Back in the late ’90s and early 2000s, my original band became known around town for staging odd and unexpected events during our performances. For most of the weirdness, my band members were fully aware and participated in the “performance art.” We would often act out band-ending arguments on stage, play songs in slow motion, or walk out of the club during the set (which left one club owner slack-jawed). But for one show in the fall of 2003, I decided to trick both the audience and the band at once.
I hired a guy to enter the venue acting like a belligerent homeless man and cause a scene, threatening the band and disrupting the show. The only person in the club I hipped to the ruse was a bouncer; I instructed him to keep everyone from getting injured, but to allow things to otherwise play themselves out. Some time during our set, my “homeless” friend came in, looking disheveled and disoriented, and began screaming obscenities at us, saying we were the spawn of the devil and calling the female members of the band “whores.”
I pretended to defend us, but he hopped up on stage, commandeered the mic and proceeded to berate us for our sins and further degrade the women in the band (including my wife). The audience didn’t know what to do, but my bass player and a friend from the crowd leaped forth and pulled him from the stage, throwing him onto the sidewalk in front of the club. Were it not for the bassist, our mutual friend may very well have beaten the ever-living hell out of the poor guy.
That poor guy was Troy Lukkarila.
If you don’t know Troy Lukkarila, you should. By day, he’s a mild-mannered, soft-spoken Jacksonville intellectual who loves animals and works a humble 9-5. By night — and, OK, sometimes during the day, too — he runs LukaLips Destruction Company (lukalips.com), a website dedicated to the most perverse homemade films, art and music a person could get away with without getting arrested. (View the site at your own peril.)
The focus of this piece, however, is Lukkarila’s second record, Don’t Sit on Tables, released in 1999. The demented acoustic songwriter has released two other, equally disturbing records: his debut ’98 album Every Day is Garbage Day and 2005’s Unsafe Structure. The beauty of Lukkarila’s music, especially that featured on Don’t Sit on Tables, is its nonthreatening acoustic format. It’s deceptively simple and, thus, very effective.
The lyrics, on the other hand, offer a psychotic trip through black, obsessive necrophilic misanthropy. Opening track “Compulsion” documents the dating woes of a hand-washing loner. “20 Bucks” is a miserable finger-snapping number about a 16-year-old’s sexual awakening at the hands of a nasty 50-year-old hooker in the sleaziest part of town. “Road Trip,” possibly the most disturbing tune on the record, tells of date rape and subsequent vehicular manslaughter.
There’s more: “Love Is … Love Will” hinges on the lyric, “Love will fly over any border, and love will beat any restraining order. Love is more potent than any can of mace, and love will conquer your fingernails in my face.” “Confessions of a Necrophiliac” lists the benefits of dating dead women, of which, apparently, there are many. “Warning” is just creepy as hell, while “Why Can’t I Get a Gig?” captures what it’s like for Lukkarila at any number of his live performances, him insulting the audience and then getting booed off by the angry mob.
Don’t Sit on Tables features a host of local musicians — Mark Creegan, David Lauderdale, Craig Spirko, Roy Peak and Joe Flowers, among others — who may or may not have realized what they were getting into. Some have regained their reputations since. And the music herein is actually quite beautiful, some melodic and joyous, some dark and depressing, but all well written and performed. It really is worth revisiting — or hearing for the first time, if you’re a Lukkarila newcomer.
It’s funny to me that many extreme metal bands do their best to write the most offensive lyrics possible — about murder and rape and the apocalypse — and they don’t come close to the darkness our dear Lukkarila musters on this record. Don’t Sit on Tables remains a favorite album of mine, so sick and filthy and wrong that after listening, you will be washing your hands — and body — as obsessively as the anti-hero in “Compulsion.”