“Jesus Built My Hotrod” – Ministry (with Gibby Haynes of the Butthole Surfers)

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The single of this masterpiece collaboration between Ministry and the Butthole Surfers’ lead singer Gibby Haynes allegedly sold 1.5 million copies. Yet the song never got any higher than #19 on Billboard’s “Modern Rock Tracks” chart. Forget about the Billboard Hot 100. Absolutely no chart activity there. And this was during the era of Soundscan … which linked chart positions to actual sales. Something tells me those dang Billboard charts are rigged. Ah, who cares? This song … and video … are classics. However, what I would have given to hear Casey Kasem on American Top 40 sandwich this song between Bryan Adams and Amy Grant and come up with “fun” trivia about the completely debauched Ministry and Gibby Haynes.

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“Sweat Loaf” – Butthole Surfers

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The Butthole Surfers’ “unique” take on Black Sabbath’s “Sweet Leaf”. One of the greatest openings to a song ever:

“Daddy, what does regret mean?
Well son, the funny thing about regret is,
It’s better to regret something you have done,
Than to regret something you haven’t done.
And by the way, if you see your mom this weekend,
Be sure and tell her, SATAN, SATAN, SATAN!!!”

From the 1988 album “Locust Abortion Technician.”

“Alex Chilton” – The Replacements

The Replacements’ loving tribute to power pop pioneer Alex Chilton.  Chilton had many hits as a teenager as a member of the Box Tops and was later a pivotal member of Big Star, one of the best bands of the early 1970s.

Many alt-rock legends loved Chilton.  My favorite story involves the Butthole Surfers.  From Michael Azerrad’s wonderful history of American 1980s alt-rock, “Our Band Could Be Your Life,” Azerrad related that one night, Surfers lead singer Gibby Haynes was having one of his usual, violent, acid-drenched freakouts backstage at a gig in Holland.  Allegedly, Haynes was completely naked and having multiple altercations with the security of the gig, to the point where 10 people had to hold him down.  As Haynes was freaking out back stage, a man asked if he could borrow a guitar.  Haynes lit into him, yelling “BORROW A GUITAR??!! WELL, WHO THE F–K ARE YOU??!!” itching for an fight.  The man calmly said “I’m Alex Chilton.”  Haynes immediately calmed down, opened all the guitar cases one by one, and said “Take anything you want.”  That, my friends, is what we call the power of ethos.

“Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground 1981-1991” written by Michael Azerrad

One of the best music books of the last 10-15 years is Michael Azerrad’s history of American alternative rock from 1981-1991, “Our Band Could Be Your Life.”  Released in 2001 and available in digital format within the next day or so, “Life” is the college radio version of “Easy Riders, Raging Bulls” (Peter Biskind’s exhaustive and stellar look at Hollywood of the 1970s).  Azerrad devotes each chapter to a different seminal band of the period (Mission of Burma, Butthole Surfers, The Minutemen, Sonic Youth, Black Flag, Big Black, Hüsker Dü, Fugazi, Minor Threat, Mudhoney, The Replacements, Beat Happening, and Dinosaur Jr.).  Some of the stories you may know … others you won’t.  But if you have any interest at all in rock history (especially alternative / progressive rock), “Life” is a must.  The chapter on the Butthole Surfers by itself is worth the price of the entire book.  Seriously, the chapter reads like Hunter S. Thompson smoking angel dust with Monty Python with chaos, insanity, humor, and violence ensuing like a motherf–ker!