Fuck Bands

Rude Bev

The “fuck band” is one of the more notable and enjoyable features of the early Vancouver punk scene. (The term is based on a “who gives a fuck” attitude, rather than a carnal connotation.) The practice was originally born out of necessity: when there were hardly any punk bands around, a headlining band would invent an opening act. The bandmembers would trade instruments and play “out of position” and often drafted friends to join in. The repertoire was usually cover songs: versions of punk rock favourites or rock classics. Such combos were often born in rehearsal spaces, when musicians would fool around during jam sessions after practices. In Vancouver, the tradition of fuck bands continued even after the local scene exploded. Visiting out-of-town bands would marvel at this local tradition.

Victorian Pork: technically Vancouver’s first fuck band, debuting at a Skulls concert, “a band dedicated to pure fun” (Joe Keithley, I, Shithead, page 39). After the Skulls moved to Toronto, Brad Kent resurrected Victorian Pork as a more serious band.

Sergeant Nick Penis & His Brass Ball Battalion: by summer of 1978, Victorian Pork had split up, and Brad Kent and Randy Rampage formed Sergeant Nick with Zippy Pinhead and various other musicians. They continued making surprise appearances into the early 1980s (by then, Brad and Randy played more often as the Sick Ones).

Rude Norton: probably the most famous or notorious fuck band, they began playing shows in early 1979. The core members were Dimwit (aka Mr Ed Norton) on guitar & vocals, Brian “Wimpy Roy” Goble (aka Rory Washtok) on bass & vocals, and Nick Jones (aka Steve Roughhouser) on drums. Guest musicians and singers often joined the lineup.

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Buddy Selfish & His Saviors: Vancouver’s other famous fuck band also debuted in 1979. Buddy Selfish was the alter ego of lead singer Ian Tiles. He and his band adopted 1950s vintage rocker drag and played a remarkably capable repertoire of rockabilly and vintage rock & roll. The original Buddy Selfish backing band consisted of Wimpy on bass, Dimwit on drums, and Colin Griffiths & Nick Jones on guitars. Around 1981, the band was rearranged and became a more serious concern. Griffiths and Jones remained (aka Whitey Black and Reverend Nicky Shiloh, respectively), joined by drummer Andy Graffiti (aka Rudy Bodine) and bassist Bob Petterson (Bob Beaudine).

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Bud Luxford bands: From 1980-81, promoter, manager and raconteur Bud Luxford began organizing revue-style showcase concerts that exclusively featured fuck bands. Eventually, the mere presence of such concerts spurred the creation of dozens more ad-hoc combos. These concerts and their audiences became a scene-within-a-scene. The light-hearted, fun-first ethic and musical variety provided a welcome change-of-pace from hardcore-style punk shows. The flagship bands of the Bud Luxford stable were Rude Norton, Buddy Selfish, and Los Radicos Popularos (later shortened to Los Popularos). Los Pops were the super-group of fuck bands, featuring Bill Shirt, Art Bergmann, John Armstrong, Zippy Pinhead and Tony Bardach. In January 1981, Luxford released the compilation LP, Bud Luxford Presents; followed a few months later by Volume 2, On Sale Inside. Raising the funds for the albums provided another excuse to stage more concerts. Other bands in the Luxford stable included the Raisinettes (featuring members of the Dishrags), Melody Pimps, Jimbo & the Lizard Kings, Sasquatch, and Mrs Luxford’s Fish. On 25 July 1981, this scene reached its apotheosis with Budstock, a 10-band showcase at the Commodore.

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Les sez: The fuck band scene was a comedy scene. Rude Norton would hammer out the Theme from Gilligan’s Island. I remember seeing the Young Iranians — featuring Joe Keithley & Simon Wilde — they were all dressed in wigs and crazed clothes, a couple of dresses if I recall correctly, and I laughed until my ribs ached for the duration of their set. Bud Luxford was a brilliant promoter who affected a lackadaisical manner and the unshaven appearance of a wino. “I’m a Rub,” he would say. “I come from Rubbania and I speak Rubbish.” His Boating with Bud excursions, his Budstock concerts and his Bud Luxford Golfing Open all demonstrated a dislike for anything that took itself too seriously, including musicians who considered themselves stars. A few choice words from Luxford, would promptly puncture any inflated egos.

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