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Circle Jerks

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Formed in 1979 by Black Flag vocalist Keith Morris and Redd Kross guitarist Greg Hetson, the Circle Jerks combined the rebelliousness of the Sex Pistols and Ramones with the aggressive athletic elements of the surfer/skateboarder crowd from Hermosa Beach. This coastal city just south of Los Angeles ignited the initial explosion of hardcore bands. Including bassist Roger Rogerson and drummer Lucky Lehrer, the band recorded their debut album, Group Sex, in 1980 on Frontier Records. Containing 14 tracks, the songs ranged in length from 1:35 to 27 seconds, taking the hyper blast of punk to the next extreme. With the release of the album, an appearance in the documentary film about L.A. punk The Decline of Western Civilization, and their incendiary live performances, the group's stature was assured in the budding hardcore community. Their second LP, 1982's Wild in the Streets, continued the intensity while injecting a humorous slant into the music by covering '60s pop hits "Just Like Me"/"Put a Little Love in Your Heart," applied with their slamdancing aggression. The joke was expanded on Golden Shower of Hits, their third album, released in 1983. The second time around they tackled "Along Comes Mary," "Afternoon Delight," "Having My Baby," and "Love Will Keep Us Together." Golden Shower also marked the incorporation of a few longer songs that hovered around the three-minute mark, including "Under the Gun," "High Price on Our Heads," and "Rats of Reality." At this point the band took a two-year break, which found Hetson joining the newly formed Bad Religion, taking on guitar duties for both bands well into the next decade. In 1985 the Circle Jerks returned with two new bandmembers, Keith Clark on drums and bassist Zander Schloss, releasing the metal-tinged Wonderful album on the Combat label. The group's new approach received mixed reviews, as their hard and fast thrash was slowed down and replaced by an explicit hard rock thump, which carried over to their next Combat release in 1987, VI. The band kept a low profile into the '90s, with the only Circle Jerks record being the 1992 anthology of concert performances titled Gig. By 1995, the band released its first new studio album in eight years, Oddities, Abnormalities and Curiosities, their major-label debut on Mercury. A highlight among the 12 tracks was a cover version of the Soft Boys' "I Wanna Destroy You," featuring a truly odd vocal appearance by Circle Jerks' fan Debbie Gibson, who would sporadically show up at gigs and perform the song with the band! By 1996 the years of rough touring caught up with the bandmembers and once again they went on hiatus. Morris in particular had been plagued by serious health problems, including a back injury that forced him to wear a brace, colon and stomach problems including appendicitis, and a 1999 diagnosis of adult onset diabetes. Since Morris had no health insurance, benefits were held to curtail his enormous medical bills, allowing the now dreadlocked lead singer to begin recuperating. In 2003 Morris was well enough to play live gigs with his spoken word jazz-punk ensemble Midget Handjob, and also tour with the Circle Jerks and the Rollins Band. An appearance on the Henry Rollins' orchestrated benefit album Rise Above: 24 Black Flag Songs to Benefit the West Memphis Three would bring Morris full circle with a performance of "Nervous Breakdown," a track he initially recorded in 1978 with the first incarnation of Black Flag. ~ Al Campbell
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Stations Featuring
Circle Jerks

    Classic Punk

    Classic Punk
    27 songs

    Punk U

    Punk U
    2 songs

Albums by
Circle Jerks

Top Songs by
Circle Jerks

  1.   Song
    Popularity
  2.   Live Fast Die Young
  3.   Coup D'Etat
  4.   World up My Ass
  5.   Wild in the Streets
  6.   I Just Want Some Skank
  7.   Question Authority
  8.   Wasted
  9.   Political Stu
  10.   Dude
  11.   Put a Little Love in Your Heart
  12.   Deny Everything
  13.   Operation
  14.   Back Against the Wall
  15.   Behind the Door
  16.   22
  17.   In Your Eyes
  18.   Karma Stew
  19.   Product of My Environment
  20.   Parade of the Horribles
  21.   Red Blanket Room
  22.   I & I
  23.   Defamation Innuendo
  24.   Under the Gun
  25.   Golden Shower of Hits (Jerks on 45): Along Comes Mary/Close to You/Af
  26.   Bad Words
  27.   Brick
  28.   Anxious Boy
  29.   Wonderful
  30.   When the Shit Hits the Fan
  31.   Paid Vacation
  32.   Rook House
  33.   High Price on Our Heads
  34.   Making Time
  35.   High Price on Your Heads
  36.   Making the Bombs
  37.   Firebaugh
  38.   Stars and Stripes
  39.   Leave Me Alone
  40.   Don't Care
  41.   Beverly Hills
  42.   Fortunate Son
  43.   Protection
  44.   The Crowd
  45.   I Don't
  46.   Casualty Vampire
  47.   Moral Majority
  48.   Fable
  49.   Beat Me Senseless
  50.   Don't Care / Live Fast, Die Young
  51.   Shining Through the Dark
  52.   Nervous Breakdown
  53.   Solitary Confinement
  54.   Letter Bomb
  55.   All Wound Up
  56.   Mrs. Jones
  57.   Junk Mail
  58.   I, I And I
  59.   Wild in the Streets
  60.   Love Kills
  61.   Rats of Reality
  62.   Patty's Killing Mel
  63.   Tell Me Why
  64.   I'm Alive
  65.   Status Clinger
  66.   Living
  67.   American Way
  68.   What's Your Problem
  69.   Group Sex
  70.   Red Tape
  71.   86'd (Good As Gone)
  72.   Meet the Press
  73.   Trapped
  74.   Murder the Disturbed
  75.   Forced Labor
  76.   Teenage Electric
  77.   Shining Through the Door
  78.   I Wanna Destroy You
  79.   Sinking Ship
  80.   Dog
  81.   Grey Life
  82.   Exhaust Breath
  83.   Career Day
  84.   Just Like Me
  85.   American Heavy Metal Weekend
  86.   Killing for Jesus
  87.   15 Minutes
  88.   Another Broken Heart for Snake
  89.   Back Up Against the Wall

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