B R I O K I D S written by Billiam5Billion
I’ve got a tattoo on my right arm that people always ask about.
It’s a radiation logo…
…which has been superimposed over a biohazard logo…
…to create the iconic (to some) Briokids logo-
In lettering above and then below this conspicuous symbol are the words “Brio Kids Houston TX.” When I got the ink in Nashville around 2004, the artist responsible asked what it meant. I tilted my head back and silently asked the ceiling for a decent answer before I responded, “It’s a band I’m in.”
That’s the quick and easy answer. That’s the answer I give when I don’t want to delve too deeply into explanation and backstory.
Later, when I was standing with my shirt off in front of an Army medic for a physical prior to my deployment, I was asked if it was gang-related. I smirked a little and said, “Kinda, it’s really just a group of people who share similar interests.”
“That’s what a gang is, huh?”
Yes sergeant, in the simplest terms that’s what a gang is. In the simplest terms, political parties and book clubs are gangs, and those can be more dangerous than what we classically know as gangs in modern America. Well, maybe not book clubs, but you get the idea.
I suppose that from some skewed and cynical perspective, Houston’s Briokids could be considered a gang, or at least a gathering of ne’erdowells, hell bent on nothing more than harassment and the subversion of the suburban ideal. And truth be told, we are both of those things. Certainly, for a period of time in the late nineties and early aughts, the Briokids were a violent, nihilistic force with which to be reckoned. Yes, destruction was a part of the game, but more important than that was the idea of deCONstruction. It’s not enough to blindly tear something down. For the ‘Kids, it was more about taking it apart and showing people what it really was, be it music, literature, or video experimentation. While an outside perspective might ignorantly label our contributions to the arts as being reactionary or mindlessly violent, I contend that the level of spontaneous creation and force of will involved in our little venture is nothing short of a Houston renaissance. The sheer volume and quality of our creative output (and merchandising!) is astounding. Stacks of notebooks, scores of free CDs, hundreds of hours of videotape and three computers’ worth of writings are testament to the proactive nature of Brio. The Briokids are not a gang, nor are we a band. We are not even a logo or a tattoo. To call us an artists’ collective I guess would be the most accurate, if a bit pedestrian, description of our little lifelong project. The Briokids are a group of future revisionists, deconstructing and exposing what music and art as a whole WILL be. We are forever the next wave, the line on the horizon, an unexposed frame of film which is always slightly ahead of you. And who are you? Why, you’re everybody else of course.
It started in a neighborhood just south of Houston proper, at a toxic waste site owned jointly by Brio and Dixie Oil, two hazardous waste disposal companies with roots in 1950’s petroleum rich Houston. Because of Houston’s aeronautical and petroleum industries, it was a constant challenge to find a place to store old depleted chemicals, like jet fuel byproducts and refinery waste. Being largely unscrupulous and ignorant of these materials’ effects, these companies simply buried this stuff in unlined underground tanks just outside city limits. Throughout the second half of the 20th century, as the population exploded and people moved farther from metropolitan areas and into the ‘burbs, the city found itself in dire need for land to be used for housing. The largely forgotten (or ignored) toxic waste dump was in a unique position to sell land cheap, and the housing contractors jumped at the opportunity. Houses were built and unsuspecting families moved in.
Children began dying almost immediately of leukemia, birth defects, and other more mysterious ailments. A little girl was born with no reproductive organs, a little boy with webbed hands and feet. The parents were paid off and the neighborhood was mostly bulldozed and then fenced in completely.
It still bordered another neighborhood that still stands and is fully populated today. A site which was designated by the EPA as a “Superfund” site is still surrounded on all sides by suburbia, which is where the Briokids seed was first planted by a garage/noise band called “W-Gas and the Brio Kids.” I don’t mean garage like the genre, these guys weren’t The Kingsmen. I mean they played in a garage, with two-stringed guitars and trash can drums. It was unabashed NOISE. This is the basis for all of the Briokids projects which would follow.
You know, I’ve been scouring my brain for months thinking about the SDC parties and the beach problems, and I’ve tried to piece together a coherent story from all the mess of my own bullshit, and I even asked the people behind these masks, and all I’ve gotten is bullshit in equal amounts. There is something there about the uprising and suburbia and restless kids, I’m sure.
None of those cliches applies to the Briokids. If you weren’t there, you don’t know. Simple as that. You don’t know Ickoo or Virus, you can’t handle Dork-e or Doctor Nikki Cool, you would get weirded out by Peck and Datathinner and nullaughtzero. If that’s you, and we know you are, Fuck right off.
If, on the other fist, you are one of us, then fucking show it. We need the numbers.
Fuck the Police,
All Briokids' releases are available for free download at http://www.briokids.com
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