KING COFFEY of BUTTHOLE SURFERS – Song For Ewe

“SONG FOR EWE”
with KING COFFEY of BUTTHOLE SURFERS

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“SONG FOR EWE” is the feature where artists beloved by VELVET SHEEP choose an obscure song they’ve been listening to that day.

Today is a key member of Texan noise psych (for psychosis as well as psychedelic) punk greats Butthole Surfers. Drummer extraordinaire, label honcho, dog lover and proud owner of “Yard of the Month” (September 2014, according to Wikipedia, so it must be true), this man is a true legend. He’s been in bands with Experience in the title, and also made records that sound a bit like “Electric Ladyland” with psychoactive filters. He’s also been in a band called Drain and released records by Crunt. He’s written a fanzine called “Throbbing Cattle”, so it’s a pleasure to invite him to Velvet Sheep. A man that helped me stay punk even when I was working for The Man, here with his “song for ewe”, his parents called him Jeffrey, but you and I know him as King Coffey!

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When I worked with Katelijne De Backer & Toby Amies making MTV Europe’s Alternative Nation in the mid 90s it always gave me a thrill when we could programme the Butthole Surfers video “Pepper” (from the band’s hit record “Electriclarryland”) because it felt like here was a band that was using the mechanics of the majors to subvert from the inside. In my mind, as a punk fanzine writer who had taken a job working for Viacom, I was somehow doing the same. In the post grunge wake, other than maybe other fav bands of mine Shudder To Think, The Jesus Lizard or Helmet, not many bands as self-consciously in your face or uncompromising as Butthole Surfers had ever been signed to majors. And Gibby, Paul & King had been doing it a lot, lot longer, and more extreme. They’d influenced Kurt, they’d appeared on his playlists, and that was enough. Thank goodness, or badness, tick the most applicable. Not only did Butthole Surfers have a keen sense of majesterial malice and mayhem, they had that name. At their very entry point they were grabbing you by the lapels and shouting at your from point blank range. And in my mind, we always need more of that.

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I’d also been writing in the original Velvet Sheep paper fanzine about a lot of records on King Coffey’s Trance Syndicate Records, including the Crunt album (a supergroup of sorts featuring Kat Bjelland of Babes In Toyland and Russel Simmins of the Blues Explosion) plus Roky Erickson re-releases, Bedhead and post rock pioneers Labradford, so it was clear that King & the Buttholes were about putting back into the scene, paying it forward and all that shizznizz. Whenever Jeff from Southern and his predecessors whose names escape used to send me a tape with the Trance Syndicate label on it I knew it was a mark of quality.

After working on “Alternative Nation” I was lucky enough to be channel manager for MTV2 and when we discovered this nugget below in the library, we got it re-carted up and played it to death, to mine and programmer Colin Cooper’s (ex of Mr. Ray’s Wig World) pleasure. It’s possibly the best ever clip to appear on YouTube, a psychobilly freakout as if discovered from lost 70s archives, truly hurdy gurdy madness…Butthole Surfers – Live At MTV…

I was chuffed as hell to find King Coffey among mutual friends on FB, and although I’ve sat on this “song for ewe” for as they (whoever they are) might say a “hot minute”, it is well worth the wait…without any further ado, it’s over to King and his “song for ewe”…

“(Recently) I was at a Mexican restaurant in town and this came on the jukebox.

Completely insane song yet everyone in the place was going about their business as if Olivia Newton-John was playing instead. I screamed at everyone, “don’t you realize how crazy this song is! Wake up sheeple!!!”.

Well, ok, not really. But it did occur to me that if this was from a more exotic locale, my friends would be obsessing over the genre, making “Music from Saharan Cell Phones” style compilation LPs.

Since it’s from our backyard, we ignore it and look to The Wire for guidance instead.”

THANKYOU KING COFFEY. I SALUTE YOU.

Author: Nick Hutchings

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