Fear (band)

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Fear performing on the 2010 Warped Tour
Background information
OriginLos Angeles, California
Years active1977–present
LabelsSlash, Fear, Sector 2
MembersLee Ving
Philo Cramer
Spit Stix
Geoff Kresge
Eric Razo
Past membersDerf Scratch
Burt Good
Johnny Backbeat
Eric Feldman
Lorenzo Buhne
Will MacGregor
Scott Thunes
Kelly LeMieux
Mando Lopez
Sean Cruse
Richard Presley
Derol Caraco
Jeffery “Beldo” Beller
Sam Bolle
Lawrence Arrieta
Andrew Jaimez
Paul Lerma
Dave Stark
Tommy Ufkes

Fear, stylized as FEAR, is an American punk rock band from Los Angeles, formed in 1977. The band is credited for helping to shape the sound and style of Californian hardcore punk.[1] The group gained national prominence after an infamous 1981 performance on Saturday Night Live.

Frontman Lee Ving has been the band's only constant member. Since its formation, the band has gone through various lineup changes, and at one point featured Flea, later a member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, on bass. The classic Fear lineup existed from 1978 to 1982, and was composed of Ving, guitarist Philo Cramer, bassist Derf Scratch, and drummer Spit Stix. Cramer and Stix later rejoined the band in 2018.



Fear was formed in 1977 by singer/guitarist Lee Ving and bassist Derf Scratch, who recruited guitarist Burt Good and drummer Johnny Backbeat. In 1978, Fear released the single "I Love Livin' in the City". Shortly after this, Good and Backbeat left the band and were replaced by Philo Cramer and Spit Stix.


Film director Penelope Spheeris met Ving and Stix while they were hanging handbills on telephone poles in Los Angeles on Laurel Canyon Boulevard. After a brief discussion, she asked if they wanted to be in a documentary about the Los Angeles punk scene,[2] The Decline of Western Civilization (1981). In the film, Fear performed a set in which they baited members of the audience with personal attacks, sexist and homophobic slurs, and offbeat humor, inspiring some audience members to come on stage to fight them. At the time, Spheeris was married to Slash Records president Bob Biggs who, later that year, signed a recording deal with Fear.

Spheeris's documentary brought the band to the attention of John Belushi, who lobbied successfully to get the band a spot as a musical guest on the 1981 Halloween episode of his former show Saturday Night Live. Belushi had originally offered Fear the soundtrack for his major motion picture Neighbors. The film's producers eventually forced Fear off the project, and Belushi got them the infamous SNL gig as compensation. The band's appearance included a group of slamdancers, among them Belushi, Ian MacKaye of Minor Threat and Fugazi, Tesco Vee of the Meatmen, Harley Flanagan and John Joseph of the Cro-Mags, and John Brannon of Negative Approach. The show's director originally wanted to prevent the dancers from participating, so Belushi offered to be in the episode if the dancers were allowed to stay.[2] The end result was the shortening of Fear's appearance on TV. Fear played "I Don't Care About You", "Beef Bologna", "New York's Alright If You Like Saxophones", and started to play "Let's Have a War" when the telecast faded into commercial. They ended "Beef Bologna" by saying, "It's great to be in New Jersey", drawing boos from SNL's New York live audience. The slamdancers left ripe pumpkin remains on the set. Cameras, a piano and other property were damaged. After their SNL appearance, which resulted in $20,000 in damage, some clubs chose not to hire the band.[3][4]

Fear also appeared in the 1981 rotoscope animated film American Pop, directed by Ralph Bakshi. Ving performed under the name Lee James Jude.[5]

Additionally that year, Josie Cotton released the hit song "Johnny Are You Queer?". The song was based on Fear's song "Fetch Me One More Beer", written by Philo Cramer and John Clancy.[6] Bobby and Larson Paine, who were managing the Go-Go's, re-worked the song with new lyrics and gave it to them, but after a falling out forbade the band from playing it and gave it to Cotton.[7] In several interviews Cotton has suggested that the song's title was lifted from lyrics in the Fear song,[8][9] though she has also stated that Fear's version of it went "You're a fuckin' queer",[7] which is consistent with Fear's demo of the song.[10][11]

When Fear found out a variation of their song had become popular, a meeting regarding the publishing rights of the song was arranged between them and the Paines. The two sides decided the winner of a coin toss would get the publishing rights to the song, which the Paines won.[12]

In 1982, Fear released their debut album The Record. After touring in support of the album, Ving fired Scratch. Eric Feldman (of Captain Beefheart, Pere Ubu, and later PJ Harvey and Frank Black) briefly filled in on bass before he was replaced by Flea. Flea left the band and was replaced by Lorenzo Buhne. On July 3, 1983, Fear performed at the "Rock Against Reagan" protest concert at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. along with the Dead Kennedys, MDC, Toxic Reasons, the Crucifucks and others. In the summer of 1983 through early 1984, while Stix was touring Europe with Nina Hagen, Chuck Biscuits was supposed to replace him, but Stix returned and Biscuits never played any shows with Fear.[13] With Ving producing, the band recorded their second album More Beer in 1985 in just two days, supposedly. However, according to a representative from Enigma Records, it took a full year, as quoted in a March 1986 issue of Spin.[14]


Live...For the Record, a live album of a 1985 performance, was released in 1991. Shortly afterwards, bassist Will "Sluggo" MacGregor was hired. After 1991–93 North American tours, Fear disbanded. Cramer and Stix left the band, citing disputes with Ving over finances, his right wing beliefs, and his lack of empathy. For the next two years, Ving performed in Austin, Texas as Lee Ving's Army. This eventually became the new Fear lineup, including Ving backed by LVA members Sean Cruse (guitar), Scott Thunes (bass) and Andrew Jaimez (drums). In 1995, Fear released the Have Another Beer with Fear album, followed by American Beer (2000), which featured Ving and Jaimez along with new members Richard Presley and Mando Lopez. The album included new recordings of several previously unreleased older Fear songs, as well as some new compositions. Presley and Lopez then began playing with Kim Deal and Kelley Deal in the Breeders.


Fear (with Ving as the only original member) performed in the annual Warped Tour in 2008. Former bassist Scratch died from liver disease on July 28, 2010. He was 58 years old.

Fear played the South by Southwest festival in 2012.[15] A re-recording of 1982's The Record was released in late 2012, under the title of The Fear Record.[16] In 2018, the band reunited with Cramer and Stix, and added former AFI bassist Geoff Kresge and Henchmen guitarist Eric Razo to the lineup.[17] In the spring of 2022, Fear announced that they had regained the master rights of The Record from Warner Music and announced a 40th anniversary deluxe edition of the album.

Fear went on tour throughout 2023.[18] In December of that year, Fear released the album For Right and Order. It was their first new studio album in 11 years (and first new studio album of original material in 23 years). The lineup consisted of Ving, Stix, Kresge, and Razo, in addition to songwriting contributions from Cramer.[19]

Band members[edit]


  • Lee Ving – lead vocals, rhythm guitar (1977–present)
  • Philo Cramer – lead guitar (1978–1993, 2018–present)
  • Spit Stix – drums (1977–1993, 2018–present)
  • Geoff Kresge – bass (2018–present)
  • Eric Razo – lead guitar (2018–present)



  • Johnny Backbeat – drums (1977)
  • Andrew Jaimez – drums (1993–2018)


  • Derf Scratch – bass (1977–1982; died 2010)
  • Eric Feldman – bass (1982)
  • Flea – bass (1982--1984)
  • Lorenzo Buhne – bass (1984–1988)
  • Will MacGregor – bass (1988–1993)
  • Scott Thunes – bass (1993–1995)
  • Kelly LeMieux – bass (1995–1997)
  • Mando Lopez – bass (1997–2008)
  • Jeffery "Beldo" Beller – bass (2008)
  • Sam Bolle – bass (2008–2009)
  • Paul Lerma – bass, backing vocals (2010–2018)

Lead guitar

  • Burt Good – lead guitar (1977–1978)
  • Sean Cruse – lead guitar (1993–1999)
  • Richard Presley – lead guitar (1999–2005)
  • Derol Caraco – lead guitar (2005–2009)
  • Lawrence Arrieta – lead guitar (2009--2010)
  • Dave Stark – lead guitar, backing vocals (2011–2018)



Studio albums

Singles and EPs

Fuck Christmas
  • "I Love Livin' in the City" 7-inch single (1978, Criminal Records)
  • Fuck Christmas 7 single (1982, Slash Records): It was recorded during the sessions that produced their debut The Record, but was not released until months later. The single's A-side was later added as a bonus track to the CD reissue of The Record. It is also present on cassette copies of the album. "(Beep) Christmas" is identical to "Fuck Christmas" but with censored profanity, done as a way to promote the single on radio. Punk band Bad Religion covered the song at KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas in 1993 and 1994[20]
  • "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" 7-inch single (2011, The End Records)
  • Paradise Studios Sessions Vol. 1 7-inch EP (2014, Fear Records)
  • Paradise Studios Sessions Vol. 2 7-inch EP (2015, Fear Records)
  • Paradise Studios Sessions Vol. 3 7-inch EP (2016, Fear Records)
  • "Neighbors" 7-inch single with John Belushi (2016, Fear Records)
  • "Fuel To The Fire / People Person" 7 inch single (Recorded in 1992, released 2019 on Fear Records and Atom Age Industries)
  • "Nice Boys (Don't Play Rock & Roll)" EP (2023, Atom Age Industries and Fear Records)[21]

Live albums

Soundtrack compilation appearances


Fear's influence is illustrated by the bands who have paid tribute by covering its songs.[22]

In popular culture[edit]

Fear's music has also been featured in several video game soundtracks. "I Love Livin' in the City" appeared in The Warriors and Tony Hawk's Underground 2, and "The Mouth Don't Stop (The Trouble with Women Is)" appeared in Grand Theft Auto V, on the fictional punk rock radio station, Channel X.

The band, specifically Spit, are mentioned in the Bret Easton Ellis novel Less than Zero.[24]

One of the main characters in the film Relaxer wears a "Fear" t-shirt. "I Love Livin' in the City" also appeared in the film SLC Punk. In the 1987 film Summer Camp Nightmare, the inter-camp talent show includes a performance of "Beef Bologna" which upsets Chuck Connors' straitlaced camp director.


  1. ^ Huey, Steve. "Fear". AllMusic. Retrieved 2011-07-22.
  2. ^ a b "Spit Stix interview". Markprindle.com. Retrieved 2011-07-22.
  3. ^ "Citizenmag.com". Archived from the original on 13 February 2010. Retrieved 16 September 2020.
  4. ^ Dequina, Michael (December 22, 2004). "Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera". filmthreat.com. Wayback Machine. Archived from the original on April 11, 2005. Retrieved August 31, 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  5. ^ "American Pop". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. 2015. Archived from the original on 2015-04-03.
  6. ^ Destroy All Movies!!! The Complete Guide to Punks on Film, Zach Carlson ISBN 978-1606993637/
  7. ^ a b Miller, Eric T. (9 September 2006). "Josie Cotton: The Story Of '80s New-Wave Hit "Johnny, Are You Queer?"". Magnetmagazine.com. Retrieved 16 September 2020.
  8. ^ "Oh Yeah: Josie Cotton is 'Everything'—Then and Now". Chelseacommunitynews.com. 29 September 2019. Retrieved 16 September 2020.
  9. ^ "Josie Cotton Interview". Spacecaserecords.com. August 2012. Retrieved 16 September 2020.
  10. ^ "FEAR - Fetch Me One More Beer (1978 Demo)". Archived from the original on 2021-12-12. Retrieved 16 September 2020 – via YouTube.
  11. ^ "FEAR - Fetch Me One More Beer (1978 Demo)". Archived from the original on 2021-12-12. Retrieved 16 September 2020 – via YouTube.
  12. ^ ""Johnny, Are You Queer?": Cover Songs Uncovered". Popcultureexperiment.com. 9 October 2017. Retrieved 16 September 2020.
  13. ^ "Fear". MisfitsCentral.com. Retrieved 2011-07-22.
  14. ^ Loud, Lance (March 1986). "NOTHING TO FEAR". Spin – via Google Books.
  15. ^ "Music News | SXSW 2013". Sxsw.com. Archived from the original on 2013-07-03. Retrieved 2013-06-15.
  16. ^ "The Fear Record - Fear | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". Allmusic. Retrieved 16 September 2020.
  17. ^ "FEAR". Facebook.com. Archived from the original on 2022-02-26. Retrieved 16 September 2020.
  18. ^ https://www.ticketweb.com/event/fear-with-defiance-help-dantes-tickets/13681398?spMailingID=10369783&spUserID=MzAzOTk3NTYxMTAwS0&spJobID=1880285043&spReportId=MTg4MDI4NTA0MwS2 [bare URL]
  19. ^ "Pre-Order FEAR "For Right and Order". The Record Space. Retrieved January 4, 2024.
  20. ^ The BR Page - The Answer - Article: "Covers"
  21. ^ "FEAR to release new EP". February 2023.
  22. ^ MÖRAT (May 10, 2016). "I Don't Care About You: The Story of Fear". Louder. Retrieved July 21, 2020.
  23. ^ Q: 70. March 1994. {{cite journal}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  24. ^ Ellis, Bret Easton (1986). Less than zero (British ed.). London: Picador. pp. 50, 79–86, 94, 136, 148–149. ISBN 9780330294003.

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