The Kids of Widney High

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The Kids of Widney High
OriginLos Angeles, California, United States
GenresSka punk, Rock, outsider music
Years active1988-present
LabelsRounder Records, Ipecac Recordings, Moonman Records

The Kids of Widney High is an American music group composed of students with mental disabilities from the special education J. P. Widney High School in Los Angeles, California, United States.


The band consists of students with physical and cognitive disabilities on vocals, with the instruments played by non-disabled teachers and friends. The group originally began as a song-writing class in 1988 taught by Michael Monagan, and has evolved since into two groups, one made up of graduates that performs in local clubs and the other a group of current Widney students in the songwriting class.

The group gained a cult following, primarily thanks to their frequent live performances at larger Los Angeles venues like The Knitting Factory and Amoeba Music, as well as smaller venues such as Chain Reaction in Anaheim and The Smell in downtown LA. As a result, the group often plays at a number of ska and pop punk shows, including a stint on the Vans Warped Tour. The group has also opened for The Melvins, Fantômas, and Mr. Bungle, and have been included on several editions of the Kevin and Bean's KROQ Christmas Albums. Their first CD was on Rounder Records, their second CD was on Ipecac Records (Mike Patton's label), and their third and fourth CDs are on Moonman Records. Such notable musicians as Kurt Cobain, Smokey Robinson, Jackson Browne, Marilyn Manson, and Adam Horovitz have all cited themselves as fans of the band. [1]

In 2005, the Kids of Widney High were featured in The Ringer, a comedy wherein Johnny Knoxville's character pretends to be developmentally disabled in order to fix the Special Olympics and gain financially through betting on it. The group is seen performing "Pretty Girls" (which was also written by several members of the group) at a dance, and again towards the end of the film singing a version of the popular 1960s song, "Respect" in which the lyrics have been rewritten so that it becomes an anthem for those with disabilities.

The Kid Cudi song "Girls" from his 2013 album Indicud contains an interpolation of "Pretty Girls". In addition, their songs have been covered by such groups as The Aquabats singing "Throw Away the Trash" and Osaka Popstar and the American Legends of Punk singing "Insects". "Pretty Girls" is also included on Secret Songs by garage-punkster, NOBUNNY (2013, Goner Records.)

They are chronicled in the feature-length rockumentary Act Your Age: The Kids of Widney High Story directed by Mathew Klickstein and Jesse Alba. Starting in November, 2020, a remastered tenth anniversary edition of the film began streaming on Troma's streaming service Troma Now.[1] Klickstein also authored The Kids of Widney Junior High Take Over the World!, released in September 2020 by Schiffer Publishing. Thanks in part to direct promotion by The Big Bang Theory and Blossom star Mayim Bialik, the book quickly became a bestseller on Amazon.[2]


  • Special Music from Special Kids (1989) Rounder Records[3]
  • Let's Get Busy (1999) Ipecac Records[4]
  • Act Your Age (2003) Moonman Records
  • "The Kids of Widney High- LIVE- At the Key Club" (2007) Moonman Records


  2. ^ "Actress praises local author's book based on a real-life rock band made up of students with disabilities". dayton-daily-news. Retrieved 2020-09-26.
  3. ^ "Special Music From Special Kids (review)". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-02-22.
  4. ^ "Let's Get Busy (review)". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-02-22.

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