It's a Monday night at 11 p.m. and we here at Crossfade are 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.
10. Occasional Detroit = Habitually Tweakin' (2006)
What else do you expect from a co-ed noise-rap duo whose initials are freakin' O.D.. Have you ever wondered what crack cocaine sounds like? And, no, we don't mean that gross hiss-suck-burn sound that runs parallel to a fiend suckin' his pipe. We're talking literally transcribing the experience of freebasing into music. Last we heard, this pair was looking for "just a dollar" to "catch a bus."
9. Dreamhouse: The Dirtiest Band at I.N.C. (2005)
Yeah, we know that's a pretty bold claim. The Noise Conference demographic is not especially known for maintaining contemporary society's standards of hygiene. But at the same time, can ya really get any filthier than a tarp stained with sweat, blood, booze and God knows what else? Because that was the centerpiece attraction of Providence, Rhode Island's Dreamhouse. Night after night, they dragged out a giant blue disgusting tarp, and wrapped in the audience in it. While playing noise.
8. Churchill's Bartender Rides Motorcycle Inside, Followed by Holly Hunt Set (2012)
When you pass under the threshold of Sir Winston's pink-and-bulbous effigy, you enter into a universe in which the laws of modern civilization are completely suspended, and stoner metal cries out like an ancient howling wolf (hitting a bong) in a dark, mountainous region cloaked in exhaust fumes.
7. Taiwan Deth (2006)
Previous incarnations of this Nashville-based psychedelic-terror unit were titled, "Tan As Fuck" and "New Faggot Cunts." Their subtly warped-and-deranged, slow-brewing free-jams were guaranteed to flush the bowels of your mind and/or bum out your trip.
6. Container's Technoise Inadvertently Appeals to Day-Glo Faeries (2011)
Look, bro, if you play dance music, you might have to deal with - yes, it's true - people dancing. The natural evolution of 21st century noise music has landed us in a curious position: Can you still be an a-social dirtbag if your tunes are glow-stick friendly? Will the 10 year anniversary of the International Noise Conference feature more beats than blasts of feedback? Rat says, "Electronic music is more affordable." When we asked if he personally listened to e-music, he went silent, and then pointed out a distant hum that he suspected was a neighbor renovating their kitchen.
5. Sword Heaven (2007)
This impossibly heavy duo from Ohio boiled rock-'n'-roll down to the most guttural, inhumanly savage version possible. Head-banging has never made more sense than when conducted in the throes of a Sword Heaven breakdown pinball machine pileup.
4. The Long and Terrible Reign of Cock E.S.P. (2010 - 2012)
The self-proclaimed "Pride of North American Noise," headlined I.N.C. three years in a row. And if you strung the sets together, they would still be shorter than your average performance at the festival, which are officially limited to fifteen 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 that The Cock will be absent this year's festivities because its celebrating 10 years of semen-encrusted bedlam with a massive performance featuring every collaborator the group has ever had, and they "can 't afford to do both." Rat also noted that while he has left Cock E.S.P. shows bruised-and-limping, he has been lucky enough to never warrant a trip to the emergency room. "I was close a few times."
3. Costes (2007)
While Jean-Louis Costes' performance of his "noise musical" entitled 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 performers' debut in a Miami a few years earlier was "even crazier." They call this guy the French G.G. Allin but if you ask us, this shit-smearing pervert is in a sonic league of his own.
2. Justice Yeldham (2008)
Lucas Abela traveled from Australia to maim his face with an amplified pane of glass in front of a live audience. And it was fucking awesome.
1. Laundry Room Squelchers
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When Rat's signature ensemble - usually a cadre of amp-wielding wenches with axes to grind and a lust for blood - steps up to bat, you know the ball is going straight out of the park. And somewhere along the way you'll end up crowdsurfing onstage, rolling around on the incalculably grimy Churchill's floor, or engaged in some kind of moshing with a twisted mime.
Here's to ten more completely insane years!
International Noise Conference 2013. Presented by Rat Bastard. Wednesday, February 6, through Saturday, February 9. Churchill's Pub, 5501 NE Second Ave., Miami. Visit squelchers.com.