Punk Show Promises to Be Rude, Crude and Not for Prudes : Fear and Butt Trumpet to share stage at Ventura Theatre. 'We're loud, obnoxious and vulgar,' says one player.


The world can be a great place if you ignore everything going on around you, especially those unhappy endings. Imagine Scarlett O'Hara before Fort Sumter, turkeys in October, Humpty Dumpty sipping a pina colada while the masons finish up that wall, and the Ventura Theatre's "no moshing" policy before tonight's punk show.

The theater's wish for a kinder, gentler dance floor will be severely tested when Fear headlines. Also on the bill is a band as obnoxious as its name, Butt Trumpet, and local rockers Fearless Vampire Killers, a band not known for its wistful ballads.

Fear, billed as "the most notorious band in America," and front man Lee Ving have been scaring people since about 1980, while the Butt band has only been around long enough to threaten the moral fiber of America with a single album, "Primitive Enema." The Butt band features Blare N. Bitch, lead guitarist and chief screamer; shriekers Bianca Butthole and Sharon Needles, both on bass, and Jerry Geronimo behind the drums.

"Lee Ving's still alive, and Fear's awesome," Needles said during a recent phone interview. "They totally rock. You know what? If anybody had've asked me to name my favorite band of any I listened to when I was a kid, it would be Fear. I heard Lee's got a new band, and I thought, 'No way, man.' But they floored me. The bass player is awesome. The drummer is awesome. Fear is awesome."

The "no slamming" edict at a Fear show is like a "no eating" sign at McDonald's. Expect young males with short hair and shorter tempers to trade elbows and generally scare the female fans. Needles has her doubts about the "no moshing" policy.

"Oh, man, I dunno about that. Isn't the Ventura Theatre the place where everyone just goes off? People go totally nuts when Fear plays. People jump off the balcony, the stage and the speakers. It's crazy."

Rude, crude and not for the prude, yet pretty funny for the right mind from left field, Butt Trumpet songs deal with dead dogs, funerals, enemas, ugly people, Seattle dress codes, group sex and, of course, that old standby, killing hippies. That the band is a surprise hit is in itself a surprise.

No surprise, and keeping Butt Trumpet out of family newspapers and off the radio, are lyrics from songs such as "I've Been So Mad Lately," which begins "Bleep-bleep- hell- damn- bleep-bleep-bleep- bleep/ Bleep- bleep- bleep- Lowlife!/ You're a bleeper bleep and I hate you!/Bleep- bleep- hell- damn- bleep- bleep/ Bleep you! Bleep you! Bleep you! Bleep you! Bleep you! Bleep you! Bleep you! I'm bleeped! I'm bleeped! I'm so bleeped off!"

Best ignored when granny comes to visit, Butt Trumpet albums come with a parental advisory sticker that reads "Lighten Up."

"We're loud, obnoxious and vulgar," said Needles, exaggerating not at all. "Maybe some people don't catch on that it's all in good fun. People should, like you know, relax."

Not relaxing at all, but cheap, the album was recorded in 1992 for a mere $700, a sum rock stars could easily spend on lunch. After the band finished the album, it took the next logical step and broke up but fortunately didn't disconnect the phone.

"We were on an indie label when this guy from EMI heard it and totally dug it and called our singer," said Needles. "But by that time, the band had broken up--we weren't playing. I was in Europe with my boyfriend's band, Legal Weapon. When I heard EMI wanted to put it out, I thought, 'Yeah, right. We don't even have a band.' But sure enough, we signed the papers"--and got back together.

Not only is a big label backing them but it also provides a 24-hour bail hot line in case the band has too much fun. So far, that hasn't happened in a month on the road with Fear, according to the bass player.

"No one's killed themselves yet, and no one has sued us," Needles said.

Founding member Thom Bone was kicked out of the band when the women staged a mutiny. Needles' buddy, Dan Druff, took over for a while but apparently wasn't a Trumpet at heart.

"Thom was so bleeping amazing," Needles said. "He did a damn good job of being obnoxious. Thom and Blare N. wrote most of the stuff, but I wrote about a third of it. He wanted to have a dictatorship kind of thing, and we wanted a democratic kind of thing. Then I called my friend, Dan from Missouri, and he played with us up to New York, and he quit. It wasn't right for him. I guess, the guys can't hang."

Maybe they went deaf. Butt Trumpet, with two bass players, definitely has the technology to make your liver quiver. With the success of Green Day and the Offspring, punk rock is just another 15-year overnight sensation, and the Trumpets are tooting their own horn at the right time.

"Punk rock seems to be getting bigger, but I have no idea why," Needles said. "I like some of the new bands, but I think there were more cool bands back in the '70s. Punk is becoming a commodity, I guess."


* WHO: Butt Trumpet, Fear, Fearless Vampire Killers.

* WHEN: 8 tonight.

* WHERE: Ventura Theatre, 26 Chestnut St., Ventura.

* HOW MUCH: $13.50.

* CALL: 648-1888.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World