When you look at an album cover and see a bovine-like beer belly carved up with X-acto gashes that crudely spell out a band’s name, you can rest assured that, by buying this particular recording, you’re getting a genuine strain of hardcore nihilistic punk that will tear your nostrils open, separate the meat from your skull, and pin the ragged flaps of your face back against your ears. The photograph of Jerry A’s X-acto work in scarification “branding” on the Kings of Punk cover is like the Good Housekeeping seal for punk nihilism; it tells you in no uncertain terms: this is the most “rotten, dirty, damnable, filthy, putrid, filth” your money can buy—satisfaction guaranteed. Now of course, whether or not the malcontents in Poison Idea were really proper “nihilists” is debatable. They were most likely not nihilists in the sense that I don’t think any of them ever spent nights curled up on the couch with some Lorna Doone cookies and a good Max Stirner book. I seriously doubt they read much of anything outside of maybe a beer-stained Bukowski book or two. But if one is to believe the snuff-spittled rantings of the famous Hillbilly Hot Head, self-styled nihilist and all-around professional “Bad Man,” Jim Goad, both Pig Champion and Jerry A were drunken, thieving, drugged-up, hypocritical Man Mountains of amorality. Specifically, Goad claims that a certain Tom Roberts (aka Pig Champion) ratted him out to the fuzz, resulting in Goad landing in jail for an extra zealous bit of performance art wherein he beat up his girlfriend. Particularly bad form, says Jimbo, for the seemingly earnest composers of several brutal anti-cop/anti-snitch ditties like “The Badge” from the Feel the Darkness album. He also makes more broad claims that, while P.I. bassist Myrtle Tickner was merely a “sweet drunk,” Pig and Jerry were both luridly conniving smack addicts who would turn on anyone for a quick fix. Of course, I have no way to gauge the veracity of Goad’s accusations, but it seems at least plausible that his strident protestations are little more than the attention-getting “I’m-Badder-Than-You” bellowings of a person looking for a little more notoriety to heap on his already “dangerous” reputation. Don’t forget, Jim Goad was a reality TV type personality before reality TV even existed. And, seriously, can anyone with a straight face call Jerry A and Pig Champion gutless? But even if Goad is right in portraying them as dangerously obese back-stabbing junkies, they at least weren’t sickly, simpering little heroin-chic nihilists hunched and on the nod in some dark corner somewhere, watching their own grey drool accumulate in their navels; these were rotund, heavy-breathing brutes whose every blackened fat cell was bursting at the seams with utter nihilistic rage like Momma June—a Goadian Hillbilly heroine herself—bursting at the seams from a particularly gluttonous session of pork rind binge eating. And that comes through each and every song on Kings of Punk like a runaway herd of rutting bull elephants trampling Jeep-fulls of ivory poachers underfoot. What more can be said about this album that hasn’t already been said? Eleven sternum-cracking, just-don’t-give-a-fuck, meat-nado classics from the Billy and Benny McCrary (look ‘em up, you have a smart phone) of hardcore punk and a memorable album cover guaranteed to pop into your mind every time you take a sharp knife and cut up a nice plump hotdog. Plus, with this re-mastered re-release from Southern Lord/TKO, you get an additional all-you-can-eat smorgasbord of previously unreleased live recordings, circa 1984-1986. So with this double disc version of Kings of Punk you can listen to the very dark sounds of raging drunk-junkie nihilism until the cows come home. There are even freshly-penned liner notes from Mr. Jerry A, detailing the back story to the stomach-slicing photo shoot and including a proud profession that he has not mellowed with age and is, in fact, more pissed off than ever. I’ve watched enough classic WWF to know a thinly veiled challenge when I hear one. By the time this issue of Razorcake hits the streets, cocky rapper DMX should’ve already pounded celebrity killer George Zimmerman into Alpo at the Celebrity Boxing event. I say that next up, as a way of promoting their on-going series of “extra gravy” classic Poison Idea re-releases, Southern Lord should try to orchestrate a Celebrity Nihilist Death Match between Jim Goad and Jerry A. And let’s put in a stipulation allowing X-acto knives. Whaddya say guys? Do it for Pig.
–Aphid Peewit (Southern Lord)