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Don’t Make Me Eat It: The Happy Flowers

I spent some of the stranger years of my childhood growing up in the heavily Italian neighborhood of East Boston. It was an intensely weird place to live if you were not Italian as everyone who lived there was and they had all lived there all their lives and everyone knew everyone and everyone was someone’s cousin and the girls all had haircuts like Debbie Harry (This was one of the cooler aspects of the place) and the guys were all named Chico and hung out after school in the school yards listening to Kool & The Gang.

One of the weirder memories I have of this period was a story that was going around that there were these two pedophilic drug dealers driving around schools in a van dressed as circus clowns trying to trick the children into taking LCD that they had cleverly imbedded into stickers that they somehow got their victims to lick. Another additional detail that did the rounds was that the clowns did not wear pants. Looking back at this it’s hard to believe that anyone took this seriously but we all did. We all walked the streets with an eye out for a van full of pants less LSD clowns…

The adult in me now says “Why would these guys try and hook kids on LSD when there is no way any of them would be able to pay for the stuff once they got hooked as we were all around 8-10 years old with no real income. “ The child in me then would have replied “ Why wouldn’t they?”.

It’s this childhood fatalism that the duo known as The Happy Flowers mined in the mid to late 80’s. Calling themselves Mr. Anus and Mr. Horribly Charred Infant they released three albums on Homestead Records that delved deeply into childhood angst and trauma. Tracks like ‘I Said I Wanna Watch Cartoons’ , Let’s Eat the Baby (Like My Gerbils Did) and ‘Let Me See You Hand’ all bring that special unique childhood evil back to life in song form. They also had songs that detailed traumatic childhood experiences like ‘Left Behind’ and ‘If it was Broken You’d Be Screaming’. In addition they also had a great sideline of covers including a great Yoko Ono cover of ‘Mrs Lennon’ and totally inspired and un-jazz sounding cover of Miles Davis’ ‘So What’.

Musically they ran the gamut of early Half Japanese electrified noise tantrums to primal HM/HC improv spazzouts to the odd pop ballad.

Their albums are in second hand bins everywhere, usually on vinyl. Check them out. Buy them. Turn up the volume. Wallow in the pain. And remember: “I don’t want a ‘Happy Meal’ I want an ‘Angry Meal’!”

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