SCRATCH ACID – Live, generic The Electric Banana, epilepsy Pittsburgh, PA, 04.28.87

I recently heard that David Yow was hospitalized back in January from a collapsed lung after a show with Qui, the band he now sings for. Given his fire nature onstage, this comes as no surprise. Best known for his work (and onstage antics) in The Jesus Lizard, Yow first came to be known as the singer for Scratch Acid. Justin Vellucci, writing for Delusions of Adequacy, sez:

“More people have probably seen Scratch Acid cited as an influence in interviews than have actually heard the band. This is a truth probably known all too well by Touch and Go Records guru Corey Rusk, who released a compendium of the Austin, Texas outfit’s complete works under the appropriate title ‘The Greatest Gift’ in the early 1990s. The collection should have hit at just the right time: it was released as one of the band’s most noteworthy and acclaimed offspring – The Jesus Lizard – was becoming a critical darling with explosive indie rock gems like ‘Goat’ and ‘Liar’. Sadly, though, it didn’t, and the band continued to be more name-dropped than actually heard, your average scenester not realizing how much Scratch Acid laid the foundation for countless punk and post-punk acts that followed them.

In mail-order catalogues from the early-90s, Touch and Go described Scratch Acid somewhat modestly, playing them up as ‘Tex-punk if you were eating barbecue tainted with the taste of Phenobarbital.’ The description is a fitting one and hints at the dark, disorienting tone of much of the band’s output, but it doesn’t really do enough to separate Scratch Acid from its Texan noise-punk peers, The Butthole Surfers. In their early days, both bands – like fellow Texans Big Boys and others – crafted an energetic and often chaotic brand of punk rock. But, while The Butthole Surfers went on to distort the medium with surreal soundscapes and an over-the-top, crazed sense of humor, Scratch Acid took a more straight-forward route, coming up with a sound than subtly blended elements of early punk, guitar-driven rock n’ roll and rockabilly, jazz, and electric blues.”

Scratch Acid – Live, The Electric Banana, Pittsburgh, PA, 04.28.87 (ZIP file)

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102 Responses to SCRATCH ACID

  1. Chris says:

    Where do you find these recordings? Well-done, thank you so much.

  2. Whoa! The Electric Banana! I just got back from a weekend in the ‘burgh and even drove past where this used to be. I sounded oddly nostalgic talking to my friends about a place I was never old enough to get into when it was around.

  3. weevildoer says:

    Well done sir,
    David always told me that Scratch Acid was a rip off of two Birthday Party songs and that’s it.Of course he’s got a wicked sense of humor, but there is some truth to this statement. As someone who saw my fair share of their nuttiness on stage I’m looking forward to this.

  4. chnkltgy says:

    It should be mentioned that this was Scratch Acid’s second to last show and that Sonic Youth played the next night at the Banana. I have that on the other side of the tape from this show. Jog my memory, did you get this from me as well?

  5. any-more says:

    best posting for ages; this band muscially and lyrically was so good it actually didn’t require the soundscapes and experimentation of the bhs to come across as being unique and completely onto something…oh yeah, which 2 birthday party songs ? If you ever come across any more scratch acid live or rare etc hope it can find its way onto egg city radio..thanks tonnes

  6. Jason says:

    Thanks for posting this. A few of the duplicate tracks seem to be taken from different sources or a different show altogether.

    Tracklisting, because I’m anal:

    Mary Had A Little Drug Problem
    Skin Drips
    El Espectro
    Damned For All Time
    Big Bone Lick
    This Is Bliss
    Crazy Dan
    Lay Screaming
    She Said
    Damned For All Time
    Crazy Dan
    Skin Drips (outro)

  7. Bill V says:

    The banana was a real dive, but all kinds of great punk moments happened there. Judy Banana, one of the owners, used to dance there when it was a go-go bar in the 60s – pretty scary if you know what she looks like now! The place has been a sorta fancy Italian restaurant since the big hotel was built across the street 10 years ago…

  8. One ought only to write when one leaves a piece of one’s own flesh in the inkpot, each time one dips one’s pen.