DAVID WYATT aka STINKY DEL NEGRO
I grew up in Austin partially from 1980 onward, leaving for 3 years for high school, then back for college. I had no punk or underground credentials whatsoever and in fact had never played in a band nor really even gone to see indie bands since my older teenage years were spent in a small town with no such scene. So, when I got back to Austin in 1991, I just sort of followed my nose on what music spoke to me. These were bands like Poi Dog Pondering, Shoulders, Davíd Garza initially then I started meeting people in bands when I went to work at Thundercloud.
That’s when I fell in with Brown Whörnet, Big Horny Hustler, Drums & Tuba (back when they were just a drummer and tuba player), Ging’bread Men, Sxip, etc. It was what felt like a counter movement to a counter movement. In 93, I made a 4-track tape with Ray Colgan (who’d become the lead singer of the Crack Pipes) called Regal Beagle, then Solid Gold 40 came together but it wasn’t until Rebekah Whitehurst and Phillip White joined that we really gelled and started attracting crowds and being invited to headline weekend bills and holidays like Halloween and New Year’s Eve. We admired bands like Supa’ Group and played with SINUS, and were sort of wedged between the weird, noise rock and anachronistic classic rock salutes but with a mix of satire.
At the time, I remember a tension we were aware of in the underground scene that we tried to play with: in the spectrum of it being uncool to be cool, we were playing in a very uncool set of genres: glamor rock, love ballads, and pastiche. Whereas most bands we saw around town wore a sort of indie uniform of…. uniform shirts and wallet/chains and Vans onstage, we wore modified figure skating outfits, make-up, and blasted small clubs with smoke machines.
All of this culminated after a couple of southwest and west coast tours, a few SXSW showcases, two a half albums, in our Rock the Boat show on a party barge on Town Lake, where about 100 fans loaded onto a probably seaworthy vessel for a couple of sets of music from our last album—ostensibly to promote ourselves to SXSW, but it was mostly friends on board. This was our way. We played on the UT Co-op roof until the cops shut us down.
Around 97 or 98, Sexy Finger Champs and the Peenbeets rose up along with Tuna Helpers, Attic Ted, and a bunch of other niche weirdos. We had plenty of side projects as well: Soul People (which might now be called ‘problematic”, Levitikus, etc. Then there was Stinky del Negro, but that’s a story for another time! If we left any mark whatsoever, I like to think it was normalizing liking Bon Jovi alongside the Boredoms.