James Burns (Let's Go to Hell: Scattered Memories of the Butthole Surfers)
SPB: In a book such as this, do you aim to capture the spirit of the band as a whole, or via specific windows in time?
Burns: The Butthole Surfers existed in a time when there was no internet, and literally no way of promoting yourself other than to just get out on the road and DO IT. They toured pretty much nonstop for three whole years to get themselves known. And while it certainly is easier to get yourself noticed today, it is also a lot more difficult, in some ways, to separate yourself from the pack.
What inspires me, even now, about the Butthole Surfers’ story is their perseverance. There was very little hope when they started that the band would ever be successful, and yet, they willed it into being by simply refusing to quit, despite all the odds being against them.
The older one gets, the more one realizes that times don’t change very much: politics, society, art. It’s like the Big Boys’ song says: “Punk rock’s not so far removed from Little Richard or the early Stones.” And while each generation has its own cross to bear, the spirit of independence, creativity, and willingness to fight for one’s art, or beliefs, is timeless.