1

I went from an ear-smashingly loud early evening of basement jamming to my favorite club, O'Cayz Corral, one spring night many years ago. It was just me and the new bartender that early. Even the band hadn't shown up for their soundcheck. Don't ask me what band because I don't remember and that's not the point of the story.

I got my pitcher (yes, in Wisconsin it is perfectly acceptable for one person to both order and to drink, by one's lonesome, a whole pitcher of beer...or several) and tried to sooth my aching ears. But a noise kept intruding, kept insinuating itself into my head.

"What are you listening to?" I asked the bartender. "It's the new Butthole Surfers! Isn't it great!" she yelled back at me. That's when I knew I'd really damaged my ears. She was yelling over the music but it wasn't that loud, or so my ears thought.

"Yeah, it's awesome" I said or something like that and the conversation went on for a while about how much she liked the Buttholes and which album I should buy first and so on. We've all had this conversation. About a thousand times. It's a good one.

Next day I went to my favorite record store, B-Side, on State Street. And I bought Live PCP-PEP. That was the only one I could remember her telling me about. Cool lime-green cover, I thought. I like lime-green.

And when I put it on the turntable - holy shit. This wasn't like anything I'd heard or imagined I was hearing the night before. How could a human being make noises like that with his throat? What kind of guitars from what other dimension made those sounds? I'd stepped into the Twilight Zone the instant that needle dropped!

Side one over, I flipped it. SHAZAM! It hit me like a lightning bolt - I'd been playing it at the wrong speed! The damn thing looks like it should be 33 1/3 but it's really a 45. (Insert Charlie Brown-style scream of anguish here).

I played side one again. Still good. Very good. And so was side two. And the other albums I rushed out to buy. (I think they only had two others out at the time). But nothing ever sounded as good as side one of PCP-PEP at 33 1/3. Scariest music ever unintentionally made. I ripped my LP a few years ago for easier listening. At both speeds.

Goeth! Buyeth! Shitteth!


j weber said...

The same thing happened to a of friend; he listened to it for a week at 33 before figuring it out. Later we ended up putting it on a tape, one side for each speed.

gomonkeygo said...

I'm not the only dummie, eh? Thanks for making me feel better, I appreciate it. And come back anytime, please!

krh said...

Thanks, you just reminded me of how great O'Cayz Corral was, and how many great shows I saw there in the early 90's. I haven't been back to Madison since it burned down, but I just can't imagine the city without it.

gomonkeygo said...

Yeah, I don't even like going over to that area anymore. It's changed so drastically and I don't think at all for the better. The "Developers" got their hands on "Properties" and now it looks, well, sanitized. I only go to hit Mad City Records and then skedaddle on out.