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06 December, 2012

RVA Hardcore History: Death Piggy

During Reagan's second term, the Party purged the once-beloved Death Piggy
The internet has many makers of lists and databases, masters of arcanery and esoterica,  publishers of data and history. I'm not one of them, but sometimes I do pluck from this orchard when I bake up a blog, and I thank the geeks and rememberers of the world, who make it so easy for lazy people like me to delve into that most important of contemporary social issues: hardcore punk in early 1980s Richmond Virginia.

Today's graphic comes from the internet somewhere, in a corner I cannot recall. It's a flier for it yourself. The Death Piggy logo underlying the "Banned" symbol, that perturbed swine sticking his tongue out, was ubiquitous in the early '80s, and archaeologists will discover the image when they sift through the rubble of VCU and the Fan. I drew it and so did dozens of other punks over a course of years: on jeans and arms, on bathroom stalls, on buildings and cop cars. OK, maybe I made up that last one, but Death Piggy was widespread, staring at passers by from DC to Raleigh, almost none of whom knew the hostile hog. 

Lots of people know about GWAR, that karmic joke on Dave Brockie, who concocted the band as a joke and was consumed, cornered in a world where people love him as long as he wears the costume, and who write off Death Piggy as proto-GWAR, trivia.

Not me. Then and now, Death Piggy is one of my favorite bands. They played a bunch of the hardcore punk shows, and I saw them a bunch of times. At least once, I left a show before the Famous Band would play, high on Death Piggy and not wanting to come down for a diva like Rollins or some big tall mohawk band of Brits.

Why? Because I guess to me Death Piggy was the most genuinely free music I'd heard. They could thrash, but also resort to a stoney echo or all kinds of other shit (I told you, I'm not a list-maker). The lyrics were absurdly entertaining, all the more so because the singer was a fluent and inventive singer of Cartoonese. Before being trapped by GWAR regalia, they just wore whatever felt right that day, no fealty whatsoever to black leather. When the band wasn't playing, they'd dance with the rest of us. Freedom.

Richmond's puerco muerto was eventually slaughtered by the dark overlords of GWAR, but the spirit lives on. It comforts the afflicted with the pleasing aroma of bacon, and whenever a punk kid is derided for not wearing the uniform, the spirit causes the derider to wet himself. And for those of us in the Virginia Diaspora, Death Piggy reminds us of days when Richmond punks were free, crazy, and in love with a piggy.

[NOTE: Were I a real blogger, I'd link to Death Piggy songs, or maybe just post a link with some pithy but twit-length comment. But I am not. There are a bunch of their songs on myspace and youtube, go get 'em yourself.]

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