"Come on over tonight/We'll put on some Cat Butt 'n' do it up right." Guided By Voices "Pendulum" (Same Place the Fly Got Smashed, 1990)For a band whose released recorded legacy consists of one 7" single, one compilation appearance and one EP, Cat Butt casts a surprisingly long shadow. It might be overstating things to say that Journey to the Center of Cat Butt was the most important album of the last 25 years, if for no other reason than that it wasn't even an album, it was an EP.
While many artists with dozens of albums to their credit get a mere one-line bio (or less) at AllMusic.com, Cat Butt has a 1,392 word essay devoted to their brief, glorious existence.
And why not? The band was great. Cat Butt neatly encapsulates everything about "grunge rock" that would need to be scrubbed out for it to become a mainstream, corporate success. Forget Nirvana, everything worth knowing about grunge is etched into the grooves of the six tracks on this EP. It's all there: the mud, the blood, the urine, the self-abuse and the utter, simpleminded stupidity. This is rock at it's purest.
Journey to the Center of Cat Butt--legendary as it has become--seems unlikely to be reissued anytime soon. The band so thoroughly burnt their bridges by trashing a label-owned tour van that no mention of them shows up on the Sub-Pop's website.*
Interesting (or not) fact: The 90s indie-pop label Flydaddy Records (Cardinal, Olivia Tremor Control, Number One Cup) was named in honor of Cat Butt guitarist Dean "Fly-Daddy" Gunderson.
*On the band's Myspace page, lead-singer David E. Duet says the van story is "pure bullshit."