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Barely Human

Barely Human

By Max Easton

Barely Human is a podcast about forgotten and footnoted musicians of underground music history. It follows a thread from sixties counter-culture to contemporary sub-culture, from hippies and punks to the age of obscurity. Covering a whole range of antagonistic, misunderstood and questionable musicianship, it asks how we got here, what any of it meant, and how it might inform the underground music to come. Written and hosted by Max Easton and produced by Jason L'Ecuyer and Output Media.
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BHIV01: "I've Never Not Been Asked to Turn Down..." (An Interview with Clarke Blacker of Stick Men With Ray Guns)
BHIV01: "I've Never Not Been Asked to Turn Down..." (An Interview with Clarke Blacker of Stick Men With Ray Guns)
In October of 2021, an email arrived in the Barely Human inbox titled 'Error Filled Podcast.' Normally we might have looked past it, mistakes being mistakes, except that it came from Clarke Blacker of Stick Men With Ray Guns: the band profiled as the Butthole Surfers' significantly more underground parallel in BH008. Clarke outlined a number of mistakes we had made, from incorrectly naming band members, to errors in dates and the approach of the episode... so after emailing back and forth for a few weeks, we decided to record an interview that goes back over the Stick Men With Ray Guns story properly. The introduction features producer Jason L'Ecuyer and writer/host Max Easton discussing how the errors came to be and reflecting on the series (which wrapped in April of 2020 as the first wave of COVID-19 descended.) The interview with Clarke begins at 00:15:30 and covers ground ranging from how Clarke arrived in the world of Texas punk, the formation of Stick Men With Ray Guns; the band's troubles with recording; the life of Bobby Soxx and its controversies; the band's philosophy, approach and legacy; and Clarke's more recent music projects.  Listen to Clarke Blacker's 'Hear Us Through the Hole in Thin Air' at https://clarkeblacker.bandcamp.com/album/hear-us-through-the-hole-in-thin-air or on Clarke's YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_nLgtn8u8vB3GCmRjWdz1w. The more recent collaborative project between Clarke and Simon Waldrum called 'The Dream at the End of the World' can be found here: https://attheendoftheworld.bandcamp.com/album/distraction-at-the-lookout-car For the original Barely Human episode that prompted Clarke's email: BH008: Life Makes Me Nervous; I Like Butthole Surfers (...and Stick Men With Ray Guns) https://anchor.fm/barelyhuman/episodes/BH008-Life-Makes-Me-Nervous-I-Like-Butthole-Surfers----and-Stick-Men-With-Ray-Guns-eq8cp5 Follow Barely Human on Instagram and Twitter @barelyhuman__, or explore more information on the website www.barelyhuman.info
01:36:38
February 02, 2022
BH012: I'm in Strife; I Like Low Life (...and Haram)
BH012: I'm in Strife; I Like Low Life (...and Haram)
The final episode of Barely Human brings us into the present day with two punk bands who briefly caught the eye of the broader culture...for better or worse. First we find Low Life in Sydney, Australia: a satirical punk band who released an LP in 2014 that somehow got swept up in the #pizzagate scandal (kinda). Then we go back to New York City to find hardcore band Haram who played a fierce brand of hardcore that drew the attention of the FBI and NYPD's Joint Terrorism Taskforce in 2017.  Barely Human was written and hosted by Max Easton and produced by Jason L'Ecuyer and Marty Peralta of Output Media. Visit the website for show notes featuring extra discussion, sources, further reading and detailed credits here: https://www.barelyhuman.info/2020/04/ep-12-im-in-strife-i-like-low-life-and.html.  The accompanying playlist called '21st C Obscurity' can be found here: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/0ezYuT4x1PjHfe2SRqPpRC Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter --> @barelyhuman__
43:03
April 11, 2020
BH011: Lend Me a Fiver; I Like Dick Diver (...and Total Control)
BH011: Lend Me a Fiver; I Like Dick Diver (...and Total Control)
In Episode 11 of Barely Human, we arrive in the contemporary to look at a thriving subcultural community from Melbourne, Australia. With Dick Diver we find a band who related to the contemporary condition by singing about items littered on the kitchen table...before unwittingly creating a non-genre that was cruelly nicknamed 'dolewave.' Then we cross to the post-punk mania of Total Control, who turned to paranoid visions and the sounds of dystopia to become one of the most influential bands of the 2010s.  Barely Human was written and hosted by Max Easton and produced by Jason L'Ecuyer and Marty Peralta of Output Media.  Visit the website for show notes featuring extra discussion, sources, further reading and detailed credits here: https://www.barelyhuman.info/2020/03/ep-11-lend-me-fiver-i-like-dick-diver.html.  The accompanying playlist called 'Melbourne Scenius' can be found here: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/1DWrsze7gJPLjIplnOYMav Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter --> @barelyhuman__
31:16
March 24, 2020
BH010: Nothing Pleases; I Like Country Teasers (...and Lucille Bogan)
BH010: Nothing Pleases; I Like Country Teasers (...and Lucille Bogan)
The tenth episode of Barely Human looks at boundary pushing obscenity through the lens of two vastly disconnected artists. In English garage satirists Country Teasers, we look at the slippery slope of satire and 21st Century obscenity: to find the endpoint of a long history of free speech arguments. From that "evil country outfit," we then find a blues singer from Alabama named Lucille Bogan, who was writing songs about fucking, bootlegging and sex work as far back as the 1920s.  Barely Human was written and hosted by Max Easton and produced by Jason L'Ecuyer and Marty Peralta of Output Media.  Theme song by Sydney punk band Tim & The Boys.  Visit the website for show notes featuring extra discussion, sources, further reading and detailed credits here: https://www.barelyhuman.info/2020/03/ep-10-nothing-pleases-i-like-country.html  The accompanying playlist called 'The Obscenity Revival' can be found here: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/4I4AeVVvkQrruzdNOrrKSr Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter --> @barelyhuman__
34:32
March 19, 2020
BH009: Dead Inside; I Like R.L. Burnside (...and Cheater Slicks)
BH009: Dead Inside; I Like R.L. Burnside (...and Cheater Slicks)
After stepping into the '90s last episode, Episode 9 highlights the backward looking glance of that decade: via its garage punk revival, and notions of 'discovery.' We look at R.L. Burnside, a unique Hill Country blues player who performed for decades in small-town Mississippi, becoming a household name after collaborating with the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion 50 years after his first gig. Then we turn to the most resilient underdogs of the '90s garage revival: a band from Boston called Cheater Slicks, who didn't languish in obscurity...but reveled in it.  Barely Human was written and hosted by Max Easton and produced by Jason L'Ecuyer and Marty Peralta of Output Media.  Theme song by Sydney punk band Tim & The Boys.  Visit the website for show notes featuring extra discussion, sources, further reading and detailed credits at: https://www.barelyhuman.info/2020/03/ep-9-dead-inside-i-like-rl-burnside-and.html.  The accompanying playlist called 'The Hill Country Revival' can be found here: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/1tkltr0SbVOdEPmZssueOb Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter --> @barelyhuman__
34:12
March 11, 2020
BH008: Life Makes Me Nervous; I Like Butthole Surfers (...and Stick Men With Ray Guns)
BH008: Life Makes Me Nervous; I Like Butthole Surfers (...and Stick Men With Ray Guns)
From the English post-punk response discussed last episode we move to Texas in Episode 8, to find two anti-punk agitators of the 1980s. In Butthole Surfers, we find an unhinged band who took the absurdism and hallucinogens of the '60s counter-culture, and painted the punk and hardcore underground with it. When they then hit the '90s, signed to a major label, scored a hit with 'Pepper,' and sued the DIY label who made them...they ended up as DIY anti-christs. Later in the episode, we look at their close friends Stick Men With Ray Guns: a mirror image of the Surfers who never left Texas, never released a record in their time, and were left to fade into obscurity alongside their troubled frontperson Bobby Soxx. Barely Human was written and hosted by Max Easton and produced by Jason L'Ecuyer and Marty Peralta of Output Media.  Theme song by Sydney punk band Tim & The Boys.  Visit the website for show notes featuring extra discussion, sources, further reading and detailed credits here: https://www.barelyhuman.info/2020/03/ep-8-life-makes-me-nervous-i-like.html  The accompanying playlist called 'The Anti-Punks' can be found here: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/5BRSdRokzqycZ4mqj67s5a Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, all @barelyhumanpod
35:45
March 05, 2020
BH007: Lost in Trivialities; I Like Television Personalities (...and The Raincoats)
BH007: Lost in Trivialities; I Like Television Personalities (...and The Raincoats)
The second half of the Barely Human series begins! After covering '60s counter-culture, proto-punk and the punk explosion over the first six episodes, we reach 1978, to enter the world of London post-punk. Episode 7 finds an unofficial marker for the beginning of the elusive genre, when two kids from Chelsea called Television Personalities released 'Part-Time Punks,' a mockery of the movement that came before them. Then it looks at the independent community built around post-punk's DIY philosophy, through the eyes of a band who summed up the hope and ideals of the non-movement, the incredible sounds discovered by a band called The Raincoats.  Barely Human was written and hosted by Max Easton and produced by Jason L'Ecuyer and Marty Peralta of Output Media.  Theme song by Sydney punk band Tim & The Boys.  Visit the website for show notes featuring extra discussion, sources, further reading and detailed credits here: https://www.barelyhuman.info/2020/02/ep-7-lost-in-trivialities-i-like.html  The accompanying playlist called 'Post-punk Ground Zero' can be found here: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/12xxM7igPVgcmMSTvqiwOo Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter --> @barelyhuman__
29:41
February 24, 2020
BH006: Life's Complex; I Like X-Ray Spex (...y Los Crudos)
BH006: Life's Complex; I Like X-Ray Spex (...y Los Crudos)
In the sixth episode of Barely Human, we look back at punk and hardcore through the lens of two artists who have been footnoted by mainstream histories. First we look at the London punk explosion through the eyes of Poly Styrene and her band X-Ray Spex, who went from selling kitsch anti-fashion accessories on Kings Road in 1976, to playing punk on Top of the Pops two years later. Then we turn to '90s hardcore heroes Los Crudos, a band who had the mission of putting culture into their sub-culture, by playing punk music in their local community halls, and singing entirely in Spanish.  Barely Human was written and hosted by Max Easton and produced by Jason L'Ecuyer and Marty Peralta of Output Media.  Theme song by Sydney punk band Tim & The Boys.  Visit the website for show notes featuring extra discussion, sources, further reading and detailed credits here: https://www.barelyhuman.info/2020/02/ep-6-lifes-complex-i-like-x-ray-spex-y.html  The accompanying playlist called 'Insert Footnote' can be found here: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/5V9bAEtYno0YAwIveCELED  Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter --> @barelyhuman__
29:19
February 18, 2020
BH005: Everything's Dandy; I Like Black Randy (...and GG Allin)
BH005: Everything's Dandy; I Like Black Randy (...and GG Allin)
Episode 5 of Barely Human looks at two characters who pushed and crossed boundaries in the name of antagonism. We start at the birth of L.A. punk to find Black Randy: a mysterious and eccentric musician who spent as much time pranking and tormenting his peers as he did appropriating soul music. Then we turn to GG Allin: someone whose artistic mission as a punk frontperson was not just depraved, but criminal.  Barely Human was written and hosted by Max Easton and produced by Jason L'Ecuyer and Marty Peralta of Output Media.  Theme song by Sydney punk band Tim & The Boys.  Visit the website for show notes featuring extra discussion, sources, further reading and detailed credits here: https://www.barelyhuman.info/2020/02/ep-5-everythings-dandy-i-like-black.html  The accompanying playlist can be found here: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/1wLttIxp41i9kEmB7pjLxE  Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter --> @barelyhuman__
27:34
February 10, 2020
BH004: Dunno How This Feels; I Like electric eels (...and Death)
BH004: Dunno How This Feels; I Like electric eels (...and Death)
In Episode 4, Barely Human turns to the space between the hippies and the punks to find the bands who didn't fit in with the bands who didn't fit in. From the US midwest in the early 1970s, we find Cleveland proto-punk act the electric eels, who were toying with the tropes of punk years before the movement started. Then we look a band from Detroit comprised of three brothers who turned down a twenty thousand dollar recording contract in 1975 because they refused to change their name: Death.  Barely Human was written and hosted by Max Easton and produced by Jason L'Ecuyer and Marty Peralta of Output Media.  Theme song by Sydney punk band Tim & The Boys.  Visit the website for show notes featuring extra discussion, sources, further reading and detailed credits here: https://www.barelyhuman.info/2020/02/ep-4-dunno-how-this-feels-i-like.html  The accompanying playlist called 'Pre-Proto-Post-Neo' can be found here: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/12xxM7igPVgcmMSTvqiwOo  Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter --> @barelyhuman__
28:25
February 03, 2020
BH003: Running Out of Gags; I Like The Shaggs (...and Roky Erickson)
BH003: Running Out of Gags; I Like The Shaggs (...and Roky Erickson)
The third episode of Barely Human is about two underground artists who are often placed in the uncomfortable category of the 'outsider musician.' We look at The Shaggs, a band from the '60s that comprised three sisters from small-town New Hampshire. They created their own unconventional sound and musical language as a result of their near-total isolation from the world around them. Then we turn to Roky Erickson: the frontperson of proto-hippy innovators the 13th Floor Elevators. He went from being an early counter-cultural figure to being sent to a hospital for the criminally insane, eventually creating a deep and overlooked body of solo works that included a self-made genre that he called 'horror rock.'  Barely Human was written and hosted by Max Easton and produced by Jason L'Ecuyer and Marty Peralta of Output Media.  Theme song by Sydney punk band Tim & The Boys.  Visit the website for show notes featuring extra discussion, sources, further reading and detailed credits here: https://www.barelyhuman.info/2020/01/ep-3-running-out-of-gags-i-like-shaggs.html  The accompanying playlist called 'Outsider Proto-Hippies' can be found here: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/2EeP62j9UM11jX7tkv1mPE  Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter --> @barelyhuman__
32:13
January 27, 2020
BH002: Barely Human; I Like Randy Newman (...and Frank Sidebottom)
BH002: Barely Human; I Like Randy Newman (...and Frank Sidebottom)
Barely Human continues with two cult musicians who flavoured their careers with cynicism, self-sabotage and corrosive irony...only to be left misunderstood and misremembered by the broader culture. In Randy Newman we find the glossed over career of the now-famed film composer, who once had the chance to write a hit for Frank Sinatra, but chose to mock him in the song lyrics. Then we turn to Frank Sidebottom, who sabotaged his shot at the big time during a support slot at Wembley Stadium...by playing a set of lampooning covers of the headliner until he was bottled off the stage.  Barely Human was written and hosted by Max Easton and produced by Jason L'Ecuyer and Marty Peralta of Output Media.  Theme song by Sydney punk band Tim & The Boys.  Visit the website for show notes featuring extra discussion, sources, further reading and detailed credits at https://www.barelyhuman.info/2020/01/ep-2-barely-human-i-like-randy-newman.html.  The accompanying playlist, 'Cynics Cover Cynics' can be found here: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/4ZQYubjJHegVao2E3rlsbN?si=o346J-0rTBC_rJRf3pmhvQ. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter --> @barelyhuman__
33:36
January 20, 2020
BH001: The FBI Are Mugs; I Like the Fugs (...and Crass)
BH001: The FBI Are Mugs; I Like the Fugs (...and Crass)
In this first episode of Barely Human, we investigate two underground bands who managed to attract the eye of Presidents, Prime Ministers, the FBI and MI6. We look at '60s counter-cultural actors The Fugs, who were present at the famed Flower Power protests of 1967 and were described by J. Edgar Hoover as "repulsive to right-thinking people." Then we turn to '80s anarcho-punk agitators Crass, who managed to fool both the CIA and MI6 into believing they were Soviet spies.  Barely Human was written and hosted by Max Easton and produced by Jason L'Ecuyer and Marty Peralta of Output Media.  Theme song by Sydney punk band Tim & The Boys.  Visit the website for show notes featuring extra discussion, sources, further reading and detailed credits at https://www.barelyhuman.info/2020/01/ep-1-fbi-are-mugs-i-like-fugs-and-crass.html.  The accompanying playlist, 'Anarcho Counter Culture' can be found here: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/3SpofGtVR0vSt0mvdvNseN. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter --> @barelyhuman__
26:03
January 13, 2020
Trailer - Barely Human Coming in January 2020
Trailer - Barely Human Coming in January 2020
Introducing Barely Human, a narrative-driven podcast series about the forgotten and footnoted musicians of underground music history. It follows a thread from sixties counter-culture to contemporary sub-culture through a cast of unusual characters. Written and hosted by Australian writer Max Easton and produced by Jason L'Ecuyer and Output Media. First episodes coming in January 2020. Visit www.barelyhuman.info for more.
02:20
December 23, 2019