Pay Toilets 'Wet & Wild USA / Freedom Rock' LP
The only logical path for Pay Toilets travels from ocean to swamp to desert to vinyl.
Frustrated minds and runny noses join forces to crunch together a horrible mashing
of the Minutemen's nervous politics and Monorchid's self-assured nihilism. 'Wet & Wild
USA / Freedom Rock' comes with two titles, your favorite to be chosen after these twelve
scorchers fill your shorts with sand. Like any combustible structure, this may be the last
testament or simply the introduction for Pay Toilets, only time will tell. Like the war,
this record is one-sided.
There are 5 test pressings, each on black vinyl with hand-cut b-side grooves and a hand-written
and numbered insert taped to the dust sleeve. There are 525 copies on solid brown vinyl, each
with a two-sided 8.5" x 11" white paper insert and full color hardstock jackets.
01 - Let's Get Organized
02 - Better Than Murder
03 - Excitable Nurse
04 - Patriot Ostrich Party
05 - You're in the Zone
06 - The Opposition
07 - How Punk Rock...
08 - Cowboys Call the Shots
09 - What My Instincts Tell Me
10 - Get Naked and Bleed / Acid Trip '88
11 - Hype Whore
12 - That's Exorcism, Pal
Man, White Denim always has the best colored vinyl! This time it's pure milk chocolate brown, absolutely gorgeous! In fact, the graphics are great for this whole LP. Just check the A-side label graphic and the back cover band photo, both of which I couldn't resist scanning and putting at the bottom of this review. And, just look at the cover, all you USA-lovers! As for the music, it's wild and slightly slow gnarl-punk that makes me think of Drunks With Guns! Lots of bands cram tons of really fast short songs onto one side, but Pay Toilets cram tons of really slow short songs onto one side. Well, twelve songs anyway. And, they're not all slow, and even the slow ones aren't like doom-metal slow or slow-fetish slow. The singer does dress up as a gun-wielding red-white-and-blue arab though! Lyrical content is crusty but funny, anti-Bush's America ("i didn't want a war shoved in my face / especially on a day as beautiful as this / media cockfight -- gimme a break / and wipe that blood from my teevee screen / take that flag for a walk in the park / and show the stupid bastard the rest of the world / then we'll see if he flies so proud"), anti-punk ("Black Flag tattoo / How punk rock is that?"), anti-hype ("I can't believe / what you bought"), anti-life ("She fed the baby grain alcohol and watched that bastard try and crawl"). My favorite song is "Acid Trip '88." ("My nerves got fried / and Jesus lied / a crown of thorns / the devil's horns / it's all the same / I lost the game / in acid trip '88.")
Pay Toilets may never capture the true bizarre and tumultuous qualities of their live show on record, but 'Freedom Rock / Wet ‘n’ Wild USA' is an enjoyably gross side none the less.
The old adage about bands of yore is always that "you had to see 'em live," and, while, for some, it's definitely true, it often seems as though the statement is sometimes used as an excuse for mediocre records, or the product of internal hyperbole on the part of the speaker. This can be said with conviction about Pittsburgh’s Pay Toilets, a band whose fury vinyl could never hope to fully capture. The excellent packaging and design of the multi-titled LP goes far to reflect the band's personality, as does the positively gross color of the one-sided LP's vinyl, but there's a sweaty, smelly magic to a Pay Toilets performance that just doesn't seem able to be found coming out of speakers or through headphones. This doesn’t cheapen, however, Pay Toilets’ debut, a suitably grungy slab of punk rock made the way it’s meant to be.
From the monolithic beginning of the anthem “Get Organized,” Freedom Rock/Wet and Wild USA tumbles through the matted fur on the underbelly of punk rock, eschewing the usual signifiers of punk rock for something more visceral and organic. Pay Toilets are body rock, like a bizzaro Slim Goodbody for punk music, putting on exhibit the rotting insides, seeping fluids, and clumpy wastes that lie inside the old man that is rock ‘n’ roll. There’s an undeniable Neanderthal charm to the simplistic aplomb of the trio, who are best when they’re at their dumbest, all energy and inertia. Vocalist/shaman/human projectile Jim Lingo is a purveyor of damaged poetry, socio-political commentary, and perverse pleasures, possessed by some evil that’s only driven out at the album’s conclusion in “That’s Exorcism, Pal.” Jeff Schreckengost’s guitar is a beautifully ugly distorted mess, all muscle, with no room in it’s punishing attack for any ornamentation. John Roman’s drums propel the songs with a restrained aggression, threatening to explode like the enraged hulk into an animalistic frenzy. The dumber the better, Pay Toilets uncouth upheaval takes punk back to the stone age and beats it with a rock. The results may not be pretty, but this lp’s still only a glimpse of what takes place when Pay Toilets let loose in a live setting.
Pittsburgh City Paper:
Jim Lingo once wrote on my notebook, “Justin Hopper is a Shitty Music Journalist.” I’ve still got that notebook, on top of my pile of rock memorabilia -- the pink slip from my first “Brand New Cadillac”; a napkin from the café where I had coffee with Serge Gainsbourg; a test tube with Priscilla’s tears from Elvis’s funeral; one lonely ounce of Howard Jones’ blood. But it’s Pay Toilets’ front man Jim Lingo’s words I cherish most -- so honest, so true.
On the back of that same notebook he scrawled, “Freedom Rock -- Wet and Wild U.S.A” and a few other potential titles for a recording the Toilets had just done. I don’t remember when this was; I’m a pretty shitty music journalist, and I didn’t jot down the date. But finally, after all these weeks -- months? years? -- the debut from Pittsburgh’s most explicit purveyors of scum-fuck political riot rock has entered our lives. And, I dare to propose, our hearts.
“I’ll be singing Stars and Stripes Forever / smelling bullshit, tasting leather / they wipe their cocks across the land / they fuck you in the ass before they brand.” That’s Lingo, from “Cowboys Call the Shots,” and truer words about America have rarely been spoken. No fence-straddling, Dem-pleasing, protest-song strumming from the Pay Toilets. Just raw vocal cords lapping dog-like at the shit-strewn yard of punk rock, and Jeff Schreckengost’s treble-crunched guitars clunking along drunkenly to one-arm-tied-behind-my-back, pre-metal drum bashing from John Roman.
Though they’re better known for flamboyantly self-flagellating live shows, blood-covered venue floors, inflammatory and vitriolic sexual acts, Freedom Rock is Pay Toilets’ chance to show that, behind the strap-on dildos and burning hair, there’s some pretty serious punk rock going on. Punk in the “pissing off everybody” way, not the “three chords and a Mohawk” way. Schreck and Roman know how to play, but that doesn’t stop ’em from making classics-to-be like “That’s Exorcism, Pal,” which at times resembles a spleen operation during which the patient prematurely awakens from anesthesia. And “Excitable Nurse,” one of a few songs on this one-sided LP that could probably be a hit in some alternate punk world. (“How Punk Rock [Is That]” already is one.) And “Let’s Get Organized,” that both exhorts activist organizing and makes fun of it at the same time, over some killer riffage, dude.
Aesthetically brilliant packaging, hyper-cathartic murder-junkie blaaaoooww punk rock noise-fucking and speaking-in-tongues religious BLWEWEIEW pandemonium, plus a little bit of blood on the microphone. Drool, motherfuckers.
Released May 2004