It's a Monday night at 11 o'clock and a New Times reporter is throwing back as much coffee as the human gut can handle, just to keep up with Rat Bastard. But it's no use. As the Miami music legend approaches 60, he's more manically productive than ever.
Hanging out in his storied South Beach apartment (which is also a fully equipped recording studio and wall-to-wall mini-museum crammed with ephemera and memorabilia from three decades' worth of rocking), we are discussing Mr. Bastard's signature event, the International Noise Conference, as he prepares for its tenth anniversary.
Yes, it's already been a decade of howling, shredding, screaming, vomiting, and bleeding to thunderous blasts of noise, cold wave, techno, etc. And in honor of ten years of INC, let us revisit the homegrown freak fest's top ten completely insane moments.
International Noise Conference 2013
International Noise Conference 2013: With Laundry Room Squelchers and 134 others. Presented by Rat Bastard. Wednesday through Saturday, February 6 through 9, at Churchill's Pub, 5501 NE Second Ave., Miami; 305-757-1807; churchillspub.com.
Habitually tweakin' with Occasional Detroit, 2006. Have you ever wondered what crack cocaine sounds like? And, no, we don't mean that gross hiss-suck-burn sound of a fiend suckin' his pipe. We're talking about translating the experience of freebasing into music. Last we heard, this pair was looking for "just a dollar" to "catch a bus." What else do you expect from a coed noise-rap duo whose initials are freakin' O.D.?
Dreamhouse, the dirtiest band at INC, 2005. Yeah, we know that's a pretty bold claim. The International Noise Conference demographic is not especially known for its strict adherence to contemporary standards of hygiene. But can you really get any filthier than a tarp that's stained with sweat, blood, booze, and God knows what else? That was the main attraction of Dreamhouse's INC sets in 2005. Night after night, the Providence, Rhode Island outfit dragged out this disgusting, giant blue piece of plastic and wrapped the audience in it — while playing noise.
Churchill's bartender rides a motorcycle, followed by a Holly Hunt set, 2012. By passing over the threshold of Sir Winston's Little Haiti hangout, you enter a universe where the rules of modern civilization (i.e., don't ride a two-wheeled motor vehicle indoors) are blatantly disregarded as Miami's best stoner-metal crew huffs exhaust fumes.
Taiwan Deth, 2006. Previous incarnations of this Nashville-based psychedelic terror unit were named Tan As Fuck and New Faggot Cunts. But whatever the moniker, its subtly warped and deranged, slow-brewing free jams were always guaranteed to flush the bowels of your mind and/or bum out your trip.
Container's tech-noise inadvertently appeals to Day-Glo faeries, 2010. Tech-noise and other fusions of dance music with 21st-century noise make us wonder: Can you still be an asocial dirtbag if your tunes are glowstick-friendly? Also, will the tenth anniversary of the International Noise Conference feature more beats than blasts of feedback? Rat says, "Electronic music is more affordable." Asked if he listens to e-music, Mr. Bastard goes silent and then points out a distant hum that he suspects is a neighbor renovating the kitchen.
Sword Heaven, 2007. Seven years ago, this impossibly heavy duo from Ohio boiled rock 'n' roll down to the most guttural, inhumanly savage sonic stew possible. Headbanging has never made more sense than when conducted in the throes of a Sword Heaven show at INC.
The long and terrible reign of Cock E.S.P., 2010 to 2012. This self-proclaimed "Pride of North American Noise" headlined INC for three years in a row. And even if you strung the sets together, they would still be shorter than the conference's average performance, which is about 15 minutes. But in those fleeting, horrifically roaring moments, the audience was treated to a true spectacle: freaks senselessly beating the shit out of each other. Rat explains the crew will be absent from this year's festivities because it's celebrating its own anniversary — ten years of semen-encrusted bedlam — with a massive performance, and the Cock "can't afford to do both." Rat also notes that although he has left Cock E.S.P. shows bruised and limping, he has never been lucky enough to warrant a trip to the emergency room. "I was close a few times."
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Costes, 2007. Although Jean-Louis Costes's performance of his "noise musical" Little Birds Shit was unlike anything we've ever seen (feces, blood, deviant sex acts performed live on the Churchill's stage), Rat maintains that the performer's Miami debut a few years earlier was "even crazier." They call this guy the French GG Allin. But if you ask us, this shit-smearing pervert belongs in a sonic league of his own.
Justice Yeldham, 2008. Lucas Abela (AKA notorious noise offender Justice Yeldham) traveled all the way from Australia just to maim his face with an amplified pane of glass in front of an adoring yet horrified Miami audience. And it was fucking awesome.
Laundry Room Squelchers. When Rat's signature ensemble (usually a cadre of amp-wielding wenches with axes to grind and a lust for blood) takes the stage, you will inevitably end up crowd-surfing, rolling around on the incalculably grimy Churchill's floor, or engaged in some kind of moshing with a twisted mime. Maybe even all three.
Here's to ten more completely insane years!