Isocracy vs. Naked Lady Wrestlers
Jason Beebout: The Naked Lady Wrestlers were this band that donned personas of big-time wrestlers. And they were Max Volume, and Ayatollah Moonman Buzzsaw Bill, stuff like that.
We got this thing with them, where they would come to shows just to fuck with us and yell at us, how terrible we were. Max Volume would show up in a fake beard, and start screaming at us from the crowd, and then reveal himself by pulling the beard off: “Hey, that’s right, it’s me! I challenge you guys to a grudge match!”
Max Volume: They were always hopelessly unarmed.
Buzzsaw Bill: Underpowered and outclassed.
Max Volume: They just didn’t have the proper background or the proper breeding to compete with us.
Buzzsaw Bill: Preparation. It’s all in the preparation.
Max Volume: And the execution.
Jason Beebout: John [Kiffmeyer] took Naked Lady Wrestlers really seriously. We had those battles of the bands between us and the Naked Lady Wrestlers.
Max Volume: A colossal imagination.
Buzzsaw Bill: The only thing I remember about Isocracy is the name. Don’t remember anything else about them. Sounds like just another band that wants to be seen with the Naked Lady Wrestlers.
Jason Beebout: And then we actually had a grudge match.
Martin Brohm: It went by rounds. They’d play a song and then we’d play a song. They put ropes up on the stage.
Jason Beebout: They lost that bout, even though they tried to stuff the ballot box.
Martin Brohm: Exactly. People would vote, they’d write down who they thought was better. They were over there stuffin’ the ballot boxes. And they still lost.
Buzzsaw Bill: At Gilman, we’d have some pretty good Berkeley rants. “Berkeley: where all the women are ugly and all the men are homeless…You know, if they’d just hand out soap, razors and a little deodorant with the welfare checks, they could really make some significant improvements in this town.”
There were always kids around. So that’s how we talked to them: “You little snots.” We talked about how messy the place was: “Don’t you kids clean up?”
Max Volume: “I look around here, you write on the wall, you jump on the furniture — is this the way you people act at home? This whole place is a mess! I see these bands come out here, they write their name all over the place. You know why? Because if they don’t, everyone’s gonna forget all about ‘em.”
Jason Beebout: They were from Rodeo, Crockett. Me and John [Kiffmeyer] went to go scope out Max, he lived down by the water in some weird shack. Then we got kinda creeped out, we were pulling back the curtain. We didn’t want to know the real Max.
Max Volume: No! Hell no. They’re talking about my parents’ boat harbor. Yeah, I lived in the harbor master’s house. I was a harbor master for quite awhile. They’ve got it all twisted around. They got nothing better to do, and I wish them luck.
At Gilman, we went out there and we turned good for one gig. We were good guys. We came out there, we apologized, first off. I signed a sworn affidavit that I would never again take any unduly lengthy or needlessly complicated guitar solos. We got a suit for Mr. Yohannan. And we got a cake that said, “Many apologies to the fans, from the NLW.” We played a song or two.
Buzzsaw Bill: And then something happened.
Max Volume: We were making a big deal about this, in between every song. Talking about how we’re here for the fans. We’re here for you. And all of a sudden our drummer, Junior Brownhouse came out. And Brownhouse was brilliant, ‘cause we hadn’t really discussed how we were gonna do this at all.
We were showing off this suit that we got for Mr. Yohannan. He said, “You know, we spent a lot of money on this suit for Mr. Yohannan. And I noticed that he ain’t even here tonight. And you know what else I noticed? Is that we haven’t been getting the respect that we deserve! And here’s what I think of this coat!” Rrrriiipppppp! “And here’s what I think of this cake!” He threw the cake onto the coat. Plump! “Here’s what I think of this signed sworn affidavit – that’s right, rip it up, Max, rip it up! That’s right, we did it your way, we tried it Yohannan’s way. Now we’re gonna do it the NLW way, baby!” And we were bad guys the rest of the gig. That was great fun. To lie to the fans and tell them how sorry we were. Sittin’ there actin’ all good and stuff. We only did it once.
Martin Brohm: They were funny as shit. They were one of the funniest live bands ever. ‘Cause they all had their personas. And they carried those personas throughout the whole show. Even if they just showed up to one of our shows, he still was in that Max Volume persona.
Jason Beebout: These guys were probably like 40. Max Volume, Buzzsaw Bill. I don’t remember the drummer, they always had a different drummer. It was always some poor guy. I think Max taught guitar lessons.
Max Volume: It’s a lesson every time I play guitar, if that’s what they mean.
Buzzsaw Bill: Anybody who’s ever watched him play guitar got a lesson.
Martin Brohm: They probably played Gilman for a year or two. We have these great tapes of Max Volume calling the Isocracy hotline. Which is in one of the songs. It was a real number, and it was John Kiffmeyer’s home number. So Max Volume would leave these fuckin’ hilarious messages, like [deep wrestler voice], “You guys are nothing…we are going to des-troy you.” And his voice was sooo good.