This is Phoenix not the Circle Jerks – (Placebo Records) 1984. This one used to line the record bins back in the day. Nobody I knew owned it. Ostensibly it was a hardcore album but really it was just a collection of sun-baked weirdness from the hottest city in the USA. So why the fuck am I posting it, you may ask?
Well now that I am an old misanthrope, I have come to understand and appreciate The Mighty Sphincter (insert drum kick…hey!). At 16 though, there was no way in hell that I could possibly attempt to get this band. I remember their EP was another one that lined the record bins. Nobody I knew bought it. I think it was supposed to be Goth? Well, here in the heartland, the Goths liked their melodrama wrapped up in better production value. I mean this shit was just too goddam poorly produced for kids who loved the Cure and Bauhaus. Plus it sounds metal.
But really…metalheads weren’t gonna flock to this in droves either because the band was named after your asshole. Metalheads like their homo-eroticism a little more veiled. I mean seriously, if you’re talking about planned obsolescence, I challenge you to find a better case than the Mighty Sphincter. I considered myself more open than most in my teen years to musical weirdness but I stayed far away from Mighty Sphincter.
Now of course, I eat this kind of stuff for breakfast.
The Mighty Sphincter grew from the ashes of The Brainz. Very Freudian methinks. The Brainz released a beast of a 7 inch back in 79 that is theoretically punk but is really prog-metal-sun-baked-weirdness. The Brainz were a huge influence on the Kirkwood brothers who went on to form The Meat Puppets. The Meat Puppets first LP was theoretically punk but in reality it was just more insane sun-baked weirdness. See a pattern emerging? Do I even need to pull The Consumers and Don Bolles into this?
From all reports The Mighty Sphincter dudes were some seedy, creepy, debauched fuckers. Much like The Dwarves would later; The Mighty Sphincter would create fake death stories for the band members and release the info to the press. Original singer Ron Reckless who I believe is singing on this platter was a total drug addict. They kicked him out and then told people he died. Second singer, Doug Clark was rumoured to have died of AIDS. Another member died of a brain aneurism. Another was found dead in the Arizona desert. You get the picture….all attempts to document this band are fruitless.
The next set of songs on This is Phoenix not the Circle Jerks are from Conflict. Conflict were a great female-fronted HC band from Tuscon who were largely ignored by the punters. Soylent Green follow and were OK They actually capture the US Hardcore sound better than most with their track “Taxed”. Hating taxes was a favourite theme of HC bands back then which I always found amusing. You think the guys in Soylent Green paid any taxes? Maybe on cigarette purchases.
The rest of the LP is hit or miss. The Zany Guys suck. The Sun City Girls offer more sun-baked Arizona weirdness. Then JFA completely bewilder me with a Funkadelic cover which may have seemed like a good idea at the time. Then we get 23 seconds of Hannigan. The end. Really this is The Mighty Sphincter’s show.