Two important events happened on Aug. 16, 1977. You can probably guess one of them — namely, the death of Elvis Presley. Just as the world was learning of the King’s passing, in another toilet half a country away, The Weirdos were plotting the downfall of civilized music.
That day, of all days, The Weirdos recorded three hot-wired songs for Bomp Records, including the undisputed punk classic “Destroy All Music,” the band’s first single. A rumbling call to arms, it was one of the first shots fired in L.A.’s punk revolution, and it serves as the ignition switch for Bomp Records' reissue of that firebomb of a song, a collection that packages 1979's Who, What, When, Where, Why? EP, three Bomp singles and four raw, previously unreleased demos of those initial singles, plus “Teenage.”
In a world gone completely plastic, this Molotov cocktail of a CD, released on the 30th anniversary of the release of “Destroy All Music,” burns slowly and punishes the senses. Subversively catchy, and with a bruising rhythmic undercurrent and a nest of barbed-wire guitars, Who, What, When, Where, Why? offered a nihilistic, punk free-for-all that moshed with dark rockabilly (“Jungle Rock”) and saxophone-splattered New Wave (“Big Shot”). The anthemic “Happy People,” with its siren guitars, gets fists pumping, while the singles “Life Of Crime” and “Why Do You Exist?” slash your tires.
Rude and ugly, with a belly full of fire, The Weirdos — comprised of brothers John (that's him in the photo by Chris Turner above) and Dix Denney, bassist Cliff Roman and drummer Nickey Beat — defied punk convention and blazed their own trail. And L.A. would never be the same.
The Weirdos were, undoubtedly, one of the best punk bands to ever emerge from L.A. And they were so DIY they even did all their own promotional graphics —
posters, covers, flyers and the like — and designed their own clothes. Got any thoughts as to some of the other punk acts of L.A.? Feel free to share 'em with me. I could talk about the L.A. punk of the late '70s and '80s for days.