Peter Stubb has gone by many names in his life: Gary League, Dewayne King, Cannibalistic Retard, Gary Lee Austin, Gary Spit and many more. Peter Stubb, for whatever reason, is the one that has stuck around the longest. He began home recording his own songs on cassette sometime in the late 80's, just banging on things and making guitar noises with his mouth. The lyrics could be funny, disturbing and demented. Other times, they were crushingly depressing, especially when he delved into the topics of the reality of his everyday landscape, which included the mental wards and psychological education centers of North Georgia.
I had heard stories of Peter Stubb throughout the south for a while and got a chance to play a show with him in Chattanooga in late 1995. To put it lightly, it was life changing. Throughout the show, the punks had been flying all over the room, singing defiantly and going nuts. As Peter started to set up to play, most of the people in the room politely sat on the floor in front of him and a hush grew through the building as if something important was about to happen. Peter sat in front of the assembled audience, struggling with some papers and a music stand, his face painted in fucked up, dripping corpse paint and his shoulders flanked by football pads. His battered acoustic guitar was covered in fading stickers and his arms were completely covered in scars from self-inflicted knife wounds. He appeared to be nervous and too anxious to be in front of all these people. All I could think as he was about to strike the first chords was "What the fuck is going on?!" He belted out a quick 40 second song devoted to the love of cunnilingus and the crowd howled. Seconds after finishing that one, he completely changed gears and destroyed the audience with one of the most honestly depressing songs I had ever heard. The punk kid next to me who earlier looked so tough and bulletproof was sobbing like a baby.
Soon after, I was visiting Chattanooga again and I asked my friend Eric Nelson if he could copy any of Stubb's music for me. He obliged with this tape, "Blueberry Masturbator". He joked around about the less serious songs on the tape but he added, almost gravely, that Peter Stubb is the most honest songwriter that he has ever heard in his life. On the drive back to Alabama, I put it on and got a chance to really immerse myself in it. It starts off almost abruptly with "Social Phobia", which feels as if you just stumbled into an internal monologue that had been occurring long before you arrived. Stubb palm-mutes like crazy in a way that recalls the best RAMONES songs and introduces you to his world of anxious paranoia. The next couple of songs are a complete 180, telling stories of pot heads and objectifying women. While stuff like the latter may offend the ears of my more radical thinking readers (like say, me), I think this is part of the Stubb experience. His songs are uncomfortable, untamed and dark. To only listen to the ones that line up with your political outlook is cheating. "Bodies in the Tub" is about stacking up the dead bodies of his oppressors in his bathtub. "I Don't Care If You Go" is about Stubb's mom. "Crashed and Died" is about a motorcycle wreck in which Peter crashes and dies "like a motherfucker". Towards the end, Stubb launches into some odd speech that is part possessed/part childlike that permeates some of his other songs, but this is it's only appearance on this tape. Just when you thought he wasn't gonna get too serious again, he comes back with "Committed", a crushingly sad song that details his early experiences with the north Georgia mental health system, which I can only imagine is less than stellar. In the song, he sings...
"One teacher asked me, what would I like to be. I said 'A werewolf...a demon inside of me.' She kinda flipped out. She said I needed help. She said 'How long have you felt this way?'. I said 'I don't know. I'm like this everyday.' She said 'We'l get you help..you can count on it.' Next thing I knew, I was committed."
Later, he says that they won't let him out until the sanity is back in him, In the next song "Bu-Doing-Schwing", you're finally convinced that Stubb has lost it in this song about hyper-sexualized lust....and his dick. He makes weird sounds with his voice, which recall many of his earlier tapes and the whole thing is just kinda bizarre. Abruptly, Stubb launches into the last two songs, which take you into the lowest depression of the whole tape. "Just One More Time" is about feeling bad about the things that have happened in your life and wishing you could change them. The final song, "They Took It Away" is epic, destructive and possibly the single most depressing song I have ever heard in my life because it is 100% real and nothing but honest. I can't even do it justice by talking about it. You just have to listen to it alone and let his words pull you into the darkness.
Long before this release, Peter Stubb had been releasing his own self-recorded tapes and he still continues to this day. Many of his early tapes were one of a kind...he would record a couple of songs, make a cover and just give it to a friend. Others were released in a edition of ten or less and you might find a copy of it that Stubb left in the bathroom at a Dalton, GA Wal-Mart. There are countless tapes of his music all over the place. You never knew what you would find on these tapes, but it was/is always interesting. He's still releasing a few tapes a year and if you send him $4-6 cash in the mail, he will send you a new one. You can find Peter here on his FB page and he'll send you his address to order tapes.
I'm putting this up on this site to archive it and for all of his old friends and fans, but mostly I am sharing it in the hopes that someone in a small town in the middle of nowhere will find this and have it change their life in the way it changed mine (as well as many of the people I love).
Thanks to Eric Nelson for everything.
Thanks to Josh Mayfield for being such a dutiful archivist of Stubb's music for so many years.
Thanks to Peter Stubb for making all of this music and for giving me permission to put this tape online.
...and here is a link to the short film "I'm Like This Everyday", made by Mitchell Powers in 2008.