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Obituaries Are Gay

Seth Putnam, 1968-2011
By NICK BLAKEY  |  June 17, 2011

putnam main
LOVE HIM or hate him, Anal Cunt's Seth Putnam inspired neither apathy nor boredom.

Seth Putnam, who succumbed to a fatal heart attack on June 11 at the age of 43, was the leader of some of the most unforgettably (and therefore some of the best-) named bands of all time, including You're Fired, Angry Hate, Full Blown AIDS, Sirhan Sirhan, and Adolf Satan. There was also the one some felt — and he hoped — was one of the most offensive of all time: Anal Cunt, which was his longest-running, best-known, and most controversial group. All of Seth's bands also happened to be pretty kickass and deeply talented, and he could count among his fans Ryan Adams, Pantera's Phil Anselmo, and Buzzcocks' Pete Shelley.

Even people who couldn't stand Seth's music were often won over by his song titles: "Windchimes Are Gay," "Living Color Are My Favorite Black Metal Band," "You Own a Store," "Hitler Was a Sensitive Man," "No, We Don't Want To Do a Split 7-inch with Your Stupid Fucking Band," "Beating Up Hippies for Their Drugs at a Phish Concert," and "Crankin' My Band's Demo on a Box at the Beach."

And those are some of the lighter ones. AC's albums It Just Gets Worse (1999) and Defenders of the Hate (2001) seemed to exist solely to see how many people AC could offend or crack up. In 1998, he baited AC fans by releasing Picnic of Love, his shockingly successful attempt to write a sensitive acoustic album. Either way, some people still hated them. Seth didn't care.

I can confirm that many of the strangest stories about AC were true: yes, a group of angry lesbians really did shut down the AC concert at Nightstage in San Francisco in the early '90s. Yes, Negative Approach and Psycho really were the bands at Seth's wedding. That chair that Seth is shown with on the cover of AC's Breakin' the Law EP really was thrown into the audience. Seth really did yell at the band Primordial Dwarf the single greatest heckle in the history of the Boston scene: "HEY YOU GUYS ARE PRETTY GOOD!" And, yes, he really did in fact survive a coma, in 2004, and live to tell about it.

But love him or hate him, Seth inspired neither apathy nor boredom. No matter what you may have heard, Seth happened to be a huge music fan, a deeply intelligent guy, and an extremely talented musician. He was proficient on vocals, guitar, bass, and drums, and had a sense of humor that went way beyond the gallows and into something none-more-black.

It's worth noting that Seth Putnam had a life outside of his songs despite the chosen public image he projected. He loved his wife, cared about his friends, and had a family that really believed in him. There were also a lot of people that flat-out hated him and his music. Like many other legendary and controversial musicians, from Charley Patton to Mark Sandman, he laughed in the face of death, and succumbed only to his physical body's deep fatigue of living. Seth left this world way too early and with still too much to say and do, and we are the less for it. Seth would not want me to be so sappy in my final paragraph, so in conclusion, all I can say is, the loss of Seth, to use his language, really is fuckin' gay.

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  Topics: Music Features , Boston, Music, Sirhan Sirhan,  More more >
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  •   OBITUARIES ARE GAY  |  June 17, 2011
    Seth Putnam, who succumbed to a fatal heart attack on June 11 at the age of 43, was the leader of some of the most unforgettably (and therefore some of the best-) named bands of all time.  
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