(L-R) Steve Sherlock (drums); Ben Pringle (bass); Linus Dotson (guitar, keyboard); Parry Gripp (vocals, guitar)
|Origin||Santa Barbara, California, United States|
|Genres||Pop punk, geek rock, alternative rock|
|Years active||1994–2003, 2005–present|
Linus of Hollywood
|Past members||Charlie Dennis
Nerf Herder is a pop punk band from Santa Barbara, California, formed in 1994 by Parry Gripp (vocals, guitar), Charlie Dennis (bass) and Steve Sherlock (drums). They describe themselves as a "geek rock" band, and are known for simplistic modern punk-style songs with frequently humorous, juvenile, and pop-culture-referencing lyrics.
Their 1997 single "Van Halen", a tribute to the band of the same name, received significant radio airplay and led to their first major record deal with Arista Records. They also composed and performed the theme music to the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
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Nerf Herder was formed in Santa Barbara in 1994 by Parry Gripp (vocals, guitar), Charlie Dennis (bass), and Steve Sherlock (drums). Charlie left the band after the release of their debut self-titled album, and was replaced first by Pete Newbury, with Dave Ehrlich also joining as a second guitarist. Newbury's tenure touring with the band was, however, short-lived. He was briefly replaced in 1999 by bassist Marko 72, and then by Justin Fisher, who played bass and keyboards on two albums (How To Meet Girls & American Cheese). More recently[when?], former Nerf Herder members Mark De Santis and Justin Fisher joined Ridel High.
In 1999, expecting to eventually be dropped anyway, Nerf Herder asked Arista to release them from their contract, so that they could move forward with a new record, How To Meet Girls, with Honest Don's Records, a subsidiary of Fat Wreck Chords. A special EP for My Records (run by Joey Cape from Lagwagon) entitled My EP was released in 2001, and was followed in 2002 by their album American Cheese.
In April 2003, Nerf Herder appeared as the musical guest in the final-season Buffy episode "Empty Places" – the very last band to play at The Bronze. Their special connection to the series was further acknowledged by a bit of dialogue, as "Rock City News" played in the background:
- Kennedy: What kind of band plays during an apocalypse?
- Dawn: I think this band might actually be one of the signs.
By 2003, after the final American Cheese tour dates—during which time Ben Pringle (also of The Rentals during 2005–2008) had replaced Fisher (who had left amicably to front his own band, Psoma)—the band disintegrated. No official split was announced, but a post by Gripp on the band's website some time afterwards detailed how most of the former band members had gone on to get normal jobs. Gripp did some work as a jingle writer, which led to his 2005 solo album For Those About To Shop, We Salute You—a 51-track concept album mimicking various musical styles and focusing on product commercialization.
In late 2005, Nerf Herder made a surprise comeback, announcing on their website that they were playing a handful of gigs with the original lineup of Parry, Charlie, and Steve. For Parry's May 7, 2007 review of the day, he announced that the original lineup had finally finished recording their 4th album, which did not have a title at that time. Parry stated that he wanted the title to be Brownerton, but that idea was shot down. Parry also stated that of the 13 songs recorded, they would probably pick 10 to be on the album. In June 2007, the band decided on the title Nerf Herder IV, and the album was released through Oglio Records on April 29, 2008. Pringle returned, and Former Size 14 singer Linus of Hollywood joined the live band (playing guitar and keyboard) in early 2008 for a series of West Coast shows and a short tour of Japan.
Origin of band name
The band takes their name from a Star Wars reference. In the fictional universe of the Star Wars franchise, a "nerf" is a domesticated bison-like quadruped, bred mainly as fatstock, and a "nerf herder" is an occupation referred to by Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) in the film The Empire Strikes Back (1980), when she insults Han Solo (Harrison Ford) for asserting that she has romantic feelings for him:
"Why you stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf herder!"
Areas of lighter color symbolize periods of inactivity.
- Nerf Herder (1996) My Records/Arista Records
- How to Meet Girls (2000) Honest Don's Records
- American Cheese (2002) Honest Don's Records
- Nerf Herder IV (2008) Oglio Records
- Rockingham (2016) Golfshirt Records
The following are songs that have been featured on compilations that have not been released on any of the band's albums or EPs
- Happy Meals: A Smorgasbord of My Fav Songs (1996) My Records – "Sorry" (alt version)
- BASEketball soundtrack (1998) Mojo/Universal – "Don't Hate Me (Because I'm Beautiful)"
- Short Music For Short People (1999) Fat Wreck Chords – "Doin' Laundry"
- Metal Rules: Tribute to Bad Hair Days (1999) Priority Records – "Kiss Me Deadly"
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Album (1999) TVT Records – "Buffy the Vampire Slayer Theme"
- Happy Meals Vol. 2 - The Perfect Marriage (2001) My Records – "Hospital"
- Happy Meals Volume 3 (2002) My Records – "Jacket"
- That Darn Punk Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (2002) Kung Fu Records – "Siegfried and Roy"
- Bad Scene, Everyone's Fault: Jawbreaker Tribute (2003) Dying Wish Records – "Chesterfield King"
- Wrecktrospective (2009) Fat Wreck Chords – "5000 Ways to Die" (demo)
- Have a Crappy Summer (2012) Crappy Records – "I'm the Droid You're Looking For"
- Jenkins, Mark (Feb 21, 1997). "Nerf Herder: Rounding Up Humor". The Washington Post.
- Miller, Michael (December 1, 2002). "Nerf Herder rides pop culture wave". The Buffalo News.
- Elfman, Doug (February 23, 2001). "Nerf Herder better at making enemies than money". Las Vegas Review-Journal.
- Verna, Paul (December 7, 1996). "Nerf Herder Flies from My To Arista: Van Halen Lament Attracts Major-Label Attention". Billboard: 8.
- Iwasaki, Scott (May 12, 2000). "Nerf Herder is coming to Fairpark". The Deseret News.
- "Nerf Herder: Information from". Answers.com. Retrieved 2012-04-09.
- "Parry Gripp of Nerf Herder: The Nerd World Interview". Time.com. 3 July 2008. Retrieved 2013-03-14.
- "Nerf Herder: The New Album on PledgeMusic". Pledgemusic.com. Retrieved 2015-05-05.
- Quote from The Empire Strikes Back.