The Bug Nasties
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The Bug Nasties


Band Rock Punk


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"The Bug Nasties"

With their amped-up, R&B-inflected garage rock, The Bug Nasties could easily have stood alongside The Sonics back in their mid-1960s heyday. The band shares the same frantic, spasm-inducing rhythms and aggressive guitar attacks.

James Burdyshaw, who once played in Sinister Six and Catbutt, is a commanding presence as a frontman - he has no qualms about hamming up his performance and entreating people to shake their bodies.

"Our more revved-up tunes really sound better when the crowd is gyrating," he says. "Most people in Seattle do the weaving from side-to-side while holding a beer shuffle, but people are starting to cut loose at our shows a bit more. I just have to keep trying to bring them out of their shell."

A CD is planned for release in the spring of 2006.

-Tizzy Asher - Seattle Post Intelligencer

"Nasty Old Soul: Rock 'n' Roll Has Brother James Set for Life"

By Fred Beldin (May 3, 2007)

Youthful stupidity will always be one of the hallmarks of rock 'n' roll, but soul has to be earned. It took six years of gigging for Seattle garage punks the Bug Nasties to see their music processed and packaged into tangible merch-table product, but their new record, Which Way Ya Gonna Go?, has all the grit and guts to show for it. Singer, guitarist, and all-around Bug Nasties honcho James Burdyshaw has cracked into his fourth decade of life and his second decade of Seattle rock, but dismisses the suggestion that it's unbecoming for a man of his age to carry on so loudly.

"I may be getting older, but I'm not slowing down, that's for sure," Burdyshaw says. "Eventually we all become old timers, but when it comes, do we want to walk around talking about the greater glory of 1989? No, 2007. Take some glory right here."

Known to friends as Brother James, Burdyshaw has kept his nose to the grindstone of local rock since 1984, and tells "back in the day" stories that curdle the blood. But that's all stuff for the history books, and besides, he's careful to keep anything that doesn't concern him off the record (this time, anyway—his lips were looser when Everett True interviewed him for a recent grunge memoir). Fair enough—this is Burdyshaw's story, and any tales that don't lead up to his here and now with the Bug Nasties are merely background static.

Burdyshaw first hit Seattle stages fronting 64 Spiders, mixing Sonics-style rock with the noisy Touch and Go aesthetic of the day. After a few years of that action came the band he begrudgingly admits he's best known for. "Cat Butt was supposed to be a side project," says Burdyshaw. "But it sorta took over my life." A blues-trash-punk act known for loud outfits, prodigious intoxicant abuse, and a fondness for covers, Cat Butt appeared on the fabled Sub Pop 2000 compilation and earned national notoriety. Burdyshaw ceded frontman responsibilities and stuck to guitar, letting Cat Butt mastermind David Duet steer the ship.

"A lot of weird shit happened in that band," says Burdyshaw. "LSD and sex, psycho episodes, weapons, being buried." Wait a minute—what? "I was buried in a video, up to my neck in mud. Some kind of weird idea that ended up being a big farce, this pagan ritual out in Green River. Everybody high on LSD, running around in grass skirts and face paint—like some weird, futuristic punk tribe." The footage never saw the light of day. "Too lazy," he sighs. "The experience was more important than the effort we took to document it."

Cat Butt's status as a first-generation Sub Pop act—plus a moniker that's memorable to a fault—claims a major slice of Burdyshaw's legacy, but the grungy, problematic quintet was short-lived and underdocumented. That's not the case with his next major project, the Sinister Six, which debuted in 1991 and lasted the decade. Eschewing the by-then-formulaic "Seattle sound," the Six exchanged dirt for grease and prospered as a garage-punk act with Burdyshaw on guitar, releasing albums and singles for labels such as Empty, Bag of Hammers, and Get Hip, mounting U.S. tours, and making a jaunt to Europe.

The millennium dawned, the Sinister Six disbanded, and Burdyshaw started over. "The Bug Nasties were basically me wanting to be a frontman again," he said, this time bringing all of his musical obsessions to the fore: '60s mods and the American soul bands they emulated, Detroit rock and Motown, Nuggets and Pebbles and the punk spirit of 1976. The band has weathered regular rhythm-section turnover, but there's potential for the current lineup to be the mightiest. Bassist Scott LaRose and drummer Vic Hart carry the germ of hardcore in their bloodstreams—Hart's kinetic style suggests a wrestling match between Keith Moon and D. H. Peligro, and LaRose's pedigree goes back to 1981 with local teenage thrashers Aerobic Death. Former U-Man Tom Price adds Farfisa when the mood strikes, but the Nasties generally take the power-trio route, with Burdyshaw as MC.

"I'm not reinventing anything," he says. "I'm taking what I love and making it me, me and the guys I play with—us."

Most musicians keep bread in their mouths with slave gigs, and currently the United Way employs Burdyshaw as a data analyst, but Brother James won't abdicate his rightful place on the local stage. "Every time I start a new band, I have to start over," he says. "My reputation doesn't always translate to the other band. Maybe there never was a reputation. Every time, I do it for the love of it, not because there's a dollar sign or fame or notoriety attached to it. There isn't."

Burdyshaw retains his vitality by remaining as dedicated to his craft as ever, maybe more so. When the Bug Nasties are on, they're on full blast, and each sweaty lick and howl of "hey, hey, hey" is an uninhibited invitation to join a dance party that's been rolling for decades.

"Rock 'n' roll as an art form is now in its classical period," Burdyshaw says. "We've already gone through the gestation, birth, infancy, puberty, adolescence, adulthood, this whole life cycle. A professor once told me that reading James Joyce was like having a conversation with all of history. That's kinda what I'm doing, I'm having a conversation with rock 'n' roll."
- The Stranger (Index Newspapers, LLC)


CD/LP "Which Way Ya Wanna Go?" (Flotation Records)
CD "The Funhouse Comp Thing" - Night Trip (My Fat Ass Productions)

We have tracks on's podcast and are currently in rotation on KUSF (San Francisco), KALX (Berkely), KBOO (Portland) and KEXP (Seattle).



The Bug Nasties ask "Which Way Ya Wanna Go, Baby?". The Bug Nasties translate pounding 60's R&B through the buzz & crackle of today's music. We started as a vehicle for Brother James to get his soul singer aspirations out of the closet by fronting his own band. The drive behind The Bug Nasties is playing upbeat, outta site music with passion and having loads of fun doing it!

Brother James' history goes back to the mid-80's Seattle music scene with pioneering grunge/punk bands 64 Spiders and Subpop's Catbutt. He formed The Sinister Six (Get Hip) in 1991, and after years of touring the US & Europe and three successful LP's, it was time to form a band that captured the passion of the English Mod bands and the excitement of James Brown on stage at The Apollo.

During the frenzy of a particularly good night, Brother James will engage in a dance contest with an audience member or elicit the entire room in a call-and-response sing-a-long. On the nights we have played Studio '66, James dances with the Go-Go Girls while furiously strumming on the guitar. Each band member takes a solo in classic 60's rave-up fashion.

The band's largest influences are James Brown, Ike & Tina, The Small Faces, Motown, The Who, The Yardbirds, The Jam, The Buzzcocks and The Gories. We cover songs by Marvin Gaye, Small Faces, Barret Strong, The Jam, and The Sorrows. The majority of our songs are original compositions by Brother James and arrangements by the group. New drummer Matt Jones played in legendary Subpop garage band The Nights & Days. Tom Price of Gas Huffer is now our resident keyboard player.

In 2004, we played two big garage rock festivals in California - Wasted Weekend in Sacramento and Budget Rock in San Francisco. We have shared bills with Andre Williams, The Flash Express, The Love Me Nots, The Chelsea Smiles, The Morlocks, The Sermon, Thee Emergency, Love Battery, Thee Shams and Gas Huffer.

Our debut CD was released in the spring of 2007 titled "Which Way Ya Wanna Go?" on Flotation Records. In spring of 2009, we will release a 7" record 'She's So Right' on Flotation.