THE CRAZY TWISTED STORY OF
“We were a bunch of drugged out, drunken fuck-ups.
But we managed to have a direction as opposed to
full on crash and burn. — Crazy Steve Goof
AN INTRODUCTION TO ANARCHY, GOOF-STYLE:
They were anti-establishment, anti-consumerism, anti-car, and true to punk style, anti-cop. They were hardcore with hearts. They drank too much and fought even more. They made their own music, their own clothes, posters and recordings, and lived commune-style at Fort Goof.
Their name even made it onto the Berlin Wall.
The Bunchofuckingoofs were born on a dare in 1983 when they were asked to open for punk band United State at Larry's Hideaway in Toronto. Lead singer Crazy Steve figured “...we better call ourselves a bunch of fucking goofs before anyone else does.”
Crazy Steve Goof was also the gang leader and den father to a motley crew of misfits, 25 that actually played in the band, as well as an assemblage of satellite fans and hangers on.
They included Thor, Mike Anus, Bambi, Katy, Scumbag, Mucus, Citizen Greg, MadDog, King Kong, Godzilla, Bones, Fetus, Stompin' Al, Airock, Fisty the Clown, Greenie, and Goose. Given names were about as cool to the Goofs as soft, AM radio rock.
They lived outside of society and within one of their own. A society where dogs ruled, beer was currency and no one made plans beyond the next gig.
The Goofs were made up of outcasts; street kids, kids from the burbs who didn't fit in, runaways and those who didn't or just couldn't conform to mainstream society. United in anger, they gave the finger to homogeneity and lived as they saw fit, in anarchy and chaos.
Still there were rules, an unwritten punk code that said no to needles, sniffing glue, panhandling, stealing, hitting women, or sleeping with other people's girls [Rule #5].
Do any of these things, and you got your head kicked in. Lots of head's got kicked in. And they never called the cops [Rule #5]. If trouble broke out in their neighbourhood, they dealt with it in Goof style.
William Boroughs said “I always thought a punk was someone who took it up the ass.”
The Goofs lived here knowing they wouldn't be harassed for their looks or their lifestyle. They returned the favour by taking care of their backyard; keeping drugs and skinheads out of the market, and earning the respect of others who also called it home.
They were the kings and queens of Kensington Market, a four-block, multi-cultural enclave in the heart of Toronto, right next door to the city's never sleeping Chinatown. It was here among the fruit and vegetable sellers, fish monger, butchers, roti shops, used clothing stores and counter culture aesthetic, they set up a series of Fort Goofs.
Now to the music. It was angry, choppy poetry puked through a mike. Part of the second wave of punk, a reaction to one of the most conservative decades in history, when greed was seen as good, the threat of nuclear annihilation constant and the idea that you could die tomorrow, made you want to party today.
Live shows were punk performance art in road warrior gear: what Spin Magazine described as a "gnashing brand of apocalyptic abuse metal." As the spit flew from the angry mouth of Steve Goof, TVs got smashed, bottles thrown, faces cut, bones broken; the audiences came for the spectacle as much as the music. The Goofs never played covers and never sold out. After all it wasn't about the money…there's no money in being punk. It was all about punk pride.
They were out of control and so was their music.
They were out of control and so was their music. The BFGs made at least five recordings including Carnival of Chaos and Carnage and There's No Solution So There's No Problem.
They opened almost every show with Alcoholiday Turned Alcoholocaust — a song about drinking too much — and closed with Pre-Programmed — a rant about being brainwashed by TV.
And the craziness didn't stop at the shows. There were other punk houses in Toronto but none as legendary as the Forts. They were booze cans open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, that sometimes stunk like rotten meat, and also where the Goofs lived.
They slept in cages, built to keep the drunks out and the dogs in. Inside this punk bunker they jammed, printed band t-shirts and posters, gave each other tattoos, and recorded music. A punk version of Andy Warhol's Factory, furnished with whatever could be salvaged or found on the street, including people who needed a place to crash for the night.
SO WHAT THE FUCK
If punk means banding together, rejecting mainstream society, and saying fuck you to the world, then the BFGs are punk. Of course, they don't give a fuck what you think they are, and they'll be the first to tell you.
Some of the stories in Dirty, Drunk and Punk are recalled from beer-addled brains, remembered through the haze of time, or passed down through a kind of oral broken telephone. If you have a problem with something someone said, take it up with the person who said it, not me. There's been enough ass-kicking in the 25 years the Goofs have been around, leave mine alone.