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For other uses, see Airhead (disambiguation).
Airheads film poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Michael Lehmann
Produced by Mark Burg
Robert Simonds
Written by Rich Wilkes
Starring Brendan Fraser
Steve Buscemi
Adam Sandler
Chris Farley
Amy Locane
Michael Richards
Joe Mantegna
Music by Carter Burwell
Cinematography John Schwartzman
Edited by Stephen Semel
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • August 5, 1994 (1994-08-05)
Running time
92 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $11 million
Box office $5.7 million (domestic)[1]

Airheads is a 1994 American crime-comedy film written by Rich Wilkes and directed by Michael Lehmann. It stars Brendan Fraser, Steve Buscemi and Adam Sandler as a band of loser musicians who stage a hijacking of a radio station in order to get airplay for their demo recording. Joe Mantegna, Michael McKean, Ernie Hudson and Michael Richards play supporting roles. It marks Sandler's first role in a 20th Century Fox film.


Chazz, Rex and Pip are in a Los Angeles rock band called The Lone Rangers who are continuously turned down as they try to get their demo tape heard by producers. Chazz unsuccessfully tries to get Jimmie Wing, a record executive, to listen to the tape; to make matters worse, his hard working girlfriend, Kayla, demands that he leave and find a real job after so many failed attempts. Chazz, Rex, and Pip finally decide to try to get the local rock station, KPPX 103.6 ("Rebel Radio"), to play it on the air, after they saw how Rebel Radio helped another band The Sons of Thunder get a record deal. They attempt to break-in by using Pip's ATM card and its PIN. The card, however, gets confiscated. Then, Rex tries to short circuit the electronic lock with Pip's Big Gulp, but with no luck. They finally get in when a station employee Suzzi, who later falls for Pip, comes out to smoke and they keep the door from shutting behind her.

Once inside, DJ Ian "The Shark" puts them on the air without them knowing. Station Manager Milo overhears them and intervenes. After Milo calls Rex "Hollywood Boulevard trash", Chazz and Rex shove water pistols that look like Uzis loaded with hot pepper sauce in Milo's face and demand airplay. After setting up a reel-to-reel for the demo, the tape starts and is destroyed when the reel runs out and catches fire in an ashtray. The guys try to run, but Doug Beech, the station's accountant, had already called the police and eventually the building is surrounded.

They soon realize that they are armed hostage takers and begin negotiations with the police, with Sergeant O'Malley in charge. News of the hostage goes all over the city as numerous hard rock/metal fans begin showing up outside the radio station; to complicate matters for O'Malley, the local SWAT team shows up while in the midst of the negotiations. During the crisis, it is learned that Milo had signed a deal to flip KPPX's format to Soft Adult Contemporary (soft rock), which includes having to fire Ian and most of the other employees. Ian and the rest of the employees side with the band and turn against Milo, with Ian attacking him. But after a while, the employees find out about the fake guns and the police try to barge in upon learning this. But Doug, who was hiding from them in the air ducts, is given a real gun by a SWAT member; Ian knocks the gun from him, causing it to shoot wildly and make the police think the Lone Rangers are carrying real weapons. After the gun stops firing, the police move back while Ian grabs the gun and gives it to Chazz.

During the ordeal, Chazz tries to play the song via a cassette spare, which Kayla (still upset at Chazz) has thrown away. It isn't until O'Malley's assistant, Officer Wilson, tells her at the Whisky about the situation that she goes and retrieves it, although it has been damaged significantly. Upon arriving at KPPX, Chazz reveals his true self that he was a geek in high school and that his real name is Chester. Despite this, some of the crowd come out and side with Chazz by revealing some embarrassing moments in their lives. Chazz and Kayla make up, but only momentarily when they discover the tape is ruined. After pinning the blame on one another (which included Kayla throwing a chair and damaging the console, thus preventing the song from ever playing), both she and Chazz make up for good.

Eventually, Wing comes to the radio station. The band signs a record contract (with Milo acting as their manager) and goes out on stage to play, only to realize that they are supposed to lip sync the song for a music video. They refuse to lip sync while the music is playing and get a round of applause from the audience, who rush toward the stage. The band destroys their instruments in protest to the pleasure of the audience; they then stage dive into the audience, who proceed to surf them.

Afterwards, Ian becomes The Lone Rangers' manager and the band is sent to prison, but serve only a 3-6 month sentence. They record an album while in prison called "Live in Prison", which goes triple platinum. The film ends with the band playing amongst the inmates, who enjoy the music.



  • The band Galactic Cowboys perform in the film under the name "The Sons of Thunder". Their sole musical contribution to the film, "Don't Hate Me Because I'm Beautiful", was omitted from the soundtrack and is not available anywhere. Even the band does not have a copy.[citation needed]
  • Mike Judge plays the voices of Beavis and Butt-head, who call in to the radio station.
  • White Zombie appear in the bar scene with Chris Farley searching for Amy Locane, playing the track they recorded for the film "Feed the Gods".
  • Lemmy Kilmister makes a brief appearance in the crowd outside the radio station as the editor of his school newspaper.


Airheads (soundtrack)
Soundtrack album by Various artists
Released 1994
Recorded 1994
Genre Rock, heavy metal, punk rock
Length 49:43
Label Arista Records
Producer Lonn Friend
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars [2]
No. Title Writer(s) Performed by Length
1. "Born to Raise Hell"   Ian Kilmister Motörhead with Ice-T and Whitfield Crane 4:57
2. "I'm The One"   Eddie Van Halen, Alex Van Halen, Michael Anthony, David Lee Roth 4 Non Blondes 3:58
3. "Feed the Gods"   Lyrics: Rob Zombie; Music: White Zombie White Zombie 4:05
4. "No Way Out"   Jesse Malin, Richard Bacchus, Howard Kusten DGeneration 4:26
5. "Bastardizing Jellikit"   Lyrics: Les Claypool; Music: Primus Primus 4:11
6. "London"   Morrissey, Johnny Marr Anthrax 2:54
7. "Can't Give In"   Lyrics: Kevin Martin; Music: Peter Klett and Candlebox Candlebox 3:15
8. "Curious George Blues"   Scott Hackwith Dig 4:03
9. "Inheritance"   Prong Prong 2:11
10. "Degenerated"   Paul Bakija, Dave Rubenstein Lone Rangers 3:53
11. "I'll Talk My Way Out Of It"   John Melendez, J. Cantor Stuttering John 3:40
12. "Fuel"   Stick Stick 4:57
13. "We Want the Airwaves"   Jeffry Hyman, John Cummings, Douglas Colvin Ramones 3:21

The soundtrack as released by Arista recordings is meant to be a concept soundtrack, rather than an accurate total of the songs actually featured in the film. While all the songs on the Arista release are on the film, a number of songs that were featured were omitted from the album. For the full list of songs used in the film, refer to the Airheads Soundtrack page.


The song played by The Lone Rangers in the film, "Degenerated", was actually originally by hardcore punk band Reagan Youth. The version in the film featured Jay Yuenger and Sean Yseult from White Zombie with Fraser on vocals,[3] and was produced by Yuenger and Bryan Carlstrom.[4]

Box office and reception[edit]

The movie debuted in 10th place, grossing $1.9 million US in its opening weekend.[5] Airheads earned negative reviews from critics and currently has a score of 21% "Rotten" on Rotten Tomatoes based on 33 reviews.[6] The film has gained a cult following.


  1. ^ "Airheads (1994)". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on 26 December 2009. Retrieved November 23, 2009. 
  2. ^ Airheads at AllMusic
  3. ^ "White Zombie’s Sean Yseult: The JG2Land Interview". JG2LAND. March 8, 2013. Retrieved 2013-05-21. 
  4. ^ Airheads at Discogs
  5. ^ Fox, David J. (1994-08-08). "A 'Clear' Triumph at Box Office : Movies: The Harrison Ford thriller seizes the No. 1 spot with estimated ticket receipts of more than $20 million.". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-01-06. 
  6. ^ "Airheads". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2011-03-27. 

External links[edit]