Hey You! Are you Butthole Surfers-fanatic enough to know: there’s a documentary coming soon about the Butthole Surfers? Well, we approached the producer Noa Durban to tell us everything about the most anticipated punk documentary of the two-thousand-twenties.

– Please, introduce yourself! You are a full time Butthole Surfers movie producer?

– My name is Noa Durban, I live in Los Angeles. I have been a marketing strategist and consultant for various artists, nonprofits, and other businesses up until I teamed up with Tom Stern last year. The Butthole Surfers Movie is my first, and I am producing it full-time.

– How did you come by the idea to make a documentary about BS? Who else is involved in the works?

– Director/producer Tom Stern has been friends with the Butthole Surfers since he first shot their CBGB’s show in the mid-eighties in NY while he was in film school. He collaborated with them on multiple projects like the short Entering Texas, the feature film Freaked, and his recent video for Paul Leary – Do You Like to Eat a Cow. Paul Leary and Gibby Haynes told him that if there would ever be a documentary about them, they’d want him to do it – and so, now he is! Tom has always wanted to do a film with the Butthole Surfers. His movie, Freaked, was originally meant to be a Butthole Surfers narrative film! But life happened, and it never got made. Now the Buttholes are at a point in their lives where they are ready to have such a film made, so this movie would be like a culmination of Tom and the band’s relationship that has spanned more than three decades. Our executive producer, Paul Rachman, is a notable music video and documentary director/producer, plus a co-founder of the esteemed Slamdance Film Festival. We are also working in collaboration with the band who has been kind enough to offer us free access to their catalogue.

Tom Stern, the Gibby puppet and Noa Durban

– Please help us imagine the movie! Will it follow a timeline or a dramaturgical structure? Will it contain exclusives, like never before published video footages or photos, special guests etc?

– We plan on structuring this doc more like a musical, leaning into the songs from the band’s deep library and letting the music provide the structure. Into that spine we will add the best of our exhaustive interviews, archival footage, cutting-edge animation and graphics, and surreal reenactments, to tell the story of the band and their tumultuous history, but less chronological and more experimental – in the anarchic spirit of the band.

– What was your most memorable moment from the shootings so far?

– It’s really hard to choose a single moment out of this incredible journey, but personally, I think it was off-camera when Gibby showed me how to work the bullhorn and we improvised some stuff together. It was a hugely significant moment for me – “making music” (or noise) with Gibby.

– Looking at your Instagram, you are close to members of the band. As we know, not all of them live in Texas anymore, Gibby, for example, lives in Brooklyn perhaps? Do you travel a lot like you’re shooting a road movie, or summon the band members somewhere?

– We have been travelling a fair amount throughout the United States scouring for the best interviews and stories. We have shot in multiple cities and 7 states, and we are expecting to shoot in at least 3 additional states in the next couple of months. It might sound like we are taking a leisurely road trip, but that’s really not the case – it’s just that people are far more inclined to participate if you come to them instead of asking them to come to us.

King Coffey, Tom Stern, the Gibby puppet, Paul Leary and Noa Durban

– Jeff Pinkus is not mentioned neither on the project site nor in the trailer. What about him?

– Jeff Pinkus is a dear friend and legendary bass player – he has been supportive of our project but has chosen to sit it out. That being said, we have nothing but love and appreciation for Jeff and we would be more than happy to include him in the film if and when he’s ready.

Noa Durban and Jeff Pinkus

– How the hell was the giant groundhogs made and did it play the guitar (saw in the trailer)?– The groundhogs shown on our sizzle reel were, unfortunately, digitally composited. Paul Leary has requested that we use groundhogs for some live action reenactments, so we paid him homage by adding them to the sizzle. You might see some real-live trained groundhogs wearing tiny Butthole Surfers outfits in the film – stay tuned…

– We saw the Gibby puppet and the ‘Gibby recently discovered he is part Ashkenazi Jew!‘ clip. Could you tell us more about this puppet?

– The Gibby puppet was designed by superstar puppeteer Drew Massey. It is one of many creative tools we will use to bring the Butthole Surfers’ story to life. Because most 80s and 90s footage is low-res personal VHS recordings, we really want to be creative in our recreations of their tales. We also don’t want to just show a string of “talking heads” interviews and we strive to make a movie that captures some of their insane creativity,  so puppets and groundhogs and anything else goes!

– Their last album to date is from 2001. As an expert on BS, can you tell us if there will ever be another one?

– Regarding a new Butthole Surfers release – never say never! There are interesting things in motion as we speak…

– Why is it so important to make a documentary about BS in 2022?

– The Butthole Surfers are influential, and well-respected, but they’re criminally under-documented. We feel that the time has cometo cement their rightful place in rock/punk/music/Texas history.

– Perhaps you remember the moment when you became their fan. How did it happen? Have you ever seen them playing live?

– Unfortunately, I was born in 1993 and spent most of my life in my home country of Israel, so I never good to see them live! That’s one of the reasons I’m very driven to make this movie come to life. I want to expose people who haven’t had the chance to experience the full Butthole Surfers experience in real time to their magic through this film. I have been a huge fan of theirs for about a decade now. I learned about them via Jesus Built My Hotrod. Gibby’s vocals had me hooked and I was blown away when I dug deeper and “discovered” the Butthole Surfers. I feel extremely fortunate to work on this dream project!   

– Please tell, how is Gibby doing nowadays? How is he spending his days, what projects is he into?

– Gibby is doing great, living with his wife and son in Brooklyn. He is mostly busy being a baseball dad to his kid. He also released a really great young adult/children’s book called Me and Mr. Cigar in 2020, and he’s been touring and performing with Paul Green’s School of Rock in recent years.

Noa Durban and the real Gibby Haynes

– When this movie is done, do you have any ideas for another one?

– Personally, as far as music docs go, another band I would love to explore are Type O Negative – another legendary underrated band that deserves a lot more credit than it gets. Tom and I are also spitballing ideas for a horror narrative feature film.

– According to plans, when do you intend to premiere the film? Could BS fans help you in some way to achieve this goal and what do you need exactly for making/finishing the movie?

– We intend to premiere the film at a festival like Sundance or SXSW aruond this time next year! We are still fundraising to start an editing room ASAP and get a rough cut done by September, in time for festival submission. If any of the fans reading this are able to contribute, we would immensely appreciate any size donation! Donations are also tax-deductible in the US through our fiscal sponsors, The Film Collaborative. Donate HERE!

– Once upon a time, RNR666 Magazine released a 7″ and we chose “MUSIC FOR GIBBY” for our motto. We kept copy number 1, with a view to getting it to Gibby. Would you take this sacred mission upon you to give him the 7″ and, if possible, capture the moment for us?

– We would be happy to give your 7″ to Gibby and we will do our best to shoot his reaction. Do you need our shipping info?


All photos source: Noa Durban

This article can be read in Hungarian language HERE

Thanks for the translating: Csati


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