Love them or hate them, The Blastoids are totally The Ramones fault.
It has long been said that The Ramones were very much like Johnny Appleseed. Every city that Joey let out "1 2 3 4!" in, at least three punks bands would form shortly afterwards. On June 21, 1977, The Ramones played a gig at a club called B'Ginnings in Schaumburg, Illinois. On June 22, 1977, Rob "Blasto" Jenkins and Harvey Coles formed The Blastoids.
The Blastoids pretty much followed the template The Ramones had set forth with a little bit of tweaking. The sounded like the Beach Boys powered by a jet engine. They were loud and fast.
But, unlike The Ramones, they were also very confrontational. The Blastoids would move to California and would quickly join up with the hardcore scene that was quickly forming. A couple of singles would be released over the years but it wasn't until 1981, they caught their first big break.
Details are sketchy but the most prominent version of the story is that someone at Sire was drunk when they popped in the demos for what would become Do The Apparatchick. They thought it would be the biggest selling album in the company's history and quickly signed the band.
The album would sell approximately 100 copies before being destroyed and deleted by the label. To this day, Sire will not acknowledge the fact that they ever released the album, ever signed The Blastoids or that the band even existed.
And it's all due to the events that occurred on July 19, 1982.
The week before, The Blastoids had released Do The Apparatchick and they were going to help launch the album by playing at some kid's backyard party. Sire thought it would be a great idea to send a camera crew to capture the event.
There have been many claims on who was there that night. We know the crowd was somewhere around 100 to 200 people. Henry Rollins has been often listed but has never confirmed this. It's also said that members of the Circle Jerks were in the audience but again, never confirmed.
What is true is that someone had told the band, multiple times, that they would get a record deal when pigs could fly.
So, The Blastoids thought, we got a record deal, time to make a pig fly.
The pig in question, luckily, was no longer among the living and had been bought from a local butcher. The cannon it was fired from, was definitely The Blastoids.
Although, calling the device a cannon may even be pushing it. From those who were there and close enough to see the device, and not traumatized by what happened, describe it as more like a giant potato gun; PVC tubing large enough to fit a pit carcass in... or so they thought. The fuel for the cannon has been brought into question and to their credit, The Blastoids have never revealed what it was they used or how exactly the cannon was constructed in the hopes that no one would follow in their footsteps.
The band played a ripping set and for the last song, launched into a crunchy cover of AC/DC's "For Those About To Rock." The pig cannon was wheeled out on to the stage and as Blasto Jenkins screamed into the mic the final "FIRE!", the cannon went off.
And the crowd was covered in pig parts.
The Blastoids had misjudged the diameter of the tube and the pig. When crammed into the cannon, the pig had sort of folded in on itself and become wedged in the tube. Not enough to cause the contraption to explode but enough to cause the pig to explode instead of launching the pig across the yard and into a neighbour's pool.
Just bits and pieces of raw oinker over the lucky ones. Others were unfortunately covered in flaming pig bits. Including the house. By the time the fire department arrived, the entire street smelled like burnt bacon and would continue to do so for another year.
Luckily, no one was seriously physically injured but the psychological damage was done.
Sire, quietly settled any potential lawsuits, quietly dropped The Blastoids from their label and quietly had all of the albums destroyed.
Which is probably for the best as the band ceased to exist the minute the pig exploded. The only two members I could track down were Jenkins and guitarist Harvey Coles. Interestingly, Coles is now vegan and works as a lawyer. Blasto Jenkins works at a butcher shop in Des Moines.
And Do The Apparatchick ? It's an okay punk album of the era. A bit of Ramones with a crunchy sound to it. Other than the pig explosion and subsequent deletion, you'd probably never even hear about it. But due to the story, copies of the album regularly go for a few hundred bucks on Discogs.