Here’s one for truth in advertising. On the Butthole Surfers’ latest album, Weird Revolution, precise digital editing replaces the band’s famous idiot-savant studio trickery, and sophisticated beat architecture holds sway where gut-wrenching tom-thuggery once ruled. Somehow, the beautifully skewed Surfers spirit remains.
“Loops can be hypnotic,” explains drummer King Coffey, who, as any long-time Surfers fan will testify, knows a thing or two about trance-inducement. “I find them soothing. It’s also nice to be in a situation where you have to find your part within the musical scheme, rather than dictate what the rhythm should be. As a drummer it’s liberating too, because you know that you can go off on a tangent and you won’t sabotage the groove if you come back in a little off.”
Coffey’s move to sampling and sequencing is more accurately an evolution, rather than an abrupt about-face. “Several years ago I began my solo project Drain as a way to start working with computers,” King explains. “But the Surfers started doing the same thing on our albums, which sort of made Drain obsolete. So for the next Drain record,” Coffey adds with a laugh, “I think I’ll just be like the drummer in a psychedelic band – completely analog!”