I live a dual life. I must make the distinction that this is not a double life. I have no elements of my life hidden from my spouse. My life is dual in the sense that my personal life is immensely different than my public life. I have a good job. I am somewhat in the public eye. I drive a four-door car, wear a shirt and tie every day, and I must cover my tattoos to do my job. This is my life. If you had told a fourteen-year-old version of me that this would be my life, I would have run head first into a brick wall. There was no worse fate in my mind than becoming a suburbanite yuppie. My wife tells me that this is being an adult. I know that it is fatherhood that prompted my current lifestyle. I love being a father, so I don’t complain. I live a different personal life though. My friends are all people who do not live the lifestyle I do. I don’t want to get too far into it. Imagine what you want. I’m not out of control. There are no drugs or hookers, but I don’t like the concept of being a button up, suit wearing automaton. Listen to the song “Paraguay” off Iggy Pop’s latest album, Post Pop Depression, for a good description if you need clarification. I understand that life is all about balance. Do what you want, but do it in balance. This is my problem. I have too much momentum with…well, anything I get started with. I could never hold a public office. I would become former Toronto mayor Rob Ford within a matter of weeks. I don’t have a strong sense of self control. At least I know my weaknesses, right? Sometimes, I find myself drifting too far into my personal life or I find myself drifting too far into my public life. I look to my wife to wrangle me in. She knows to elbow me in the ribs when I go too far one way. She’s great at telling me when I go too far off the rails into my personal persona, but she doesn’t feel the need to pull me back in when I get too far into my public persona though. She doesn’t see an issue with this, but I do. I start to feel disconnected from my core. I feel fake and inauthentic. I assume everyone feels this way in their life. I can’t verify this because I never talk to anyone about it. I can’t be the only one who feels this way though, right?

When I get too far off in my public life, it’s music that brings me back. Specificaly, it’s the Butthole Surfers’ album Psychic…Powerless…Another Man’s Sac (in all honesty, it could be any of the band’s first four albums though). It’s an offensive band name, and it’s an offensive album title. That’s the point. If you find that offense, you’ve got to hear the music. It’s dissonant and ugly. The drums are pounding throughout. The guitar work moves from familiar to beyond angular. It’s almost amoebic in its shapelessness. The vocals are twisted and distorted. It’s not a beautiful album, but that’s the point.

My wife hates this music. I’m not allowed to play it when she or my daughter is around. But again, that’s the point. It’s not meant to be accessible. If the early Flaming Lips wanted to play grunge, took a ton of LSD, and had dysentery while playing, you might have something close to the Psychic…Powerless…Another Man’s Sac.

I don’t know many other people who actively like this album. I know a few. They’re usually burned out punks or fans of avant guard jazz. It is truly weird how these two converge upon The Butthole Surfers.

Most people who know The Butthole Surfers remember them for their MTV hit “Pepper,” which is a great song, but not representational of the Butthole Surfers as a whole. Aside from the broad strokes I’ve given, it’s hard to describe the album as a whole. Each track is carved out as its own fully formed piece of work. The only constant is Gibby Haynes’ demented vocals throughout. The album kicks off with “Concubine,” and it becomes immediately apparent that this is not an album for the masses. The riff is demented hillbilly, backwood blues played from Hell. The vocals range from muttering to croaking wails. It’s maniacal and grating. “Dum Dum” maybe the Butthole Surfers’ take on pop (nothing close by the way), or it may be them trying to play Sabbath’s “Children of the Grave” while baked out of their minds. I’m not really sure. It’s one of the more accessible albums on the track (“Negro Observer” is the most accessible and almost sounds like it could have been played on college radio), though no one will think it’s all that accessible. Paul Leary’s guitar playing is bouncing psychedelia. “Woly Boly” has a hooting and hollering Stooges “L.A. Blues” vibe to it. “Butthole Surfer” and “Mexican Caravan” are filled with sick, punk energy. The album is best known for “Lady Sniff.” It’s a bizarre violation of your ears. That’s not meant as a bad thing though. The metallic guitar riff is the cousin of the Bo Diddley beat if the Bo Diddley beat’s cousin was raised by a family of circus mutants, kept in the basement, and fed a steady diet of roadkill. The fart and vomit sounds do make the track feel dated, which is ironic since bodily functions are eternal and not tied to a specific time period. Psychic…Powerless…Another Man’s Sac is not for the weak of heart. Hell, it’s not even for the general public. But if you ever need to remember that you’re not one of “them,” it’ll set you straight. If you’re looking to pick this up on vinyl (and that should be your goal), you should expect to pay between $30 and $40 for an original press and no more than $20 for a repress.