Blood Circus ‎– Primal Rock Therapy

Glitterhouse Records ‎– GR 0038
Vinyl, 12"


A1 Road To Hell
A2 Part Of The Crowd
B1 My Dad's Dead
B2 Two Way Street
B3 Gnarly Twenty Foot

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Manufactured under license from Sub Pop Records, USA

Barcode and Other Identifiers

  • Label Code: LC 8323

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March 9, 2015
Often considered among the forefathers (or deadbeat-dads) of what later became “grunge,” Blood Circus was a 4-piece quasi-surf-billy, punk-biker-band, a literal noise-combo comprising of Michael Anderson (formerly of Denver’s Dogmeat & Brother Rat) Doug Day (previously w/Seattle’s Neon Cross) Geoff Robinson (Seattle hardcore band Extreme Hate’s lead guitarist) and Tracy “T-Man” Simmons (also of Neon Cross).

Blood Circus was considered the worst selling (and possibly the worst ever) band in Sub Pop’s stable, and of course this ranking came from a label that at the time, reveled in signing bands whose musical IQ equated roughly to somewhere between that of boiled asparagus and a trained orangutan - with a few notable exceptions.

However, as it is well known, the Sub Pop sound became world famous and made tons of money for pretty much everyone involved except for Blood Circus who, retreating humbly in the latter part of ‘89, preferred it that way - or so they like to claim.

Yet when the rubber meets the road, Blood Circus endures. Above all there is a healthy amount of confused honesty in their work. Almost as if they did not care what others thought about their music. They were playing for their own listening pleasure. As myopic as this may seem, it works in the very small catalog that they leave behind.

Reciprocal-recorded “Six Foot Under” b/w “Two Way Street” (ominously assigned “SP 13”) was the record that convinced Cameron Crowe Seattle was beginning to congeal into a bonafide music scene in the late 80’s. He later went on to include “Six Foot Under” as supplemental music in his seminal chronology of the monolithic superstars Pearl Jam, “PJ20” (2011).

Primal Rock Therapy, (SP 22) also released in Europe on Glitterhouse (GR 0038) was the subsequent follow-up EP to the single and was recorded in 1988 by Chris Hanszek and Jack Endino on Reciprocal’s brand-new Tascam 16 track. While it did not receive the critical accolades of stable-mates Mudhoney, TAD, and Nirvana, it was savagely blunt, and according to the Rolling Stone’s Grant Alden, “did not contain Mudhoney’s sardonic humor and Nirvana’s surprisingly pretty hooks.”

Blood Circus was a working man’s band and coincidentally consisted of four guys who actually had day jobs and were supporting families. The songwriting reflects the dreams of workers idled by future-less, monotonous jobs and the tinge of being from the wrong side of the tracks.

Songs like “Gnarly Twenty Foot” described the sheer horror, yet gleeful exhilaration of approaching a death-wave, the surfer’s raison d’ etre. “My Dad’s Dead” relates the teen angst of hating yet emulating an alcoholic, womanizing father. “Road to Hell” is an anthem to the roadhouse where one may break on through to the other side.

Sub Pop later went on to release a Blood Circus Primal Rock Therapy CD with additional tracks (SP 177) almost in reverence to a mighty era that had wilted badly in the brilliantly gleaming spotlight of the hype-machine that consumed grunge and regrettably, some of the souls who were participants.

So if anything is learned from the short lifespan of this important band, it must be understood that those ear-splittingly loud and crazy sounds coming out of a garage somewhere near you could actually be an expression of the frustration with the musical status quo, and maybe that frustration is directed not toward society or authority, but toward those artists and music business people who assume that there is a “trick” to honesty. According to Blood Circus, there is no trick. Just play. Just play loud, and most of all, have fun.

“Blood Circus: Primal Rock Therapy – Sub Pop Recordings 88-89” (SP 177) is available on Sub Pop’s website, as well as other online venues.


March 9, 2015
edited over 4 years ago
Blood Circus lives!