Houston, TX based PT blended together traditional rock music and sampling and digital effects in a way that sounded remarkably like few other bands.
Centered around Scott Ayers and Bliss Blood, the band was formed in 1985 and originally was a solo project of Ayers whoat the time was enrolled at the University of Houston. He started experimenting with guitar effects and produced music similar to that found on “My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts” (a collaboration between Brian Eno and David Byrne).
Ayers first release was a cassette compilation of Houston bands the cover of which was a photo of hair forced through the windshield that he found at the library of University of Houston. Blood was working as a journalist and saw both of his bands perform and she also knew him from an anthropology class at UoH.
Through their mutual musical interests, they started making home recordings at Scott’s house. Some of those recordings included Bliss Blood reading Psychology textbook and DSM on tape. Further on, Blood also started doing singing and the band also started picking up some of the imagery for actual songs from the likes of H.P. Lovecraft and M.R. James.
Their first actual release was a tape called “Psychoactive” which also contained recordings by Ayers project Anarchitex. More tapes followed and the band also started their own label Anomie Records, which put out material by PT, as well as fellow bands/projects, such as Turmoil In The Toybox, Esoterica Landscapes 7, Truth Decay and Walking Timebombs.
In 1988, the band produced a self-described “best-of” tape which included excerpts from nine cassettes that they produced in previous years and during that year they also started touring/performing live. Their first show was opening for Dan Workman (Culturcide) solo performance.
Throughout the following years the band played Houston clubs like Cabaret Voltaire and opened for the likes of Swans, Psychic TV, Cop Shoot Cop, Honeymoon Killers, Foetus and White Zombie. They also played with many of the bands that they would become labelmates with, when they signed to King Coffey’s (Butthole Surfers) label Trance Syndicate.
Another club called Axiom was also a frequent place inhabited by the band (the club also featured shows by Rollins Band, Nirvana, Jesus Lizard and many others). Pain Teens presented their second album “Case Histories”, as well as the compilation of local bands called “Houston Loud”. They also played their final show at Axiom in the late 1993.
Further on, they toured US, Holland and Germany, along with the likes of Brutal Truth, Boredoms, Cop Shoop Cop, Fudge Tunnel and Season To Risk.
The first CD (preceded by a string of tapes and two LPs) was “Born In Blood” which came out Trance Syndicate1 in 1990. All Music Guide website commented on the record that while it contains plenty of “doom and gloom and clanking percussion”, it also demonstrates the band’s “firm grasp on song structure”, as well as pronounced vocals by Bliss Blood. “Born In Blood” also included a cover of David Bowie’s “She Shook Me Cold” (which, according, to AMG, brings out the comparisons with Swans who did a cover of Blind Faith’s “Can’t Find My Way Home”).
1992 brought Stimulation Festival, which AMG described as “nothing if not representative of Pain Teens’ sonic assault.” Commenting on the content of the CD and subjects covered by band, AMG pointed out that “Death, struggle, and female health/physiology are subjects typically covered either directly or metaphorically — that is, depending on how you read the song titles, as Ayers’ sonic monstrosities often drown out Blood’s missives.”
While the band still incorporated exotic samples and guitar loops, songwriting also moved them toward being a bit more conventional rock band. Some critics compared some of music that the band produced on 1993 “Destroy Me Lover” and 1994 band’s swansong “Beast Of Dreams” to that of PJ Harvey, but some of the more familiar elements were also as evident as ever. Some of those elements made AMG ponder whether Scott Ayers tortures his instruments and puts cigarettes on the face of Roland 808 and whether the band accidentally recorded the sound of Fender Stratocaster guitar being drawn and quartered.
The band dissolved by the mid 90s, when Bliss Blood moved to New York and started exploring some of the more vintage music (and she also made an appearance on records by Melvins, Exit-13 and Angels Of Light) , while Scott Ayers continued playing with his solo project Walking Timebombs, which, unfortunately, as of 2009 seems to be M.I.A.
1998 saw the release of “Pain Teens” CD (on Charnel Music label), which contained all material from the original LP of the same name, four bonus tracks and one mystery track.
The band recorded one track for Manifestation compilation under the name Fortunes of Vice. Manifestation was an ongoing series of compilations, first volume of which was produced by the band’s own label Anomie Records and later volumes were put out by another Houston label called Awefull Records (run by Tim Sternat from Esoterica Landscapes 7). The band pointed out that they recorded under the different name since they felt the material was too extreme to release it under their own name.
Bliss Blood (Angels Of Light)
Frank Gary Martin (Walking Timebombs)
Ralf Armin (Culturcide, Truth Decay)
Scott Ayers (Truth Decay, Walking Timebombs)
Cathy Cass (Anomie, 1987)
Manmade Disasters Cass (Anomie, 1987)
Collective Unconscious Mythology And You Cass (Anomie, 1988)
Dog Spirits Cass (Anomie, 1988)
Narcolepsy Cass (Anomie, 1988)
Pain Teens CD / LP (Anomie, 1988 / Charnel Music, 1998)
Case Histories LP (Anomie, 1988)
Born In Blood CD / LP (Trance Syndicate, 1990)
Obliviated Cass (Anomie, 1990)
Pain Teens / God And Texas Split 7″ (Rave, 1991)
Pain Teens / Lost Split 7″ (Spank, 1991)
Lady Of Flame EP 7″ (Smilin’ Ear, 1991)
Sacrificial Shack 7″ (C/Z, 1991)
Death Row Eyes 7″ (Sub Pop, 1992)
Stimulation Festival CD / LP / Cass (Trance Syndicate, 1992)
Destroy Me, Lover CD / LP / Cass (Trance Syndicate, 1993)
Beast Of Dreams CD / LP (Trance Syndicate, 1995)
Pain Teens / Meathead Split 7″ (Sub/Mission, 1996)
“E.K.G.” + “Geraldo 666” on Houston Loud (Anomie, 1989)
“Crumble” on Arrythmia (Charnel Music, 1990)
“It Will” on Love & Napalm Vol. 1 (Trance Syndicate, 1990)
“Poured Out Blood” on Love & Napalm Vol. 2 (Trance Syndicate, 1991)
“One Thousand Nights” + “Daughter Of Chaos” + “King Wicker” on Manifestation (Anomie, 1991)
“Come Up & See Me Sometime” on Teryiaki Asthma V| (C/Z, 1991)
“Hands In Fire” on Mesomorph Enduros (Big Cat UK, 1992)
“Unthinkable” + “Noh Jam” + “She Shook Me” on Rhythm For Bodybags (EFA, 1992)
“Ituri” + “You Only Twice” on Love & Napalm (Trance Syndicate, 1993)
“Manouche” on ¡Cinco Años! (Trance Syndicate, 1995)
“Tigress Of Babylon” on Meathead Against The World (Sub/Mission, 1996)
“Coral Kiss” on Mind The Gap Vol. 6 (Gonzo Circus Magazine, 1996)
Drinking And Driving (Black Flag) / I Got A Right (Stooges) (Live At Vortex, 1991)
On a Different Note:
- Pain Teens Special – Bio + Selected Discography
- Pain Teens Special – Bliss Blood Interview
- Pain Teens Special – Scott Ayers Interview
- Band Profile // Crust
- Stuff You Might've Missed – Crust