Circle Jerks

Shot their load awfully quick.
*special introductory paragraph!
*Group Sex
*Wild In The Streets
*Golden Shower Of Hits
*Oddities Abnormalities And Curiosities
*Live At The House Of Blues DVD
Sometimes in life, you start off really good and then gradually rest your leg in the toilet. Such is the way with two of the most popular L.A. hardcore bands of the early 80s, X and the Circle Jerks. You can read about X elsewhere on the site, so I'd appreciate it if you'd just stop bringing them up in this forum. The issue here is the Circle Jerks. Not X. Not D.J. Bonebrake, for Pete's sake. What's your deal? Do you have a good deal? Jiminy Cricket! The Circle Jerks put out one of the most energetic, frenzied, ridiculous, stupid and satisfying punk records of all time, and then made a career out of failing to live up to expectations. Things were okay for a COUPLE more albums, sure, but after the rhythm section was replaced with a couple of goofs, things slowed down and took a turn for the drab. They hit rock bottom with an entirely unnecessary reunion album dreamt up as an attempt to cash in on the success of Green Day in the mid-90s. Booboo! Beebee! Don't toss off their first few albums, though. Had they just broken up when they SHOULD have, their reputation wouldn't be so sullied today. This day. But, for the love of God, please BUY GROUP SEX. It's a classic! It's awesome! It's like fourteen minutes long!

* Group Sex - Frontier 1980. *
Rating = 10

An essential punk document. Oh, there have been faster. Oh, there have been angrier. But this shim is WACK, Phranc! The songs are so ditzy and adolescent and spitty. And drummer Lucky Lehrer forkin' KICKS it, jube! Have you heard "Red Tape"? The guy's a nutbag! Fourteen songs in fifteen minutes, with bitchin' col' titles like "World Up My Ass," "Live Fast Die Young" and "Deny Everything." A couple of old Black Flag riffs are...umm.... blatantly ripped off (well, it's possible Keith Morris wrote them, I suppose - he used to sing for Black Flag), the guitar riffs stay fast and outta control, and the longest number on the disc is the exact same length (1:30) as the shortest song on the first Ramones album! Yay for punk rock! If you're not sure what to expect, take a look at the two photos on the back of the record - one shows the band in concert, with the bassist mid-leap and singer Keith standing still and staring blankly at him without moving a muscle. The other shows the whole band gathered around a fridge drinking brews. That was the original Jerks aesthetic - beer, humor and rock and roll. If you had put the record on the turntable right when you started reading this review, it would be half over by now! If you don't like it, I can only wonder why. So fast. So catchy. So damn stupid. Sample lyric? "Got a date! Can't be late! If she don't show up, I'll masturbate!"
Reader Comments (Nick Leu)
YES!! THIS is an album. Not one bad song here, and the Black Flag songs included, well, far surpass their Black Flag counterparts. And why couldn't Keith Morris ever sing as cool on any of the other Jerks albums as he does here? I'm with Mark on this one, go buy this immediately. Actually, I think there's a cd out now that contains both this album and Wild In the Streets. Go buy that. (Glen Gibbs)
What a record. I remember the first time I brought this record home and my mother freaked out over the album title. However, not quite as offensive as a certain Big Black album {wink,wink}. At the time of this record's release, the Jerks seemed as if they were poised to take over all of Punk Rock. One needs only to view their performance in the film Decline of Western Civilization in order to gain some understanding of their chaotic and/or awesome stage presence. This record has it all. Fast, short, albeit catchy songs. I think the real star of this band was Lucky Lehrer, an absolutely godlike drummer. No other punk drummer at the time was able to manage the speed of his drumming coupled with his ultra-fast rolls and even a slight surf influence {listen to "Operation" for a prime example of that}. The first time I heard "Paid Vacation" my mouth was literally agape with wonder in regards to how a band could manage to be this fast, humorous, and catchy all at once. This is one of the L.A. hardcore albums {Black Flag's Jealous Again and T.S.O.L.'s debut as well} that not only inspires but commands of you to jump all around the room in a spazz-like manner until the plaster starts falling off the ceiling and the crotchety old woman next door calls the cops. Until next time. (Elliot Imes)
For some reason, Group Sex fell a little bit short of my expectations. Sure, it's a great punk record, but it wasn't as frenzied and out of control as I was led to believe. Whatever. I really like "Operation", "Paid Vacation", "Deny Everything", and "World Up My Ass."

One other thing that's very strange. I don't know if this is how this was supposed to happen, but when I put the CD in, my CD player said it was 28 songs in 31 minutes. So I thought "hey aren't there only 14 songs on this???" So I listened to it, and after "Red Tape" is done, the cd just plays again. Is this normal? Someone please e-mail me or something. Very good album, though. Hehe. (Fred Drake)
you can put down group sex so muc. anything thatthey have put out is awesome. circle jerks are one of the best punk bands that ever were, and certainly ever will be. they so perfectly combine politics AND fun, the way a real punk band should be! if you want to write back to bitch or whatever, make ie att. krystie. but hey, your site's really cool. (Michael Burrus)
Group Sex is one of the best punk albums I ever heard. It's such a short album, but it's great. Group Sex is a crazy adrenaline rush. This band reminds me of my own band. Just real energetic, fast, and stupid punk! and catchy, too! (James L. Tichenor)
What a bunch of jerks! No but seriously, these jerks made some kick ass frenzied fucking grooves. Really witty, hilarious lyrics, catchy guitar and bass lines- kick ass drummer- Keith Morris (what else need be said?) and jaw-dropping rythym changes make this album a must have. Actually you can do better- just get the double CD of Wild In the Streets with Group Sex and you have just about everything you need from this kick ass band!
CIRCLE JERKS is THE punkband of all times, and GROUP SEX is THE punkalbum of all times! Noone will ever come near their energetic and catchy tunes, or their sarcastic, ironic lyrics and Keith Morris is without doubt the best vocalist ever to appear on the face of earth! This masterpeice is just pure and sheer brilliance!
This has to be the greatest punk album ever that's less than 20 minutes long. (Or, at least, for sure the greatest of the ones I've heard.) Definitely a 10. "Operation," "Paid Vacation," "World Up My Ass," "Red Tape," "Wasted," "Don't Care," "Beverly Hills," "I Just Want Some Skank" and the jaw-droppingly anthemic title track are some of the best songs to come out of the LA scene during the early 80's, and the rest are great, too. There's no excuse if you don't own this record, although if you listen to it enough you'll understand why Greg Hetson doesn't play lead guitar in Bad Religion.

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Wild In The Streets - Faulty Products 1982.
Rating = 8

Mainly a letdown because it's not an immediate adrenaline rush like the first one. Instead of blast after blurt after butt of high-octane jollies, this is a bunch of more traditional angry high-speed punk tunes. It's not mixed worth a shib either. Too much reverb where no reverb at all would have been appropriate. Aside from that, it's certainly mixed worth a shib; please let me apologize for my earlier comments. Two dull and moronic cover tunes bookend an otherwise fairly energetic and bitter batch of pissed off diatribes against the media, conservative America, Communists, and that goddamned "authority." If you like punk melody, you can't really go wrong with this one. Just skip the first and last number and everything else varies between the eminently headbangable and the merely okay. Some cool bass lines too! "Defamation Innuendo," in particular, is an awfully cool little groover that wouldn't have fit in at all on Group Sex. So there's a tad of musical progression and more of a sense of "making an album" as opposed to "ending each song as quickly as humanly possible," but it's still cool and speedy enough to punk you down the highway, Mr. Doobie.
Reader Comments (Michael Kozlowski)
I must disagree and say that I like this album better. Every picture of the Circle Jerks I've ever seen has at least one member 5 feet in the air (most members are only 5 feet tall too!), and THIS is the album that I am forced to hop all the way through. I totally disagree with your critque on the covers. I think they do a fantastic job on almost all of them, and while "Put a Little Love in Your Heart" could stay or go, "Wild in the Streets" is possibly the best Circle Jerks cut in their entire collection. It's the closest Keith Morris comes to sounding as insane as he did in Black Flag. "86'd", among others are also classic tracks from this record. Finally, just to add, I have not heard funnier shit from anyone else (even Fear), and their humor is seen at its best on this album, or at least I think so. While their sound may have weakened with age, the humor never dies.

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Golden Shower Of Hits - LAX 1983.
Rating = 8

The last gasp. Still a really good punk band, but trying out the slower pop and metal rounds a little more than your hardcoresters might desire. Not nearly as angry as Wild In The Streets, this is more of just kind of a, oh I don't know, a kind of FUN record, but not in the crazyass Group Sex way. It's fun because the songs are catchy and energetic, even though the band sorta sounds like they can't really figure out what they're trying to be. It's okay, though. Diversity is a good thing! It's just that, in circumstances like this one, it's also kind of a disorienting thing. Take "Bad Words," for example. In and of itself, it's a funny little ditty that never really gets going. The drums pound, but never really propel the song forward. Taken as an individual song, it's a neat aside. An interesting experiment. But, in the context of the album, it just makes you go "?" What the hell was that crap? Try to take it song for song. "High Price On Our Heads" COOKS. "In Your Eyes" TEARS. "Under The Gun" SEARS. "Rats Of Reality" SUCKS. Enough. Enough. Golden Shower may be longer than Group Sex, but it sure feels more like a ripoff! Enjoy said ripoff!
Reader Comments
“Rats of reality” does not suck.
Like so many Cali-punk bands of the early-to-mid 1980s that had a groundbreaking debut to live up to, the Jerks never really recaptured the "first-album" fire and inspiration of Group Sex (Social Distortion Mommy's Little Monster, the Adolescents Blue album, the Vandals first ep all come to mind) but this album has WAY more punch than the uber-reverby "big rock" production of Wild In The Streets, which mars some great songs IMO. Take out Rats Of Reality and you got a solid, if short lp (but you love that first album and it's short, so shut the fuck up!) Just try and tell me Coup D' Etat doesn't kick as much midtempo punk rawk ass as it did when you were 13 and heard it for the first time on the Repo Man soundtrack album. This album was a fine return to form and the last truly great batch of songs they would pen. You don't agree? Fuck you!

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Wonderful - Combat Core 1985.
Rating = 6

Eww. New rhythm section. Longer, slower songs. Bad, weakly-produced punk metal. A much lower percentage of effective tunes. Some really, really, really awful stuff ("Killing For Jesus"? Excuse me while I hang upside down and vomit into my nose!). But still - enough cutesy merriment to slightly warrant its existence. The title track, yeah. "I, I and I," sure. "The Crowd" damn fuckin' rules!!!, uh huh. Infectious as a groove! "Karma Stew"? Weird riffage! Cool! Too iffy as a complete album, though. Too much boring filler. Not enough real energy. There's only one possible reason you might want to go ahead and pay a decent amount of cashola for this record - they would never sound so drunk again. Did they sober up after this or something? I've no problem with sobering, if that indeed is what happened. I personally am sober as a dober, man! But the real thrill of the Jerks was the quirky, sloppy stupidity, evident here for the final time. So far, anyway. And probably forever, since I can't imagine Greg Hetson leaving his cushy position in Bad Religion to return for another dumbass reunion. Oh! But I'm getting ahead of myself.... Please! Let me get behind myself for a minuto!

Ahhh, Menudo - now that was a band....

Reader Comments (Peter DeBenedetto)
No matter what anyone has to say to me I still find that wonderful is one of my favorite albums by the Circle Jerks, I love the Circle Jerks and I believe they are definitely one of the greatest punk bands ever.

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VI - Relativity 1987.
Rating = 6

I keep going back and forth on this one. Half the times I listen to it, it sounds like an impressive, passionate step into adulthood, with lots of strong feelings, mature lyrics and loud guitars. Then the other half of the times I listen, most of the songs come across as midtempo, slick and way too similar. There are a few standouts that always sound amazing (the bombastic "Living," the bizarre "Love Kills," the fanfuckingtastic "I Don't"), but "filler" like "Patty's Killing Mel" and "Beat Me Senseless" move a little too slowly for how musically simple they are. If you're not playing anything but boring three-chord riffs that don't do anything, you can't play them at half-tempo. If you're going to play at a normal speed, you absolutely have to do something interesting. And half the time on here, the Circle Gang DON'T. What they really needed at this point was some good Lucky Lehrer/Roger Rogerson action. Surely those Mexican Jumping Beans wouldn't have allowed this "positive" and "sincere" "punk" "statement" to see the light of day! And we could all take drugs until death warmed us over!

Reader Comments

Jamie Duval
This is actually my favorite CJ album after "Group Sex". Yeah, the lyrics are pseudo Tom Cruise/Straight-Edge, but the music is tight and melodic in a way that was missing from "Wonderful". Unfortunately, the CD mastering makes this sound too trebley. The best song, in my opinion, is 'Casualty Vampires'. For more "articulate" rock n roll, check out Blue Oyster Cult's "Fire Of Unknown Origin"!!

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Gig - Relativity 1992.
Rating = 8

Live album, Jimmy! 22 tracks ramping the whole ca(beer)! Ha ho! And one of them is a cover of that cool song from Rushmore, which kicked ass! Great movie! That kid was really funny. Ho! I said to myself. This album is really good. It has a few of their shittier songs ("Making The Bombs," "Mrs. Jones," "Wild In The Streets"), but most of it is high quality crudola music - and "High Price On Our Heads" is really fast! You wouldn't expect it to be, but it IS! And that's neat! I'd like a pizza. I'm listening to the Ramones' Animal Boy album right now. I like a lot of music. But I'm not a huge Kiss fan.

This is a good, energetic compilation of tuners (live!) that shows you the girth and breadth of their talent from "Deny Everything" to "Casualty Vampires." Buy it, pansy!

Reader Comments
the real cool reason punk shows were cool is that they can do anything and not giving a fuck about it! no mtv punks like simple pussy or good charlotte's dick! this is REAL PUNK ROCK MUSIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I SAW THEM LIVE IN OHIO THE CIRCLE JERKS PLAY THE SONG FROM THE REPOMAN MOVIE!!!!!! OH MAN I'M SO STOKED! the place would be on fire if it explodes! they won't be shouting in the rain! then they play world up my ass! they can play better than the faggot dogshit pop bands rite now! they are on ccbgb's with the ramones! ack! sweet! yay! punk!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i'm looking for a hot 17 year old punk babe who can make me masturbate! and did you know the party after show???! yes!
sadly one thing that bothers me is that gay charlotte and pipi plan make 2 records! ugh! the latter is a 2 version album of the the yadda yadda yadda yadda yadda of life and death! oooooo so predictible!ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! eat me! then came stupid emo shit! I make fart sounds if I hear emo one more time! bun da sun bun da lite ta ta ta ta take it awa! shut the fuck up! chemical romance sucks! ugh! It is like I am onstage and I forgot da words ! damn I soorrrrrry! eat me! I okay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! arrrrghhhhhhhh (punches guy in the mouth for yelling and shoving his face at me!) caw we lost it all nawti las foeveah I sorry I cant be perfeckt! fuck you! can I tuch youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu! fuck you gay man! ga ga ga ga ga ga ga ga ga ga ga ga aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! I AM THE GREAT CORNHOLIO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I NEED TIPI TIPI FOR MY BUNGHOLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! EVERY TIM I MEET EVERY TIME I SCRAEM I HATE YOU! OH FUCK OFF! OO OO OO LAKE TITICACA! EW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YOU NASTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! FUCK EMO!

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Oddities Abnormalities And Curiosities - Mercury 1995.
Rating = 3

The thing about Wonderful and VI is that they really ARE halfway decent records. They're just a huge letdown in comparison to the early Jerks material. This reunion pile of worthless sissy crap, on the other hand, is a letdown in comparison to pretty much every record I've ever heard in my life, aside from possibly I'm Breathless by Madonna. It's just not good. Side one has some passable midtempo three-chord humdrums, but side two ain't got nothing. Folks, this is NOT punk. This is Green Day with less personality. Do NOT buy this record expecting punk rock. It's a bunch of weary men trying to fake energy without actually creating any. It was probably done because nobody but Greg Hetson had been in a successful band for years, and it deserved every bit of critical panning that it got. What an embarrassment. And what a bunch of boring melodies! How did they manage to stay awake long enough to record all twelve tracks? Go buy Group Sex now. "Red tape! I can see! Can't you see?"

At least they do a cover of The Soft Boys' "I Wanna Destroy You," written by Robyn Hitchcock. Speaking of which, here are all the Hitchcock movies I've seen:

The 39 Steps
Secret Agent
Young and Innocent
The Lady Vanishes
Foreign Correspondent
Shadow of a Doubt
Stage Fright
Strangers on a Train
I Confess
Dial M for Murder
Rear Window
To Catch a Thief
The Trouble with Harry
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
The Wrong Man
North by Northwest
The Birds
Family Plot

Reader Comments
OK I understand that people didn't like their later albums and I didn't either until I listened to it a few times. An example Wonderful and VI are in my opinion more catchy than any other album. The worst album I'd say was the reunion album cause like the Descendents it brought UNWANTED FANS into the LA hardcore scene (ie skaters). That album was a mistake but you can't blame them for still trying after they made Golden Shower of Hits. There are a lot of bands that are still going even though no one buys their shit.

BTW, those songs taken from Black Flag on Group Sex were all written originally by Keith Morris. He wrote Black Flag's first songs in the late 70s and stayed with them until 1980 when he went straight to the Circle Jerks. Then you know the rest of the story.. Henry Rollins joined and ruined it. Turned it into metal. I'm not just saying this cause I love Keith Morris in my opinion he was the BEST singer Black Flag ever had. He made the songs very fast unlike Henry Rollins.
This album is a shit shingle. The Circle Jerks have truely died. I guess Gregg Hetson has spent to much time in Bad Religion to write or play good songs any more. I don't know what the hell is wrong with the other guys.
Hello. I am looking for information on who represents the Circle Jerks in order to contact Xander Schloss for a television interview. Any information would be helpful! (Jay Bishop)
this album did strike me odd at first until i listened to it a little. bands evolve like everything else. i am not eighteen anymore, as with the band members. besides who the fuck would want to be stuck in the eighties? the mambers changed because things around them changed and one should not compare the work of a teenager to an adults. (Jeff Fortin)
This CD was released right in the middle of the wave of punk bands signing to major labels or bands like the Descendents reforming, recording, touring, and cashing in on the mid-90s punk craze. When I bought this CD I kind of liked it but after listening to it recently, I can honestly say that it is complete uninspired crap and having Debbie Gibson..oh excuse me it is now Deborah a guest vocalist just makes it worse. I saw them on this tour and they were on stage just going through the motions. They played with no emotion or feeling. The only rehashed punk band that put on a worse performace was Fear.

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Live At The House Of Blues DVD - Kung Fu 2004
Rating = 8

Little kids don't know this because they're tender and innocent, but a "circle jerk" apparently involves a group of guys sitting around in a circle and holding a contest to see who can ejaculate the quickest. Which basically violates EVERY logical rule of heterosexual behavior, but my point is that if you're planning to ask your mother for "the new Circle Jerks DVD," make it clear you don't want Ass Boyz' Pud Pull Pile-On #46 even though it's awesome.

You know what's interesting about the passage of time? Nothing really, but say there's some alternate universe where I give a shit about things that don't matter - in THAT universe, it would be interesting to watch as the leading purveyors of "youth music" (Rock And Roll, Punk Rock, Heavy Metal) get older and older and older while continuing to play the music of their (relative) childhood. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are now over SIXTY years old. Granted, people have been making Geritol jokes about them since the mid-80s, but 60!? That's past retirement age! They honestly *ARE* senior citizens now, but they're still playing rock and roll! Really really GREAT rock and roll! Christ, have you heard "Anybody Seen My Baby?" If by "Baby," Mick means "Really Great Rock And Roll Songs Of Deep Lyrical and Social Relevance to Today's Audiences," then you bet your ass we've seen it! I mean Christ, have you heard "Already Over Me"!? Yeah, more like "Midnight Rambler II: The IMPROVEMENT"!!!

So what about punk rock? Well, being two decades younger than good old-fashioned boogie woogie rock and roll, yesteryear's hardcore stars are now in their 40's -- not OLD in terms of life expectancy, but definitely a bit long in the whisker for guys playing slamdance screaming aggressive teenage 400 million miles an hour speed rock. And what's cool is that the Circle Jerks ACKNOWLEDGE this discrepancy and address it both in the live show and bonus footage found on this DVD. They give tips for how to play punk rock at 42 (one of which is "take lots of naps"), deliver history lessons on stage, make fun of their bald spots, and do all kinds of other things that make it clear that they intend to "grow old honestly" rather than pretending that laugh lines and crows' feet can be hidden by plastic surgery and hip sunglasses. Especially crows' feet, because the bird will just hop over the sunglasses and fly away. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! <---- See that? That's a laugh line.

Shot on multiple Panasonic DVX 100 cameras, with 24 track digital audio with 5.1 Surround Sound, this episode of "The Show Must Go Off!" makes it - hang on, the rest of the paragraph is marketing hype. Ah! Here we go -- Don't forget to check out the bonus features like the band commentary from Keith Morris and Zander Schloss, photo gallery, Japanese subtitles between songs, extra backstage footage and much more. I did just this, and let me tell you what I saw and heard there!

I heard two songs each from Wonderful! and Oddities, Etc., three from VI (their cleverly entitled fifth album), four each from Golden Shower Of Hits and Wild In The Streets, a whop-stop-bobbing TEN tracks from their classic debut Group Sex, and covers of the Weirdos' "Solitary Confinement" and Black Flag's "Nervous Breakdown" (which was originally sung by Keith Morris before he left that band to form Circle Jerks). Some of the tracks seem a little slower than the original versions, and a band can only suffer by no longer having Lucky Lehrer drumming for it (granted, he was only on their first two albums anyway, but MY GOD what an amazing drummer!), but otherwise it's all well-played and well respected, man, by Kinky Keith, Zoophile Zander, Bad Religion's Greg Hetson and new drummer Drums McDrummersalot.

Kung Fu has a nasty habit of releasing DVDs by the worst new bands of all time (Guttermouth, Goldfinger, Zebrahead) so it's always a special good day when they unleash a concert by a wizened group of punk legends with tons of unforgettable material in their back catalog (Vandals, Adolescents, Circle Jerks) or comedian (Neil Hamburger).

Bottom line is this: a 2005 Circle Jerks concert is obviously not going to feature the incredible, ludicrous energy that you'd find on a video of the band's early '80s performances (Diabetes sufferer Keith Morris even acknowledges this in the commentary, sadly noting how much he hates clubs with barrier walls between the stage and the audience because it prevents fans from jumping on stage and adding to the chaos). However, these songs have lost none of their catchiness over the years and it's neat to see how the band members sound, think and look (Zander looks like a homeless hippy! His sideburns are HUGE!) in these late 1990's, specifically 1992005. So keep on drumming, Drums McDrummersalot!

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