Like a cartoon mallet to the head, the Meatmen – a 35-year old legacy band – lives on as one of the most recognizable names in punk and metal. Their primal decree, “We’re The Meatmen, AND YOU SUCK!” is synonymous with the era and the attitude of hardcore punk.
The Mighty Men of Meat are anchored by the sharp-tongued wit of statuesque frontman Tesco Vee, co-creator of the original Touch & Go Records and Fanzine. Today, Vee and company continue to entertain fans with hilariously heavy records and a memorable live spectacle -replete with wild costuming and a gigantic confetti-spewing penis.
The Meatmen formed in Lansing, MI in 1979 when a young, crate-digging schoolteacher named Bob Vermeulen blended his passion for Frank Zappa, R. Crumb comics and the burgeoning hardcore punk scene into a band of his own. The band became renowned for their unpredictable stage antics and incredibly offensive lyrics. With song titles such as, “Crippled Children Suck” and the loner’s masturbatory anthem, “Orgy of One,” The Meatmen’s turn towards the absurd went on to inspire bands like Gwar, Turbonegro and Ween.
In September of 1982, when the band relocated from Michigan to Washington DC, they were joined by former members of Minor Threat - Brian Baker and Lyle Presslar. A gifted off-color lyricist, Vee used these powerhouse years to hone his iconoclastic craft. During the D.C. period, The Meatmen secured themselves a rarified place in the annals of metal, while also pushing the limits of political incorrectness and vulgarity.
The band’s ever-rotating lineup stormed through the mid-and-late-80s with albums like, War of the Superbikes and Rock and Roll Juggernaut; and into the mid-1990s with the blistering and raunchy Pope on a Rope and Toilet Slave. After endlessly touring the US for nearly two decades, Vee put The Meatmen to rest in 1997.
But the hiatus did not last.
Reunited in 2008, Vee got back to work with an album of personal favorites called Cover the Earth. The Meatmen returned to the studio for 2014’s, Savage Sagas, which has been widely considered some of the band’s best work. Songs like, “I’m Gonna Fuck You Up” and “Big Bloody Booger on the Bathroom Wall” prove that this vitriolic man in his late 50s has not lost touch with his inner 12-year old.
The Meatmen, with their signature brand of silly and scatological humor, have long- weathered and defined musical trends. History has proven them to be the clown-prince anti-heroes of punk and pop culture. In a world of serious music that deals with world politics and social injustices, The Meatmen are simply here to sing songs about poop and boners to ultimately remind us all that they are The Meatmen... “AND YOU SUCK!!!”
Photo by: Camera Jesus
Band (L to R): Danny Dirtbag, Tesco Vee, Swarthy "Bun-Length" Franklin, Hindu Kush