Photo by James BunoanPunk karaoke is where it was all going to end up anyway—the thing about these times is that do-it-yourself is really just a big arrow pointing toward here-we'll-do-it-for-you, a symptom of the service economy that keeps most people who care about punk too tired after their undeservedly crappy service-economy jobs to get out there and do it for themselves anyway. But you still always wanted to sing along to your favorite summer-of-'77 songs played live—by actual punkers Steve Soto, Greg Hetson, Derek O'Brien and NOFX's Eric Melvin—in front of a bunch of your favorite drunks? Now you can, as long as you're willing to take turns. You know Soto & Co. will play the hits: "Blitzkrieg etc.," "I Fought the etc.," "Anarchy in the etc.," etc. But here's 10 more we'd like them to add to the repertoire—10 of the crassest, ugliest, most disgusting, most adolescent, most embarrassing, and therefore most joyous and liberating punk sing-alongs going. These are words every stoopid kid—and pissy punker—should be thrilled to burble out her mouth.
> Kim Fowley, "Animal Man" (1968): Years before he was calling the naive teenage Runaways dog cunts right to their wide-eyed suburban faces, Kim Fowley—who looks Frankenstein, thinks Svengali—cut an LP of his own, the lead-off track dubbing two-and-a-half minutes of raw, uncensored, horny creep-on-the-public-bus stream-of-consciousness id ("I'm the devil! I'm vulgar! I'm gonna kill you! BURP!") over some greasy, hash-smelling long-hair garage rock. First two words? "I'M UGLY!" It could have gracefully ended right there. But it doesn't. Signature line: Moaning Porno Girl: "Oh, Animal Man, you're so rough . . . and so big!" Kim Fowley: "Ooh . . . ooh . . . unh . . . ooh . . . unh . . . ah . . . ah . . . ahhhhHHHHH! Ah, it's too dirty. It'll be banned! Ha, ha . . . Oh, God."
> The Electric Eels, "You're Full of Shit" (1975): So mean, so snotty, so discordantly sloppily ugly, the Eels makes the Stooges sound like the Kingsmen: good, yeah, but frat-party-good. "Full of Shit" is practically pop for them—try "Agitated" for death-by-drone S&M punishment—but the vitriol poured into the subject matter makes up for any accidental tunefulness. Signature line: "All my goddamn ex-friends, they oh-so-politely criticize me and advise me, but they don't know what they're talking about, and they don't mean a thing—a bunch of stupid assholes hanging on a string!"
> The Snivelling Shits, "I Can't Come" (1977): The most plaintive pity-punk-boy vox ever—what Johnny Rotten must've sounded like asking girls to prom—could almost make this song sort of sweet, except it's two minutes about why our guy couldn't get any buzz in his cock last night. Best part: snail-trailing from Brit serial killer Myra Hindley into Emma Peel from the Avengers on a list of female objects of desire; on a modern perv-o-meter, that's like going from JonBenet to the Olsen twins. Signature line: "Can I buy you a banana?"
> VOM, "Electrocute Your Cock" (1978): Slash writer Claude Bessy never got this band: Why make fun of a genre that by definition makes fun of itself? Well, duh! To get attention! Figure in that this pre-Angry Samoans outfit was about 60 percent rock critic—talentless and attention-starved by definition—and it makes a lot more sense. Only professionals could pull off something this perfectly stupid. Signature line: "Electrocute your cock! Electrocute your cock! Lookin' for a handjob? Stick it in a clock!"
> Jayne County and the Electric Chairs, "If You Don't Wanna Fuck Me (Fuck Off)" (1978): Punk rock's most beloved transsexual—and sidewise inspiration for Hedwig, um?—Jayne (nee Wayne) County got more attention for his/her hormones than his/her harmonies. Still, the drunker you get, the better this sounds—the slurring just makes it come out sweeter. Signature line: "You think that you're hot shit, I heard? You ain't nothin'—just a cold turd!"
> Tapeworm, "Break My Face" (1978): A caveman-dumb love song from one of the rarest punk singles ever, recorded by a pimply blob of teenage fucked-up-itude somewhere in the armpit of the Midwest. A karaoke match-up on these vocals means you're headed for throat-nodule surgery, but they can fix your broken heart while they're in there. Signature line: "I can break my face if I want to, but I can't break my heart over you!"
> The Mad, "I Hate Music" (1979): Only art students and amputees could tip over into anti-musicality scarier than this, but New York City's Mad—sort of an East Coast Germs, but more self-conscious—managed to teeter right on the edge for a whole song (and probably two whole chords). The best part is that by the time they finish, you really will believe that yes, they DO hate music. Conviction like that is so rare. Signature line: "Bllgheyeyuayatytgjhgasd! Aghrhjkgwghjrwgh! YUYGGsahjsgjahsgatd!!!" [Sax solo.]
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
> The Dicks, "Saturday Night at the Bookstore" (1980): Texas' nightmare band: gay, communist and way out of tune. "Bookstore" won plaudits as an early punk assertion of queer identity, but don't gloss over the sheer visceral beauty of furious butterball Gary Floyd yelling at the closeted straight dudes he's sucked off when he spots them at the Safeway with their frosty robo-wives—and they don't say hi! Signature line: "I think I just fell in fucking love with a glory hole!"
> G.G. Allin and the Jabbers, "Ass Face" (1981): G.G.'s recorded output typically leaves something to be desired—for every shit the guy took onstage, he usually committed at least two or three more to vinyl—but "Ass Face" succeeds both as a song and as a testament by a self-loathing scat freak yelling curse words into a four-track. Signature line: "Assface! Yeah! That's what I said! In place of a face, you got an ass instead!"
> The Feederz, "Jesus Entering From the Rear" (1981): So desperately gross it's almost quaint 20 years later, like Victorian porno. You almost felt bad that more people didn't find out about this band, just so they could get cheaply outraged and go home all sweaty and satisfied. But that was then. Do people still get riled up about the idea of sodomizing Jesus' ravaged corpse? Or are we as a nation, you know, "over that"? Signature line: "We won't take it any more! We just won't take that trash! You're another stupid martyr with another rectal rash!"
PUNK ROCK KARAOKE WITH BLOW UP BLOW AND JACKASS AT ALEX'S BAR, 2913 E. ANAHEIM ST., LONG BEACH, (562) 434-8292. SAT., 10 P.M. $10. 21+.