Pigfuck music

Pigfuck music – Rate Your Music

First time I heard the expression “Pigfuck” was from Ian Mackaye, but it makes sense to hear that Christgau is responsible for it. This genre, and its ethos, remain crucial to my own adventuring, despite incredible academic, ethical and activist impulses to cast aside its will to profanity as “more trouble than its worth,” indicative of white guy privilege, etc. Why? First off: even at their worst, hardcore and its artier sibs such as pigfuck – not unlike Tea Parties – channel usually-repressed, usually-implicit generalized angst into public, formal, governable channels.

But more importantly: pigfuck also houses most of the great heavy music made “after hardcore” in the 1980s, as well as the punk music most responsive to conceptual art of the day. That said, very few of its original purveyors continue to truck in shock qua shock, these days, for whatever that’s worth.

I dunno. Bottom line is that the Jesus Lizard literally changed my life when I saw them at CBs. I was 13, I think, and David Yow’s proud resistance to skinheads, propriety and gravity drew me a flight plan through the nets of everything passive aggressive and hateful standing between me and life on earth.


8 Responses to “Pigfuck music”

  1. m.potato Says:

    So one would only assume that you might be interested in seeing Yow and the Lizard this week? I think I’m up for it (time-wise), but need a partner in crime…

  2. gabbagabbahey Says:

    this is probably inter-generational angst, kill-your-idols urges, but I’ve never really seen what I can get from the Jesus Lizard* that I can’t get from Mclusky.

    and I’m not into deifying Mclusky or FOTL, at least not completely. I just think their sound is sufficient for me. and I fully understand what you will say to the effect that JL were so much more, in terms of the time and in their attitude, but I still don’t feel like listening to them much.

    * this argument also applies to Shellac, only moreso.

  3. lexdexter Says:

    i will defend to the death your right to get exactly the same pigfuck yayas from Mcclusky and FOTL that I get while listening to said bands, TJL, Shellac, Swans, Circus Lupus, etc. etc. etc.

    must one choose between the earlier and latter-day instantiations of this tendency? (i’m pretty sure we’ll all of us be spending time standing next to one another in Purgatory, for our numerous violations of the second Commandment, among others.)

    i guess CHUNKLET is the leading latter-day pigfuck journal we’ve got, hands down? it is seminal, and deserves mention alongside FORCED EXPOSURE when it comes to my most beloved pigfuck rockwriting. also Bob Bert’s underrated BB GUN, non?

  4. gabbagabbahey Says:

    I admire your strident catholicism when it comes to pigfuck music (although I can do without the parenthesised Catholicism – I had to Google the second commandment, actually!). and yeah, I’d have to agree with it too.

    there’s an added dimension, though, when it comes to the reforming of the original, touchstone bands (yet I say this a big fan of reunion Dino Jr.). it seems unfair – but what’s this, morality in pigfuck music? – to me that TJL reform and probably sell-out shows while Shooting at Unarmed Men have broken up after playing a handful of gigs outside of their native/emigré Australia.

  5. lexdexter Says:


    These are famous last words, but I’m hoping to write a longer post to clarify my opinions about the “reunion” phenomenon of these 2000s. But for the moment, let me say that I sympathize with the “No Past” ethos outlined in your very cool recent blog post.

    That said, when we look at the reunions on an individual basis, I have a hard time begrudging (a band like) TJL their victory lap: they’re not the Pixies, you know? As was the case with Slint, I cannot imagine them reuniting without first deciding that, yes, they actually feel like playing together.

    But what does TJL selling out shows in the USA have to do with the relative obscurity of SAUA? Is there a zero-sum battle for market share going on btw just these bands? Are pigfuck fans positioned to “vote with their dollars,” and are they really choosing their ballyhooed elders over fledgling groups, and thus crowding the latter off of the lucrative pigfuck charts? If only it were true!

  6. gabbagabbahey Says:

    I presume you’re setting up that last ‘perfect market’ situation up ironically, as there’s obviously no way to have perfect information in a critically constructed, subjective cultural medium (despite what the digital revolutionaries would have us believe about access to every style of music, etc.). So it’s not zero-sum, or maybe it is within as-yet-to-be-decided cultural hegemony of ‘pigfuck’ music, in which the attention and nostalgia given to TJL etc. has a huge bearing.

    incidentally, there’s an about 50% chance I’m going to try and introduce punk rock as an alternative to Adorno’s cultural industry/elite and mass culture in my seminar tomorrow.

    glad you liked my ‘NO PAST’ reinterpretation of the Ramones. I can put it to the test with the current government proposal/’commitment’ to rehouse the Irish national theatre in the GPO site of the 1916 Rising in time for the 2016 commemorations.

  7. dalton Says:

    A will to profanity is “indicative of white guy privilege?” Someone forgot to tell hip hop. The pigfuckers were, if anything, mocking/celebrating/emulating the most unsavory segment of the least privileged white guys in America.

    I’m neither black nor white, btw, so I really don’t have a horse in this race.

  8. Piss Christ + Pigfuck: A Companion Piece « The PrisonShip Says:

    […] or daring to mention a certain white privilege involved (‘got fucked up in the comments for that one, maybe rightly), but I can honestly say that my sociological interests lie firmly elsewhere.  […]

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