The Kids of Widney High

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The Kids of Widney High
Origin Los Angeles, California, United States
Genres Ska punk, Rock, outsider music
Years active 1988-present
Labels Rounder Records, Ipecac Recordings, Moonman Records
Associated acts Faith No More, Kid Cudi, Nirvana, Jackson Browne, Mr. Bungle, Fantomas
Website kidsofwidneyhigh.com

The Kids of Widney High is a music group composed of mentally disabled students from the special education J. P. Widney High School in Los Angeles, California.

History[edit]

The band consists of mentally and physically challenged students on vocals, with the instruments played by non-handicapped teachers and friends. The group originally began as a song-writing class in 1988 taught by Michael Monagan, and has evolved since into two groups, one made up of graduates that performs in local clubs and the other a group of current Widney students in the songwriting class.

The group gained a cult following, primarily thanks to their frequent live performances at larger Los Angeles venues like The Knitting Factory and Amoeba Music, as well as smaller venues such as Chain Reaction in Anaheim and The Smell in downtown LA. As a result, the group often plays at a number of ska and pop punk shows, including a stint on the Vans Warped Tour. The group has also opened for The Melvins, Fantômas, and Mr. Bungle, and have been included on several editions of the Kevin and Bean's KROQ Christmas Albums. Their first CD was on Rounder Records, their second CD was on Ipecac Records (Mike Patton's label), and their third and fourth CDs are on Moonman Records. Such notable musicians as Kurt Cobain, Smokey Robinson, Jackson Browne, Marilyn Manson, and Adam Horovitz have all cited themselves as fans of the band. [1]

In 2005, the Kids of Widney High were featured in the The Ringer, a comedy wherein Johnny Knoxville's character pretends to be mentally disabled in order to fix the Special Olympics and gain financially through betting on it. The group is seen performing "Pretty Girls" (which was also written by several members of the group) at a dance, and again towards the end of the film singing a version of the popular 1960s song, "Respect" in which the lyrics have been rewritten so that it becomes an anthem for those with disabilities.

The Kid Cudi song "Girls" from his 2013 album Indicud contains an interpolation (music) of "Pretty Girls". In addition, their songs have been covered by such groups as The Aquabats singing "Throw Away the Trash" and Osaka Popstar and the American Legends of Punk singing "Insects". "Pretty Girls" is also included on Secret Songs by garage-punkster, NOBUNNY (2013, Goner Records.)

They are chronicled in the feature-length rockumentary Act Your Age: The Kids of Widney High Story.

Discography[edit]

  • Special Music from Special Kids (1989) Rounder Records
  • Let's Get Busy (1999) Ipecac Records
  • Act Your Age (2003) Moonman Records
  • "The Kids of Widney High- LIVE- At the Key Club" (2007) Moonman Records

External links[edit]