Underwear Meat Clock

1.  Underwear Meat Clock Theme

2.  Love Her Carpet

3.  Fop

4.  Let's Kiss

5.  Time to Get it Up

6.  VRoom

7.  No Bush '93

8.  Coney Island Dog

9.  Jail Bait 

 

What can be said about the Underwear Meat Clock legacy that hasn’t already been expounded upon in the history books of rock ‘n’ roll? The story of how Puss, Lucky, and Guitar Boy created their revolutionary, bass-free sound has become a modern-day fable of semi-epic proportions. But while “Underwear Meat Clock” is now a household name—and an inspiration to thousands of pale, suburban adolescents yearning to play in a band without actually taking music lessons—it’s well worth remembering the group’s ultimate achievement: Underwear Meat Clock was the greatest warm-up band ever witnessed by the Knoxville music scene.   

 

Certainly, that is a boast claimed by many a Knoxville group over the years, but none clutched the title so closely to their hearts than the members of Underwear Meat Clock. It was a point of pride that eventually led to the group’s dissolution.  

The UMC story really begins in the mind of Knoxville music impresario Col. Todd Steed. While other talent managers of the mid ‘90s were signing the latest rap-rock fusion bands, Col. Steed envisioned a new “alternative alternative-rock” to sweep the nation—a radical sound with nobody playing bass. One day, when he stumbled upon Puss, Lucky, and Guitar Boy at Raven Records, Col. Steed knew he had found his band. Although the three record-store clerks weren’t actually playing instruments at the time (and were in fact just chatting with friends or screwing off), the Colonel instinctively felt that their natural chemistry would mesmerize concertgoers who arrived early to shows. Thus, he assembled the trio that would form Underwear Meat Clock—Knoxville’s first and only warm-up super-group. 

“They’ve got all the natural talent it takes to be an opening band,” bragged the cigar-chomping Col. Steed at the time. “These kids give the best damn 30-minute shows this town has ever seen! We’re going straight to second place!” 

Sadly, his prediction became all too true. Soon after forming, UMC zoomed to opening-act status at some the city’s smallest nightclubs, legendary show palaces like Gryphon’s Laundromat, the Snakesnatch Lodge, and even the Longbranch Saloon. With Puss’s overtly sexual stage presence, Lucky’s vast knowledge of used guitar licks, and Guitar Boy’s rock-steady rhythmic confusion, Underwear Meat Clock imploded on the Knoxville music scene. It wasn’t long before this success led to temptation: an offer to headline a mud-wrestling show at Michael’s on the glittery Kingston Pike strip. Refusing to sell out to their dozen or so fans, Lucky issued this resolute statement to the South Knoxville Shopper: “We won’t headline. It’s pointless. It’s stupid. We open. We open because we like to get drunk after we play.” 

But this steadfast resolve wasn’t enough to save the band. There was one major flaw in Col. Steed’s management plan for the super-group: Opening bands usually only get paid in beers. Once he realized that 15 percent of free beer would never cover the mortgage payment on his miniature plantation-style mansion in Gettysvue, the Colonel immediately dropped UMC from his roster of acts. Underwear Meat Clock’s rocket-ride to semi-stardom lasted only two and a half weeks. 

Just another rock ‘n’ roll tale of quick success and sudden failure? It might have been that way for Underwear Meat Clock—if it weren’t for the music. Years after the group’s members went their separate ways—Puss to a storied career in Florida gentlemen’s clubs, Lucky to a Vestal rehab center specializing in Natural Light addiction, and Guitar Boy to a Tibetan ashram in North Carolina—a scavenger cleaning out a Fort Sanders home before its demolition for a new parking garage discovered a studio tape reel. He sold it for 50 cents at the Alcoa Highway Flea Market to one Jeff Bills—none other than the mastermind behind Lynnpoint Records. Although the miserly producer intended on taping over the mysterious reel with demos from his latest teen-pop doo-wop group, Bills nevertheless gave the now-famous tape a listen. This twist of fate changed the very face of rock ‘n’ roll. 

Now, of course, “The Lost Underwear Meat Clock Sessions” have become a part of rock history—and an influence on countless bands that have discarded their bass players and adopted a crude blooz-punk sound adorned with satiric lyrics. Songs like “Luv Her Carpet,” “Time to Get It Up,” and “Coney Island Dog” have become standards in the ironic power-duo repertoire. The group has been the subject of several VH1 shows—Behind the Music, Where Are They Now?, and Hating the ‘90s. Finally, just this year, the group was inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Warm-Up Band Hall of Fame, joining such somewhat well-known luminaries as Jupiter Coyote and Tall Paul.  

Will Underwear Meat Clock ever reunite? Could the members possibly rediscover the magic they once wielded so effortlessly? Can they find a way to get over their personal differences and once again entertain the concertgoers who show up early to get drunk before the main act comes on? Only time will tell.  

But until then, before you go out tonight to see some big-name rock band, crack open a 12-pack and play these Underwear Meat Clock tunes for your own personal warm-up. Puss, Lucky, and Guitar Boy would have wanted it that way.  

Coury Turczyn

   

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