About Poison Idea
Nihilistic Portland, Oregon hardcore outfit Poison Idea was formed in 1980 by frontman Jerry A., guitarist Tom Roberts, bassist Chris Tense, and drummer Dean Johnson. The group debuted three years later with the EP Pick Your King, cramming 13 songs into a 16-minute time frame; the Record Collectors Are Pretentious Assholes EP followed in 1985, fine-tuning the band’s blistering sound and fatalistic worldview.
Thanks to their notoriously insatiable diet of drugs, alcohol, and junk food, the members of Poison Idea all ballooned past the 300-pound mark by the time of their 1986 full-length, Kings of Punk, with Roberts — who then tipped the scales at an impressive 450 pounds — rechristening himself Pig Champion in honor of the occasion. Tense and Johnson were then dismissed from the lineup, although the former returned in time for 1987’s War All the Time, recorded with second guitarist Eric “Vegetable” Olsen and drummer Steve “Thee Slayer Hippy” Hanford; Tense was then replaced by bassist Mondo for 1988’s Filthkick EP. Both the Darby Crash Rides Again and Ian MacKaye EPs followed a year later, along with another period of roster tumult, which made way for the addition of guitarist Kid Cocksman (soon to be replaced by Aldine Striknine) and bassist Myrtle Tickner.
Poison Idea returned in 1990 with Feel the Darkness, with a series of live releases (the Official Bootleg EP, the Live in Vienna EP, and the Dutch Courage LP) preceding 1992’s Blank Blackout Vacant. A collaboration with Jeff Dahl appeared a year later, concurrent with the covers album Pajama Party; however, in the wake of Pig Champion’s subsequent departure, Poison Idea disbanded, releasing their June 6, 1993 farewell gig at Portland’s La Luna as Pig’s Last Stand. The breakup was short-lived, however, and they were back at it by the end of 1999, with Jerry A. and Pig Champion joined by guitarist Matt Brainard, bassist Chris Carey, and drummer Chris Cuthbert. Guitarist Jimmy Taylor replaced Brainard for a European tour in 2003, but ended up staying on as a permanent addition for further touring, as well as the 2005 recording of material that would become their next album, Latest Will and Testament.
In January of 2006, Pig Champion passed away at age 47 of undetermined causes. Latest Will and Testament saw release that May, though the band didn’t play live again for over a year. They played and recorded intermittently in the time following Pig’s death, with more multiple lineup changes and only a little bit of new music seeing release, usually in the form of split 7″ singles. On a five-week tour of Europe in 2012, Jerry A. developed a foot infection that medical professionals advised was serious enough to merit the band canceling the tour completely. A. declined, suffering through the infection and completing the tour, with the consequence of having two toes amputated when he finally returned home.
In late 2013, the band announced yet another lineup change, with Natalie Lucio joining up as bassist — the first-ever female member of the band. Eric “Vegetable” Olsen returned to the fold around this time as well, ending nearly 25 years of absence since the last time he’d played with Poison Idea. The next few years brought even more touring, with the announcement of new record Confuse and Conquer slated for release on Southern Lord in spring of 2015. Shortly after the LP’s release, the bandmembers announced that they would be taking a hiatus to “address some health issues and personal matters,” but they were back on the road and busy in the studio less than a year after the claim. In 2017 Poison Idea issued the Calling All Ghosts EP, again via Southern Lord.