album reviews

Gibby Haynes and His Problem
Gibby Haynes and His Problem
Surfdog (2004)

The legend of the Butthole Surfers' chaotic psychedelia has expanded to mythic proportions over the past two decades: Tales of their outrageous concert antics sound fabricated even to those who witnessed the madness firsthand. As with so many '90s casualties, though, reining their chaos into Capitol's major-label chariot ultimately led to the Surfers' demise, and their biggest breakthrough, "Pepper," sounded like a weak Beck knockoff.

Years after that mainstream disappointment, the solo debut from the Surfers' frontman, Gibby Haynes and His Problem, harks back to the band's heyday sound. While His Problem doesn't recapture all of the Surfers' druggy dementia, Haynes' demonically distorted vocals and ridiculous stoner lyrics remain key ingredients. He still sounds a bit satanic, from his lecherous growling in "Woo" and mumbling snarl in "Charlie" to typically weird lyrics like, "Superman has killer weed/ he gets it from Dan Rather" ("Superman").

Perhaps the most Buttholian track is "I Need Some Help," which starts with swirling guitars sandwiched between a high-pitched chirping and a deep rumbling. While bedlam boils around him, Haynes' chanting stretches the last word of every phrase, stomping up dust clouds as he spins in circles, determined not to reveal the man behind the curtain. His mask comes off a little bit on the closing "Redneck Sex," as he tips his hat to his Texas roots, commanding, "That's right y'all, stop acting so crazy." Luckily, Haynes has started acting crazy again, and Gibby Haynes and His Problem is better for it.

-Catherine P. Lewis

.: Originally published: the Baltimore CityPaper: 29 September 2004
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