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The Thrown Ups


  1. 1.
    Traffic Accident Sex
  2. 2.
    Your Band Sucks
  3. 3.
    Eat My Dump
  4. 4.
    Bucking Retards
  5. 5.
    She's Fat
The idea behind the Thrown Ups was to have a band where no one ever practiced and no one ever wrote songs.
At their first show opening for Hüsker Dü in February of 1985, the group brought raw oysters to throw at the audience if the reaction was negative. The response turned out to be positive, but the band doused the crowd with the sea creatures anyway. Such practice became commonplace for the group, which began to incorporate visual elements in case the music was horrific. The most famous of the Thrown Ups' lineups included vocalist Ed Fotheringham, guitarist Steve Turner, drummer Mark McLaughlin (aka Mark Arm), and band founder/bassist John Beezer (aka Leighton Beezer). Beezer had met his fellow bandmates at one of his house parties in February of 1984. When they were on-stage, anything could happen. On one such occasion, dubbed "the Bloody Pooper," Fotheringham rigged a bottle of ketchup to a tube that expelled the condiment from the back of his pants. The end result was a terrified audience covered in the substance.
Seattle's Thrown Ups began in the basement of the home occupied by Beezer and original vocalist Steve Mack in 1984. Since the pair had a variety of instruments in the house, they invited anyone who stopped by to sit in on a jam, whether or not the people knew how to play. Friend Mike Faulhaber happened to be hanging out there quite frequently and took up the guitar. Rounded out by a drum machine, the Thrown Ups were born. Mack left by the end of the year and moved to Europe, where he formed That Petrol Emotion with two former members of punk rock band the Undertones. Fotheringham joined as the band's vocalist in the fall of 1984, followed by the group's mutual friend, Scott Schickler, on drums. By October of 1985, Faulhaber had also left the Thrown Ups in order to move to England. Beezer ran into guitarist Steve Turner at the Brookes Brothers store in Seattle. Beezer explained the idea behind his new band to Turner and offered him the guitar spot vacated by Faulhaber. Turner tried to decline, but Beezer persuaded him to join by explaining that Turner would never have to write songs at practice, since the group was based around improvisation. Schickler left the Thrown Ups in 1986, which happened to be around the same time that McLaughlin was leaving the Seattle group Green River. McLaughlin agreed to fill in as the Thrown Ups' drummer.
By this time, the band was gigging at Seattle venues, such as the Vogue and Scoundrel's Lair, opening up for bands like Bundle of Hiss. By mid-year, Turner approached Tom Hazelmeyer, founder of Amphetamine Reptile Records, about releasing some material from the band. At first, Hazelmeyer displayed total disinterest, but after Turner played a snippet of a Thrown Ups practice tape, Hazelmeyer agreed to distribute all of the band's material. Prior to this, Amphetamine Reptile was solely a vehicle to release music by Hazelmeyer's own band, Halo of Flies. The Thrown Ups became the first group that was actually signed to the label. The band booked time at Seattle's Reciprocal Recording and laid down their Felch single with engineer Jack Endino. By early 1987, the record caught the attention of various critics, which included future Matador Records co-owner Gerard Cosloy. Almost everyone who heard the release gave it critical praise. That summer, the band returned to Reciprocal Recording, recorded the Smiling Panties single, and released it late that year. This was followed by the recording of the Eat My Dump 7" in February of 1988. An outtake from that session, titled "You Lost It," appeared on that year's Sub Pop 200 compilation of Seattle groups.
By this time, Turner and McLaughlin had started the band Mudhoney with Melvins bassist Matt Lukin and former Bundle of Hiss drummer Dan Peters. That Halloween, Mack returned to Seattle with That Petrol Emotion, who was receiving airplay on MTV. The band was playing a show at the Moore Theater, where the Thrown Ups were opening. During the Thrown Ups' set, they used That Petrol Emotion's amplifiers. The Thrown Ups were playing at such an extreme volume that the roadies from That Petrol Emotion feared the Thrown Ups would blow the gear. Midway through the Thrown Ups' set, That Petrol Emotion's road crew appeared on-stage to turn the volume down. According to Beezer, "Patrick McDonald, the classic big-paper rock critic, panned us as being loud, sloppy, garage-inspired crap." Beezer finished by stating, "[McDonald] was right -- apparently he hadn't heard of grunge yet." By 1989, Amphetamine Reptile released their Dope, Guns and Fucking in the Streets, Vols. 1-3 compilation, which included a track from the Thrown Ups' Felch session. 1989 also found the Thrown Ups back at Reciprocal with Endino recording their only full-length album, Melancholy Girlhole. It appeared on the Munich, Germany, label Glitterhouse the following year, while it was released in the United States by Amphetamine Reptile as three 7" records.
In the next two years, Turner and McLaughlin began devoting their main attention to Mudhoney. As a result, Beezer kicked everyone out of the Thrown Ups in 1991 and labeled its former members as sellouts. Beezer said this was a convenient excuse to avoid arguments, although the real reason he broke up the band was due to the fact that it had exceeded its lifespan. While Turner and McLaughlin were spending their post-Thrown Ups' days in Mudhoney, Beezer went on to form the bands El Grand Conquistador and Stomach Pump. He also kept busy as a program manager and developer for Microsoft. Fotheringham pursued his career in art, designing album covers for Mudhoney, as well as many jazz labels like Verve. The Thrown Ups' complete discography for Amphetamine Reptile appeared on a single album, titled Seven Years Golden, on January 28, 1997. The record also contained three bonus tracks. According to Beezer, one of the previously unavailable songs, called "Bucking Retards," was a prototype for Mudhoney's "Keep It Out of My Face." ~ Stephen Howell


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