Notorious! 

Day Glo Abortions Canada’s contribution to rock debauchery

Who: Day Glo Abortions

What: The Punk Night

Where: Boot Pub

When: Sunday, Jan. 4

Tickets: $10 - $12

The ultimate guilty pleasures are those ‘100 sleaziest moments in rock’ features on rotation on the MuchMoreMusic channel and showing up annually in music publications like Spin Magazine.

Most are in accordance that rock debauchery is the exclusive domain of Americans, Brits and, thanks to death metal, Norwegians. Canadians are, in most cases, a notable absence.

Is it because we’ve given the world Anne Murray and Celine Dion and therefore branded ourselves ‘home of the adult-contemporary diva for the lowest common denominator?’

Or is it because one of the sleaziest bands of all time, Victoria-based Day Glo Abortions, has had to give up on the U.S. simply because they’re too sleazy? According to lead guitarist and songwriter Cretin Day Glo (whose real name is Murray Acton), it’s just too much of a hassle to deal with border crossings when various background checks bring up drugs, weapons and an obscenity battle with the Supreme Court of Canada.

Even though it has severely impaired their touring, the established Day Glos have punk rock’s lifetime achievement award – notoriety.

They were destined to offend. Formed during the early, early ’80s, when the abortion issue was hot, hot, hot, the punk/metal/hardcore group’s name itself was a slap in the face. And that was just the beginning. Their album covers, their unprintable lyrics, their stage behaviour – everything was sick and twisted.

The cover for 1986 release Feed Us a Fetus , for example, depicts ever-smiling cartoon Ronald and Nancy Reagan with a fetus on a dinner plate in front of them. And 1987’s Here Today, Guano Tomorrow features some very cartoonish violence with a non-cartoon hamster.

It’s almost a relief to hear The Cretin confirm the early years of Abortion as simply a huge joke on society and a way to rebel against what he says was the death of real rock ’n’ roll after Ozzy left Sabbath.

"We were making more fun of punkers than we were of anybody else," he says in laid back stoner baritone. "A lot of it was a satire of a punk band. You know how punks don’t like their moms? Well that’s nothing, we killed our parents!" he adds with forced malevolence before chuckling amicably.

Not everyone got the joke. When a lawman’s daughter brought Guano home, dear old dad was not impressed to see and hear what his little princess was blasting in her walkman. His outrage led to an obscenity charge against Day Glo’s label Fringe for distributing the material.

The resulting court battle was unsuccessful. It took a few years for the members to recover before hitting the world with five more Abortion releases, the last of which was 1999’s Death Race 2000 . In between the band lost, gained and regained members, and kept on rocking through the growth of pop punk, hip-hop and boy band fever.

Since their first release is on record as hitting the streets in 1981 that makes them, well, old, for punk rock anyway. But career longevity in Day Glo terms seems to mean more open wounds, more drunkenness and more debauchery, rather than mineral water, Pilates and cholesterol-reduction. It’s unlikely the world will ever see a Day Glo Abortions Unplugged album.

The Cretin’s got teenaged kids who are following in his musical footsteps, but he’s not passing the guitar torch just yet. While the band has reluctantly given up on the States, they still tour incessantly across Canada and try to get to Europe and Australia as much as possible. Apparently, they’re huge with the German violent anarchist anti-globalization protestor crowd.

"I never wanted to be a rock star anyway," says The Cretin. "(The U.S.) is the big money market, but we’re not really in that market. We’re way more into the bomb-throwing European crowd."

But while they may appeal to the political-minded, Ron and Nancy album art aside, the Day Glo Abortions are staying out of the chambers of government.

"The punk movement went on and became very political, but people forget that they’re just entertainers," drawls The Cretin. "You can rant and rave all you bloody want, but you’re supposed to be entertaining. At some point you’ve gotta give people their $10 bucks worth or they’re gonna split."

Get your $10 bucks worth this Sunday night when the Day Glo Abortions are joined by local rockers The Antithesis for an unforgettable Punk Night at the Boot Pub. Tickets available in advance from The Electric Daisy Internet Café and Blueballs Boutique. Call 604-932-3338 for information.

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