Thursday, March 27, 2008

Joey Tampon and the Toxic Shocks

Joey Tampon the Toxic Shocks - S/T 7" [Recess Records, 1997]

Joey Tampon's is a name that's already been mentioned here, will come up quite a few more times in this blog, and is by far one of the most enigmatic figures in Southern punk of the early to late 90's.

Joey was a staple of the Huntsville punk scene for the whole stretch of the 1990's, playing in too many bands to count, including, but not limited to: 15E, The Slackers, Shitboy from Outerspace, The Radioactives, The 3D's, The 45's, Puddle, and probably a bunch more I'm forgetting or don't even know about.

Joey is probably most notorious for his eponymous outfit Joey Tampon and the Toxic Shocks - a snotty, minimalist DIY punk trio featuring Neil Delbaccio on bass (Burning Radios, The Wops), and Greg Addison on drums (The Grumpies, Rice Harvester, Jarvis). A quick google search shows the legacy of this band is alive and well, the centerpiece being this self-titled 7" released on the ubiquitous Recess Records. I recall them touring extensively, piled inside a Ford Festiva with their gear strapped to the roof. During their live shows, Joey often wore a self-styled full body tampon costume while playing. Their songs were based on pretty traditional punk themes of the day. When Joey wasn't griping about the fashion choices of undesirable others ("Duckheads are for Fuckheads"), or the oppressive wrath of Johnny Law ("Magnum P.I.G."), he was raging against the machine with anti-authoritarian, anti-conformity, anti-corporate rants like "Everything's a Product" and "I'm Not Going to Kill Myself For You".

Musically, the Toxic Shocks had a solid bassist, and one of the best punk rock drummers in town, but the defining characteristics of their sound was derived from the fact that Joey couldn't play the guitar for shit. This coupled with his signature nasally yelp results in a reckless, slapdash kamikaze collection of minute long anthems that are surprisingly inventive at times. Speaking on song length, Joey is an incredibly economical dude. Like his previous band The Slackers, Joey managed to squeeze no less then 5 songs on each side, making a total of 10 in the 11.5 minutes allotted.

After the band broke up, Joey started exploring his love of surf and garage rock with bands like The Radioactives and The 3D's. Shortly after the turn of the century, Joey Tampon - a man with the word "fuck" tattooed on his body at least 3 times - did a completely 180 transformation, became a born again christian, a hardcore republican, and eventually a Baptist minister. Maybe having a kid changed him just that much, or maybe it's just switching one dogma for another, but I wouldn't expect to hear anymore punk rock out of Joey Tampon. Though apparently, he's really into bluegrass music now.


Anonymous said...

What Church does he preach at? I have no idea what his last name is to look it up?

Seth Graves said...

hey there. just saw this comment.

i honestly have no idea. i don't know that he's a full on pastor, but i'd heard that he occasionally gave sermons.

it's been almost 10 years since i've had any contact with him, so i'm really not much help.

n/a said...

i saw joey tampon & the toxic shocks play in an attic above a hardware store in boone, nc around 1994-95 i think. the bass player had to tune his guitar for him. they were awesome, sloppy and fun. any chance of getting a tape of his 7". i've never been able to find a copy for myself.

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antichick said...

joey is a preacher now, and still paints houses for a living.

Anonymous said...

YAY i loved this band when i was young and i have that 7 inch autographed!! Kick ass blog!

A.K. said...

Great record. Reminds me of seeing Joey hanging out at Sunburst, covered head to toe in paint. I recently looked him up on Facebook. Wow, what a transformation!

There seemed to be so many Huntsville punk band back then, with members switching in and out, it's difficult to remember what was what. I remember a band with Joey, a heavyset dude and Matt Steward on drums. What that Shitboy from Outerspace? I have super 8 footage of them playing in a gazebo at the fairgrounds, I think.

Seth Graves said...

yep. that was probably Shitboy. The heavy set dude is Jason Burke. He lives in Nashville now and plays with a band called Xpia.

Would love to post that Super 8 footage if you have it in a digitizable format.

Seth Graves said...

also, now trying to find Joey on facebook. no luck. send me a link if you got it.

Jeremy Marshall said...

Yeah, the heavyset dude was Jason Burke. Loved Shitboy from Outer Space. I once gave Burke an old faded Germs t-shirt of mine because he'd vomited all over his.

Heath said...

I know I'm late to the party, but wasn't Joey's last name actually Tampoon? I'm almost positive it was.

Keep_on_living said...

His last name is Tacon. I am his sister. He doesn't have a facebook but his wife does. He is a hard-core Christian and yes a Baptist minister in Huntsville. He is a missionary minister but also travels everywhere. I stumbled across this awesome piece of nostalgia while telling my husband (lover of punk) about his bands. Thank you for this.