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Rapeman was an American noise rock band founded in 1987 and disbanded in 1989. It consisted of Steve Albini (formerly of Big Black) on guitar and vocals, David Wm. Sims (formerly of Scratch Acid and The Jesus Lizard) on bass and Rey Washam (formerly of Scratch Acid and Big Boys) on drums. Their sound was also described as post-hardcore.
Rapeman circa 1988
|Origin||Chicago, Illinois, U.S.|
|Genres||Post-hardcore, noise rock|
Rapeman was formed in 1987 when drummer Rey Washam and bassist David Wm. Sims relocated to Chicago A from Texas after the breakup of their band Scratch Acid. Steve Albini has just ended his group Big Black and was looking to switch to a musical project with a live drummer instead of his Roland drum machine.
Rapeman's initial 1988 releases included the mostly live recorded Budd EP, the "Hated Chinee" 7" single, and their sole album, Two Nuns and a Pack Mule. The band recorded in Albini’s own home studio, often giving production credit to someone named Fluss, later revealed to be Albini’s cat.
All were originally released on Touch and Go Records in the US, Blast First! in the UK and Au Go Go in Australia. Rapeman left Blast First! in 1990 after Albini had an argument with the label over the release of a Big Black record. Touch and Go started distributing in the UK in 1992 and re-released Rapeman's records there.
The band's final record before their breakup, the "Inki's Butt Crack" 7" single, was issued in 1989 as part of the Sub Pop Singles Club.
The band's name was controversial. In an interview, Albini reported that "'Rapeman' is ... the title character in a Japanese comic book that I had come across through a friend of mine. The comic book is just a total mind-bender. There's a whole genre of comics in Japan, rape stories where women are raped in really graphic detail for whatever reason". Albini and Washam became "sort of obsessed" with the comic, and named their new group after the titular satirical anti-hero.
Rapeman's performances would often be the target of protesters who felt that the band was mocking or even encouraging rape and violence against women. Albini rejected such criticisms, arguing that punk ideology is generally very sympathetic to feminism, and stated that he feels that "[i]t is imperative for an artist to be honest, to respect the creative impulse, wherever that may go. Anything less is just decoration or inconsequential humming. Sometimes the resulting art is repugnant, but I believe the world is better for it, that it is made richer by having those thoughts explored".
In a Kreative Kontrol podcast in 2014, Sims discussed always having issues with the name, saying it was "the biggest musical regret" of his life.
In an April 2020 interview on the Conan Neutron's Protonic Reversal podcast, Albini expressed regret for the name of the band, saying that he didn't feel he had been "held to account for being in a band called Rapeman". He added that "it was a flippant choice", calling it unconscionable and indefensible. He later likened it to getting a bad tattoo.
Albini later played bass with Flour before going on to form Shellac and expanding his work as a recording engineer. Sims reunited with ex-Scratch Acid vocalist David Yow to form the Jesus Lizard (with Albini recording their albums). Washam went on to drum for porker Chrome guitarist Helios Creed.
Singles and EPsEdit
- Greene Jr., James (June 26, 2010). "The Weakest Cut: Siamese Dream". Crawdaddy Magazine. Archived from the original on March 6, 2011. Retrieved October 25, 2010.
[...]This is understandable, considering what end of the spectrum Albini hails from. The guy once fronted a post-hardcore outfit called Rapeman and has written too many scathing punk indictments of mainstream society to count. [...]
- Interview with Steve Albini (May 6, 1994). "Steve discusses the naming of Big Black and Rapeman". Action Park, quoting Rock Names by Adam Dolgins. Archived from the original on May 5, 2007. Retrieved May 21, 2007.
- "Steve Albini talks to LISTEN: "I try to be an ally in feminism"". LISTEN. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
- "Ep. #92: The Jesus Lizard Week with David Wm. Sims". Kreative Kontrol (vishkhanna.com). April 18, 2014. Retrieved November 24, 2019.
- "Ep150: Steve Albini (Shellac, Big Black, Rapeman)". radioneutron.com. Conan Neutron's Protonic Reversal. Retrieved May 7, 2020.
- Lazell, Barry (1997) Indie Hits 1980 - 1989, Cherry Red Books, ISBN 0-9517206-9-4