Seven years after Mr. Peppermint’s death, his crazy redneck Butthole Surfer son seems to be turning toward children’s entertainment

Like father, like son? Butthole Surfer Gibby Haynes today — albeit in creepier and more terrifying ways —also has a knack for entertaining children. (Photo from “Ways and Means”)

Seven years ago this month, Dallas lost a legend: Mr. Peppermint.

Real name: Jerry Haynes, he died at age 84 from complications due to Parkinson’s, with which he was diagnosed in 2008.

Before becoming the candy striped Mr. Peppermint on WFAA, Haynes was a broadcaster at the same station; he also was a big deal on the local theater scene.

This month the Lake Highlands Advocate (Elissa Chudwin) published a piece about Haynes’ son, Gibby Haynes—who shortly after graduating from Lake Highlands High School—where according to the book All Over the Map: True Heroes of Texas Music he played football and basketball and made good grades—started the alternative-rock band Butthole Surfers. (Traumatic childhood memory: My mom ripped their poster off my bedroom wall. But that’s another story.)

Lake Highlands resident Colby Jones (a well-known Dallasite himself) was a bit befuddled after learning his former employee was the frontman of a band named, of all things, the Butthole Surfers. 

Jones, who hired Gibby Haynes in the 1970s, had no idea the neighborhood native had possessed an ounce of musical talent.

“I didn’t know he was interested in music. He was just a kid at the park or a kid who worked for me. You’re immediately put off by the name. What, they couldn’t have come up with something different?” Jones muses. 

Jones hired Haynes and a friend to supervise one of Dallas Park and Recreation’s playground summer camps. The citywide program kept kids busy with soccer, softball, crafts and one-act plays.

“Those boys were great,” Jones says. “Sometimes you had to pull the reins in because they were fun-loving guys. You had to be careful and not give them too much freedom. Overall, it was a really good experience.”

Ultimately, Haynes exuberance fueled Butthole Surfers, an experimental punk band known for zany behaviors as much as bizarre sound.Rolling Stone described Gibby in 1996 as a “hedonistic Texan and ranting front man” who “has made an art of being a drunken and disorderly redneck prone to onstage antics such as breaking bottles on his head and firing a shotgun above his audience.”

[Mr. Peppermint’s son, we’re talking here.] 

Before Gibby glutted headlines far and wide, he was a quick-witted teen seemingly good at everything. He played football and was a standout basketball player, something he also pursued at Trinity University.

Haynes was highly competitive, says longtime friend Scott Bevers. When his high school teammates didn’t finish their drills fast enough, Haynes told them, “get your ass moving or you’ll make a mud puddle.”

His knack for theatrics had him organizing Lake Highlands High’s senior show, writing skits and singing with Maximillian and the Malignant Marauders.

“It didn’t surprise me he’s in entertainment,” Bevers says.

Haynes told Rolling Stone in 1996 that his dad was “the nicest guy in the world,” and Bevers agrees. 

“They’re the most humble people you’ll ever meet,” he says. “They’d give you the shirt off their back.”

Mr. Peppermint’s reputation was more wholesome than his son’s. But he loved classic rock and got Haynes a job working as an usher for Dallas Memorial Auditorium.

“He saw any show he wanted at an early age,”Bevers says.

As high-schoolers, Bevers and Haynes scored gigs as security guards at Texxas Jam, a rock concert at the Cotton Bowl featuring Aerosmith, Van Halen, Ted Nugent and Heart. The two didn’t do much security work, Bevers recalls, but they did gain instant access to the musicians they admired.

The two teens walked into the bathroom after Neal Schon when Haynes noticed the Journey guitarist forgot his four gold and diamond rings. They chased him down to return them.

“He was so appreciative and made us sit down and eat lunch with the band,” Bevers says.

Years later, when Haynes and a few friends started a band in their college dorm, they titled one of the first six songs, “Butthole Surfers.” The name stuck.

Jones, despite being baffled, earned cool points as a dad because of Haynes. His son’s favorite thing to tell his peers was, “Gibby Haynes with the Butthole Surfers worked for my dad.” 

More recently Gibby wrote a children’s story “The Next Big Thing” for an anthology; audiobook is narrated by Zach Galifianakis. Plans are in the works for Penguin Random House to publish another Haynes children’s book.

Though Vulture calls Gibby and Zach’s collaboration terrifying and creepy, it seems Gibby’s not so different from Dad after all.
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