The Weirdos

Fri Nov 28


The mere existence of The Weirdos goes a long way in discrediting the tiresome debate surrounding punk's inception. While other bands from the East Coast and England were enjoying successes and attention from widening audiences, The Weirdos, who were formed by brothers John and Dix Denney in 1976, were slugging it out in the trenches of record industry-saturated Los Angeles. At first, they were loathe to be labeled punk, preferring instead to remain decidedly un-pigeonholed. John notes in the punk art book Fucked Up and Photocopied, "We weren't punks, we were weirdos from Hollywood!" By summer '77, Time magazine was profiling bands in the L.A. punk scene, and The Weirdos soon realized they had no choice but to embrace their punk-labeled brethren: no one else would have them.

Sadly, the good times had to end, and in 1980, around the time Ronald Reagan and Cali Hardcore took over, The Weirdos broke up. It wouldn't last, though. While the brothers Denny didn't release much of anything during the '80s, they remained together, playing occasional live shows and recording at home.

Hailing from a bygone era whence "punk" was synonymous with "creative," The Weirdos' sound is as ever-changing as their line-up. The earliest recordings are properly punky, with ensuing snarling contests between vocals and guitars. By the on-again-off-again '80s, at times they ranged toward (what else?) experimental surf and rockabilly, while retaining their basic structures and tempos. In 1989 they released their first full-length recording, Condor, to mixed acclaim and nominal interest.

With a new remastered anthology of their best material, We Got the Neutron Bomb (Weird World Vol. 2 1977-1989), and a national tour in progress, it seems the Weirdos finally have some wind in their sails. To toil and sweat over a project for so long and still have a marginal return is an indicator that these guys are doing it for the love of the music.