Sound Advice: The Queers with The Dopamines

Saturday • Northside Yacht Club

click to enlarge Joe King of The Queers
Joe King of The Queers

It’s both amazing and ironic that, at some point this year, The Queers celebrated their 33-1/3 anniversary. It was 1982, two years into Ronald Reagan’s first term, when New Hampshire native Joe King felt Punk’s inexorable pull. King added a snarky sense of humor and a love of The Ramones and Beach Boys and began recording and releasing a series of singles under the somewhat contentious marquee he would proudly exhibit for the next third of a century.

The Queers’ proper full-length debut, 1990’s Grow Up, hit a snag when the band’s British label dissolved after pressing a limited number of copies. Though the album featured various musicians, by the time of its ill-fated release, King had settled on the best-known version of The Queers, with bassist B-Face and drummer Hugh O’Neill. Lookout! Records signed the group and put out the Weasel-produced Love Songs for the Retarded in 1993 (Lookout! reissued Grow Up in 1994). Over the next few years and Lookout! releases, The Queers cemented their place in Pop Punk’s firmament.

After O’Neill’s brain cancer diagnosis (he passed away in 1999) and B-Face’s defection to the Groovie Ghoulies, King assembled a rotating lineup of musician friends to record The Queers’ Hopeless Records debut, 1998’s Punk Rock Confidential. The revolving-door approach was nothing new to King, who continued to record and tour with a variety of musicians as The Queers (the band has featured nearly 40 players/members since its early ’80s formation). But the band’s current lineup is about as core as it gets — bassist Dangerous Dave was B-Face’s replacement in 1998, and has mostly been a constant (save a five-year break), while drummer Lurch Nobody has provided The Queers’ primal beat off and on over the past 15 years.

Over the course of its long history, The Queers have put together a massive discography, with nearly a dozen original studio albums, several live records and numerous EPs and singles. King and Co. (who early on released a song-for-song cover of The Ramones’ seminal album Rocket to Russia) have also gained a reputation for choice cover selections on their albums and in set lists, including songs by The Who, Tommy James, Angry Samoans and, my hand to God, The Banana Splits.

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