Thursday, March 03, 2011




To be honest with you “22 going on 23” is pretty uncomfortable to listen to, exploitative in its use of real life pain and trauma from a radio phone-in, but somehow transformed by a lovely, pealing and swelling guitar solo, in a sense the solo redeems the song, it’s moving and unexpected.

Paul Leary did a lot of great work with the Butthole Surfers, my other favourite bit of his is the way that from about 1:50 onward in “I saw an X-Ray of a girl passing gas” he slowly unfurls a long undulating solo that carries the song off into the cosmos.


7 comments:

chimp said...

i urge anyone who hasn't seen their live DVD "Blind Eye Sees All" to do so with due forthwhat. Kuntz.

Rossikovsky said...

According to the BS themselves, that phone-in was a fake though.

Apparently the same woman would ring that show almost every evening with a different story of misery - that's why they selected her.

It's a bit like Peter Cook when he used to ring up Capitol Radio pretending to be a lonely Norwegian fisherman.

bubblegumcage3.com said...

"According to the BS themselves, that phone-in was a fake though.Apparently the same woman would ring that show almost every evening with a different story of misery - that's why they selected her."

Yes, I've heard that too.

Did you know Coil were obsessed with Leary's guitar playing? Not sure how this affected their own music but they counted him as a major influence.

The chapter in "Blissed Out" about the Buttholes is probably my favourite piece of music journalism ever. I believe Simon R called Leary "a virtuoso of abjection".

carl said...

ahh yeah.. i think i read that at some point too but then forgot it..obviously...

i think the abjection is only half the picture with Leary though, innit...it's his (sorry for the use of this term) alchemy that's the issue, the way he goes from sabbath murk and sqaull to kissing the sky.. he seems to offer a route out of embodiment/abjection so i suppose that's why coil dug him...

i confess here Sam, last year i got into Coil in a big way...always liked them and seeing them live firt time was ultra-intense...but last year somehow they really got under my skin...Music to play in the Dark is just.. remarkable...


i have to say i rediscovered the Buttholes a few years agoa nd was gobsmacked by just how brilliant they were...i suppose the peripheral goofiness detracts from them being given really serious consideration...

gents.. any suggestions more than welcome esp from you chimp!

Greyhoos said...

When I first read that bit that purportedly identified the caller use on "22 going on 23," it made sense to me. I never thought, judging by the woman's voice and phrasing, that that was the voice of someone in their early 20s.

I was lucky enough to see the Bholes play twice, back when...up to and around the time of "Hairway." I can easily say that both shows were among the best I've ever been to. Ridiculously and brian-fuckingly intense.

chimp said...

extra bit of BHS trivia--- apparently Gibby was training to be a lawyer and refused to join the band full time until he had passed the bar or whatever the term is. Man if i ever get hauled up i want him to be representing know what i mean.

ap said...

Back in high school in the early 90s, my friends and I would drop acid and put on Locust Abortion Technician first thing. By the time the last song came on, the effects would be rapidly making themselves noticeable. We did this often enough that we thought of 22 Going On 23 as a point of no return and called it our "sendoff song". We sometimes talked about how the guitar solo was a kind of barometer for gauging how strong the dosages were turning out to be. We also had a silly/serious term for how the solo transformed the song, the whole album and even the act of taking drugs while listening to it: From The Ridiculous To The Sublime.