Pink Eye Demo Embodies the St. Louis DIY Punk Ethos

Hippyf*ckers' new album is an aggressive-yet-fun-filled swirl of high-energy punk

click to enlarge The band members of Hippfuckers.
COURTESY HIPPYFUCKERS
Hippyfuckers released an album, Pink Eye Demo, in early March and kick off a tour in early August.

There is a dichotomy in DIY music: truly caring for another and not giving a fuck. New local punk band Hippyfuckers embodies that ethos.

"I think being punk is about critical thinking, community care and avoiding some of the tropes and cliches of the music and art world," lead vocalist Sandy Uhrich says.

Hippyfuckers have been together for just over year, establishing themselves with frisky live sets. Its sound incorporates intuitive chaos: snotty and bratty vocals, fast and unexpected song structures, and humorous and unfiltered messages about sex and "the void."

Hippyfuckers is composed of Uhrich, Kathleen Duffield, Birdie Edge and Olivia Gibb, all experienced rockers and artists in their late 20s and early 30s who moved to St. Louis sometime in the past three years or so. The Hippyfuckers all had good friends here from DIY music and choose St. Louis for the humble and accepting scene just as much as the lower living costs and central location for touring.

"I wanted to move [to St. Louis] for many reasons," drummer Duffield says. She hails from Atlanta, where she played in the bands Nag and Lemon Crush. "But mainly the friends I met while on tour and the old-city vibes make me feel less stressed about the booming-city world that makes no sense to me."

Lead guitarist Birdie Edge moved from Birmingham, Alabama, where they made music with hardcore band Bad Example. They also have a solo-guitar project titled Birdie. "Both [cities] have this thing where the scene is small enough that everyone supports each other's projects despite musical or aesthetic differences," Edge says.

"The STL scene is more collaborative than anywhere I've lived," Duffield adds. "With that comes less pack mentality. Anywhere else I felt like I didn't wear enough of a uniform."

Uhrich moved from Los Angeles and is originally from Minneapolis, where they sang for queer punk group Royal Brat. Bassist Olivia Gibb moved from Kansas City in 2018. She has played in BB Eye, The YeAsTieS and garage-punk band Warm Bodies, which Pitchfork praised as "cartoonish" and "wild."

Hippyfuckers began in March 2021. In their urgency to play, the four Fuckers quickly wrote a handful of songs together last year, combining their ideas and unique approaches to music. Gibb describes band practice as a "chummy affair," a space for creation and also building friendship. "It's a special dynamic," Edge says.

In early March, the band premiered those collaborative new songs in Pink Eye Demo, an aggressive-yet-fun-filled swirl of high-energy punk. Engineered by local musician Nick G and mastered by Graham Tavel in Atlanta, the six tracks are loud and snarling, picking at topics such as sexual identity and the "illusions of choice" of living in a capitalist culture.

"I am always looking to write lyrics about things I haven't seen represented in our genre or at all and putting my own lens in it," Uhrich says. "For me, that meant talking about my experience as a queer, non-binary person. I love to write about sexuality and gender identity, power dynamics and four of the songs are concerned with that. I wrote 'Wilt' about my experiences in suburban corporate America. I think there's a playfulness in the music composition which lends itself to balancing against some of the darker content."

Pink Eye Demo's songs often reveal strange dreams or nights of apathy and longing, while Edge's rock & roll guitar zigzags in and out of its harsh noise. The song "Punisher" holds rhythmic play with vocals against instrumental cadence, describing the inner dialogue of a sadomasochist dynamic: "When do I get my reward?/Is it me who's hunting you down?"

In the brutal ballad of "Guillotine," Hippyfuckers grow imagery of festering blooms. The lyrics stir with unkempt foliage: stinky flowers, un-mowed grass, performative bouquets, and rotten seeds. In a lower register of confession, Uhrich states: "those petals grow fractal/gender is exoskeletal." The song buries a poetic observation about gender and nature: how we carry our expression on our bodies as our own way to structure ourselves.

The Pink Eye Demo tape features artwork by Gibb: a colorful marker drawing of a framed sexy moon lady, tits out, hanging in a mountain desert landscape. A bird-person and devil lurk nearby, sneering.

As local artmakers in town, Gibb and Uhrich make all of Hippy Fucker's merch and share a studio for their practices: Gibb makes ceramics and prints in her creepy-crawly style, and Uhrich creates smut-inspired screen-printed T-shirts as Truth Lizard. They both agree that making small-run and wacky stuff relates a lot to their relationship to DIY music.

"I think the visual component of the band is a fun way for me and Olivia to use our shared studio and collaborate in really off the cuff ways," says Uhrich.

Hippyfuckers did a short spring tour to celebrate Pink Eye's release, then a small southern sprint in June, and have an East Coast tour in August that starts at Off Broadway on Sunday, August 7, and ends at CBGB on Wednesday, August 17.

After a long break of not touring, their recent traveling this spring allowed the Hippyfuckers crew to see out-of-town pals they hadn't seen in years and play out-of-the-ordinary shows.

"The most important and special part about it all is the people and friends who work together to make this all possible," Gibb says on the spring 2022 tour.

Back at home, Hippyfuckers are gearing up for the next tour adventure and writing new music. With their welcoming and fun spirits, maybe they will convince more freaks to move to St. Louis.

"Everyone should start a band," Edge says. "You never know what kind of friendships you'll form."

Catch Hippyfuckers at 7 p.m. on August 7 at Off Broadway (3509 Lemp Avenue, offbroadwaystl.com).

About The Author

Delia Rainey

Delia Rainey is a musician and nonfiction writer from St. Louis, Missouri. She has been involved in the St. Louis music scene with her band Dubb Nubb for over 12 years. Her recent writing has been featured in Post-Trash, new sinews, DIAGRAM, and elsewhere. Find out more on Twitter (@hellodeliaaaaa) and deliarainey.com...
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