It was some time in 1996. A friend and I had just had a brief phone discussion about how we could possibly fight off the boredom of the afternoon in our historically non-exciting Midwest town. But this was no ordinary “What do you wanna do? I dunno, what do you wanna do?” type of exchange. When I hung up the phone, my mind was a virtual cyclone of mischievous curiosity. For you see, I can still recall the first time I heard my buddy’s voice utter the words “anal” and “cunt” together in the same sentence. In the initial following seconds, it evoked within me a combination of grossed-out repulsion (at the mercy, or lack thereof, of so many less-than-appealing mental images) and the spark of a decidedly deviant sense of humor. Those outside of my brain can only imagine the sinister glee that began coursing through my veins when I found out that the now super-infamous Anal Cunt moniker belonged to a hell-raising noise/grind trio from Massachusetts with collaborative ties to the likes of Pantera (Putnam made an appearance on the band’s Great Southern Trendkill release) among others and a knack for pissing off at least half of the human population with ease. Suddenly, it was something that was in need of my immediate attention…for reasons that should be obvious to those with a similar, if not at times questionable, taste in music.
It wasn’t much after that day that Anal Cunt actually made a stop in Indianapolis, my first of two chances ever to see the band in action. However, that first opportunity was crushed with the help of a night shift job. I did manage to hear every story possible from a few friends that were in attendance. Apparently, the show did not go without incident. Fights broke out, involving Putnam. Fists and heavy objects were thrown and Anal Cunt was banned from the Emerson Theater for eternity. My hopes of ever witnessing the carnage seemed to be dashed away forever.
In the several years that followed, the raging legacy of the rabid, unapologetic beast known as Anal Cunt (or A.C. for the weak-willed) went on to gain fans and enemies alike. With albums like Morbid Florist, 40 More Reasons To Hate Us and I Like It When You Die, Seth Putnam and his cohorts continued to not only push the proverbial envelope of what is seen as completely “offensive” by many, but they pretty much stomped it into the ground. Some found it easy to condemn the band’s music and Putnam’s sense of humor as nothing more than insensitive, cruel blabbering. The chaotic nature of the Anal Cunt sound aside, many people couldn’t get past the band’s message, which at face value, insulted just about everyone on the planet at one time or another. How many of Seth Putnam’s detractors or critics ever tried to dig deeper? What if there was far more to it all than just a bunch of grind songs with gruesomely funny and/or offensive subject matter? Yes, it seems many probably never took the time to contemplate the possibility that there was more to it than in-your-face logos, lyrics and song titles.
Proof of that possibility came to me on the evening of April 26, 2011, when Anal Cunt finally made a return visit to Indianapolis, with a show at the Vollrath Tavern. In the building, and awaiting the chance to speak with Seth, I honestly had no idea what to expect. The only reference material being the countless chaos-filled stories I had heard over the years, I could only hope for the best. Upon meeting Putnam, I realized how wrong so many people have been about the guy throughout the years. He didn’t want to fight me or talk shit. He wasn’t a smart-ass, and he came across as a billion times more sincere and true to his own mind than some people could ever imagine. The guy was a goddamn gentlemen, to me anyway. Friendly and comical, he was more than happy to not just talk shop, but to also peel back the layers of his own thinking to show just how damn much the guy has been misunderstood from day one of the band‘s career. What we have here is more than just an interview. It was an in-depth post-show conversation. It’s one of extreme music’s most controversial contributors setting the record straight for all in what would end up being the final chapter in his hellstorm of a life. It was not only what some believe to be the final interview with the one and only Seth Putnam, but also the presentation of an aspect of his personality not seen by so many. Rest in peace, Seth. Give ‘em hell, wherever you are! Cheers!
- Nate of the Living Dead
Forbidden Magazine, 2011