Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Eight Rock 'n' Roll Poop Bombs: Exploring Pop Music and Shit

Posted By on Tue, Aug 2, 2011 at 7:00 AM

Dookie
  • Dookie

Three of my sons have reached the age where they've begun exhibiting the symptoms of chronic privy mouth. Shakespeare relished a good poop quip every now and then (see Henry V). Ditto for Marquis de Sade and Geoffrey Chaucer. Graffiti from the buried Roman city of Pompeii featured humorous references to defecation. So my boys are merely carrying on one of mankind's most venerated and eternal traditions. (At least, this is what I have roundly convinced myself.)

Anyway, I recently witnessed my 5-year-old using the term "rock 'n' roll poop bomb." After some questioning, I discovered that even though it's an expression of his genesis, he couldn't expound on its meaning and derivation. (The kid watches a bit of Nickelodeon, so it could be a reaction to all the Big Time Rush spots. ) However, I couldn't help but allow my own definition to take shape. Rock 'n' roll poop bomb: A term that can be used to describe pop music's close encounters of the scatological kind. Let's explore, shall we?

But first, a warning: What follows is not for the faint of heart and probably makes for engrossing reading only for those 12 and under.

Rock 'n' Roll Poop Bomb No. 1

Brian Wilson's "I'm Bugged at My Ol' Man" takes on new, excremental meanings if you are aware of an extremely demeaning episode from the songwriter's childhood. According to Wilson, his deadbeat father, Murray, once commanded him to drop a little deuce coupe on an unfolded newspaper while the rest of the family watched. Sobbing uncontrollably, Brian complied. Years later, he would produce another humiliating turd; this one he named Love You.

Rock 'n' Roll Poop Bomb No. 2

Genesis P-Orridge at home in New York - PAUL QUITORIANO
  • Paul Quitoriano
  • Genesis P-Orridge at home in New York

In his postpunk tome Rip It Up and Start Again, Simon Reynolds illustrated the variety of movements Throbbing Gristle founder Genesis P-Orridge was enamored of: those that involved "the creation of 'experiences' through synergizing different artforms and smashing down barriers between performer and spectator." Let's not dress things up here. P-Orridge was mainly interested in turning on the ol' sausagemaker in a public forum. He formed his own art collective, COUM Transmissions, and in July 1972 began staging controversial performances at art galleries and mixed-media festivals across Europe. Shows often climaxed

COUM Transmissions performance with Genesis P-Orridge (left) and Cosey Fanni Tutti
  • COUM Transmissions performance with Genesis P-Orridge (left) and Cosey Fanni Tutti
with P-Orridge self-administering an enema and then parking his supper right there on the art gallery floor. England tabloids went apeshit ("Its filth is exceeded only by its banality," wrote one commentator), especially when it was unearthed that COUM Transmissions was funded by grants from the U.K. Arts Council. I would argue that there's no more satisfying bowel movement than one that's wholly subsidized by taxpayers' money.

Rock 'n' Roll Poop Bomb No. 3

During the early '70s, Frank Zappa was frequently rumored to be the victor in a grossout contest that would make even the most iron-stomached blanch. (Click here for all the Caligulan depravity.) The legend often featured Zappa besting equally eccentric colleagues Alice Cooper and Captain Beefheart. What's a little coprophagia between friends?

Rock 'n' Roll Poop Bomb No. 4

GG Allin's onstage magnetism was truly unparalleled. You know, if one was bewitched by artists who possess a fondness for going boom boom during gigs. (The humor site Uncyclopedia named him a progenitor of the fictitious music genre fecalcore. ) The punk singer-songwriter gobbled laxatives like they were Skittles, squashed out a fun log during an instrumental break, and then tossed it about like a cranky gorilla. It was akin to a Gallagher show, only audience members were sprayed with crap instead of watermelon bits. Allin defended all the hoopla (poopla?) surrounding his shitshows by saying he was merely trying to bring danger to rock 'n' roll. I suppose he succeeded; seeing Allin live did expose people to communicable diseases such as typhoid fever.

Rock 'n' Roll Poop Bomb No. 5

Before the Internet, before every iota of information about everything was a point and two clicks away, I could have told you there was an R&B singer by the name of Millie Jackson and that in 1989 she cut an LP titled Back to the Shit, and that two of the songs on this release are dubbed "Love Stinks" and "Muffle That Fart," and that on the cover of this unquestioned masterpiece is a picture of Ms. Jackson striking her finest porcelain assassin pose, and not for a nanosecond would you have believed that any of what I told you was true -- that somewhere in the deep, grody recesses of my imagination, I deviously crafted this as part of some puerile ruse.

millie_jackson_back_to_the_shit.jpg

Yet, here is that album cover, depicting Jackson in all her squatty glory. What I find the most troubling about this picture is that Jackson's expression indicates that her output was especially prodigious, yet her TP supply is worryingly low.

Rock 'n' Roll Poop Bomb No. 6

In 1994, Green Day shelved the working title for their third album, A Blush Is Modesty's First Impulse and Sophistication's Afterthought, and went with the less-wordy Dookie. And just in case consumers weren't certain if this was indeed a euphemism for butt biscuits (these were the days before Urban Dictionary, after all), the cover featured Where's Waldo?-inspired artwork of men and animals tossing their stink pickles at one another.

pigeon_shit.jpg

Rock 'n' Roll Poop Bomb No. 7

Last July, a Kings of Leon show in St. Louis ended prematurely when the band was poop-bombed by nesting pigeons. Lead singer Caleb Followill even caught some avian bum toss in his mouth. Awesome! This may have been the first recorded indication that pigeons do in fact have their own set of highly evolved, well-constructed tastes. (Quick aside: Having a bird shit on you is good luck, no? Later in the year, Kings of Leon were nominated for a Grammy, while their single "Come Around Sundown" hit No. 2 on the Billboard charts. Maybe Followill and company should stick to gigging under bridges and in derelict buildings.)

Rock 'n' Roll Poop Bomb No. 8

On a recent episode of MTV's When I Was 17, R&B singer-songwriter Chris Brown confessed to falling prey to food poisoning and then "sharting" during a live performance. For my own personal amusement, I like to imagine that Brown's bowels betrayed him during a particularly deep split. Fortunately, he was saved by one of his show's many wardrobe changes. (Quick aside: Why do sharts have to pester artists such as Brown? Why can't they befall human enemas like Michael Feinstein, preferably while he's covering George Gershwin at some upscale Manhattan supper club?)

Dad Rock is a column in which Ryan Foley attempts to look at pop music and pop culture from the precipice of middle age. If he ultimately leaps, it's because tiny hands ruined his Galaxie 500 vinyl. Accusations that he's raising five insufferable hipster children can be sent to mofrackie@gmail.com.

----
Follow us on Twitter @SFAllShookDown, and like us at Facebook.com/SFAllShookDown.

  • Pin It

Tags: , , , , , , ,

About The Author

Ryan Foley

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook

Slideshows

  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"