The founding of the band
Anal Cunt was formed on March 1, 1988 in the city of Newton, Massachusetts, near Boston, by Seth Putnam, who had previously been a member of bands such as Executioner and Satan's Warriors. The name Anal Cunt came from Seth Putnam's attempt "to get the most offensive, stupid, dumb, etc name possible" <ref name="ac">SethPutnam.com - AC page</ref>. A common misconception is that the band is named after the song "Anal Cunt" by GG Allin<ref name="amg torreano">Torreano, Bradley. AC Biography at Allmusic</ref>, but in fact Allin's song was written years after the band had started <ref name="faq">SethPutnam.com FAQ</ref>. The band did however later in their career render tribute to GG Allin by recording a version of "I'll Slice Your Fucking Throat (If You Fuck With Me)" by him and The Murder Junkies.
In Q Magazine's 2005 book The Greatest Rock & Pop Miscellany Ever!, Anal Cunt was included in a list of "25 Band Names That Should Have Stayed On The Drawing Board". The band was meant as a joke, and was supposed to only record one demo and do one show; however, they are still active as of 2009, despite several brief breakups.
Originally, the band was to produce a form of 'anti-music', without rhythm, beats, riffs, lyrics, song titles or any other of the normal features of a band, an approach exemplified by the 5643 Song EP.<ref name="amg torreano"/> Anal Cunt was not the first such band Seth Putnam had created; as early as 1980, Putnam formed a noisecore band with his cousin Michael, originally named 'The Losers', and then later renamed 'Noise'. The problem was most of these bands consisted of the same few members, and so Putnam wanted to form a new band with different people.
The early years
The band's very first performance was in 1988 at Putnam's mother's house in front of some family members, namely his mother, his two little brothers and his grandmother, as well as some of his mother's friends <ref name="ac"/>. Several other small performances followed, in various basements and living rooms, before their first public show live over the radio at Brandeis University, with Anal Cunt being the latest in the long line of Putnam's bands who had performed in this way. This was scheduled to be the band's first and last show and Putnam had invited future member Fred Ordonez, from the band Shit Scum to it, but he failed to turn up. As a result, it was arranged for the two bands (Anal Cunt and Shit Scum) to play a concert together so Ordonez could see Putnam's band, and a further show was arranged at Shit Scum's rented practice warehouse. The first demo was recorded on a 4-track in April in his mother's attic but this has never been mixed, released, or heard by anyone.
After a few more shows, the band decided to attempt a US tour, in August 1988, a few days before which they recorded their 47 Song Demo, which was later re-released on a few compilation of the bands' material from the early years. They recorded their 88 Song EP later that year and after its release, a number of record labels started showing interest in the band, including Earache Records, with whom they would later sign a contract.
A few releases later, Earache Records again made an offer to the band, this time to license the 5643 Song EP for a European pressing (and later to buy the whole pressing)<ref name="ac"/>, but Anal Cunt continued to turn down such offers. This was also the point where the band decided they had done as much as they could and decided to split up, after releasing Another E.P. and completing their first European tour. This tour was in April, and recordings from this tour are numerous, appearing on the compilations Fast Boston HC and The Early Years and the bootlegs Harmonized Noise and the Anal Cunt/Patareni split.
Following appearances in a few other bands, including (recently reformed) George H. Brown (A blues rock act whose song "Foreplay With A Tree Shredder" would later be recorded by Anal Cunt for the album Top 40 Hits), From Sloth To Anger, and Post Mortem, Seth Putnam and Tim Morse decided to re-form Anal Cunt on March 1, 1991, exactly 3 years after they had initially formed.
After the band’s reformation, they decided they wanted to change their style to avoid getting bored again. The guitarist for the new, slightly more musical, Anal Cunt was originally supposed to be future member Paul Kraynak but ended up being Fred Ordonez, an ex-boxer. Some more EPs followed, including the world’s first acoustic noisecore record, the Unplugged EP, before Putnam finally decided to introduce some elements of “real songs” into the band’s material. Seth Putnam and Tim Morse tried out this idea in a 6-song session in 1992, just before Putnam successfully auditioned for the reformed thrashcore band Siege, but it was a while before the plans were fully realized.
Later that year, Anal Cunt decided on another European tour. Despite the fact that Tim Morse pulled out at the last minute, the tour still went ahead, with the band deciding to find a drummer while they were touring. The two drummers who auditioned were not fast enough for the band, so Anal Cunt decided to have them both playing the same drum kit at the same time for the beginning of the tour, before resorting to just using the faster of the two. This tour firmly left Anal Cunt’s violent footprint on Europe, with most of the shows consisting of Putnam and Ordonez going into the crowd, punching people and destroying equipment, because of not only drunkenness but also the fact that the drummer did not know their songs very well. This was also the tour that saw Seth Putnam joining Fear of God onstage as their drummer for one show and him and Fred Ordonez recording with Seven Minutes of Nausea.
On returning to the US, Anal Cunt decided to get a second guitarist who could carry on playing with the drummer during the violence and shouting. The choice was John Kozik, and with it came a new era of the band.
The Earache years
Although the band had released a lot of material, their records were mostly out of print and hard to find, so the band got into contact with Earache Records, who had previously shown an interest in the band—they wanted a label that would not only keep their records in stock but also pay for their tours, as the band at the time was operating essentially at a loss. Earache Records replied to Anal Cunt, asking to hear some new material, and so the band went into a studio in September to record what would later be released on Relapse Records as Morbid Florist. Fred Ordonez briefly quit the band, but was asked back in after unsuccessful searches for a replacement and Earache Records decided to sign them.
They started recording their first album on the label, Everyone Should Be Killed, in March 1993. This was also around the time when Putnam got arrested for hitting a woman in the face with a microphone in San Francisco during an Anal Cunt show—that, and another show from the same year, are documented on the classic, very rare Anal Cunt 7” Breaking The Law.
By this point, Fred Ordonez had been kicked out of the band and had been replaced by Paul Kraynak, but Kraynak soon left the band. After some searching, Anal Cunt decided to just stick with one guitarist, John Kozik. After the release of Everyone Should Be Killed in 1994, the band did more tours, one in Europe and one straight afterwards in America. The European tour encompassed Germany, Spain and Austria, and Anal Cunt were supported by W.B.I and the Necrophiliacs; on the tour of the USA, they were joined by Incantation, Morpheus Descends, Afterlife and Gutted.
The transition from noise-style songs to fast-hardcore-style songs began in autumn that year with the recording of their next album Top 40 Hits, which featured the renowned single "Stayin’ Alive (Oi! Version)". Released in 1995, this album contains about 50% noise and 50% “songs” and marked a significant change in the band's style.
Another US tour followed and then, in June, the band’s first Japanese tour. After this, another line-up change occurred, and John Kozik was replaced by Scott Hull, of Pig Destroyer and Agoraphobic Nosebleed fame.<ref name="amg torreano"/> With this line-up (or variations on it), the album 40 More Reasons To Hate Us was recorded, and this album marked another change in the band’s direction, as it marks the start of them having lyrics and, more importantly, insults contained in their songs.<ref name="40 more reasons">Torreano, Bradley. "40 More Reasons to Hate Us" - Overview. Allmusic.</ref>
Yet another tour followed (this time a fortnight-long one with Eyehategod), during which Scott Hull was replaced with John Kozik. After this tour, the band was again close to breaking up (for the second time), but instead decided to change the lineup once more. The problem seemed to be with Tim Morse, so he was kicked out of the band—Seth Putnam was now the only surviving original member of the band.
The band was on hold for a while, the only thing they recorded being a song ("You’re Gonna Need Someone On Your Side") for the Smiths tribute album The World Still Won’t Listen, with Scott Hull on guitar and Seth Putnam doing the drums and vocals. During this period, Seth Putnam also did backing vocals for Pantera’s The Great Southern Trendkill<ref>"The Great Southern Trendkill" credits at Allmusic</ref>, in New Orleans, and lead vocals for an Eyehategod show.
Seth Putnam was again tempted to end the band (for the third time), but instead hired a new guitarist, Josh Martin. Martin was a student at New York University in 1994/1995, when Anal Cunt used to play in New York a lot, and they had become good friends. Indeed, this was a friendship that would continue, as Putnam and Martin would join forces later in Adolf Satan and acoustic black metal band Impaled Northern Moonforest. Now, Martin had moved to Boston, following his graduation and was appointed by Putnam as the new Anal Cunt guitarist. After trying out a lot of drummers, they ended up with Nate Linehan.
Yet another tour followed, this time with Incantation and Mortician, and then the release of their next full-length, I Like It When You Die, which they had recorded prior to the tour. This album was essentially a collection of insults and featured the songs "You’re Gay" and "Technology’s Gay", as well as a guest appearance from Kyle Severn from Incantation. A lot of the songs refer to things being ‘gay’, as this was a common slang word in Massachusetts and in junior high schools across the United States at the time.
Following the tour, Linehan left the band and again the band was on hold because of line-up difficulties. Even so, Putnam and Martin recorded a few songs for a Black Sabbath tribute, In These Black Days Volume 1, which was a split with Eyehategod and featured Seth Putnam on drums. A few months later, Putnam asked Nate Linehan to rejoin the band and he agreed.
Another two tours later (one in America with Murder One, one in Japan), Anal Cunt recorded what would be their last album on Earache Records, It Just Gets Worse, which was released at the end of their 1999 European tour with Flächenbrand. This is the most offensive of the band’s albums and was surrounded by much controversy; the label changed some of the song titles and also censored the lyrics to two of the songs. Nevertheless (or probably because of this fact) this is now considered to be a classic cult grindcore album, which was criticized heavily by the general music press but praised just as much by the underground grind community.
Despite being dropped by their label (although Earache did later make them an offer to come back, which they turned down) and Nate Linehan leaving (again), Anal Cunt continued on, now with John Gillis on drums. Some more touring and a few releases followed, such as the Defenders of the Hate EP. There was also a Defenders of the Hate tour in 2001, featuring two legs—one to California and back, and one to Texas and back—and the band released a limited tour edition of the record as part of the tour. This tour showed that Anal Cunt were still as violent as ever, however, the band issued an official press release at the end of December 2001 saying that they had broken up (again). This time, the band seemed to have permanently disbanded, with only a few compilation tracks and the Very Rare Rehearsal From February 1989 CD being released.
In October 2004, Seth Putnam went into a coma for nearly a month as a result of a drug overdose. Initially reported as a sleeping pill overdose for legal reasons, he later claimed it was a combination of alcohol, crack, heroin, and a bottle of sleeping pills. Doctors thought that even if he survived, he would suffer permanent serious brain damage and were intending to "pull the plug", before Putnam's mother intervened. Even after coming out of the coma, Putnam was now paralyzed and had sustained severe nerve damage, needing months of physical therapy to recover. In fact, for the first show that Anal Cunt played following this coma (which was a show with Eyehategod), Seth Putnam had to remain seated in a chair throughout.<ref>Kozik, Tina. A.C. Decibel</ref><ref>Carioli, Carly. Coma chameleon. The Boston Phoenix: October 14, 2005.</ref>
Although some thought it was poetic justice, Seth Putnam says he will continue to play songs such as "You're in a Coma" and has promised that the band will release "new" material soon. He confirmed that there will be a new Anal Cunt album, most likely to be released in 2009 due to delays, which was originally to be called Wearing Out Our Welcome, before Putnam changed its title to Assholes and Troublemakers. Anal Cunt also released a Defenders Of The Hate full-length, which features bonus now-out-of-print tracks, such as those from the 13 Bands Who Think You're Gay and Thrash of the Titans compilations, as well as the tracks from Split with Flächenbrand. Other releases that have been promised include a sequel to Picnic Of Love, Picnic Of Love II and an Anal Cunt/Gay Bar split, featuring unreleased Anal Cunt material from the Putnam/Martin/Linehan era on one side and a recording of Seth Putnam in a gay bar on the other.
Anal Cunt performed at the Los Angeles Murderfest Version 3.0 on March 24, 2007. <ref>More Bands Announced For Los Angeles Murderfest. MetalUnderground.com: February 19, 2007.</ref> Seth announced on Anal Cunt's myspace page that Tim Morse would be playing drums again full-time for the first time since his departure in 1996. On November 17, 2008, the original Anal Cunt line-up (Seth Putnam, Mike Mahan, and Tim Morse) finished recording their 110 Song CD. The CD was made as a celebration of the band's 20th anniversary. The album's musical style is the same as Anal Cunt's earlier work (47 Song Demo, 88 Song EP, 5643 Song EP, etc.) in the way of the songs having no titles or lyrics and the songs are all blurcore/noisecore.
Another compilation CD of obscure Anal Cunt releases is planned to be released by Wicked Sick Records, (Seth Putnam's label) later in 2009. It is said to include rare releases by the band like the Breaking the Law 7" and the Howard is Bald EP. It will also include very rare never before heard Anal Cunt recordings including the first Anal Cunt demo that was never mixed, songs recorded for compilations that were never sent, and demo recordings, etc.<ref>http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendId=230003704&blogId=473629105</ref>
Style and controversy
Anal Cunt's style has changed much since 1988, as originally they formed as a noisecore band before incorporating elements of grindcore and hardcore into their style. Songs in the 'early years' were often no more than a few seconds long (their 5643 Song EP being an extreme example), although this later increased so that the average song length was between 40 seconds and 1 minute. The typical Anal Cunt song is short and loud with extremely distorted guitars played randomly up and down the neck, near incomprehensible screaming and blast beat drumming, although there are exceptions to this rule.
Anal Cunt are often cited as having common lyrical themes that include misogyny, homophobia, anti-Semitism, racism and ridicule of the unfortunate Template:Citation needed, although this has not always been the case. Many of these songs included insults, either general or specific to one person.
Their I Like It When You Die developed the idea of containing insults in their songs, with a recurring song title being "X Is Gay", with X being a person, place, thing, idea or event. Examples include: "You're Gay", "Technology's Gay", "Recycling Is Gay", "The Internet Is Gay", "Windchimes Are Gay" and even "The Word 'Homophobic' Is Gay." Another recurring song title is "You X", with examples including "You Own a Store", "You Live in a Houseboat", "You Are an Orphan", "You Go to Art School", and "You Keep a Diary". The band even parodied themselves about this with the songs "You (Fill In The Blank)" and "I'm in Anal Cunt".
The 1999 album, It Just Gets Worse, took the idea of intentional offense a step further with more extreme examples of racism and sexism, which proved controversial, as they covered topics seen as taboo. Examples include: "You Were Pregnant So I Kicked You In The Stomach", "I Lit Your Baby On Fire" and "Women: Nature's Punching Bag." The lyrics to two of the songs on this album were censored and one of the songs on this album had its name changed from "Connor Clapton Committed Suicide Because His Father Sucks" to "Your Kid Committed Suicide Because You Suck" because they were working for a record label in Britain, where libel laws are very stringent.
It was also in this album that the band began to joke about the Holocaust in numerous songs, including "I Sent Concentration Camp Footage to America's Funniest Home Videos". This theme of seemingly glorifying Adolf Hitler and his actions continued on their subsequent EPs, with songs such as "Hitler Was A Sensitive Man", "Body By Auschwitz", "I Went Back in Time and Voted for Hitler" and "Ha Ha Holocaust." It is difficult to judge how serious these lyrics are intended to be or if they are merely created to provoke offense.
Another common lyrical theme in the band's material is that of insulting other bands, as well as music in general.
Next to this offensive material, some of their other songs which are more light-hearted appear even more confusing and hilarious. This includes the satirical Picnic of Love album, and also covers of songs completely different from their style including "Can't Touch This", "Stayin' Alive", "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)", "Theme From Three's Company", "You're Gonna Need Someone on Your Side", and "Hungry Hungry Hippos" as well as their bizarre karaoke rendition of the "Steve Miller Band" song "Abracadabra" (with the lyrics changed to "Sabbra-Sabbra-Cadabra") on the split EP with Eyehategod. Other contrasts are provided by the innocent silliness of tracks such as "I Got Athlete's Foot Showering At Mike's".
In one interview, Seth Putnam admitted that they had sent material to publications they knew would hate it, just to get bad reviews.<ref>Interview with AC members (In Russian and English)</ref>
- Current members
- Seth Putnam – vocals, guitar (1988–present)
- Josh Martin – guitar (1996–2003, 2006–present)
- Tim Morse – drums (1988–1996, 2008–present)
- Former members
- Fred Ordonez – guitar (1991–1992, 1992–1993)
- Paul Kraynak – guitar (1993)
- Scott Hull – guitar (1995)
- John Kozik – guitar (1992–1995, 2003–2006)
- John Gillis – drums (1999–2001, 2004–2006)
- Nate Linehan – drums (1996–1999, 2003–2004, 2006–2007)
- Mike Mahan – guitar (1988–1990, 2008)