Where's My Towel / Industry Standard, and Fun Fun Fun EP (Light in the Attic)
Reviewed by Tim Stegall, Fri., Aug. 16, 2013
Big BoysWhere's My Towel/Industry Standard (Light in the Attic/Burger Records)
Big BoysFun Fun Fun EP (540 Records)
Behold the merger of rock & roll and skateboarding culture! Behold an essential link in Austin's punk rock timeline! Behold the license to "go start your own band" without Xeroxing the Ramones! "Punk funk" was already airborne when the Big Boys cut their first studio LP, Gang of Four and Minutemen having spread that germ far and wide by the time most outside the Austin city limits heard the local quartet's hits, like the full-length debut's "Spit" or the Fun Fun Fun EP's horn-drenched cover of Kool & the Gang's "Hollywood Swinging." What's audible in these two separate remasters, amidst Tim Kerr's skittering guitars, Chris Gates' fatback bass, and Randy "Biscuit" Turner's blues-drenched howl, is the throbbing, screaming desire to not only participate in this exciting new subculture, but to completely subvert what was becoming a stylistic and philosophical straitjacket. 1981's Where's My Towel/Industry Standard – as either vinyl from Light in the Attic or a cassette courtesy of L.A.'s Burger Records – was a call to arms after what the Big Boys felt was a constricting experience in their 1980 debut split with the Dicks, Live at Raul's. Scratchy skronk fuels sharp and potent rejections of American society in exhilarating standouts "T.V." and "Security." Taken together with the brazen thrash of "Apolitical" on 1981's Fun Fun Fun (from Tim Hefner's local imprint 540 Records) the Big Boys clarified their rejection of the dogma already setting into American hardcore. The EP's Sex Pistols-ish title track, the band's most definitively punk moment, with Gates taking over lead vocals and roaring guitar, underlined it all with one simple phrase: "All of this is just for fun." The Big Boys wanted nothing more than to be themselves, and for everyone who saw them to participate and be themselves, too. Here's Richard Hell's dream of punk as a truly blank generation, filling in that blank any way desired.