“Kill All Redneck Pricks”: William E. Badgley’s 2010 documentary charts the rise & fall of KARP

By on May 6, 2019

William E. “Bill” Badgley’s Kill All Redneck Pricks charts the rise & fall and the brotherly friendship between the members of a beloved post-hardcore grunge and sludgey metal band called KARP.

They were formed in 1990 by guitarist/vocalist Chris Smith (a.k.a. Chris “Slayer”), bassist Jared Warren and drummer Scott Jernigan in Tumwater, Washington, a small-town neighboring mid-sized Olympia in the rain-soaked upper left-hand corner of the country, home to the post-punk grunge and Riot girl movements of the early ’90s.

Watch this nearly 90-minute documentary on Night Flight Plus.

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We’ve read that Olympia is the sixth cloudiest city in America, and it’s one of the soggiest too, which is why, for months on end, so many Pacific Northwestern teens stay indoors and play (or make) music. In KARP’s case, they rehearsed in their three-walled shack behind Jared’s mom’s house.

Their name turns out to be an acronym for the first part of this documentary’s title, but it was derived from Chris Smith’s rant-filled high school ‘zine (the “redneck pricks” were asshole jocks who bullied Smith and his buddies).

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KARP weren’t too different from a lot of the local bands of the ’80s and early ’90s — Beat Happening, Bikini Kill, Unwound, Elliot Smith, Sleater-Kinney, Nirvana, etc. — in that they liked turning up volume knobs to ear-blistering levels and riffing on hoary old Black Sabbath licks.

By the time they began playing live, they were seen by many as a shameless rip-off/blatant homage (you pick) to another beloved Washington State band, the Melvins (who hailed from Montesano, a town about forty minutes west of Tumwater).

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Ally Schweitzer, writing in the Washington City Paper, says that Smith had passed Warren a note plotting out everyone’s role in the band:

“[The band] would probably be set up like this: You, bass. Scott, duh. Me, vocals. But at times everyone needs to pukishly scream.”

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After signing to Calvin Johnson’s Olympia-based K Records, KARP released their first legit full-length album, Mustaches Wild, in 1994.

K Records described it this way: “Album number one sinks to the pit of your stomach. KARP, straight out of Tumwater High, gay blades heavy and sweaty. Looks like a deck of cards playing war for real. Feels like a chunk of concrete stapled to your forehead.”

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Years after their second album, 1995’s Suplex, started clogging the “Miscellaneous Grunge” bins in record stores, Ned Raggett’s All Music Guide review revealed that “If more grunge was like this in the end instead of refried classic rock for junior-league stoners with newly-purchased flannel, maybe the early to mid-’90s wouldn’t have been so problematic.”

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Along the way, KARP opened for then-rising star Beck on their first national tour, and there were a handful of singles and EP s (for Northwest-related labels like Kill Rock Stars and Punk In My Vitamins).

Their third, at last, full-length album, was 1997’s Self Titled LP, the cover emblazoned with an eagle logo recalling the National Recovery Administration’s defunct “Blue Eagle” logo.

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Their swan song rocks hard from the get-go, leading off with the balls-out “Bacon Industry”:

Alas, due to various issues that arose between the band members, KARP called it a day in 1998, and everyone involved went on to form other bands or join others already in progress.

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Jared Warren formed The Tight Bros Way Back When before later joining the band he idolized, the Melvins (more recently he’s been playing in Big Business).

Smith — who’d developed some problems with heroin addiction — has been in and out of a lot of bands post-KARP (Newlyweds, Witchypoo, Ika Panthers, German Shepherds, Loud Machine).

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Tragically, drummer Scott Jerrigan died in a boating accident on Lake Washington in 2003, shortly after forming the Whip with Melvins bassist Joe Preston.

Read more about director William E. Badgley below.

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William E. Badgley

In 2018, in a fascinating interview with the excellent Women in Revolt blog’s Lindsay Pugh, Bill Badgley said he grew up in the “pre-grunge Washington State” — living in Bellingham — and it was “brutal.”

“…It was conservative redneck culture and there were incredibly few ways to be on offer. People are pack animals and I understand that, and really I don’t have any problem with that except for when there are too few packs to choose from.”

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Badgely channeled his energy into music, playing guitar in the rock band Federation X (or-“Fed X”), who have to date released seven full-length albums and toured the U.S. and Europe numerous times.

He also studied psychology, sociology and urban ethnography at Bellingham’s Western Washington University before heading off to New York City, where he attended Brooklyn College & the CUNY Graduate center in Manhattan.

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According to what we’ve read online, Badgley has been producing documentary film & television since 2008.

His résumé includes working as an associate producer on MTV’s award-winning documentary series “True Life,” shooting web content for GQ, producing story arcs for A&E and overseeing a casting push for the Lifetime Channel (whatever that means).

Kill All Redneck Pricks — which premiered in 2010 as Kill All Redneck Pricks: KARP LIVES! 1990-1998 — was released via Badgley’s production company Molasses Manifesto.

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More recently, Badgley has founded the Documentary Center, production office and training facility for budding filmmakers offering courses in documentary filmmaking.

His more-recent documentary, Here to Be Heard: The Story of the Slits (which we hope we can one day also add to Night Flight Plus) premiered at the BFI London Film Festival in 2017.

Watch Kill All Redneck Pricks: A Documentary About a Band Called KARP on Night Flight Plus.

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About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.