Pain Teens were originally a solo project started in the early 80's by guitarist Scott Ayers while he was a student a University of Houston. He had experimented with reel-to-reel tape machines, cassettes, guitar effects and created some tracks similar to those on "My Life in the Bush of Ghosts" by Brian Eno and David Byrne. Except Scott's aesthetic was much more extreme and dark, very satirical and politically charged. His early songs included "Sexual Anorexia", "Symptoms", "Evil Dirt", and "The Secret of Good Luck" as well as dozens of other strange multi-track recordings.
His first official release was a Houston cassette compilation in which he used a photo of hair forced through a windshield in a car crash from an old book he found in the UofH library, and this was about the time I saw his band Naked Amerika perform at a club in Houston called The Ale House. Also performing were other Houston stalwarts Grindin' Teeth and Culturcide. I was writing live performance and record reviews at the time for Houston's weekly free paper The Public News and I reviewed the show. Scott and I had been friends at UofH in Anthropology class, and I had also seen his band at that time, which was called Alien Labor and also featured Bart Enoch on drums, and David Parker on bass, both would play drums later in Pain Teens.
I was interested in singing and making "industrial" music, so the two of us joined forces making home recordings at Scott's parents' old house about a mile from where I lived. At that time, 1985, we just started improvising stuff and I tried to get used to hearing my voice on tape. We recorded me reading out of an old and very bizarre Psychology textbook that Scott had on hand, as well as the DSM and other assorted sources, and I began to do some singing. Scott never lacked for new tracks, he was relentless in his daily recording schedule, so there was plenty to experiment with. I in turn got him interested in the writings of H.P. Lovecraft and M.R. James, which provided imagery and song titles on our early music, including "Brown Jenkin", "Count Magnus", "Mindless Piping", and of course the epic 20 minute "Shadow over Innsmouth". After about 2 years we were ready to release our first cassette, "Psychoactive" which was a 45-minute set of songs backed with recordings of Scott's project Anarchitex.
Other tapes rapidly followed and we decided to create our own record label to release our debut on LP, named Anomie Records. Our self-titled album came out in 1988, sort of a "best-of" of our nine cassette tapes (all 90 minutes long except for "Psychoactive").
We also began performing live, our first show opening for Dan Workman's solo performance with Perry Webb, his partner in the band Culturcide, making 7-foot high symmetrical drawings during the entire performance. Our set was a bit tentative (I wore a veil over my face and Scott wore a mask like the killer in "Halloween") but very noisy and set the stage for more live erformances, each one trying to get more theatrical and outrageous.