The Big Boys were formed in 1978 in Austin, Texas by three skaters: Tim Kerr (guitar), Chris Gates (bass), and Randy "Biscuit" Turner (vocals). They would go through a number of drummers before breaking up in 1984. In that time the Big Boys put out three full-lengths, a 12" EP, a split live LP with the Dicks, and the classic debut single "Frat Cars." Every record is essential listening. Their sound (dubbed "neo-bopism" by producer Spot) was constantly evolving, combining odd elements of punk, funk, and pop to create diverse and totally unique music. They were also a key band in establishing "skate punk" as a genre and a community.
The Big Boys toured the US a couple times and also set up shows in Austin for out of town punk bands. Along with the Dicks, they were the center of the Texas punk scene. Biscuit, (like Dicks singer Gary Floyd) was fairly open about being queer and regularly appeared on stage in drag. Big Boys shows were orgies of theatrics: costumes, props, and audience participation were to be expected. For some home town shows a horn section would join in. Their anthems "Fun, Fun, Fun" and "We've Got Your Money" were notorious for getting the crowd onstage and singing even after the show ended with Biscuit ordering "Now y'all go start you own band!"
For me the Big Boys are the definition of the Do It Yourself (DIY) ethic, what punk rock should be. They didn't play by any rules, including the punk or hardcore rules, but not in that "anti-PC" way the Meatmen did, or in the pretentious "I hate the kids" attitude that Rollins and his ilk pushed. The Big Boys were defiant but also totally inclusive. The purpose behind their always changing music, stage presence, and instantly recognizable artwork was to inspire others to be creative. "I'm a punk and I don't care..." Biscuit sang in "Fun, Fun, Fun": "...Cockney Rejects are the worlds greatest band. But I like Joy Division and Public Image too, even though it's not what I'm supposed to do."
Musically there are few bands that can touch the Big Boys. They could do snotty punk ("Frat Cars", "Identity Crisis"), sing along anthems ("Fun, Fun, Fun," "We're Not In It to Lose"), raging hardcore ("Gator Fuckin," "No Love," "Fight Back"), pure funk ("White Nigger," "What's the Word?'), or introspective melodic pop ("Which Way to Go," "Sound on Sound," "Influence") as well (and usually better) than the leading bands playing only those styles. Many ideas that were later hailed as revolutionary when copied by mainstream bands (most notably the Red Hot Chili Peppers) were done better and earlier by the Big Boys, who were punker, funkier, crazier, sexier, and more inspirational than the entire Rolling Stone/MTV/VH1 canon of prefab rock schtick put together. The individual Big Boys all continued to make music in various capacities after breaking up, many of these projects are documented in the liner notes of the posthumous Wreck Collection LP of outtakes and rarities. Nothing captures the unique energy and totally radical approach to music and art that make the Big Boys my favorite early punk band.
FRAT CARS 7" (Big Boys, 1980)
LIVE AT RAUL'S split LP w/ the DICKS (Rat Race, 1980)
WHERE'S MY TOWEL/INDUSTRY STANDARD LP (Wasted Talent, 1981)
FUN FUN FUN EP (Moment, 1982)
LULLABIES HELP THE BRAIN GROW LP (Moment, 1983)
NO MATTER HOW LONG THE LINE IS AT THE CAFETERIA, THERE'S ALWAYS A SEAT LP (Enigma, 1984)
LIVE AT RAUL'S double split 7" w/ THE DICKS (Selfless, 1991)
THE SKINNY ELVIS CD (Touch & Go - has the 7", the split, and the first LP)
THE FAT ELVIS CD (Touch & Go - has the Fun Fun Fun EP and the last 2 LPs)
WRECK COLLECTION 2LP/CD (Gern Blandsten, 2002)
THRASHER SKATE ROCK vol. 1 tape (High Speed Productions, 1983) "Red/Green"
WE GOT POWER LP (Mystic, 1983) "Brick Walls"
COTTAGE CHEESE FROM THE LIPS OF DEATH LP (Ward, 1983) "The Big Picture"
THRASHER SKATE ROCK vol. 2 tape (High Speed Productions, 1984) "Lesson", "Assault"
RAT MUSIC FOR RAT PEOPLE vol. 2 LP (CD Presents, 1984) "History", "The Seed"
SOMETHING TO BELIEVE IN LP (BYO, 1984) "History"
Fun Fun Fun Website
It would be impossible to make a better Big Boys site. This one has it all: lyrics, interviews, articles, stories, and 700,000 pictures (I stole two for this page). Why are you still looking at this inferior site?
Interview from Suburban Punk #7
A 1983 interview by Al Quint.
Interview from Pages of Rage #4
Another fine interview on the Dementlieu Punk Archive. Includes Biscuit's recipe for Texas Chicken and Dumplings.
|PHOTO: BILL DANIEL|