The Trashies Are Dead!
Long Live Fun!
The 24/7 Haus, in the Central District, sits back from the street. A 10-foot hedge fences in its front yard. On one side there's an ugly new condo building, not yet inhabited. On the other side is a garage, off-limits to party guests. It's a perfect setup for an overflowing house party.
I meet the Trashies there before their last show on November 24 for an interview, but they just want to show me the dead rat. Billy Goat Brown Note, the bassist, asks if I can record the sound of the dead rat. "Put the tape recorder up to it. Record its vibes." I do as I'm told, ignoring the odor. They found the rat in the basement of their house, and they put it in the courtyard of the aforementioned condos. We conduct the interview five feet away from it.
The boys all have a different answer for why the Trashies are calling it quits. Brown Note says: "We all got pregnant with butt babies." Jesse Cody Trash, the singer: "Ricky [Trash, the drummer] was sympathetically pregnant with a wire baby." Ron Wolfman, the guitarist: "Honest to Jesus Christ and Bill O'Reilly—and I do not take that lightly—I was in court in Texas on Monday, I'm on probation, and part of the probation is that the Trashies have to break up."
The Trashies are a bunch of morons, obviously. They describe their sound as "stupidelic fart noise," and they're not far off (in order to demonstrate the idea, Wolfman actually farts into the tape recorder). But these are morons with charm, and anyway it's not really about the music. It's about fun.
"We're all students of the simple," says Brown Note. "We never wanted to make anything too complicated. We figured short, catchy, and weird was good enough for the Minutemen, so it could work for us too." So they got to work, writing over 80 two-part songs by a method they call The Formula: "We just needed two parts, then we'd play them three times, put a solo over the middle chorus, and that's a song in the bag." Sure, it's easy, and it's stupid, but you can't argue with fun.
Every other band playing the show tonight is directly associated with the Trashies—all but one is a side project. Minotaur, the opening act, feature Jesse Cody on drums. Love Machine, next up, have Jesse Cody singing and Brown Note playing bass. Wolfman plays guitar in TacocaT. More than just the Trashies' house, the 24/7 has become its own little musical collective. The basement is a slapdash recording studio, they record every show to release on CD-R compilations, and they help bands make their own recordings on the cheap. All the leftover Trashies recordings are being given away for free at the show, as is the most recent 24/7 Haus comp.
When the bands go on, it seems like 100 people suddenly descend upon the house. It's crowded and stinky, and everyone is wasted. The basement is one big, swaying mosh pit. The sets are short. When the Trashies finally play, people are ready to fuck shit up.
The Trashies wail through the set with their trademark party-aggression. The music is fast and hard but totally silly. It's loud, but you can only sort of hear all the instruments, and the vocals are almost completely lost. Various pieces of equipment keep getting unplugged by people scrambling on the makeshift stage. The crowd doesn't give a shit about any of these technical difficulties—they just keep on pushing up against each other in the fight to stay at the front. An out-of-place leather-jacket punk is being an asshole—most of the kids here are more psychedelic than Sex Pistols—and the crowd collectively shoves him toward the back.
And like that, it's done. The Trashies are over. The metal trash can upon which they place their keyboard and take their name is completely flattened by crowd feet, a tradition that happens at every good Trashies show. As the crowd empties onto the sidewalk, the feeling is one of postcoital happiness—the Trashies might be through, but there will still be plenty of stupid fun, for everyone, forever.