Big Boys

Big Boys
Origin Austin, Texas
Genres Punk rock, funk rock, hardcore punk, skate punk
Years active 19791984
Labels Moment Productions
Wasted Talent
Enigma Records
Associated acts MDC
The Dicks
Past members Randy "Biscuit" Turner
Tim Kerr
Chris Gates
Steve Collier
Greg Murray
Fred Shultz
Rey Washam

The Big Boys were a pioneering punk rock band who are credited with helping introduce the new style of hardcore punk that became popular in the 1980s.



Based in Austin, Texas the band members were Randy "Biscuit" Turner on vocals, Tim Kerr on guitar and Chris Gates on bass. The key members of the band were childhood friends for a decade before the band was started.[1] Over the years the group played with five drummers in all; Steve Collier, Greg Murray, Fred Shultz, Rey Washam and Kevin Tubb who played only one show (the band's first) because Collier was sick.

The hardcore punk style, a development from the earlier punk sound, arose spontaneously in various cities, but in Austin it was represented by MDC, Big Boys, The Huns, The Skunks and The Dicks. The bands often played together; Big Boys and The Dicks jointly released a split single and an LP, Live At Raul's.

Big Boys shows were legendary, frequently involving food fights, with "Biscuit" frequently sporting a pink ballerina's tutu and pink cowboy boots.[1] Invitations would be made to the audience to come up and sing along, which often occurred. At the end of early shows, the band was famous for yelling, "OK y'all, go start your own band."

Queried about his sexuality by Flipside magazine in 1982, "Biscuit" Turner replied:

"I don't know if I want to answer that or not because it doesn't make any difference if I'm gay or not, I'm a human being and my sexual preference doesn't play into my lifestyle. It comes from my heart and I want people to look at me and say I'm a human being — don't ask me about what 5% of my life is."[1]

Musical importance

The Big Boys are credited as well with the introduction of funk rhythms to hardcore, producing funk metal, an innovation influential on later bands such as Red Hot Chili Peppers, who actually opened up for the Big Boys in Hollywood. This is due in no small part to the addition of a Horn Section, The Impromptu Horns, spearheaded by Chris Gates' brother, Nathan. The Impromptu Horns played mainly local shows, and played on some of the funkiest tracks recorded by The Big Boys. Most of the horn players, who rotated in and out of the section, went to High School with Chris and Nathan (according to Austin local punk rock authority and gay-rights activist "Fat" Scott T.)

They were also one of the first bands involved in the skatepunk scene, appearing in Thrasher skateboarding magazine and in Thrasher's videos, and had their own Big Boys skateboard. After a Bad Brains show in Austin that ended in controversy involving Biscuit (and later inspired the songs "Brickwall" and "Pay to Come Along" by MDC), conflicts began to arise within the band, specifically between Biscuit and Chris. The Big Boys played their last show very unexpectedly. Biscuit and Chris never spoke to each other again.


Tim Kerr went on to play with many bands, including Poison 13, Bad Mutha Goose, Monkeywrench, Jack O Fire, Lord High Fixers and, in 2004, The Total Sound Group Direct Action Committee.

Chris Gates was also with Poison 13, Junkyard and Charter Bulldogs. Gates can currently be heard fronting Big Chris Gates and Gatesville, a southern-fried country group based in Austin.

Of their drummers, Rey Washam has played consistently with such groups as Jerry's Kids, Scratch Acid, and Ministry. Original drummer Steve Collier switched from drums to guitar and formed Doctors' Mob, whose first album was produced by Chris Gates, and later played in the Sidehackers and the Rite Flyers.

Randy Turner had performed with The Slurpees, Cargo Cult, and Swine King, the latter band contributing the song "All Broke Down" to Outpunk Records' compilation, Outpunk Dance Party. Randy Turner was found dead from Hepatitis C complications in his home on August 18, 2005. This was particularly odd simply because he was the cover of that week's The Austin Chronicle.

The Big Boys also appeared in the well-reviewed 2006 Sundance film, American Hardcore. Their song "Brickwall" appeared on the soundtrack.

Big Boys were innovative in many ways and were influential in the direction music and music scenes would take in their wake.

See also


  1. 1 2 3 Al Kowalewski and Holly Duval Cornell, "Big Boys," Flipside, whole no 32 (August 1982), pg. 12.





External links

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