music pictures by Pat Blashill

Scratch Acid made bomb noise. When they played it was a good idea to find something to hold onto. The low-end was deadly: Rey Washam beat the shit out of his drums and David Wm. Sims made bass tones that were the musical equivalent of a stink-eye. Some have said Brett Bradford invoked Led Zeppelin (and that's the only precedent for them that ever made sense to me) but imagine Jimmy Page hung upside down, studded with cactus needles, and you'll be getting close. For me, the biggest surprise was the "singer" David Yow. Yow was one of the first friends I made in the Austin punk clubs, and he was hilarious, but hardly my idea of a rockstar. When he got onstage, though, Yow was a natural, and seemingly indestructible.
When they released their first record, I had to recalibrate. It was in clubs like Raul's and Dukes Royal Coach Inn that I realised that if you liked a band, you could tell them that personally, after their set. In many ways, musicians were normal humans! But when I heard the Scratch Acid record, I thought, 'Huh--these normal humans that I know have just made a piece of great art.' (PB)

"When you start getting really, really fast [tempos], it takes some of the the power away. Slower tempos are more like getting beat up."
David Yow

"That entire first Scratch Acid EP is just incredible, one of the best Texas punk records ever made, one of the essential Texas recordings. It was just so out-of-nowhere brilliant, and it was really cool that it was on Rabid Cat, a local label. (The Surfers) sold out; we went to California (on Alternative Tentacles) and Michigan (on Touch and Go) to release records."
King Coffey, Butthole Surfers

"It's one of the first punk rock records that sounded like there was a really coherent aesthetic to its presentation. The sound of the record, the balance of the band — it's a landmark. You got the feeling watching them [play live] that they were being put through some sort of ordeal. It wasn't shtick. I remember one time Yow had hidden cookie dough in his pants. At some point, he . . . pulled out a handful . . . and charged the crowd. Now, in a lot of circumstances, your first reaction would be, 'That's not real.' I was 100 percent convinced."
Steve Albini, Big Black, Rapeman, Shellac

"We opened for Motörhead in Dallas in '85 after Spin magazine ran an article on us. This was my conversation with Lemmy: He was exiting their bus as I was walking past. We bumped into each other. He said, 'Excuse me.' I said, 'Excuse me.' "
David Yow

"I couldn't believe we were going to Europe [in 1986], and when we got there, we were told we had a roadie and it was Simon Bonney, the singer from Crime and the City Solution, a band we loved and one that was way more famous than we were. We asked him 'Why are you doing this?' He said, 'I get paid. I don't have any money.' "
David Yow

"A Gang of Four and Scratch Acid ripoff."
Kurt Cobain, describing the early Nirvana

Essential listening:
The Greatest Gift