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Radio-friendly songs by the Butthole Surfers?
March 22, 2013 6:34 PM   Subscribe

What is the best song by the Butthole Surfers that is safe to play on the radio?

I promised a friend that I would surprise him with some Butthole Surfers on my radio show tomorrow. This is a band that I never listened to and I know nothing about them, so I'm looking for their most awesome song. It has to be really great, and also meet some specific criteria: It has to be radio-friendly (no profanity or strong innuendo, I have kids that listen to my show), and it has to be available in the Amazon MP3 store.

The only song I know by them is that "Jesus Built My Hotrod" thing with Ministry, and I considered using that and fading out before the F-bomb at the end. But is there something else that's much better? Educate me on this band, please. Thanks!

(If you feel like throwing in any awesome overlooked 90s songs from other bands that are also radio-safe, I'll take those too.)
posted by jbickers to Media & Arts (35 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
Back in the 90s, I remember hearing "Pepper" on the radio all. the. time. Of course, it was the version with a few words muted out.
posted by 4ster at 6:35 PM on March 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


First thing that comes to mind is their cover Hurdy Gurdy Man.
posted by Lorin at 6:38 PM on March 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


You may get a laugh from NoFX's Please Play This Song On The Radio but don't give in to their pleas. It's a trick.
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 6:53 PM on March 22, 2013


There's no actual profanity in Pepper.
posted by crush-onastick at 6:54 PM on March 22, 2013


Pepper is the one that got all the play and despite that I kind of love it.
posted by restless_nomad at 6:55 PM on March 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


There's no actual profanity in Pepper.
posted by crush-onastick at 6:54 PM on March 22 [+] [!]


Agreed. I should have pointed that out. I just remember some people (i.e. MTV) bleeping a few words for some reason.
posted by 4ster at 6:57 PM on March 22, 2013


(If you feel like throwing in any awesome overlooked 90s songs from other bands that are also radio-safe, I'll take those too.)

Dandelion — Weird Out

Sugartooth — Sold My Fortune

Shudder to Think — X-French Tee Shirt

Dig — Believe
posted by John Cohen at 6:59 PM on March 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Pepper was way overplayed. Their other semi-radio hit was "Who Was In My Room Last Night?" which should be safe assuming 'Hell' isn't a no-go.
posted by Ufez Jones at 7:06 PM on March 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


You may get a laugh from NoFX's Please Play This Song On The Radio but don't give in to their pleas. It's a trick.

I once heard that song played on KZSC, UCSC's college radio station.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 7:22 PM on March 22, 2013


Pepper is pretty radio friendly, I heard it on the radio this week.
posted by birdherder at 7:25 PM on March 22, 2013


Also good was TV Star if you decide against Pepper.
posted by dismitree at 7:30 PM on March 22, 2013


Leaning toward "Who was in my room ...", which has unlocked a whole plethora of Beavis and Butthead-themed memories that I had forgotten. John Cohen, thank you for reminding me of Dig ... open to any other great forgotten 90s gems.
posted by jbickers at 7:36 PM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Pepper is on the radio all the time here. It was a huge hit.
posted by Slinga at 7:53 PM on March 22, 2013


Overlooked, yet radio-friendly, 90s songs, you say? You need to ask someone who was the "Secular Music Director" at an otherwise Christian Rock college radio station from 1993 to 1995.

So then...

"Jessie" by Paw
"Sister Havana" by Urge Overkill
"Heterosexual Man" by Odds (no profanity, but the subject matter might be a little edgy)
"Down by the Water" by PJ Harvey
"Incredible Bittersweet" by Judybats (Not on YouTube!)
"Love Monkey Number 9" by Bootsauce
"Someday I Suppose" by the Mighty Mighty Bosstones (better than their hit "The Impression That I Get", but it's close.)

And yes, "Who Was In My Room" is your Butthole Surfers song of choice. I played it all the time.
posted by themanwho at 8:24 PM on March 22, 2013


Also (so as not to abuse the edit button)

"Watch That Girl Destroy Me" by Possum Dixon
"You Make Me Want to Wear Dresses" by Lisa Germano

Most of the really popular stuff was stolen from my station, so we ended up playing the more obscure stuff. In a time where "alternative" was the buzzword, that was a-ok.

Ah, memories. Thanks for this question.
posted by themanwho at 8:31 PM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


As for "overlooked, yet radio-friendly, 90s songs":
Curve: Horrorhead, Ten Little Girls, Missing Link
posted by crush-onastick at 8:39 PM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I can't see anything wrong with Dracula From Houston. However, I am a bit older, so I may be missing out on newer "dirty" lyrics.
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 9:23 PM on March 22, 2013


I'm looking for their most awesome song

There are actually a lot of radio-friendly songs on their fantastic debut Psychic...Powerless...Another Man's Sac, like "Gary Floyd," "Negro Observer," "Cowboy Bob," the amazing Capt. Beefheart-ish genius "Lady Sniff," complete with ridiculous burp and spit sounds and a "dumbass" at one point but it doesn't violate any radio rules. "Dum Dum" has a "son of a bitch" but that should be fine; "Cherub" is radio-friendly and classic early Surfers. If you don't know them at all you might actually be surprised at how accessible some of their early stuff sounds now, after 30 years of other folks colonizing the areas they opened up. But if you want to surprise your friend, don't play one of their later "hits," play something from Psychic...Powerless...Another Man's Sac.
posted by mediareport at 10:03 PM on March 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


There are lots of BH Surfer songs appropriate for radio!

My favorites are "Moving to Florida" and "Comb" from Cream Corn (or the Rembrandt Pussyhorse CD). Pretty much that whole CD is good for radio.

Same goes for all the songs on Pioughed (on which is heard the "Hurdy Gurdy" man cover AND a great "American Woman" cover).
posted by notyou at 10:41 PM on March 22, 2013


I'd vote for Lady Sniff. I don't think it has any non-radio-friendly words.
posted by bink at 10:43 PM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oops. "American Woman" is also on Rembrandt Pussyhorse, not Pioughed.
posted by notyou at 10:44 PM on March 22, 2013


oh geez, mediareport wins. "Dum Dum" gets my vote.
posted by notyou at 10:54 PM on March 22, 2013


The Grifters - Bronze Cast

(Grifters: Rolling Stones :: Guided By Voices : Beatles)
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:48 PM on March 22, 2013


Buffalo Tom - Taillights Fade
Alice Donut - Tiny, Ugly World
The Afghan Whigs - Gentlemen
Screaming Trees - Make My Mind
Bash & Pop (Tommy Stinson of The Replacements) - Friday Night Is Killing Me
Complusive Gamblers - Stop and Think It Over
Firewater - Bourbon & Division
Cop Shoot Cop - 10 Dollar Bill
Golden Smog - Until You Came Along
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:09 AM on March 23, 2013


Most awesome Butthole Surfers song, hands down, no contest: John E Smoke
posted by flabdablet at 12:51 AM on March 23, 2013


All of Hairway to Steven except Jimi (the first song) and Julio Iglesias (the sixth) are radio-friendly. Excellent album. Try Rocky or John E. Smoke.

Cherub is also a great choice.

I also like Whirling Hall of Knives and Sweat Loaf.

Their older stuff is definitely weirder than Pepper, but oh so awesome.
posted by chbrooks at 12:51 AM on March 23, 2013


You shall play Human Cannonball and you will not offend, because it is a thoroughly perfect rock song that has no vulgarities.
posted by item at 2:08 AM on March 23, 2013


Shame of Life is the song you want.
posted by humboldt32 at 8:55 AM on March 23, 2013


Seconding 'Sweat Loaf', which meets your 'awesome' criterion with a capital AWE.
posted by feral_goldfish at 10:13 AM on March 23, 2013


Whoops, I have to take back my suggestion of Dandelion's "Weird Out," since it actually does have profanity. Instead, I'd suggest Dandelion's "Waiting for a Ride."
posted by John Cohen at 10:16 AM on March 23, 2013


I've always liked the Butthole's Hey for being catchy and having no bad lyrics at all except the word hell.
posted by jessamyn at 11:34 AM on March 23, 2013


22 Going On 23.

That is the song you want to play.

Why are we even having this conversation? The song you want is 22 Goimg On 23.

There are few things in life that visibly drip with pure and undiluted evil. 22 Going On 23 is one of those things. Without a single profanity, but so chock-full of menace and badness that listeners will flee the room screaming.

It is, IMO, a singular achievement in rock music: no one, anywhere, has ever written a song half as creepy as 22 Going On 23.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 3:05 PM on March 23, 2013


I'm very surprised no one has mentioned The Wooden Song - it's the first thing I think of when someone mentions the Butthole Surfers.
posted by komara at 10:19 PM on March 23, 2013


Thanks, all. I ended up going with "Who was in my room ..." ... fun times. This is the complete playlist for the morning, if anyone is interested.
posted by jbickers at 12:10 PM on March 25, 2013


Flame by Sebadoh was a top 20 hit in the UK - not that their back catalogue is particularly profanity-laced, but it was decided to be commercial enough to be played on radio and TV.
posted by mippy at 10:09 AM on March 26, 2013


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