Seth Putnam—frontman of the long-running grindcore band Anal Cunt as well as a multitude of side projects—died Saturday of a heart attack. He was 43. Putnam was perhaps best known for his crude, hateful, antagonistic, hateful, hilarious, and hateful song titles and lyrics; hate was his medium, and he was a maestro. But in addition to A.C.’s 23-year legacy of misanthropy, Putnam was a prolific guest artist whose vocals appeared, either on record or on stage, on songs by a roll call of notable metal bands—among them Corrosion Of Conformity, Napalm Death, Today Is The Day, Brutal Truth, Eyehategod, and Pantera, whose 1996 classic The Great Southern Trendkill features Putnam on four tracks.
Putnam’s vocals, of course, were mostly of the choking-on-a-live-rodent variety. But the purity of his filth—plus a copious amount of scene-centric shout-outs and inside jokes—made him a warily beloved (or at least heartily laughed-at) figure in the metal and hardcore underground. Still, his public drug use, self-destructive antics, and uncompromising belligerence left him teetering perpetually on the edge of implosion.
In many ways a one-man Metalocalypse, Putnam ate, puked, and shat metal. But his cartoonish abusiveness was far from loveable; as goofy and self-effacing as his songs could sometimes be—including many pop-culture parodies and mutilated covers of everyone from MC Hammer to Morrissey—he also frequently trafficked in racism, misogyny, and homophobia. In fact, Putnam dropped the pejorative “gay” like a chef sprinkling shaved truffles. Most Putnam obits so far seem to relish padding themselves with laundry lists of his offensive song titles; we’ll leave you to look them up. Although we bet you can easily imagine them on your own—or even see if you can spot them in our Anal Cunt Song Title Quiz from a while back.
Anal Cunt’s latest full-length from last year, Fuckin’ A—most definitely not to be confused with the Thermals album of the same name—is a tangent for the band, a reimagining of sleazy ’80s glam rock as run through the intestinal tract of a homeless man. A companion album, the prophetically dubbed Wearing Out Our Welcome, is reportedly near completion, although the future of that album, and the band, is obviously in doubt. Needless to say, no one could possibly (or sanely want to) take Putnam’s place.
Asking Putnam—a man who once infamously emerged from a crack-and-Ambien-induced coma to gleefully perform the Anal Cunt classic, “You’re In A Coma,” while still nerve-damaged from his near-death ordeal—to somehow “rest in peace” may seem a little glib. Instead, here's hoping he’s already putting together a kickass supergroup with GG Allin and El Duce, preferably someplace hot and dark.
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