The Time Machine Test: SNFU vs. the Meatmen.

The Time Machine Test. The occasional series in which 2 bands for which I harbour fond memories compete head-to-head for the Time Machine prize. One winner, one loser. Which stands the test of time? In this installment SNFU takes on the Meatmen.

My memories of SNFU start with the If You Swear You’ll Catch No Fish LP. My friend Matt brought home a bunch of albums from our high school radio station to give a listen to. Also among them, another classic from my early punk rock discovery years; The Bags – Rock Starve. My first listens to If You Swear You’ll Catch No Fish were quickly followed by the purchase of , and as with so many of my early hardcore albums the 2 albums became synonymous with each other. They lived on opposite sides of the same TDK cassette tape so the line where one album ended and the other began disappeared almost entirely. A listen to these albums brings back a flood of high school memories. Mr. Chi Pig’s sarcasm always bit hard and to my teen-aged ears was a pinnacle of hardcore philosophy. My 2008 ears find more humor than insightful social commentary in the lyrics but damn if they’re not still pretty amusing. One of my faves was Better Homes and Gardens. A song, sung dead seriously, about wanting to have his home featured in Better Homes and Gardens. Razor-edged criticism on materialism, way before the Martha Stewart phenomenon.  Other classics like Loser at Life, Loser at Death, The Devil’s Voice, Cannibal Cafe… and on and on; they all still shred hard. More than 20 years later, I can still shout along with any song off these 2 albums. In my opinion, the stuff that came after these albums is merely adequate, with occasionally flashes of the brilliance that I remember.  Meanwhile, these first 2 albums remain burned into my consciousness for eternity.

The Meatmen came onto my scene around 1986 when I picked up the We’re The Meatmen And You Suck cassette. I was attracted by their reputation and the album art; a comic rendition of a harcore show. Seeing them at the Channel in Boston on their farewell tour has remained one of my favorite hardcore shows; a constant stream of stage dives, a churning-yet-friendly mosh pit, and Tesco Vee treating everyone with an endless stream of wigs, dresses, prosthetic breasts and dildos. Songs recorded at this show made their way to the live version of We’re the Meatmen & You Still Suck. We spent endless hours screaming along with Tooling for Anus and One Down, Three to Go. The bathroom humour was perfect for our teen-aged minds. These guys left my consciousness years ago when my cassette crapped out. You can imagine my excitement when years later I discovered Stud Powercock: The Touch and Go Years 1981-1984; a CD that compiled the early Crippled Children Suck EP with We’re the Meatmen and You Suck and a Tesco Vee solo effort. You can also imagine my disappointment when my childhood memories were shattered upon hearing the utterly unlistenable crap contained therein. After a couple of songs I looked at the liner notes; OK the CD starts with early demo stuff. Let’s move right to the payoff; right to Tooling for Anus. Hhmm. Yeah, I remember there was in intro where 2 guys with faux-gay voices talked about going going to the club. I don’t remember it being what seemed like fifteen-freaking minutes long. I had no illusions that this was anything other than a childish guilty pleasure but I remember actually liking this. What the hell was I thinking. Everything on this CD is utter trash. I forced myself to listen all the way through… twice. Wow. There’s no accounting for the tastes of a 16 year-old punk.

The only redeeming piece of the Meatmen story comes from my 4 year-old daughter. When something isn’t going her way or she needs some help she has a habit of saying, “I’ve got a problem”. I usually respond with a rendition of the Meatmen’s “I’ve Got a Problem”. This has evolved into a fun family sing-a-long. When I got the Stud Powercock CD I decided it was time to let her hear what it was we’d been singing these past years. Much as I hate everything about this CD, I have to admit that I love listening to my daughter sing along with it; “I’ve got a problem, I’ve got a problem, I’ve got a problem and the problem is you!”

So, this installment of the Time Machine Test is simple. Hands down SNFU destroys the Meatmen.

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~ by spinthis45 on January 24, 2009.

One Response to “The Time Machine Test: SNFU vs. the Meatmen.”

  1. I fully agree with SNFU winning. If you saw them live (I saw em at the Rat and Middle East) you might have even more appreciation. Just like the Meatmen, they use props like toy baseball bats, squirt guns, masks, and puppets. Plus there’s something about their early days and being from way the hell up north in Canada, that makes them more appreciable and true punk pioneers.

    You provide no mention of “War of the Superbikes”, my favorite and only Meatment album.

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