The Weirdos

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The Weirdos
Origin Los Angeles, California
Genres Punk rock
Years active 1976–1981, 1986, 1990, 2004–2005, 2013
Labels Frontier, Bomp!
Associated acts Red Hot Chili Peppers
Website http://www.theweirdos.net/
Past members John Denney
Dix Denney
Cliff Roman
David Trout
Nickey "Beat" Alexander
Cliff Martinez
Billy Persons
Danny Benair
Willy Williams
Art Fox
Zander Schloss
Sean Antillon

The Weirdos are an American punk rock band from Los Angeles, California. They formed in 1976 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."[1]

History[edit]

Formation[edit]

The band was formed in 1976 by singer John Denney and his brother Dix on guitar, initially using the band names The Barbies and The Luxurious Adults.[2] The Weirdos were originally an art rock band, antedating the Los Angeles punk rock scene, but were quickly enveloped in the Los Angeles punk maelstrom. While initially trying to distance themselves from the emerging genre, ultimately the band was, in the words of vocalist John Denney, "just kinda absorbed into punk rock and we kinda went along with it. They wore us down and we just said 'OK, fine! We're punk rock. Whatever you say.'"[3]

In a 1990 Flipside interview, John Denney listed the Ramones, New York Dolls, and Iggy Pop fundamental musical inspirations, adding:

"When we saw the Ramones, we were already playing in garages mostly, but those guys really made us decide to go for it. I really feel that the Pistols, The Damned, and The Clash were our peers. We had already had a set before we had even heard any of that stuff, before any of those albums were released. I always felt we were a true garage band..."[3]

Denny claimed the band's name dated from the early part of the 1970s and his counter-countercultural chopping off of his hair when long hair on men was the fashion of the day.[3] "I looked like a lobotomy, people thought I was weird," Denny said. "We were weird, we were considered weirdos."[3]

By the summer of 1977 the Weirdos were able to pack clubs such as The Masque and the Whisky a Go Go as a headlining band.[3] The band helped shape the vigorous and experimental early Los Angeles scene and served as an inspiration to a crop of new bands.[3]

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 had our happy faces, which was the exact opposite of swastikas. 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.[3]

The band was known for its zany stage costumes and hi-jinx.

Recordings[edit]

The Weirdos' first release was a 7-inch single, "Destroy All Music," released in 1977 on Greg Shaw's Bomp! Records.[3] This was followed by a 1978 single, "We Got the Neutron Bomb," on the legendary Los Angeles punk label Dangerhouse.[3]

While the band did release two extended play records by 1980, it did not release its first full length album until 1990, long after the end of the first wave of American punk. Consequently, the band's audience during the first wave of punk was more limited and regional than many of its musical peers.

The band was highly critical of its recording career, with John Denney characterizing the first four years as "a big botch job" marked by a series of "aborted recording sessions."[3] It was not until 1991 that a first volume of early recordings would be remixed by the band for release as a compilation album.[3] 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.[3] The album did not meet with either critical or sales success.

Personnel[edit]

The sons of actress Dodo Denney, they were the only constant members, though guitarist/bassist Cliff Roman, bassist Dave Trout and drummer Nickey "Beat" Alexander were relatively long-term Weirdos.

Break up and legacy[edit]

The band broke up in 1981, but reunited several times, recording 1990 album Condor.[2] A 2004 reunion included Circle Jerks bassist Zander Schloss and The Skulls drummer Sean Antillon in the lineup.

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.

Reformation[edit]

The band appeared at the 2013 Punk Rock Bowling and Music Festival in Las Vegas and are currently touring the United States.[4]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Deming, Mark "Weird World, Vol. 1 Review", Allmusic, retrieved March 3, 2007
  2. ^ a b Martin C. Strong, The Great Indie Discography. Edinburgh, Scotland: Canongate Publishing, 2003; pg. 179
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Al Kowalewski and Joy Aoki, "Weirder Than You," Flipside, whole no. 65 (Spring 1990), pp. 38-43.
  4. ^ 2013 Punk Rock Bowling and Music Festival: Schedule.

Discography[edit]

Singles[edit]

  • "Destroy All Music" (1977), Bomp!
  • "We Got the Neutron Bomb" (1978), Dangerhouse
  • "Skateboards to Hell" (1979), Numbskull

EPs[edit]

  • Who? What? When? Where? Why? (1979), Numbskull
  • Action Design (1980), Rhino

Albums[edit]

  • Condor (1990), Frontier
  • Live on the Radio (2008), Frontier

Compilations[edit]

  • 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!

Further reading[edit]

  • 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.

External links[edit]