Mike was the Vomit Pig. There were Chris and Roy and Eddie and Doug and later Russell and me, but Mikey (or Mike Vomit or Mite Vomit) was the Vomit Pig. First and foremost, Mike had the Attitude. The Punk Attitude. The Anything/Everything Goes Attitude. The Watch Me Defy Death Attitude. But he maintained a certain mocking self-awareness through it all. He knew he was a "Useless Eater".
At first the guys had dubbed themselves The Vomit Pigs Make-Believe Blues Boobs Band, but this proved unwieldy and was truncated to just the Vomit Pigs and later to just the VPs. Some no-name cartoonist would later shamelessly appropriate the name Vomit Pigs for a strip about a rock band that bore not the slightest resemblance to Mike and friends. There were even T-shirts.
It all started when they lived in Daingerfield, Texas. Daingerfield has a reputation as a fertile breeding environment for mental infirmity. You might recall Daingerfield as both the site of Al King's 1980 Baptist cleansing and the childhood home of Marte Tilton, "wife" of televangelist/alien life form Robert Tilton. In his capacity as a high school math teacher, Al King had attempted to teach Algebra to all the original members of the Vomit Pigs. This will no doubt account in some measure for their continuing influence.
A tradition of sorts evolved from the VP's Halloween Parties at Rick's. There were several such parties at Rick's, starting around 1974. The VPs would play, Mike and a select group of band and audience members would take a few too many Quaaludes (prescribed quite legally for Mike by a nominally reputable doctor), consume prodigious amounts of beer, barbeque, and sundry illicit substances, and then proceed to throw up and/or disrobe on "stage" in front of as many as two hundred merely drunken locals assembled on the grass next to the large porch of Rick's farmhouse.
Mike's reputation as a performer didn't really blossom until he moved to Dallas. The re-formed Vomit Pigs began playing regularly at Dallas' seminal punk club, DJ's. By this time, Mike was on the ol' drug roller coaster, alternating days of crystal meth with days of 'ludes or downers and booze. His sexual escapades were the stuff of legends. He wrote prolifically, filling suitcases with poems, pictures and ideas. I saw his weight fluctuate up and down almost a hundred pounds. Mike went though a William Burroughs phase. After reading The Job, Mike insisted that we make a "virus tape" of our own. Burroughs' virus was meant to be used an offensive weapon. Sometimes I think it might have really worked.
The record was made in Texarkana in a little eight-track studio that billionaire Sam Walton used to make ads for Walmart. We pressed 500 copies, most of which were tossed into a cow pasture. The master tape was lost.
I wasn't around when Mike died that night outside Bobby Soxx's apartment. My guess is that his heart finally disintegrated in a toxic sludge of booze, junk food, and downers. Maybe the virus tape has something to do with it. The last time I saw him, his skin had the look of a splotchy white mushroom. He weighed at least 250. He smelled horrible. He might have had AIDS. But he still had the Attitude.
— Artie Turner, 1994
Twelve years after Artie wrote the liner notes up yonder, the VP's still hold sway over me and all red-blooded fans of early American punk, not simply for the rarity of their EP but for the band's audacity on every level... the time period, the locale, the music, the story. I look back on my Vomit Pigs / Superman's Girlfriend split reissue EP with regret... I should've done better by the VP's starting with not cutting one out of the four songs ("Slut"). Ah well... I was barely of legal drinking age much less sensible reissuing age, but my heart was in it. I did my penance by excavating a tape with some unreleased VP's studio tracks and released them on the Unquestionably Late For The Trend compilation EP. Thanks to Tony Mosier for dubbing the extremely raw tape of the 1978 Halloween show advertised above. Had this actually been released, it would've given Dot Vaeth (who attended the show) a run for the title of lo-fi release of the decade!
— Ryan Richardson
The original picture sleeve is crude thermal photocopy process, hastily folded and sloppily glued.
October 19, 2011