The mid-90s was a fertile time for great punk rock. Bands started popping up across the globe that took from both 60s and 70s punk, mixed it up with some drunken energy and made it all fresh again. And while The Rip Offs’ and New Bomb Turks’ were turning heads, The Splayed Innards were plugging away in Iowa City without much fanfare. The Innards were around from October 1995 to February 1997 and in that time recorded no less than 36 songs, 8 of which became an EP, the band’s only release.
The record is a masterpiece of snotty amateur punk. The standout track, “Social Retard,” starts with a riff that sounds a bit like “Bummer Bitch” on Quaaludes. Singer Brian moans a set of self-deprecating lyrics that end with “All women hate me” before the entire band joins in to scream the refrain, “I’m a social retard” over and over again. The entire record is charmingly unpolished, recorded in one session, live, without overdubs. The crudely drawn cover and hand-written notes seal the deal. (Right click and "Save as..." to listen to "Social Retard" by Splayed Innards)
According to the guitarist, Jay, the band had an unexciting history. They were all students at the University of Iowa and were 18-19 years old except James, the bassist, who was about ten years their senior. Before recording their EP, the band fired their singer, but he appeared on the record anyway; after that they carried on as a three-piece. They had a small local following, but played few out of town shows and were relatively unsuccessful at marketing themselves. The absence of a huge fan base didn’t prevent the band from putting out a record, but it’s surely responsible for the boxes of the single that band members must have sitting under their beds.
After Splayed Innards broke up, Jay and his brother Ian (who drummed in the Innards) continued with another short lived band called The Poison Squirrels. Though they recorded, the band never released anything and broke up in 1998. Jay has played in Wax Cannon for the last 6 years; they've released 3 albums so far.
(Right click and "Save as..." to listen to "Norway" by Poison Squirrels)
However brief, that’s all I’ve got in me today. Stay tuned until next time when I attempt to discredit my role as the Terminal-Boredom “hardcore guy” by writing a column about pop-punk. As always, I’m interested to hear about more such great punk bands from all decades. If you played in, were friends with, or otherwise know of a cool band that put out a good record but never made it with the cool crowd, then I’d like to hear about it. If I can find the record and I dig it maybe it’ll end up being the subject of a column some day.
Also, I’ve been messing around with a website, which can be found at: www.nostages.com. There’s not much content yet besides some old bits of writing that are at times cringe worthy, but I figured I’d stick ‘em on the net anyway. The site is also home to Track The Nubees, which is my attempt to document the covers to all copies of the Nubees single. It’s a rough beginning, so please help out! If you’ve got a copy of the record, please send a scan of the cover and label, along with the record number to me.
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