Locust Abortion Technician

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Locust Abortion Technician
Studio album by
ReleasedMarch 1987 (US)
1987 (Europe), (Australia)
LabelTouch and Go (original US release)
Latino Buggerveil (1999 US reissue)
Blast First (UK)
Au Go Go (Australia)
ProducerButthole Surfers
Butthole Surfers chronology
Blind Eye Sees All
Locust Abortion Technician
Hairway to Steven
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[1]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide4/5 stars[2]
Spin Alternative Record Guide8/10[3]
Uncut5/5 stars[4]

Locust Abortion Technician is the third full-length studio album by American rock band Butthole Surfers, released in March 1987. All songs were written and produced by Butthole Surfers, except for "Kuntz", which was by Thai artists Phloen Phromdaen and Kong Katkamngae, who were originally uncredited for their work. The album was originally released as vinyl on Touch and Go, and was remastered to CD on Latino Buggerveil in 1999.

Locust Abortion Technician's front cover illustration of two clowns playing with a dog was painted by Arthur Sarnoff, entitled "Fido and the Clowns".

Kurt Cobain listed it in his top 50 albums of all time.[5][6] It is also featured in Robert Dimery's 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[7]


Locust Abortion Technician is an experimental blend of punk rock, heavy metal, and psychedelic music.[8] This fusion led the band to be associated with the emerging grunge and sludge metal sounds.[1] It also employs elements of worldbeat rhythms,[8] noise music,[1] progressive guitar,[1] and folk music,[1] and has been described as art rock,[8] noise rock[1] and alternative metal.[9] The song "Sweat Loaf" utilizes a warped riff parodying the verse riff from the Black Sabbath song "Sweet Leaf".[1] Not all the tracks are guitar-oriented, though; the song "Kuntz" was created by processing an original Eastern recording by a Thai artist through Gibby Haynes' "Gibbytronix" system.[10]

This album marked the debut of bass player Jeff Pinkus, as well as the return of co-drummer Teresa Nervosa, who had left the band in December 1985.[11] It was also the first Surfers full-length album to feature lead singer Gibby Haynes' Gibbytronix vocal effects, which feature on the songs "Sweat Loaf" and "Human Cannonball" (though Gibbytronix were employed on "Comb" on the Cream Corn from the Socket of Davis EP a year earlier).

The Butthole Surfers regularly play songs from Locust Abortion Technician during their live concerts, including "Sweat Loaf", "Graveyard", "Pittsburgh to Lebanon", "U.S.S.A.", "Kuntz" and "22 Going on 23".


Locust Abortion Technician was the first Butthole Surfers album primarily recorded at the band's home studio, which was originally assembled in a rental house they were sharing near Austin, Texas in 1986.[12] A private studio did not mean an end to the sub-standard equipment that had plagued their previous recording sessions, though. In addition to having just one microphone, they also used an outdated 8-track tape recorder instead of the 16-track gear used on Rembrandt Pussyhorse. However, guitarist Paul Leary believes that the inferior equipment forced the band to be more creative than they might otherwise have been.[10]

Additionally, the new studio freed the band from having to worry about recording costs, allowing them to experiment even more than on previous releases. Jeff Pinkus has also said that the home studio gave them the luxury of taking extended breaks for drug use.[11]

Many of the album's tracks also underwent extensive in-studio development. Although doing this had become a Butthole Surfers tradition, Locust Abortion Technician was one of their last recordings done in such a manner; on subsequent releases the band would go into the studio with more fully formed songs. Pinkus has expressed the opinion that the earlier, more chaotic recording sessions resulted in much of the spontaneous creativity that had propelled the group's early albums.[10]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and produced by Butthole Surfers, except where noted.

Audio sample of Human Cannonball
Side A
1."Sweat Loaf"6:09
3."Pittsburgh to Lebanon"2:29
6."Human Cannonball"3:51
Side B
8."The O-Men"3:27
9."Kuntz" (written by Kong Katkamngae, performed by Phloen Phromdaen [uncredited])2:24
11."22 Going on 23"4:23


  • The opening of "Sweat Loaf" was sampled by Orbital on their track "Satan".
  • "Sweat Loaf" was sampled by Kid Rock on his track "Pancake Breakfast" from the album The Polyfuze Method.
  • "Hay" is actually a re-done, reversed version of "22 Going on 23". In the last part of "22 Going on 23", what seems like mooing is actually the main lyrics of "Hay", only reversed and stretched. Also, in the final part of "Hay" there is something that seems to be a high-pitched voice speaking gibberish. This is the speech at the beginning of "22 Going on 23", including the repeated words.
  • "22 Going on 23" brought the band to wider UK attention when it was voted number 44 in John Peel's 1987 Festive Fifty.
  • "Sweat Loaf" is referenced in Red Hot Chili Peppers' song "Deep Kick" from their album One Hot Minute.
  • "Kuntz" is a heavily distorted version of the song "Klua Duang" (or "The Fear") by Thai artists Phloen Phromdaen and Kong Katkamngae.
  • "The O-Men" is a parody of the Omen song "Termination".[13]



Chart (1987) Peak
UK Indie Chart[14] 3


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Huey, Steve. "Locust Abortion Technician – Butthole Surfers". AllMusic. Retrieved March 17, 2010.
  2. ^ Young, Charles M. (2004). "Butthole Surfers". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 123–24. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  3. ^ Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig, eds. (1995). Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. ISBN 0-679-75574-8.
  4. ^ "Butthole Surfers: Locust Abortion Technician". Uncut: 84. [P]robably the Buttholes' finest work....They're best remembered as purveyors of the best sort of '70s excess.
  5. ^ "Top 50 by Nirvana [MIXTAPE]". Archived from the original on 18 October 2014. Retrieved 8 May 2013.
  6. ^ Cross, Gaar, Gendron, Martens, Yarm (2013). Nirvana: The Complete Illustrated History. p. 145. ISBN 978-0-7603-4521-4.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  7. ^ Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (7 February 2006). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 0-7893-1371-5.
  8. ^ a b c Ankeny, Jason. "Butthole Surfers – Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 4 November 2017.
  9. ^ Christe, Ian (2003). Sound of the Beast: The Complete Headbanging History of Heavy Metal. HarperCollins. Chapter 13 Transforming the 1990s: The Black Album & Beyond.
  10. ^ a b c Ken Lieck, "Reissuing the Butthole Surfers," The Austin Chronicle Newspaper Vol. 18 Issue 52 Archived 2007-11-10 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ a b Michael Azerrad, Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground 1981-1991 (New York, Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 2001) 303
  12. ^ Michael Azerrad, Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground 1981-1991 (New York, Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 2001) 303-306
  13. ^ Graham, Ben (20 March 2017). "The Day Of The Locust: Paul Leary Of The Butthole Surfers Interviewed". The Quietus. Retrieved 2017-03-21.
  14. ^ Lazell, Barry (1997). Indie Hits 1980-1989. Cherry Red Books. Archived from the original on June 6, 2011. Retrieved September 5, 2014.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)

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