Nig-Heist - Drag City 1998
Rating = 7

A lot of us in life (and other breakfast cereals - HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) fear muggers. We think of them as violent, cruel pieces of human cess (usually Jewish or female) who are only out to spend our wallets and maximize our credit cards. They hold up a gun, we go number one; they say "Put up your hands!," we release plop from our anal glands; they shoot us in the head, we have diarpoopies all over Princess Diana's bed. This is the nature of the mugger -- his incalculable power over our digestive systems.

However, just because a person is NAMED something, that doesn't mean that the person's nature necessarily corresponds to the moniker. For example, Pete Rose isn't actually a red thorny flower. Nor is Dick Van Dyke, as far as we know, an SUV-driving lesbian penis. So if this are the case (and they ARE), we must assume that Black Flag roadie "Mugger" never had any intention of stealing our money or upsetting the delicate ballet that takes place in our colon. Nor did his friend, Black Flag producer "Spot," have any intention of becoming a dog and running around sniffing things and wagging its tail. Davo was in Nig-Heist too. And Chuck Biscuits for a while, I guess. And Merrill Ward - crap, I don't know - LOOK 'EM UP!!! The album was recorded with Davo, Spot and Mugger. END OF STORY.

Back when Henry Rollins's Black Flag would tour the country rocking the nation in a big yellow car (perhaps you've read his book Get In The Car!), they had a hilarious way of pissing off their asshole skinhead audiences (the people that would show up just to cause trouble and punch everybody). Before Black Flag took the stage, they would allow opening band "Nig-Heist" to perform 4-6 songs. But see, "Nig-Heist" wasn't so much a band as a calculated effort to confront punk rockers with everything they hate most. Mugger would put on a long-haired hippy wig and rock and roll clothes, and the band would go onstage and play cliched '70s hard rock riffs accompanied by the grossest, most sexist lyrics they could come up with. Between songs, Mugger would taunt the audience, calling the girls "whores" and accusing the toughest guys in the crowd of being "fags who want to fuck me because I have long hair!" I wish I'd had a chance to see them in concert, but I'm too young, and positive youth. At least they had the common cold decency to leave behind a legacy of record album. And now, thanks to CD technology, CD!

This whopping double-CD from Drag City features the band's 1981 "Walking Down The Street" single, 1983 Snort My Load LP (both originally released on Thermidor), three unreleased tracks (one of which -- the happy punk tune "The Last Generation" -- is as great as anything on the LP, though it doesn't really fit the band's image), and a full CD of live recordings compiled by West Nile 3 supporter Henry Rollins. As they say in baseball games, "It's a hit!" From the cheery cover artwork of an oversized puppet getting a suck job from a little girl, to the insleeve Raymond Pettibon declaration "Turn it off, man... What, that's Elvis? It sounds like some nigger.," this is one CD you probably shouldn't play too loud around your parents (if you have any). Oh sure the music's no problem, and in fact the uptempo hard rock boogie-oogie might appeal quite well to your aged pot-smoking father, but the lyrics? Crikey on the lyrics! "Love In Your Mouth"? "Tight Little Pussy"? Even the Jerry Lee Lewis-styled "Balls Of Fire" bothers going that extra inch - "Great balls of -- Great balls of -- My balls are on FIIII-YAAAAAH!" Other titles include "Woman Drivah," "Surfbroad," "Slurp A Delic" and "Hot Muff," and the album's one cover tune is (sigh) the Velvet Underground's "If She Ever Comes."

But what about the music? Well, Mugger has one of those goofy west coast half-retarded surfer voices, similar to Flipper's Will Shatter or Bad Posture's 3-Foot Leroy or whatever his name is. And the equipment they used must have been Black Flag's, because it's got that same low bassy guitar tone and crisp drum sound that I'm sure you heard on My War and Slip It In. Musically, they run the gamut of sleaze rock encompassing such classic '70s subgenres as solo-heavy guitar wank, uptempo dirty chord driving, goodtime Southern rock, slow sick blooze, big dumb Aussie-style pub rock, romantic jazz rock and sexy slap-bass funk. If you're wondering, "Hay! How did a couple roadies and a producer do all that? Running that kind of gamut? Come on! Don't leave us hanging! I need to know!" Well, sir, the answer is simple. Take my hand and accompany me through the spacious empty line that follows these words.

Whew! We made it! Well, I did at any rate. The answer is as follows: guest stars. Although I can't prove anything, that sure SOUNDS like Greg Ginn playing the note-heavy lead guitar in "Life In General" (plus the song is half-credited to him), and although I wasn't there to verify my suspicion, that sure SOUNDS like Saccharine Trust's Jack Brewer playing the sexy jazz riff in "Surfbroad" (plus the song is a-third-credited to him). Others are credited - oh hang on, I mentioned all these people. Chuck Biscuits, Merrill Ward - okay, this point wasn't a very good one. FUCK!

But here's a good point -- regardless of the "parodic" nature of the project, most of the songs are catchy as hell! If you have a nagging fear that one day you'll be caught unconsciously singing a horribly offensive song in public, do NOT listen to "Tight Little Pussy." It is so frigging catchy, you'll forfeit your job in a fortnight. The laugh-out-loud "SUCK! ME!" chant at the beginning of "Woman Drivah" will have you pumping your fist (and fisting your pump -- especially you LADIEZ!) too. Sure, one would be hard-pressed to apply the word "songs" to the grotesque sexploitation grunts, groans and fake black person voices that make up "Hot Muff" and "Slurp-A-Delic," but lest you forget that John Cage was considered a "songwriter" too, back in his day. Fuckin' jerk. He nearly RUINED the Velvet Underground with his squeaky classical horseshit.

But what of disc two? What to make of a 74-minute live disc composed of the same four or five songs played over and over again? See, Nig-Heist simply didn't HAVE very many songs, so when Henry pieced together material from four different sets, he kinda got essentially the same four sets! Though it can (and DOES) wear thin after a while, it's still neat to listen to all four sets at least once -- you find yourself memorizing and loving the dumbass songs, Mugger always comes up with another hilariously rude comment to hurl at the crowd, and there are even enjoyable differences between the recording quality of each show (for example, one of the sets is highlighted by a bass guitar that's twice as loud as the lead). At one point, Henry Rollins is heard onstage talking about how foolish the girls in the crowd are for not wanting Mugger's self-professed "two-inch weenie." Upon completion, Mugger wishes him well with the send-off, "Thank you, David Lee Roth!" At another point, Mugger holds the mic up to different members of the audience, including a young man who complains that Mugger isn't wearing enough clothes, followed immediately by a girl shouting, "Fuck you, man - WE WANT DICK!" And at all points in between, Mugger keeps pretending that they're about to play a song related to whatever is going on in the auditorium at that exact moment (ex. "Man, you guys in the back are a bunch of fags. Okay, this next song is called "You Guys In The Back Are A Bunch Of Fags!"). Good stuff? Hell, good? Hell! And astute observers might note that one of the instrumental bonus tracks on disc one ("Whore Pleaser") is reprised with LYRICS near the end of disc two!

So if you're not turned off by the thought of sitting through five different renditions of "(I'll Put My) Love In Your Mouth" or a particularly gruesome rewrite of "Tight Little Pussy" entitled "Big Fat Beer Pussy," make your next stop the record store, and while there, pick up a copy of Nig-Heist's self-titled Nig-Heist double-CD, entitled Nig-Heist. So don't delay -- order today!

Have a good day,
Tom DeLay

PS I'm gay.

Reader Comments
Prindle is to be praised for reviewing this landmark rock and roll band. I became an instant fan after seeing them perform in April 1984 at the Lost Horizon in Syracuse as part of the Heist/Meat Puppets/Black Flag tour. Early in their set, Mugger announced they were going to play "Tight Little Pussy" despite the fact that most of the women in the audience likely possessed "big fat, beer-soaked, disgusting pussies" or something to that effect. A young girl standing next to me immediately started sobbing hysterically and demanded her beau take her home, which he did. Classic! I also recall the bassist (pretty sure it was T. Troccolli) playing much of the short set completely naked.

I would wholeheartedly recommend the Drag City reissue of the Heist's work. Despite the joke concept, these guys could really swing and the original album captures that well. Shit, the Heist were probably better than headliners Black Flag at this point in time (My War...Ugggh!). By the way, I own the original Nig Heist 1983 album on wax.
Awful...but funny. Apparently, GG Allin sent Troccoli a letter saying he was their Number One fan. From jail. Now THAT'S disturbing. The originals beat Allin at his own game. (John Foote)
Merrill Ward moved to Oregon about 5 years ago and came to work for my production company for a while, he tells some amazing stories from those times, some that were so outside that you would think they were unbelievable but you would also think that no way is making this shit up. This bio backs up the fact that he probably forgot more of that crazy shit than he can remember. By the way Merrill is a totally rad guy, but if you saw him today you wouldnąt think that he came from that scene.

Tom Troccoli
Mark is very perceptive in his review of both the LP and the live set as well. Very astute to spot Jack Brewer. Unbelievable. Mark knows his stuff.

Two items I want to clear up.

Although credited, those tapes were NOT assembled by Henry Rollins. I taped those gigs MYSELF and ran him copies in 1984. Those COPIES are what were used for the bonus disc.

The other thing is that Drag city chose NOT to credit the band on the live disc. Please know that the people who made that live disc possible are Steve 'Mugger' Corbin on vocals, Bill Stevenson on guitar, Davo Claassen on drums, and Tom Troccoli on bass. For the full story on the ACTUAL origins of the Heist from the guy who actually STARTED the band can be found on my home page. Just click where it says Nig Heist.

It's true about GG Allin. He drew one of the scariest and most garishly horrible pictures I have ever seen to accompany his fan letter. I still have it. Ahh, sweet memory.

Nice site Prindle.

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