Bunnybrains | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper


Box the BunnyNarnack

Here's the brilliancy of a set like this: Take a band whose '90s vinyl output, even its lone Matador-released 1995 LP, has been findable only on the thorniest of paths, and nonexistent on CD, dump the lot onto four discs, add a DVD of random concert footage and backstage drooling idiocy, and sell the thing for $16. Then the question is, "Do I need all of this?" One can hear the record-store clerks now, nodding their heads while snatching this thing off the display wall and chanting, "Oh, you do, you do!" Like you need a good thrashing, a downsizing, a re-configuring.


Led by guitarist/singer/instigator Daniel Saxton Bunny, this revolving troupe of mental patients and sociopaths oozed out of Connecticut's stony landscape in the early '90s, upping the ante on rock 'n' roll stupidity to nearly unreachable peaks with shows that started out at total meltdown and proceeded to use electricity as torture. While comparable to early Flipper or the escapades of the Butthole Surfers, the Brains lack the focus, the control or even the song structure of those two. Instead, they rely on improvisation and instant poetry of the vilest sort. Imagine the Grateful Dead jacked to the gills on PCP and paranoia while someone butchers sheep behind them and you might get an idea of what these guys are about. Then again, you might not.


Box the Bunny's earliest material concentrates on foreboding guitar-driven cavern jams a la Yeti-era Amon Düül II, but performed under the influence of worse drugs. Here, the band's individual statements get lost in a pit of wah-wah-enhanced sludge. On discs two and three, the set dips into juvenile goofs, including radio-station call-ins, bratty rants, walls of atonality and even less emphasis on musicianship, before the final disc's climactic flail-a-thons and musical vivisections. Yet it's the DVD of live material that truly allows the Brains to roll around in chaos like dogs do cow dung. There's a seeming guerilla event on an otherwise sunny day at a Chicago college campus, a video of DS Bunny soaping up naked while singing, and even footage from Pittsburgh's own beloved MIT! The ultimate white band, they've stripped the music from the shackles of importance and, onstage or on record, put an end to the need for any more guitar rock.