I Am Trying to Offend You: Anal Cunt’s Top 10 Greatest Hits
A look at the best musical moments of a deliberately terrible band.
I have no idea why I’m so drawn to Anal Cunt. Everything about the band, from inception through through 23 years of releases, was meant as a bad, offensive joke. For the uninitiated, Anal Cunt started as a project that would allow Seth Putnam to scream awful things over completely free-form noise. That joke lasted more than two decades, 8 full length albums and about a million splits and 7”s.
Seth Putnam, mastermind of the long-running transgressive noise/grind unit, is about the most polarizing non-convicted murderer you can find in extreme music. There are multiple interviews you can read in which he openly declared his love of hard drugs and his hatred for women, people of color, homosexuals, and just about everything under the sun. They once released a 7″ that featured the sound of Seth allegedly attacking a woman. He was involved in a white-power band called “Vaginal Jesus”. He might be most famous for a promotional photo featured him shooting up while receiving fellatio. Was it all an act? And even if it was, what kind of a psychopath would intentionally piss off everyone he possibly could? If he seems like a pretty despicable dude, Seth thought the same about himself. A suicide attempt in 2004 put him in a coma and left him paralyzed. After a slow recovery, he eventually died in 2011 at the age of 43.
I am personally opposed to the hateful messages Anal Cunt put out in the world, but I am deeply compelled by their existence. It’s so easy to focus on the horrifically racist, misogynistic, and otherwise horrible lyrics (and possible opinions) of Seth Putnam that you can forget that Anal Cunt actually made music. Sometimes. If they felt like it. Which was rare. Regardless, the band is infamous within the world of extreme music and for that reason their discography should be examined.
The band formed in 1988 but most of AxCx’s “best” tunes can be found on their later releases, when the band started to “mature” by adding elements of “music” to their releases. If you really want to dive in, you can listen to their first SIX YEARS worth of completely tuneless garbage. Aside from a few seconds of hilarious MC Hammer and Edgar Winters covers, it’s not worth it. I don’t have much else to say about their early material but if you listen to them on decent-quality headphones, you can really get the sensation that the band is violently shitting into your eardrums.
Without further ado, let’s explore Anal Cunt’s Top 10 Greatest Hits.
10. I Paid J Howell to Rape You
From their 5th Earache full-length, It Just Gets Worse, Boston news personality Jim Howell is the subject of this tune for reasons I am unable to discern. This song, like most AxCx songs, is not very good. It’s a fairly tuneless hardcore affair with occasional blasts, but it closes with a pretty slick breakdown. In a comment on Mark Prindle’s excellent review of Anal Cunt’s discography, Josh Martin, the band’s longest tenured guitarist, shared some behind-the-scenes info on the recording of It Just Gets Worse:
“This should’ve been our greatest album to date. But you’re right, it sounds like shit. This was our 5th album for Earache and thus our biggest advance to date. Instead of making an awesome studio recording that would’ve topped I Like It When You Die, Seth took the $5000 advance and spent most of it on cocaine with his first wife Alison. Nate and I were relegated to recording our tracks in Seth’s mom’s basement (our practice space at the time) and then Seth took the little bit that was left over and did his vocal trax in a real studio. The SONGS on that album were amazing. Seth just did everything he could to make them sound like shit. Live, those songs sound great and “Hitler Was A Sensitive Man”, and several others have been crowd pleasers and staples of our set ever since.”
9. You Live in a Houseboat
One listen and it’ll be tough to get the sing-song refrain of “YOU LI-IVE IN A HOUSEBOAT” out of your head. This song is beyond moronic but an excellent example of just how funny the band could be when they decided to play up an intentionally silly, rather than offensive angle. Notable lyrics: “Your house has a leak. You live in a houseboat.”
8. Song 8
From their debut LP on Earache, “Song 8” might be the most interesting piece of original music AxCx ever recorded. It begins with a melancholy melody and honest-to-god dynamics before settling into a sludgy groove. There isn’t even a blast beat on this song! What the fuck?
7. Radio Hit
From their debut album Morbid Florist, released on Relapse (and later re-recorded and released as Everyone Should Be Killed for Earache), “Radio Hit” is a straightforward metallic hardcore stomp with some of the most shred-worthy guitar tone the band would ever achieve. I can imagine “Radio Hit” as a song from The Bloodhound Gang‘s early discography. Just with a vomiting psychopath handling vocal duties.
6. HOWARD WULKAN (Wesley Willis Version)
The Howard Wulkan is Bald EP is one of the greatest drunk recordings of all time. One night Scott Hull, Seth Putnam, and Tim Morse got drunk as shit and decided to record an album about Howard Wulkan, an exec at Earache, friend of the band, and follicle challenged man. In seven and a half minutes the trio created paeans to their bro in the style of George Thorogood, Beethoven, and the Bee Gees. The entire EP is a joy but one track stands head and shoulders (ha!) above the rest. The band NAILS a song in the style of Chicago legend Wesley Willis. What happens when one obscure and highly prolific marginal artist covers another obscure, highly prolific marginal artist? MAGIC. Skip to 5:44 and suck a cheetah’s dick.
Seth recorded 4 tapes, one for himself, Scott, Tim, and Howard. Eventually, it was released on 7″ vinyl in a run of 53 copies. The reason for the low quantity? “It sucked so bad”.
5. Gloves of Metal
Phil Anselmo and Seth Putnam walk into a studio and decide to cover a Manowar song. What happens next will shock you! Papa Anselmo (who tapped Seth to provide background shrieks for a few tracks on gazillion-seller The Great Southern Trendkill) provides some tasty Southern sludge riffage on this cover of “Gloves of Metal” from Manowar’s 1983 full-length Into Glory Ride. For as goofy as Anal Cunt covers could be, this is an impressive and straight-faced cut that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Down record. At 4:29 this is damn near the longest song in the AxCx discography.
4. Crankin’ My Band’s Demo on a Box at the Beach
Anal Cunt again give us the answer to a question no one asked. This time it’s “I wonder what a cock rock album would sound like if it was fronted by a perpetually vomiting goblin”? It turns out that it sounds pretty fucking rad. Fuckin’ A sounds like Motley Crue played through shit-covered grind gear. The lyrical content here is no less horrible than previous albums, but here it makes sense juxtaposed with bands that glorified partying, shooting drugs, and abusing groupies. As unlikely as this album seems, the most surprising part of the whole endeavor was Seth’s admission that he was a big Buckcherry fan.
3. Guy Le Fluer
This could be one of the harder tunes on a Tony Hawk: Pro Skater soundtrack if it wasn’t for the (totally necessary) addition of nonsensical shrieking. I have no idea if “Guy Le Fluer” is meant to refer to Guy LaFluer, the first player in the NHL to score 50 goals and 100 points in six straight seasons. I reached out to Guy for comment on the honor of having an Anal Cunt song named after him but I have yet to hear back.
2. I Respect Your Feelings as a Woman and as a Friend
Picnic of Love is essential listening in the AxCx discography. The whole album consists of clumsily played acoustic guitars and Seth’s grating falsetto. It sounds terrible, so why listen to it? Picnic of Love takes Seth’s horrible, fucked up sense of humor and completely inverts it. “I Respect Your Feelings as a Woman and as a Friend” takes an over-the-top loving and sensitive lyrical position that acts as the extreme opposite of the charming hatespeech employed in standard offerings from other albums like “The Only Reason Men Talk to You is Because They Want to Get Laid, You Stupid Fucking Cunt”. This album more than anything else shows that Seth may have been a fucked up and awful person, but he had a fairly complex sense of humor about it.
1. You’re a Cop
I Like It When You Die, their third LP for Earache (and my favorite Anal Cunt album), has so many great moments. The production value here is superior to anything else the band ever recorded and the tracks within are among the best in their catalog. “Kyle from Incantation has a Mustache”, “Windchimes are Gay”, and of course “311 Sucks” are essential listening. In between all the blast beats and throat shredding, Seth and co. decided to focus for long enough to write a brilliant hardcore song. The result is “You’re a Cop” and it slams.
“You’re a Cop” has been a standard on my gym playlists for years. “You’re a fucking pig, you’re a fucking cop” is the kind of straightforward, ignorant punk sentiment I can really push some weight to. Unfortunately, Seth decided to add the tossed off shriek “You’re too slow to catch a nigger” and really throw a wet, racist blanket on a good time. Ultimately, this is the essence of Anal Cunt: occasionally a moment of levity or tunefulness will bring you up for a breath of fresh air before you’re immediately plunged back into the hateful abyss. I bet Seth would really hate that sentence.
I can’t imagine two people more diametrically opposed than Seth Putnam and Morrissey. One man spent his career espousing love of drugs and hatred for everything else, the other his love of animals rights and hatred of anything that’s not Morrissey (OK, maybe they’re not that different). Somehow, AxCx got together to record a track by the King of Mope and it sounds surprisingly great. As a bonus, its existence probably pisses Morrissey off something fierce. I just wish the band would have got together to take on “Suedehead”.
JK, THIS IS AxCx’s GREATEST MOMENT: