Screeching Weasel started in 1986, a few weeks after I saw the Ramones play. Mr. Jughead and I got together with a couple of future ex-band members and put together the derivative, cliched songs I’d been working on for a year. We played to crowds of three and five people inside dingy bars owned by men of questionable reputation. Our girlfriends were duly impressed and our performances were highly regarded by the soundmen of the greater Chicagoland area who always had a perfect line of vision to the stage, no matter what their location.
A demo tape was recorded in December of ‘86 and a month later, a local sucker approached us to do an album for his bedroom-based record label. Our self-titled album was released in the spring of 1987. 1,000 copies sold fairly quickly but the album was not to be reprinted by the label. We spent most of 1987 begging our friends to come see us play and experimenting with funny haircuts.
In 1988 we were drawing crowds of fifty and sometimes sixty people. Enter our second bassist. Our second album, BoogadaBoogadaBoogada!, was released in December. It sold better than the first one and we started getting cocky. In 1989 we started getting mail from other cities in these United States. Flustered by the attention (often we would receive as many as ten letters in a week) we set out on an ill-advised tour (the first one in 1988 having been only a minor disaster, we were convinced that our growing popularity among a handful of misguided, maladjusted youth would ensure that we would lose only a few hundred bucks). After we got a new bassist and drummer and recorded the Punkhouse EP, we hit the road. It hit back. Two months after limping home from the tour, we broke up. I still owe AT&T two hundred bucks.
We got back together in 1991 with our third drummer and fourth bassist. We recorded My Brain Hurts and received in the mail a piece of paper which until that point in our career had been a highly-debated rumor if not an outright myth - a royalty check. We sold a heck of a lot of records and got cocky again. We toured as little as possible in ‘91 and a little more in ‘92 with bassist #5. We only lost a small amount of money.
Bassist #6 checked in for the Wiggle album which was released in November of 1992. Heady with the success of our latest effort, we embarked on a six week tour. This tour was considered to be an unqualified success and still holds legendary status in the annals of Screeching Weasel history; we made four hundred dollars.
Bassist #7 (who was also bassist #3) took over for Anthem For A New Tomorrow which was released in the fall of 1993. We didn’t tour to support that album as our cockiness had given way to cynicism and bitterness brought on by, among other things, the realization that in our mid-twenties, we were now mired in the depths of middle-aged punkdom.
Bassist #8 came in to record the How To Make Enemies and Irritate People album in 1994. As soon as it was finished, we broke up again.
In 1996, bassist #7 (a.k.a. #3) came back into the fold and we recorded Bark Like A Dog. Pushing thirty, we realized that we simply had to prove that we could still keep pace with today’s hurly-burly world of punk rock. We had to show those crazy youngsters with their backwards baseball caps and internet computer programs that we still knew how to bop to the atomic beat. We had to suck in our guts, carefully comb our hair weaves and toss our collective hat back into the pop-punk ring. We had to keep paying the rent.
1998 rolled around. . .Rent has now transformed into the insidious institution known as a mortgage, hence the new Major Label Debut EP on our own Panic Button Records, and the even newer Television City Dream album on Fat Wreck Chords
You can stop reading now. . .Ben Weasel