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Scatological Alchemy: A Gnostic Biography of the Butthole Surfers by Ben Graham, an irreverent augury of the idiosyncratic band
Scatological Alchemy: A Gnostic Biography of the Butthole Surfers by Ben Graham, an irreverent augury of the idiosyncratic band
162 backers pledged £2,344 to help bring this project to life.

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Eleusinian Press is a small press that specialises in music and madness and is proud to be publishing Scatological Alchemy: A Gnostic Biography of the Butthole Surfers by Ben Graham.

About the band

The Butthole Surfers were one of the most exciting, adventurous and dangerous rock bands to ever exist. Principally active in the 1980s, they emerged from the American post-punk underground but drew on the visceral energy of psychedelia and the intellectual provocation of Dadaism and other 20th century art movements. Their live shows were the stuff of legend, deranged and cathartic multi-media experiences that at times came close to being genuinely life-threatening.

Where other bands cultivated a myth of being outlaws and renegades, The Butthole Surfers were the real deal. For years this unhinged Texan collective lived from hand to mouth on the road, existing in and suffering for their art 24/7. The music they made was unhinged and chaotic, but also contained many moments of real beauty and meaning amid the passages of proto-industrial noise, heavy metal parodies, experiments with technology, found sounds and auto-destructive improvisations.

Eventually The Butthole Surfers would come to be a major influence on bands like Nirvana and The Flaming Lips and on signing to a major label even had hit singles of their own. But commercial success and The Buttholes were not happy bedfellows, and the pressures of operating within the mainstream music industry tore them apart in a way that the years of poverty, drugs, chaos and madness never could.

Scatological Alchemy is an attempt to pull the true significance of The Butthole Surfers' legacy from the wreckage. As well as telling the story of their epic adventures on the fringes of culture it looks in-depth at their recorded body of work, extracting possible meanings and resonances from music often dismissed as disposable and absurd (not least by the band themselves) but which has stood the test of time and still stands head and shoulders above their contemporaries in sound-tracking the dreams and nightmares of a generation.

Ben Graham recently interviewed Butthole Surfers' guitarist Paul Leary for an in-depth feature on the 30th anniversary of their classic album, Locust Abortion Technician. http://thequietus.com/articles/22036-butthole-surfers-locust-abortion-technician-paul-leary-interview
About the author

Ben Graham is an author, music journalist, poet, cultural historian and performer. His books include A Gathering of Promises: The Battle for Texas’s Psychedelic Music, from the 13th Floor Elevators to the Black Angels and Beyond (Zero Books, 2015), an account of the rise of Texan psychedelic rock in the 1960s. Ben Graham writes regularly for the Quietus and Shindig, and previously wrote for the Stool Pigeon music paper and was a contributing regional editor for The Fly magazine. Via his own Bleeding Cheek Press he has published two autobiographical novels, Nowhere to Go (2010) and We Are The Bad Rabbits And We Shall Overcome (2011). In the late nineties his first short story was featured in the notorious ‘chemical generation’ anthology Disco Biscuits, where he was the only previously unpublished author to feature alongside the likes of Irvine Welsh, Martin Millar, Alex Garland, Alan Warner, etc.

He is also a director of Notwork 23, the international Discordian co-operative that put on Festival 23 in 2016 and continues to promote events and counter-cultural chaos around the country.

About the book

Eleusinian Press are running this kickstarter to cover the costs of copy-editing, typesetting, and proofreading. And if we raise enough, hopefully a launch in Brighton, Ben's current long term town of residence. The book has been written we just need to get it out there.

The book will be commercially available from the Press website, Amazon and hopefully independent bookshops and record shops throughout the country.

The RRP will be £14.50 and will be released in August/September 2017. But backers in the UK can get early copies at £10 (with international backers paying just a bit more for shipping) through this kickstarter.

Risks and challenges

There are few risks involved in this project. Eleusinian Press has already published 12 books, this is our 13th. This kickstarter is for costs already paid, so all that is left is to get them printed and in the shops.

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Funding period

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