Monday, March 3, 2008

Fun Girls from Mt. Pilot

Lunch Box [House O'Pain, 1995]
Split with The Slackers [House O'Pain, 1996]

Nashville's Fun Girls from Mt. Pilot hold a special place in my heart, as they're the band that sucked me into this whole damn subculture. I happened upon them at random tagging along with some friends at a show Huntsville's Tip Top Cafe sometime in '94 or so and they blew my poor sixteen-year-old mind. Four grown men in a ridiculous, half asses attempt at cross dressing, playing bone crunching punk rock without an ounce of seriousness to be found. Their frontman sometimes pretended to be (and later actually became) a professional wrestler, they had songs about Billy D. Williams and all kinds of other random shit. It was pretty prime stuff for a teenage boy, and teenage boys they got. Their shows were fucking packed with slam dancing, pubescent punkers trying to break each other's necks in the pit. Up until that point, it was probably the most fun I ever had in my life.

As far as their history goes, I don't know much. I know some of the singer Cat and guitarist Donnie were originally in a band called Rednecks in Pain, and their former drummer Chris has played in bands like Asschapel and Booby Hatch (also with Donnie on guitar) since. But to aid those thirsty for more trivia, I found this online...

A band from the same mid 1990's Nashville hardcore scene that produced Salida, Spider Virus, and Martian Tourist Trap. This group became known for their absoutely legendary live shows. At the high school that I attended, anyone who had actually seen one of these shows was revered and asked awed questions by his or her peers. On at least one occasion, their male drummer played a show clothed only in a Catholic schoolgirl dress made entirely out of raw bacon. The band often threw bottle rockets into the audience and once boiled a guitar onstage. Like much of the rest of the hardcore scene from that time period, though, this band eventually fell into a pop culture black hole, never to be heard from again.

The first record here is part of the "Lunch Box." A box set that contains the 7" you get here, as well as a second, completely random 45 they probably got from a thrift store (mine is "Listen, My Love" by The Highlights). It also came with a little xeroxed booklet, a napkin, a spork, and a voucher for some free Fun Girls trading cards.

The second is a split with Huntsville's The Slackers. We'll get into The Slackers later, but it seems by the time this came out, the Fun Girls weren't playing around Huntsville so much anymore - or their popularity had begun to wane. Either way, it's good stuff.

I really, really, really wish I could include their first 7" Hi Doll! with this. Way back when I bought it, they gave you the option of getting it on cassette. Being that I was just going to dub the record onto a tape and listen to it in my car anyway, I thought that seemed like the sensible option. Apparently, I wasn't thinking much about my future music blog in 1995.

Maybe it was their Music City roots, but Nashville punk bands seemed to pour a little more quality into their recordings and their musicianship was always a bit tighter. Despite my deeply rooted punk beginnings, having a Bachelor's degree in audio engineering often plays a part in causing me to cringe when i hear some of these old records... the cheap microphones, no reverb, no compression, bad mixes. But in that respect, these Fun Girls recordings are definitely a nice break.


Jack said...

I think the cosmos has aligned with your weblog, 'cause yesterday I was out riding around downtown Portland, Oregon, and came across the Fun Girls From Mount Pilot / Slacker split 7" in the used section of Everyday Music.

I was tempted to buy it, as it's one of the few local Huntsville 7"s I never got around to buying (along with the 2nd Slackers EP), but they wanted $3 for it, like it was brand new! I plan to go back when someone I know is working and try to talk 'em down. Maybe they'll have some sympathy based on my sentimental connection.

Lindsey said...

This really makes me wish I was 14 again, and drinking hot "aged" Thunderbird in your big white car at the fairgrounds-
Love you, Seth!

Anonymous said...

That was the first show I ever went to. I met up with you at the Tip Top and the Fun Girls were playing with the Liberty Caps.....still remember that night very clearly. It really did change my life to some extent, is was an entirely different group of people that I was introduced to for the first time. So yes.....the Fun Girls and the Liberty Caps will always hold a special place in my heart.

Anonymous said...

Today the first show I ever went to popped into my head, and so I decided to look up the band that played. It was at my brother's clothing shop (and at the time punk club) called World Conspiracy. It was 1994 and I was 13, it was the fun girls headlining with a band from boston called "baxter" and a band from texas called "lucky number 13" It was the first time I slam danced; it was the first time I took a shower and still smelled like every mother fucker I had bumped into that night. Flip had to pour lemon juice all over the room after the show, and I swear sometimes I walk in and still get a whiff. That night changed my life forever.

casiocasanova said...

snap. i remember that show. a really odd lineup. I remember both Baxter and Lucky Number 13 both being very jangly noise pop bands and going over very poorly with a roomful of kids ready to slamdance.

and yeah. those World Conspiracy shows got really disgusting really fast. walls covered in carpet, no ventilation... it was nasty. but i saw a lot of great shows there.

thegreatkitts said...

I saw the Fun Girls several times in Chatta-vegas and really enjoyed every show. I have one of their tapes somewhere. I would really love to see somebody post their music and lyrics somewhere. My favorite thing about their shows were that they always made toast on stage and threw it to the crowd. It kinda reminds me of SCOTS when they throw chicken.

Logan said...

I was just playing around with my guitar, caught myself playing one of their songs, and googled my way here. It's too bad they aren't around anymore, but I guess I would've been surprised if they were.
I saw one show in the back of a record store in Nashville next to World's End (no I'm not gay) around '95 or so. I was tripping my balls off and moshing but that riff is still burned in my head. I've seen some great shows in my life but that one really holds a special place for the all-around experience.

I have no idea what the song's called but it stays around the low e at the 7th fret (B) with all barre chords and goes:

BBB BB /F/E/D BB Pause 2-3 seconds
BBB BB /F/E/D BB Pause 2-3 seconds
BBB BB /F/E/D B#B#B# B#B# D#D#D# D#D#
Repeat until your hands are tired.

Such a cool riff. The As, Bs, etc. are strummed with a little pause at the space and the F/E/D part is more staccato.

Chris said...

I saw this band in a tiny record store in Johnson City, TN. I remember buying their cassette and loving it! I really enjoyed the Billy Dee Williams song. I cracked me up that they had a Billy Dee Williams Colt 45 sign they hung up on the stage. Truely amazing!

Unknown said...

I really loved this band and saw them many times in Chattanooga. I still have the tape, and I'm sure still has her lunch box set. Wonderful act. Huge energy and great themes. I will never forget the free toast.

acrimmer said...

3 years later... Baxter was indeed that, Lucky Number 13 had a singer with long hair and they were more of a hardcore band, people were dancing with them and the singer kept jumping in the crowd, a skinhead punched him in the back of the head and they got in a fight and that guy got dragged out.
I was also in the back and, ugh, the Fun Girls were the first dudes I ever saw naked. Besides that mildly scarring event for a 13 year old it was a fucking awesome show.

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for posting this. Brings back great teenaged memories of pot, booze, and great shows at Lucy's in Nashville. Damn those were the days