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The Queers live at Revolution in Ft. Lauderdale, FL - June 11, 2017. Photo by Chuck Livid.
|Origin||Portsmouth, New Hampshire, U.S.|
The Queers are an American punk rock band, formed in 1981 by the Portsmouth, New Hampshire native Joe P. King (a.k.a. Joe Queer) along with Scott Gildersleeve (a.k.a. Tulu), and Jack Hayes (a.k.a. Wimpy Rutherford). With the addition of Keith Hages in 1982 the band started playing their first live shows. The band originally broke up in late 1984, but reformed with Joe Queer and a new line-up in 1986. In 1990, the band signed with Shakin' Street Records and released their first album Grow Up. The album earned the band notability within New England, but with the release of their next album 1993's Love Songs for the Retarded, on Lookout! Records, their following grew larger.
In 2006, after releasing six albums on Lookout! Records, the band rescinded their master rights from the label, citing breach of contract over unpaid royalties. Later that year they signed with Asian Man Records.
The Queers were formed in 1981 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The original lineup consisted of guitarist/vocalist Joe King, bassist Tulu, and drummer Wimpy Rutherford. King and Rutherford had played together in several short-lived punk bands, but King was inspired to start a new group after spending a summer in Manhattan Beach, California, and seeing Black Flag play. Tulu stated that their name had nothing to do with homosexuality, and meant queer as in someone strange or an outsider.
The original lineup only played four shows before Rutherford switched from drums to lead vocals Tulu from bass to drums, while Keith Hages joined on bass. This lineup broke up in 1984 when Tulu went back to school, and while never releasing a proper album at the time, the 1996 compilation A Day Late and a Dollar Short compiled various singles and other recordings from this era.
In 1986, King formed a new version of the band with DMZ guitarist J. J. Rassler, bassist Kevin Kecy, and drummer Hugh O'Neil. The band broke up again in 1989 after King bought a restaurant, but the next year were reformed by King and O'Neil, with new bassist B-Face. In 1990, this lineup released the band's debut album Grow Up on a small English label called Shakin' Street Records. When Grow Up caught the attention of Screeching Weasel frontman Ben Weasel, he convinced Lookout! Records owner Larry Livermore to sign The Queers, who released their second album, Love Songs for the Retarded, on Lookout! in 1993. To promote the album the band went on tours with Screeching Weasel and Rancid.
By now the band had developed problems with drug and alcohol use. Larry Livermore, who was in the studio with the band for Love Songs for the Retarded, recalled that while Joe King was able to stop drinking, heroin remained an issue for both King and Hugh O'Neill. The other members staged an intervention for O'Neill, who was forced to take a leave of absence from the band to deal with his addiction.
Jay Adelberg filled in on drums, performing on the live album Shout at the Queers; their 1994 cover version of the Ramones' 1977 album Rocket to Russia (released as part of Selfless Records' Ramones covers album series); and "Blabbermouth", their contribution to the 1994 Ben Weasel-curated compilation album Punk USA.
The recording for the band's next album, 1994's Beat Off, was scheduled to take place partway through a U.S. tour, but O'Neill was once again sidelined by addiction. The Queers instead recruited Screeching Weasel drummer Dan Panic, and also added his bandmate Dan Vapid as a second guitarist. Panic and Vapid would record Beat Off with The Queers, though Vapid's guitar parts were removed from the album before its release. They also played on the subsequent live album, Suck This (1995), and Vapid would play on 1995's Surf Goddess EP. For the 1995 studio album Move Back Home, O'Neil returned, and the classic lineup of King, B-Face, and O'Neil would record one more album together with 1996's Don't Back Down, which also saw the return of JJ Rassler on guitar. The album also marked the last release with Lookout! Records. The band had been offered a three-album deal with Epitaph Records, which King was in favor of, but B-Face and O'Neil weren't. The rift over this caused King to replace them with bassist Dave Swain from Jon Cougar Concentration Camp, and The Dwarves drummer Chris Fields. After leaving The Queers, B-Face would play bass for Chixdiggit!, The Mopes, and The Groovie Ghoulies, while O'Neil developed brain cancer, dying on January 21, 1999.
The Queers play a Ramones-derived style of pop punk. Much like The Ramones, common lyrical themes are of girls, love, drugs, alcohol and having fun. Musically the band deviates slightly from the driving rhythm guitar sound of the Ramones and augments their songs with harmony vocals and guitar solos. They have been described by Livermore as "The Ramones meets The Beach Boys". Ben Weasel of Screeching Weasel infrequently collaborates on songwriting with Joe Queer. The band is well known for the variety of cover versions they include on their records and during live performances. Bands/artists covered by The Queers include The Beach Boys, Ramones (including a complete re-recording of the Rocket to Russia album), Unnatural Axe, The Nobodys, Angry Samoans, The Mr. T Experience, Skeeter Davis, The Fantastic Baggys, The Who, The Undertones, The Hobos, Tommy James and The Shondells, Helen Love, The Catalogs (from Hawaii, featuring Les Hernandez of The Quintessentials), The Banana Splits and many more.
Joe Queer has been publicly outspoken against Nazism and white supremacy over the years as expressed in various interviews and in the song "You're Tripping" off of the 1993 Lookout Records release Love Songs for the Retarded. The lyrics state "I hate white power... Can't you see, this ain't Nazi Germany".
In a 2014 open letter, Joe Steinhardt of Don Giovanni Records called on Asian Man Records and Recess Records to drop The Queers after Joe Queer made public statements in support of Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. Artist Mitch Clem, who had previously done work for the band, publicly broke ties as well. Steinhardt later apologized for the open letter, stating "I remain personally appalled by Joe Queer's defense of Darren Wilson, his use of the term Obongo regarding the president...at the same time, I recognize that a better way to go about this would be more thoughtful discussion directly with the people involved." Joe Queer later called Steinhardt a 'gutless wimp' and challenged him to a face to face debate to be filmed and put online. Steinhardt has yet to respond.
In an interview with Noisey, after their February 2016 show was cancelled due to a call for a petition to boycott the show from a local collective, Babely Shades, Joe Queer voiced his opinion when asked if he "supports racist, misogynistic or homophobic values?" he replied "Of course not. What normal minded person does? My closest pals here in Atlanta are Chris and Chester, two gay black guys. I was actually working a part time job. I was one of two white people on the whole job. If I was so racist, I wouldn't have worked there or be living in Atlanta! The whole city is predominantly black." He also voiced his opinion of the activist group Black Lives Matter, stating "Black Lives Matter doesn't care about black people, they just want to cause trouble and hate white people. If they truly cared they'd be in the ghettos of America trying to help there instead of screaming about white America. That's where the murders of black people are happening, but according to BLM it's all white cops who are doing it! It's insane thinking and not getting to the root of the problem at all. All lives matter."
In a 2017 interview, Joe Queer stated "“I get called a Nazi and racist because of our name, and then because I had an opinion about the Ferguson thing,” he says. “I'm liberal as hell, and I was taken aback by how quickly people attacked me. To this day, I'll get snide comments. I was jumped by Nazis as a gay person, even though I'm not gay. I fought Nazis, so to be called a Nazi is lame by this alt-left." In the same interview he states that humor is a way to social change, we shouldn't take ourselves so seriously and that many people are looking for a reason to be offended, "“In the old days of punk rock, all these bands were laughing at themselves, and they got their point across through humor,” King says. “The Dead Kennedys, Black Flag, the Circle Jerks, the Dickies, the Angry Samoans, Flipper, X — they were funny, but they had a message. They were laughing at themselves. I don't think the new liberals are really offended. I think they're just looking for a reason to say they're offended. They completely take everything out of context. It's so insincere, this faux outrage." 
Since its formation, the band has gone through a few line-up changes, with Joe Queer as the only constant member. The band currently consists of Joe Queer (guitar/vocals), Cheeto Bandito (bass), and Hoglog Rehab (drums). The first line-up was Joe Queer, Tulu, Keith Hages and Wimpy Rutherford. The mid-1980s line-up was Joe Queer, JJ Rassler, Hugh O'Neill with Kevin Kecy or Evan Shore. The best known line-up is from the 1990s Lookout Records era: Joe Queer, B-Face and Hugh O'Neill. After leaving Lookout Records, B-Face and Hugh O'Neill left and Dangerous Dave joined. The Queers continue to actively tour and a new record is in the works.
- Current members
- Joe King (a.k.a. Joe Queer) - guitar, lead vocals (1981–1984, 1986, 1990–present)
- Alex Martin (a.k.a. Hoglog Rehab) - Drums (2011–present)
- Chris May (a.k.a. El Cheeto Bandito) - Bass (2017–present)
- Former part-time and fill in members
- Tulu (a.k.a. Scott Gildersleeve) (bass/drums) (1981–1984) (died March 2015)
- Wimpy Rutherford (a.k.a. Jack Hayes) (drums/lead vocals) (1981–1984)
- Keith Hages (bass, backing vocals) (1982–1984)
- Bobby Gaudreau (lead vocals) (1986)
- Kevin Kecy (bass, backing vocals) (1986)
- Hugh O'Neill (drums, backing vocals) (1986–1993, 1995–1998) (died January 21, 1999)
- Joseph Hughes (drums) (1986-1988)
- J.J. Rassler (lead guitar, backing vocals) (1987–1988)
- Danny McCormack (guitar) (1987–1988)
- Evan Shore (bass, backing vocals) (1987–1988)
- Greg Urbaitis (bass) (1987–1988)
- Geoff Armstrong (Bass) (2018)
- Magoo Piranha (bass, backing vocals) (1987–1988)
- Jeebs Piranha (drums) (1987–1988)
- Young Sean Rowley (guitar) (1987–1988)
- B-Face (bass, backing vocals) (1990–1998)
- Jay (drums) (1993)
- Harlan Miller (guitar) (1993)
- Dan Vapid (guitar, backing vocals) (1994, 2002, 2014 Love Songs... tour)
- Danny Panic (drums) (1994)
- Metal Murf Cretin (guitar) (1995)
- Erick Coleman (guitar) (1995–1996)
- Hunter Oswald (drums) (1995)
- Kato Cretin (guitar) (1996)
- Geoff Useless (bass, backing vocals) (1998, 2006–2007)
- Rick Respectable (drums, backing vocals) (1998)
- Chris Cougar Concentration Camp (guitars, backing vocals) (1997–1999)
- Steve Stress (drums) (1998–2000)
- Dangerous Dave - bass, backing vocals (1998–2002, 2007–2015)
- Isaac Lane (bass) (2001)
- Matt Drastic (drums) (2002–2003) (2007–2008)
- Phillip Hill (bass, backing vocals) (2002–2006, 2007)
- Dusty Watson (drums, backing vocals) (2004, 2009)
- Dave Trevino (drums) (2004–2006)
- Andrew Griswold (drums) (2005)
- Ben Vermin (bass) (2006, 2007)
- Ryan Kwon Doe (drums) (2006)
- Jeff Dewton (guitar) (2007)
- Jonathon Mackey (drums) (2010)
- Adam Woronoff (drums) (2007) (2009–2010)
- Bear Williams (drums) (2012)
- Lurch Nobody - drums, backing vocals (2000–2001, 2006–2011)
- Josh Goldman (bass, backing vocals) (2013)
- Grow Up 1990, Shakin' Street (UK) / reissue 1994, Lookout! Records / reissue 2007, Asian Man Records
- Love Songs for the Retarded 1993, Lookout! / reissue 2006, Asian Man Records / reissue 2009, Gonna Puke Records Italy
- Rocket to Russia 1994, Selfless Records
- Beat Off 1994, Lookout! / reissue 2007, Asian Man Records
- Move Back Home 1995, Lookout! / reissue March 2007, Asian Man Records
- Don't Back Down 1996, Lookout! / reissue 2007, Asian Man Records
- Punk Rock Confidential 1998, Hopeless Records / reissue revisited 2018, Asian Man Records
- Beyond The Valley... 2000, Hopeless / reissue revisited 2015, Asian Man Records
- Pleasant Screams 2002, Lookout! / reissue July 2007, Asian Man Records
- Munki Brain 2007, Asian Man Records
- Back to the Basement 2010, Asian Man Records
- Beyond the Valley Revisited 2015, Asian Man Records
- Punk Rock Confidential Revisited 2018, Allstar Records
- Save The World 2020, Allstar Records
- Love Me 7", 1982, Doheny Records —Pressing of 200 copies
- Kicked Out of the Webelos 7", 1984, Doheny Records —Pressing of 200 copies
- Too Dumb To Quit! (featuring Wimpy on guest vocals) - 7", 1993, Doheny Records, 7", 1994, Selfless Records Reissue
- My Old Man's a Fatso (featuring Wimpy on guest vocals) - 7", 1994, Wound Up Records
- Look Ma No Flannel (featuring Wimpy on guest vocals) - 7", 1995, Clearview Records
- Surf Goddess 7"/CD, 1995, Lookout! Records
- Bubblegum Dreams 7"/CD, 1996, Lookout! Records
- Everything's OK CD, 1998, Hopeless Records
- Today CD, 2001, Lookout!
- Killed by Death No. 3 1989, Redrum
- A Proud Tradition (reissue of the first two 7") 1992, Doheny Records; 1993, Selfless Records Reissue
- A Day Late and a Dollar Short 1996, Lookout! / reissue 2007, Asian Man Records
- Later Days and Better Lays 1999, Lookout!
- Summer Hits No. 1 2004 Suburban Home Recordings
- Live At Some Prick's House (split album with the Pink Lincolns) 1994, Just Add Water Records
- Love Aint Punk (split 7" with Sinkhole) 1995, Ringing Ear Records
- Right On Target (split album with 88 Fingers Louie) 2004, Stiffen Records
- Acid Beaters (split album with the Manges) 2003, Stardumb Records
- Split Disc from Japan and USA (split album with the Disgusteens) 2004, Stiffen Records
- Three Way Split (split album with Consider the Meek and the Vickers) 2006, Leek Records
- untitled (split 7" with The Hotlines) 2008, Devil's Jukebox Records
- untitled (split 7" with the Atom Age) 2009, Asian Man Records
- Alive (split 7" with Killtime) 2011, Gonna Puke Records
- Buy It You Scum (split 7" with The Riptides) 2011, Asian Man Records
- Beyond the Dirty South Valley (split 7" with Antagonizers ATL) 2015, Sexy Baby Records
- The Queers/Chris Barrows (split 7" with Chris Barrows) 2018, Rad Girlfriend Records
- Cha Cha Cha (split 7" with The Two Tens) 2020, ProRawk Records
- Unhappy Campers (split 10” with The Jasons) 2021, ProRawk Records
- Live In Chicago 4/18/93 1993, VML Records
- Shout at the Queers 1994, Selfless Records
- Suck This 1995, Clearview Records
- Live in West Hollywood 2001, Hopeless Records
- Weekend at Bernie's 2006, Doheny Records
- CBGB OMFUG Masters: Live February 3, 2003 2008
- The Queers Alive in Hollyweird 2009, Punk Rock Social
- Live In Philly 06' 2010, Universal Warning Records
- Olé Maestro (Live @ Madrid, Nov 2009) 2013, Media David
- "Chart Attack - Best Magazine 2020". Chartattack.com. Retrieved March 27, 2020.
-  Archived August 24, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
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- Livermore, Larry (2015). How to Ru(i)n a Record Label: The Story of Lookout Records. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Don Giovanni Records. pp. 141–145. ISBN 978-0-9891963-4-5.
- Shout at the Queers (LP liner notes). Garland, Texas: Selfless Records. 1994. SFLS 28.
- Rocket to Russia (CD liner notes). Los Angeles: Liberation Records. 2001. L-37838.
- Punk USA (CD liner notes). Berkeley, California: Lookout! Records. 1994. LK 77CD.
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- "JOE QUEER BACKS OFFICER DARREN WILSON, PUNK COMMUNITY CONFUSED". Impose Magazine. Retrieved 2015-03-17.
- "Don Giovanni Records owner asks labels to drop The Queers and Screeching Weasel, then apologizes". PunkNews.org. Retrieved 2015-03-17.
- Elliot, Griffin (February 2, 2016). "The Queers Are Fighting to Play in Ottawa and We Found Out Why". Vice.com. Retrieved March 27, 2020.
- Callwood, Brett (July 6, 2017). "The Queers' Joe Queer Once Fought Nazis. Now He's Being Called One". Westword.com. Retrieved March 27, 2020.
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