Friday, August 11, 2017

RIP Blood Spasm Frontman and Underground Tucson Legend ('We Got Cactus'), Bob McKinley

Posted By on Fri, Aug 11, 2017 at 12:17 PM

Bob McKinley 1960-2017. - COURTESY
  • courtesy
  • Bob McKinley 1960-2017.

Inimitable punk rocker Bob Spasm, frontman for the riotous Blood Spasm—once hailed by the local press as Tucson’s biggest punk rock band—died on Aug. 9 after a struggle with multiple sclerosis.

Renowned for his on-stage histrionics, Bob “Spasm” McKinley formed Blood Spasm in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, in 1983. A revised version of the band was a staple on Tucson’s punk scene, playing notorious shows mostly at house parties, warehouses and some local watering holes, from ‘85 until 1992. Even after disbanding, Blood Spasm continued to reunite and play semiannually at SpasmFest.

Blood Spasm released one album, which included the hardcore earworm, "We Got Cactus." McKinley told New Times in an interview (from Feb. 2012) that “he wrote the lyrics in about five minutes over a pitcher of beer at the Bay Horse Tavern.”

Spyder Rhodes (longtime Tucson DJ/musician) said, “For a local punk band, it was a hit.” Cowpunk legend Al Perry, who covered the song on his 2004 album Always a Pleasure, considers McKinley’s song to be the alpha and omega of songs that perfectly depicts life in Tucson.

Rhodes says, “Blood Spasm and my band [The Host] used to play together quite a bit. They were amazing to see live. Bob was a real nice guy, with an enormous personality and well-loved in the punk community.”

Outspoken, with punk ‘tude, McKinley stayed true to the playbook he embraced in his youth. “Playing punk rock in Tucson 20 years ago meant living the lifestyle, and sometimes paying the price for doing so. Today, punk rock is pretty much a safe thing. There's no penalty for being a punk rocker. You don't have to walk down the street and fear getting jumped and beat up all the time."

But behind the sneer and rapid-fire delivery in his performances, there was humor, gentleness and love of home. as evidenced in this excerpt from McKinley’s lyrics for “We Got Cactus”:

Spring without flowers is just as remorseful/
As an autumn denied the colored leaves fall/
Long is the winter when there's no snow/
And summer is painful when the wind won't blow/
Welcome to my home, no fear of pneumonia/
This is paradise, in Tucson, Arizona.
Bob “Spasm” McKinley was 57.


Al Perry's cover of Blood Spasm's "We Got Cactus":  

Tags: , , ,

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Today | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri
Hip Hop Yoga

Hip Hop Yoga @ Floor Polish

Saturdays, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

Staff Pick

The Producers by Mel Brooks

Arizona Onstage Productions presents the popular and widely successful The Producers. The Biggest Hit Broadway Musical Comedy… More

@ Berger Performing Arts Center Sat., Aug. 19, 7:30-9:30 p.m., Sun., Aug. 20, 2:30-4:30 p.m., Sat., Aug. 26, 2:30-4:30 & 7:30-9:30 p.m. and Sun., Aug. 27, 2:30-4:30 p.m. 1200 W. Speedway Blvd.

» More Picks

Submit an Event Listing

Popular Content

  1. Puppy Love and Feline Fondness: Get Yourself A Pet for (Nearly) Free This Weekend (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  2. In the Flesh: Tucson's March Against White Supremacy (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  3. The Weekly List: 20 Things To Do in Tucson In The Next 10 Days (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  4. Store to Stomach: Food Delivery Services Hit Tucson (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  5. Education Poll: Support For Charter Schools Down (And Other Results) (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)

© 2017 Tucson Weekly | 7225 Mona Lisa Rd. Ste. 125, Tucson AZ 85741 | (520) 797-4384 | Powered by Foundation