The idea behind the Thrown Ups was to have a band where no one ever practiced and no one ever wrote songs. At their first show opening for Hüsker Dü in February of 1985, the group brought raw oysters to throw at the audience if the reaction was negative. The response turned out to be positive, but the band doused the crowd with the sea creatures anyway. Such practice became commonplace for the group, which began to incorporate visual elements in case the music was horrific. The most famous of the Thrown Ups' lineups included vocalist Ed Fotheringham, guitarist Steve Turner, drummer Mark McLaughlin (aka Mark Arm), and band founder/bassist John Beezer (aka Leighton Beezer). Beezer had met his fellow bandmates at one of his house parties in February of 1984. When they were on-stage, anything could happen. On one such occasion, dubbed "the Bloody Pooper," Fotheringham rigged a bottle of ketchup to a tube that expelled the condiment from the back of his pants. The end result was a terrified audience covered in the substance.

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