|Origin||Los Angeles, California|
|Years active||1975–1981, 1986, 1990, 2004–2005, 2013|
|Associated acts||Red Hot Chili Peppers|
|Past members||John Denney
Nickey "Beat" Alexander
The Weirdos are an American punk rock band from Los Angeles, California. They formed in late 1975 and broke up in 1981, were occasionally active in the 1980s, and recorded new material in the 1990s. Critic Mark Deming calls them "quite simply, one of the best and brightest American bands of punk's first wave."
The band was formed in 1975 by singer John Denney and his brother Dix on guitar, initially using the band names The Barbies, and The Luxurious Adults. The Weirdos were originally a 50s inspired hard Rock n Roll band that, like the Ramones in New York City, antedated the Los Angeles punk rock scene, and were quickly pioneering in the Los Angeles punk maelstrom. While initially trying to distance themselves from the genre name "punk" that was created in New York, ultimately the band, in the words of vocalist John Denney, "just kinda became more like this punk rock thing and we kinda went with it. They wore us down and we just said 'OK, fine! We're punk rock, similar to the Ramones. Whatever you say.'"
"When we saw the Ramones in '76, we had short hair and we were already playing fast music like that in late 1975 in small venues and halls mostly, but the Ramones really made us decide to go for it even more. We came before the Sex Pistols and The Damned. They may have been our peers to them, but we already had a set songs in 1975 which were sort of Ramones meets Iggy Pop's Stooges influenced punk songs. Well before any of the UK bands started cloning America's punk sound and before any of the UK albums were released. I always felt we were a true garage punk band..."
Denney claimed the band's name dated from the early part of the 1970s and his counter-cultural chopping off of his hair when long hair on men was the fashion of the day. "In 1974 according to some left over hippies, I looked like a lobotomy, hippies thought I was weird," Denney said. "A few months later when we formed, the rest of the band got really short cropped hair too. "We were all weird then, we were considered weirdos."
Around the beginning of 1977 the Weirdos were able to pack clubs (eventually including the Whisky a Go Go, and later The Masque) as a headlining band. The band helped shape the vigorous and experimental early Los Angeles punk scene and served as an inspiration to a crop of new bands.
John Denney recalled:
"We [Los Angeles] had our own look, our own sound. It was apart from New York or London.... We were staunchly against safety pins, we tried to parody punk rock at first. We did happy faces onstage as a joke sometimes, which was the exact opposite of what New York was doing. We were just thumbing our noses at everything. Everything was a joke; punk was a joke, we were a joke. Nonetheless, we were still serious about rocking."
The band was known for its zany stage costumes and hi-jinx.
The Weirdos' first release was a 7-inch single, "Destroy All Music," released in 1976 on Greg Shaw's Bomp! Records. Later on they put out the very advanced 1978 single, "We Got the Neutron Bomb," on the Los Angeles pre-hardcore punk label Dangerhouse. The band later released two extended play records in 1980.
The band was highly critical of some of their recordings and shady engineers, with John Denney characterizing the last 2 years as "a big botch job" marked by a series of "aborted recording sessions." It was not until 1991 that a first volume of early recordings would be remixed by the band for release as a compilation album. More than another decade would pass before a long-planned second compilation album of early tracks would see the light of day.
Release of the first of these compilations was preceded in 1990 by a first full-length by the re-formed band. The album, Condor, was an effort to "re-establish ourselves as contemporary," according to vocalist and band leader John Denney.
Break up and legacy
Cliff Martinez, who briefly drummed for the band, went on to join Red Hot Chili Peppers, playing on the latter's first two albums. Dix Denney was also close to becoming a member of the Chili Peppers. However, after many practices with Denney, things didn't work out and he was replaced by guitarist Jack Sherman. Zander Schloss, who would later join a reunited Weirdos lineup, also auditioned for the Chili Peppers when guitarist John Frusciante quit in 1992.
L.A. based rock band Symbol Six states that The Weirdos were one of their biggest influences in forming and recently covered 'The Hideout' which was released by Dr. Strange Records even creating a tribute video honoring them.
The band appeared at the 2013 Punk Rock Bowling and Music Festival in Las Vegas and are currently touring the United States.
- Deming, Mark "Weird World, Vol. 1 Review", Allmusic, retrieved March 3, 2007
- Martin C. Strong, The Great Indie Discography. Edinburgh, Scotland: Canongate Publishing, 2003; pg. 179
- Al Kowalewski and Joy Aoki, "Weirder Than You," Flipside, whole no. 65 (Spring 1990), pp. 38-43.
- 2013 Punk Rock Bowling and Music Festival: Schedule.
- "Destroy All Music" (1976), Bomp!
- "We Got the Neutron Bomb" (1978), Dangerhouse
- "Skateboards to Hell" (1979), Numbskull
- Who? What? When? Where? Why? (1979), Numbskull
- Action Design (1980), Rhino
- Condor (1990), Frontier
- Live on the Radio (2008), Frontier
- Weird World 1977-1981 - Time Capsule Volume One (1991), Frontier
- We Got the Neutron Bomb - Weird World Volume Two 1977-1989 (2003), Frontier
- Destroy All Music (2007), Bomp!
- John Denny, "Weirdoism," in Bryan Ray Turcotte and Christopher T. Miller (eds.), Fucked Up and Photocopied: Instant Art of the Punk Rock Movement. Gingko Press, 1999.