YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

MUSIC: THE WEIRDOS : Punk Rock Re-Formers : Veterans of the L.A. scene have gotten back together for a 30-city tour after making a long hiatus of the '80s.

September 06, 1990|BILL LOCEY

Looking for a little adventure closer than Arabia? Well then, grab that steel pot, put on that flak jacket and lace up those combat boots. There's going to be a war, oops, a concert in Santa Barbara at the Carnaval Club Saturday night starring those punk rock legends the Circle Jerks and the Weirdos.

Where have all the skinheads gone? Who knows? But you can bet Uncle Willy's purple mohawk that they'll all resurface for this gig. This show will kick off a 30-city tour.

Talk about your job with good hours. L.A.'s Weirdos have been around at least 14 years and are making a comeback after basically taking the '80s off. Cheech Marin's classic line, "I'm not into time, man," could describe the Weirdos perfectly. They recently released their first full-length album just a few months ago. Will the next album be ready in 2004? And you thought Boston was slow. . . .

The Weirdos helped define the early L.A. punk scene through their raucous live performances, many of them at a now legendary dive on Hollywood Boulevard, the Masque. The dance floor became the slam pit. Remember when guys used to dance with girls? Forget it. Mostly, the girls, fearing for their lives, stay the hell out of the way as dancing became a man's world, sort of like meat bumper cars. Through it all, the Weirdos stayed, well, weird. Instead of the swastikas favored by angry bald people who frequented their gigs, the Weirdos wore smiley faces on their jackets. And the music was loud and fast and hard, no Moody Blues covers.

The Weirdos broke up in the early '80s to pursue alternate avenues. Guitarist Dix Denney joined Thelonious Monster, the drummer joined L.A. Guns and singer John Denney, well, let's let him tell it:

Question: This will be your first tour outside of California?

Yes, we're going to kick it into overdrive.

Answer: The picture that came in your press kit? Nice hats.

Thank you. Thank you very much.

A few years ago the St. Louis Cardinals had a pitcher named John Denny. Was that you?

Yes, that's me. I retired from baseball and decided to go into punk rock. No actually, it's not me, but it was always quite a thrill hearing Vin Scully calling my name on the radio.

How 'bout those Dodgers?

Yeah, how 'bout 'em? They're looking real good now.

The Weirdos have been gone for a long time--where have you guys been?

Well, we've been around. We never really went anywhere. We've been in different bands, involved in different projects, but we're back to stay this time. There's been 15 Weirdos come and go, and we've got three original Weirdos this time, not bad for all these years.

Will it take 14 years for another Weirdos' album?

No, not this time. Actually, we have a backlog of three albums worth of material. Our next album will sort of be like our 10th album, if you know what I mean.

The Weirdos put out a lot of EPs on various labels a long time ago. Are all those still in print?

I don't think any of them are in print anymore. We own them all, and they'll probably be reissued by our new label, Frontier.

How did the Weirdos get started?

Actually, you could trace us all the back to 1972 when my brother Dix and I were still in high school. We went to North Hollywood High. We started out as just another garage band, and later punk rock just sort of absorbed us. We were just doing our thing and somehow we became the forerunners of this L.A. punk thing and evolved into the Weirdos.

Describe the Masque scene.

We didn't start the Masque scene. We sort of slipped in after it had gotten rolling. It was a blast, seven nights a week, very do-it-yourself. We've played about 10 gigs since we re-formed, and the hard-core scene seems much larger now.

So are all those angry bald people from the '70s still around?

Oh sure. Some either came back, died or just hung in there.

Is there a basic Weirdos' fan?

No, not really. We seem to attract a wide spectrum of fans in all sizes and ages from toddlers to old fogies.

What was your strangest gig?

You got me there. I can't think of one. But we're hoping to play the Camarillo State Hospital. It's supposed to be a fun gig. The Cramps played there once.

Describe Weirdo music.

I'd call it driving, relentless. It's rock, sheer rock.

So no R.E.M. covers?

Well, you never know.

Do the Weirdos have goals, or are they beyond that?

Well, there's no master plan really. We just want to take it to the people. It's all my fault really. I was just hellbent to put out a record, and here we are. We're still viable. We just do what we do. And, we'd like to get to Europe by spring. Great beer.

In airport terminals they have these machines that sell insurance. Could a person make money selling insurance in the lobby before one of your shows?

Could be. I hope there's no bloodshed. We don't incite people.

Why should someone come to your gig?

I think we are one of the best damn bands on the planet, if I do say so myself.

* WHERE AND WHEN: The Circle Jerks and the Weirdos play at the Carnaval Club, 634 State St., Santa Barbara, 9 p.m. Saturday. Call 965-8422.

Los Angeles Times Articles