Eight Rock 'n' Roll Poop Bombs: Exploring Pop Music and Shit
Three of my sons have reached the age where they've begun exhibiting the symptoms of chronic privy mouth. Shakespeare relished a good poop quip every now and then (see Henry V). Ditto for Marquis de Sade and Geoffrey Chaucer. Graffiti from the buried Roman city of Pompeii featured humorous references to defecation. So my boys are merely carrying on one of mankind's most venerated and eternal traditions. (At least, this is what I have roundly convinced myself.)
Anyway, I recently witnessed my 5-year-old using the term "rock 'n' roll poop bomb." After some questioning, I discovered that even though it's an expression of his genesis, he couldn't expound on its meaning and derivation. (The kid watches a bit of Nickelodeon, so it could be a reaction to all the Big Time Rush spots. ) However, I couldn't help but allow my own definition to take shape. Rock 'n' roll poop bomb: A term that can be used to describe pop music's close encounters of the scatological kind. Let's explore, shall we?
But first, a warning: What follows is not for the faint of heart and probably makes for engrossing reading only for those 12 and under.
Rock 'n' Roll Poop Bomb No. 1
Brian Wilson's "I'm Bugged at My Ol' Man" takes on new, excremental meanings if you are aware of an extremely demeaning episode from the songwriter's childhood. According to Wilson, his deadbeat father, Murray, once commanded him to drop a little deuce coupe on an unfolded newspaper while the rest of the family watched. Sobbing uncontrollably, Brian complied. Years later, he would produce another humiliating turd; this one he named Love You.
Rock 'n' Roll Poop Bomb No. 2
Paul Quitoriano Genesis P-Orridge at home in New York
In his postpunk tome Rip It Up and Start Again, Simon Reynolds illustrated the variety of movements Throbbing Gristle founder Genesis P-Orridge was enamored of: those that involved "the creation of 'experiences' through synergizing different artforms and smashing down barriers between performer and spectator." Let's not dress things up here. P-Orridge was mainly interested in turning on the ol' sausagemaker in a public forum. He formed his own art collective, COUM Transmissions, and in July 1972 began staging controversial performances at art galleries and mixed-media festivals across Europe. Shows often climaxed
with P-Orridge self-administering an enema and then parking his supper right there on the art gallery floor. England tabloids went apeshit ("Its filth is exceeded only by its banality," wrote one commentator), especially when it was unearthed that COUM Transmissions was funded by grants from the U.K. Arts Council. I would argue that there's no more satisfying bowel movement than one that's wholly subsidized by taxpayers' money.
COUM Transmissions performance with Genesis P-Orridge (left) and Cosey Fanni Tutti
Rock 'n' Roll Poop Bomb No. 3
During the early '70s, Frank Zappa was frequently rumored to be the victor in a grossout contest that would make even the most iron-stomached blanch. (Click here for all the Caligulan depravity.) The legend often featured Zappa besting equally eccentric colleagues Alice Cooper and Captain Beefheart. What's a little coprophagia between friends?
Rock 'n' Roll Poop Bomb No. 4
GG Allin's onstage magnetism was truly unparalleled. You know, if one was bewitched by artists who possess a fondness for going boom boom during gigs. (The humor site Uncyclopedia named him a progenitor of the fictitious music genre fecalcore. ) The punk singer-songwriter gobbled laxatives like they were Skittles, squashed out a fun log during an instrumental break, and then tossed it about like a cranky gorilla. It was akin to a Gallagher show, only audience members were sprayed with crap instead of watermelon bits. Allin defended all the hoopla (poopla?) surrounding his shitshows by saying he was merely trying to bring danger to rock 'n' roll. I suppose he succeeded; seeing Allin live did expose people to communicable diseases such as typhoid fever.