At Lamestain HQ, we don’t fully blame the kids for their awful taste in music. At first, we thought that kids today don’t want to rock, and we figured that is why so many of them illegally download Maroon 5 or Fall Out Boy records. Then we realized that these kids are also filling their iPods with Jet, Buck Cherry, and Godsmack songs. It’s not that they don’t want to rock–it’s that they don’t know how to rock. And really the only person man enough to teach today’s myspace generation how to truly rock is Michael Anderson of Blood Circus. Unapologetically loud, unpretentious, and not afraid of spilling beer or bumping elbows at a show, Michael Anderson would be a great role model for aspiring young rockers. The question is then where did he go and why doesn’t Blood Circus reform and teach this tired town a thing or two about rock? Sadly, we don’t know. All efforts (okay, only 2 efforts) to contact the band were unsuccessful; therefore, we can only assume that the band members are so disgusted by today’s terrible musical climate that they have gone into seclusion. We can’t blame them.
Following a short stint in Swallow, Michael Anderson formed Blood Circus in the late 80’s with guitarist Geoff Robinson, bassist Tracey Simmons (aka T-Man), and drummer Doug Day. Taking their name from an unreleased, no-budget sci-fi movie, Blood Circus made their vinyl debut in 1988 with the “Two Way Street” b/w “6 Feet Under” single on Sub Pop (SP13). Before the record-buying public figured out what had pummeled them, the band then contributed the song “The Outback” to the Sub Pop 200 compilation. The Primal Rock Therapy EP followed in 1988, and while it was released in between Mudhoney’s Superfuzz Big Muff and Nirvana’s "Love Buzz" single, it failed to turn Blood Circus into rock stars or impress the fickle English music press. Like their debut single, the EP was recorded by Jack Endino at Reciprocal Studios and has sonic elements of the Melvins, MC5, and Motorhead. The EP also features the song “Gnarly,” which is noteworthy because it is the only grunge song about surfing. As Jon Poneman correctly once wrote, their records are the “grunge acid test.” If you want a singer with a Messiah complex and a message, look elsewhere. If you want a band that just intends to crash your party, drink all your beer, and then puke on your new carpet, Blood Circus are for you.
After Blood Circus split in 1990, Michael was in Hard Belly Lloyd with ex-Swallow members, but as far as I can tell, did not release any more records. T-Man later joined Bro’ James’ post-Cat Butt band Yummy for some records and also vanished. Geoff and Doug’s post Blood Circus musical endeavors are also a mystery.
Luckily for you, Sub Pop was flushed with cash after Green Magnet School’s mainstream success, so they wisely reissued Primal Rock Therapy on CD in 1992, with their debut single and five songs from an aborted 1989 recording session as bonus tracks. Whether the band has more, unreleased songs tucked away in a closet or somewhere is unknown. At the time of reissue, the band did a couple reunion shows around Seattle and can briefly be seen destroying the Crocodile Café in the documentary, Hype. After that, the band descended back to underground Seattle, and we haven’t heard from them since.
While most people like to bring up how Primal Rock Therapy was panned by critics and barely sold any copies at the time, we are hippies and like to focus on the positive aspects of the record. Beside rocking harder than most 1980’s metal bands, the band also held up fairly well against the test of time. While the production might place them squarely in the early Sub Pop grunge category, their songs aren’t that far from sounding like some of the better, modern rock revival acts. So put them in the CD changer with some Monster Magnet, Comets on Fire, Ufomammut, and Big Business records, crank the volume, bust open a Lucky 40oz, eat some Cheetos, and then start breaking things over your roommate’s head. That’s what Michael Anderson would do.
Two Way Street
Six Feet Under
My Dad's Dead
Buy it here.
-- MC Tom