Let’s Go to Hell: Scattered Memories of the Butthole Surfers by James Burns (Cheap Drugs)

LetsGoToHell-ButtholeSurfersLet’s Go to Hell: Scattered Memories of the Butthole Surfers
By James Burns
(Cheap Drugs)

As far as I can tell, this is the only one book out there on the genre-defying traveling carnival known as the Butthole Surfers. But given the amount of research that went into “Let’s Go to Hell,” there is no need for anyone to ever attempt another tome on the band. The author, James Burns, who also runs the Texas band’s archive (christened “Anal Obsession,” naturally), has pulled off a thesis-worthy encyclopedia on the band, covering their early days – months before they accidentally settled on the oft-censored name – up to their breakup in 2011 (if any band was destined for a loud, messy implosion it would be these guys, but uncharacteristically they just petered out).

The last section of the book is a ridiculously thorough walk through the band’s discography, including pressing info and alternate front and back covers of all of their output over three decades. Not an easy feat considering much of their early efforts didn’t even bother to include recording info and often grabbed songs from various recording sessions with numerous replaceable musicians.

Even if you’re not a fan of the band – and given the band’s polarizing sound and often brave musical experiments, there were not always a lot in any given town – the book is a fascinating look at an uncompromising band simply looking to spend as much time on the road making music for themselves and avoiding having to settle for real jobs.

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