BIG BOYS

Formed: Austin, Texas, USA

Discography / Lineups / Photo Gallery

Not all punk bands were obsessed with death and politics.
Hardcore + pop + art + funk + skating + being rather gay = Big Boys.

Big Boys

This original and inspiring band from Austin, Texas peppered their poppy brand of Minor Threat-ish hardcore with rollicking uptempo funk (not dissimilar to Gang of Four) and art-rock (recalling a less-intimidating Mission of Burma). “I like punk and I like Sham/Cockney Rejects are the world’s greatest band”, they sang on the title track of their second EP, a great, sexy record if there ever was one, and one that perfectly captures their sense of good-natured humour. Their singer was a big fat gay guy, Randy Turner, who was often seen on stage in a nurse's uniform. In 1982 they toured with The Dicks and Bad Brains, the fallout from which almost ruined Bad Brains (see under the Bad Brains section for the grisly details).

Big Boys - Randy 'Biscuit' TurnerBig Boys

ABOVE: LEFT: Randy 'Biscuit' Turner. RIGHT: Chris Gates

WE GOT YOUR MONEY

I want to be a problem
I want to cause a scene
I want to get reactions
And wake you from you dream
I don't care if you don't like it
Or you think that it's the best
As long as you remember
Then we're up with all the rest

I want to be different
I want to make you see
I want to make you wonder
Is it you or is it me?
I'm the big question
You'll never understand
And to all you frat boys
WE GOT YOUR MONEY IN OUR HANDS
(hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha)

IN THE CITY

In the city, everybody moves fast
Push and shove, and don't you get caught last
In the city, everybody says go
And they get you, if you go too slow

Same old chorus, 4 4 time
Same old words, A and B rhyme
In the city, no one cares
In the city, no one stares

In the city, there's lots to do
In the city, let's see who is who
Out the window, everyday
Out the window, is the only way

In the city, God it's great at night
All the people and all of the sights
In the city, there's a great pulse beat
In the city, they all talk with their feet

SPIT

Don't watch the band baby
Watch your feet
You look at us
And you might miss the beat
At the bar they got nothing to do
If all the customers are watching you

Don't be visual
Just play
Be a robot
And pick up your pay

You hired another band
That's just a little weird
Mr. Big is worried
Over not selling beer
Pleasing customers is not your show
Getting the money
Is all you know

You want a band
That's a total bore
You never care
How fun we are
We don't care
If you don't ask us back
People won't hear us
Is the only drag

Big Boys backstage at the Whiskey

WISE UP
(Gates, Kerr)

You think that you
Got it made
You think you're on top
You can drive your
Daddy's car
God, you're just so pop

Kid wise up
Your life sucks
Kid wise up
Your life sucks

Hey, my dad's a lawyer
My dad owns a bank
Let's go out and
Find some girls
My car's got
A full tank

Mommy gave it all
To you
10 credit cards or more
They haven't bought
You anything
Cause you are
Still a bore

Big Boys

They got off to a slightly shaky start with Frat Cars (1980) , which benefited from the snotty, obnoxious title tune, a great punk song if ever there was one, but the other three songs are artier and not memorable. The controlled mania of their side of the Live At Raul’s (1980) split album isn’t especially exciting, with bass-heavy mid-tempo art-rock-funk-pop songs about serial killers and isolation. It’s well played, spottily enjoyable and the crowd seem they’re having a ball, but there’s not a lot to suggest the band are about to break down any barriers.

FRAT CARS

Cruisin' in their big cars
And wastin' lots of gas
When are they gonna learn
That don't give 'em no class
Big lots full of mama's wagons,
Marquis, Trans-Ams, and Jeeps
All paid for by daddy
Ain't this life too cheap?

Frat cars, frat cars
I can't stand those frat cars
Crowding up the streets
With all those stupid Greeks
Fuckin' with the freaks
Let's tow them away!

Hangin' out their T- tops
And thinkin' that they're cool
And drinkin' beer in Izods
And actin' like a fool
Frat cars, they're so useless
Who needs them in our town
If we get rid of those frat cars
They'rell be no more frats around

Frat cars, frat cars
I can't stand those frat cars
Crowding up the streets
With all those stupid Greeks
Fuckin' with the freaks
Let's tow them away!

Big Boys Live

Big Boys from Texas

Much cleverer is their debut album proper, the clumsily-titled Where’s My Towel?/Industry Standard (1981) on which the band veer between accessible sixty-second hardcore blasts, a funky kind of new wave punk, and Mission of Burma-ish rock. They even present the world with a manifesto on 'Spit': “We’re gonna just keep acting crazy and give the customers a little bit of what is fun and what is happy in their lives” is hardly a conventional punk sentiment, but utterly refreshing. The one constant factor is that all twelve songs are eminently hummable and Biscuit’s semi-hoarse vocals (the less distinctive but affable Chris Gates takes vocals on some tracks).

WE'RE NOT IN IT TO LOSE

The time has come to say what you mean
No more sitting around or hiding behind schemes
The time has come-and you've got to say
No matter what you so, we won't go away

We're not in it to lose
Fuck you!

Use any excuse to try and keep us down
We know that you're scared of what you see all around,
We don't fit your dream, your safe reality
But we'll do what we want,
Because we got to be free

FUN, FUN, FUN

You don't understand a word we say
You don't listen to us anyway
All of this it's just for fun
We're not out to hurt no one

Fun, Fun, Fun that's what we play
Fun, Fun, Fun that's what we say
Fun, Fun, Fun no matter what they say
Fun, Fun, Fun we'll have some anyway

I'm a punk and I like SHAM
COCKNEY REJECTS are the world's greatest band
But I like JOY DIVISION, PUBLIC IMAGE too
Even though that's not what I'm supposed to do

Fun, Fun, Fun that's what we play
Fun, Fun, Fun that's what we say
Fun, Fun, Fun no matter what they say
Fun, Fun, Fun we'll have some anyway

Big Boys Moody Shot

Big Boys

FIGHT BACK

Sick to death, I'm sick of you
Sick of me, what's left to do?
Slit your wrist, what will that prove?
One point for them, and us we lose

Oppression
Depression
Oppression
Fight back!

Everything is going bad
Kind of seems like we've been had
I've had enough, how about you?
This depression-is it through?

Are you ready to take a stand?
Make a fanzine-make a band
You're telling me you got something to say
Quit your bitching, there's a way

Lullabies Help The Brain Grow (1983) is precisely more cuts from the same cloth, only with more songs and a longer running time (15 tracks averaging two minutes apiece), with slightly more emphasis on hard-and-fast punk than before. A marvelous record, in other words.

Big Boys / Dicks Texas Love In

RULES

Who's in charge here
Is this cool, am I cool
Well it's not right then who cares
Fuck a bunch of rules

It's just another faction
Your rules, what rules
It's just another idea
It's not a fuckin' set of rules

It's just another idea
C'mon man, gimme a chance
It's just another idea
Everyone of us have got an idea
We can share it
Gimme a break
I t's something I thought about

We're all here because we want to be free
We're tired of other people's formalities
Set an example don't set a rule
Think for yourself no one person rules

Divide us we fall
It could kill it all
It's the truth!

I do what I can you do what you must
Live and let live is the idea of no rules
I think what I think you think what you think
Freedom to choose is what sets us apart

Big Boys Live 1982

NEW WAVE SLAVE

Fuck the normals, they ain't worth a damn
Fuck the president, throw the congress in the slam
Fuck the schools, and stick their fuckin' rules
Fuck education, degeneration

New wave salve, I'll dig the new wave grave
They'll never make me behave, yes I'm a new wave slave

Fuck the companies, and their fuckin' oil
They'll rape the planet 'til it fuckin' spoils
Fuck the flag, the little Nazi rag
Fuck the chic, they're all social geeks

Big Boys Live 1982

Opening with 'No', a riff-heavy Black Flag-ish tune complete with a Greg Ginn-style solo, one might be lulled into thinking the band are getting seriously angry on No Matter How Long The Line Is At The Cafeteria, There's Always A Seat! (1984). Unfortunately, it seems they’re just searching for a new direction, resulting in a scrappy parting shot, with the angular roughed-up funk of Work so much like early, dour Gang of Four that it renders the “Dance, life is a party” refrain of the otherwise exuberant 'What’s The Word' hollow. Nevertheless, 'Which Way To Go' is an inflamed pop song, one of their greatest moments, and No Love is a blast.

Big Boys in action

After the band split in 1984, Gates formed Junkyard, a supergroup (of sorts – they were awful) with Brian Baker (Minor Threat, Dag Nasty, Bad Religion, Meatmen etc).

Wreck Collection compiles nineteen unreleased recordings, but they’re mainly just different versions of previously available stuff, including live cuts, eight-track demos and instrumental versions. Apart from these there are a handful of compilation tracks (including the awful 'Damage 43' from Cottage Cheese From The Lips Of Death: A Texas Hardcore Compilation LP) and some out takes. Again no great shakes: it appears the unreleased numbers were unreleased with good reason, and the band unloaded their weaker material on comps. Until you've acquainted yourself with the “proper” recordings you shouldn’t be tempted by this, and even then proceed with caution. The CD issue on Gern Blandsten adds fifteen extra tracks, including a more unreleased tunes of marginal interest.

HOLLYWOOD SWINGING

Hey hey hey
Whatcha got to say
Hey hey hey
Whatcha got to say
Hollywood, Hollywood swinging
Hollywood, Hollywood swinging

Say I remember n ot too long ago
I went into a theater baby
I saw the Kool and the Gang show
I always wanted to be in a band
To sing my songs and be a bad piano playin' man
So here I am in this Hollywood city
The city of the stars, women, music, and cars
I guess I guess I'll be a star

The two compilations from 1993 - The Skinny Elvis and The Fat Elvis - offer all their rare early stuff onto a couple of highly desirable discs, making them very cost-effective alternatives to buying the original vinyl versions. Plus, with liner notes provided by Steve Albini, Ian MacKaye, John Mohr, Jeff Nelson, Henry Rollins and others, tasty photographs, and reproductions of record sleeves, it’s a treat for the eyes as well.

DISCOGRAPHY

Singles / Albums

Big Boys - Frat Cars Big Boys And The Dicks Recorded Live At Raul's Club Big Boys - Where's My Towel/Industry Standard Big Boys - Fun, Fun, Fun... Big Boys - Lullabies Help The Brain Grow
Frat Cars
(7", 1980)
Big Boys And The Dicks Recorded Live At Raul's Club
(LP, 1980)
Where's My Towel/Industry Standard (LP, 1981) Fun, Fun, Fun...
(12", 1982)
Lullabies Help The Brain Grow
(LP, 1983)
No Matter How Long The Line Is At The Cafeteria, There's Always A Seat!        
No Matter How Long The Line Is At The Cafeteria, There's Always A Seat!
(LP, 1984)
       

Extraneous Releases

Big Boys - Wreck Collection Big Boys And The Dicks Recorded Live At Raul's Club Big Boys - The Skinny Elvis Big Boys - The Fat Elvis Big Boys - Wipe Out
Wreck Collection
(LP, 1988)
Big Boys And The Dicks Recorded Live At Raul's Club
(7", 1992)
The Skinny Elvis
(CD, 1993)
The Fat Elvis
(CD, 1993)
Wipe Out (7", 1994)
Big Boys - Lullabies Help The Brain Grow        
Lullabies Help The Brain Grow/No Matter How Long The Line Is At The Cafeteria, There's Always A Seat! (2xLP, twofer, 2004)        

Bootlegs

Big Boys - Big Boys Bootleg        
Big Boys (7", 1991)        

Various Artists

Moment Productions US 7" 1983 (Moment Productions): Lesson / Funk Off

We Got Power: Party Or Go Home US LP 1984 (Mystic): Brick Walls

Cottage Cheese From The Lips Of Death: A Texas Hardcore Compilation US LP 1983 (Ward-9): The Big Picture

Rat Music For Rat People Vol. 2 US LP 1984 (CD Presents): History / The Seed

Something To Believe In US LP 1984 (Better Youth Organization): History

Blazing Wheels And Barking Trucks - Thrasher Skate Rock Vol. 2 US LP 1984 (High Speed Productions): Lesson / Assault

Rat Music For Rat People Vol I, II & III US CD 1987 (CD Presents): History

Someone's Gonna Get Their Head To Believe In Something US CD 1992 (Better Youth Organization): History

Punk Anderson's Favourites Germany 2xCD 1995 (Starving Missile): Fun Fun Fun

Party Or Go Home - Sixty Bands US CD 2004 (Mystic): Brick Walls

Time Out Presents The Other Side: New York US CD 2005 (Deaf Dumb & Blind): Prison

Links

 

 

You can add stuff and make comments/corrections by emailing me at:

jane@punkygibbon.co.uk

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