A CELEBRATION OF RANDY “BISCUIT” TURNER – SATURDAY, 8/6 @ 3PM-5PM
Mutant Rock Got Soul, a celebration of Randy “Biscuit” Turner of the Big Boys
Aug. 6th, 3-5 PM,
With giveaways (including a colored vinyl, double LP French-imported album
of the Biscuit Bombs/Cargo Cult with essay and flyers!),
DJ Sonic Reducer (writer David Ensminger) spinning soul/punk/funk, and free beer!
It’s a mutant party, y’all!
Mutant Rock Got Soul: The Legacy of Randy “Biscuit” Turner
Bona fide maverick Randy “Biscuit” Turner was a man of a million faces. As an openly gay, seminal Texas singer (Big Boys, Cargo Cult, Swine King, Texas Biscuit Bombs / Biscuit’s Texas Bombs) spanning the era from President Carter to President Bush, he was a beacon — a fierce light amid queer fear. Plus, as an obsessive-compulsive, self-taught artist in the DIY punk vein, as well as actor and prop decorator, his life inspired Mayor Will Wynn of Austin to declare October 8th in his honor.
As a living avatar for “Keep Austin Weird,” he easily slipped on garish cowboy boots as much as he would careen in pink tutus in front of buzzed-hair masses, or shake some action with Christmas lights strapped to his gyrating body, or dodge brownies amid a Rocky Horror anniversary food fight, or buzz and whoop in a billowing white gown that cocooned him as if he was the star of a C-grade horror movie. His career was a vortex of assembled and collaged art mayhem, rock’n’roll fun, and raucous ribaldry. Along the hectic ride, Biscuit’s art took visual cues from volatile art punks like Exene Cervenka of X, various avant-garde art movements that permanently disrupted conventions and norms, like Dadaism and Surrealism, and the keen mishmash style of local poster makers. In doing so, he forged a genuine, homegrown East Texas uniqueness that spoke volumes about being a true outsider, for he never fit the frustrating, hollow clichés that tend to brand homosexuality, punk rock, and the Lone Star state.
Meanwhile, his fertile singing style was equally bombastic and beautiful, an often fluid layering of hoarse punk barks, metallic venom and demented howls, soul music satin smoothness, skate rock exhortations, and go-go funkiness: in his mixed genre forays, he married worlds together – black and white, Motown and hardcore, art-infested new wave and faded Levi with holes Led Zeppelin (whose chops could be heard in Cargo Cult demos), even noise/musique and Tina Turner. Few singers came even within strides of such ambition, style, and freedom. He was a kaleidoscope, a seeker of the wild side, a true mutant.
This month marks 11 years since his demise, so David Ensminger (his former editor and drummer) has gathered a series of voices for the Houston Press. These comments are culled from those that knew him, in ways small and momentous, but nonetheless were indelibly impacted by his larger-than-life tendencies, even during the last months of his life.