Tuesday, June 01, 2021

The Duke of Puke – The 2nd Yawn is Always the Most Satisfying

I first saw Root Boy Slim and the Sex Change Band in a tiny bar in the Washington DC area back in the late 1970s. Touted as a cross between the punk experience from England and the great Blues of the South, Rootboy Slim put a jagged edge on contemporary American music. 

 His music was best heard after too many beers and shots in a run down dive with a tiny stage crammed into the corner. His most famous song, "Boogie til you Puke" still ranks as the best binge drinking song ever. One concert at the Varsity Grill in College Park, Maryland turned into a riot that spilled into the streets and onto Rte 1. He was banned by local bureaucrats from playing there ever again. But public pressure brought him back for a coliseum gig a couple of years later. He died in 1993.

What I knew about Root Boy was his public persona. I had no clue of his real world life until I googled it. Raised in what I would assume was upper income circumstances, he misspent his youth getting kicked out of one prep school after another. But he did land a scholarship to Yale and was in the same fraternity with Dubya, a future president. Dubya, as president of the frat, banned Root Boy from ever stepping foot back into their frat house after an apparently raucous night of debauchery when Root Boy came back to campus the year after he graduated. Root Boy was also arrested for climbing the White House fence while way too high on LSD. All this before he formed his band.

I often wonder about guys like Root Boy, Divine, Iggie Pop, and all the other icons of outrageous behavior I enjoyed back in the day. Their music and films maybe did not reinforce my own struggle to come to grips with the white bread culture I found myself in, but their music and films did prove I was not alone in my dissatisfaction with the status quo. It seems that youthful rebellion is woven into our humanity more as a reality check for the rest of us than just the surface pain in the ass it seems to come off as. ..... The Kids know.

I have no clue now why I did some of the things I did as a brain dead punk. I can only guess it had to do with a general cluelessness that accompanies teenage boys as they stumble towards adulthood. Not thinking before they jump is their stock in trade. 

If it felt good, looked good, or seemed like a good idea at the moment, I did it. I still wonder how I survived. Root Boy did not.

Some Root Boy Tunes you might like or maybe even remember:

~>  Credit Card Woman

~> Mrs Paul, Mrs Paul

 ~>  Too Wrong to be Right

~>  Livin in the Ghetto

 ~>  Boogie Til YouPuke

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