Blast From the Past: Gay Cowboys in Bondage - We're Not Gay but the Music Is!

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Gay Cowboys in Bondage

We're Not Gay but the Music Is! (Self-released)

I think by now, in these recurring Blasts From the Past, we've arrived at the logical conclusion that South Florida has long been a a breeding ground for fringe acts who are heavy on the humor. Aside from the acerbic Black Irish humor of the Eat and the energy of Roach Motel, in the early days of Floridian punk rock, no other band comes closer to tearing down the walls of wit and political correctness like the Gay Cowboys in Bondage. 

Teenagers always suffer the most angst, right? Still, only few are able to translate their "problems" with the panache and gusto that these fuckers did.

Imagine if you will, briefly please, that you are an elderly citizen of the Sunshine State and you happen upon a flyer for one of their shows. At this point you'd be thinking that retiring to South Florida was a bad idea after all.

But for the few who got to enjoy them in their day, what a fucking treat! First, let's point out the band's major influences: straight-edge hardcore (which is somewhat questionable at best), too much exposure to the television, severe fits of immaturity, Reagan politics, and maybe too much sugar. All this was blended into a delicious frappe of Minor Threat-like hardcore, Dead Milkmen-style wit, and Black Flag-style DIY savvy.

So for this first entry into our log, we'll discuss the 16-track, self-released demo cassette provocatively titled We're Not Gay but the Music Is!, which was recorded in 1983 by David Camp at Sync Studios in Miami. The follow-up release, Owen Marshmallow Strikes Again and the Complete Silly Discography, will be discussed later down the line.

Opener "Domestic Battlefield" is a latchkey kid fantasy and an opus for this act, but still clocks in under the three-minute mark. It has great guitar work, clean vocals and cymbal-heavy rhythm. It was also included in the Flipside Vinyl Fanzine Vol. 1 in 1984. Despite these guys' seeming youthful ignorance, they actually got airplay locally and around the nation in underground punk rock radio shows while garnering numerous accolades from the genre's press.

What follows is a tromp through hardcore sensibilities via an awesome cover of the Muppet Show theme song. Then there's the sprechgesang of "X-Rated Go-Go Lunch," the Sex Pistos-inspired inspired tear at local club mentality of "A.O.R.," and the one-two punch odes to law-breaking of "Cuffs on My Hands" and "Rip Off."

The middle of the album veers into uncontrolled teenaged excess and the pay-off is the gang-vocals of the four-second-long "Diddley-O" before a mellower version of "Cuffs" reprises itself. The imprint of the times are evident in the Reagan-hating-leanings of "Cheddar Cheese Party" before country-frying into some real homosexuality with "Cowboys Are Gay." Then the whole thing winds down with "Silliness Overture," which appropriately sums up a large chunk of the band's m.o.

The personnel for this recording consisted of vocalist Mike "Milo" Lesser, guitarist Pete Moss, (who will figure greatly in a lot of BFTP to come as he tenured in almost every band down here before his untimely death in 1997), drummer Ravenous Gangrene, and bassist Eddie Nothing. In a move out of the Eat's "Nixon's Binoculars" playbook, Dave Poopstank (birth name I'm sure) swaggles through a sax in "Cheddar Cheese Party," which is a nice political coincidence.

While I've seen small fortunes exchanged for this tape, the Flipside wax and their other seven-inches,it is nice to know that the demo is available on the band's full-discography disc (which you can still find here). Certain tracks are also available on a fan-created Gay Cowboys in Bondage MySpace page, and there's also an abridged version of the tracks on the Pete Moss All-Nite Record Shop. When I say something is the tits, I don't mean it as much as how I mean that these tracks are the tits. Go and get it!

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