Circle Jerks postpone tour due to Covid
Wild in the Streets, the scorching 1982 second album by pioneering Southern California hardcore punk band The Circle Jerks, has received a remastered and expanded LP reissue and is available today on all formats via Trust Records.
Succeeding Trust’s 2020 reissue of the band’s 1980 debut, Sex, the package includes remastered audio by Pete Lyman and rare April 1982 live performances of material from the band’s first two albums, captured at Elite San Francisco club. A lavish 20-page 12 x 12-inch color booklet created for this outing collects historic photographs, club flyers and an 8,200-word essay by veteran Los Angeles journalist Chris Morris, including new interviews with founding members of the group Keith Morris, Greg Heston and Lucky Lehrer.
ICYMI: The re-release was announced with a new music video directed by Atiba Jefferson for the title track of his album, “Wild in the Streets”. The video features a live performance by 1982 Circle Jerks and skaters Tony Hawk, Lance Mountain, Christian Hosoi, Eric Koston, Kevin “Spanky” Long, Steve Olson, Victoria Ruesga, Sal Barbier, Rowan Zorilla, Sean Malto, Anaiah Lei , Lizzie Armanto, Dashawn Jordan, Max Perlich, etc.
The Circle Jerks 40th Anniversary Tour is underway with support from Negative Approach, Teenagers and 7Seconds (who will be reuniting for the first time in over five years). Circle Jerks’ current live lineup consists of vocalist Keith Morris, guitarist Greg Hetson (Bad Religion, Redd Kross), bassist Zander Schloss (The Weirdos, Joe Strummer) and drummer Joey Castillo (The Bronx, QOTSA, Danzig, BL’AST!, Wasted Youth). For a full list of dates, see below. To buy tickets and for updates, go here.
Learn more about Circle Jerks and Wild in the Streets:
As writer Chris Morris – who received a Grammy nomination for his writing for the No Thanks! The ’70s punk rebellion – notes to its history, the Circle Jerks’ rolled-up rendition of Jeffreys’ “Wild in the Streets”, originally released in a different version on a 1980 Posh Boy Records compilation, “was the first music released on record by the Circle Jerks, and the number became a fitting and very fitting calling card for a band living up to their title.”
By 1981, the quartet was regularly tearing up clubs and venues across Southern California, drawing large and often riotous crowds. After Group Sex was released by indie Frontier Records, the group was looking for a new label, and their manager at the time, Gary Hirstius, convinced David Anderle, vice president of A&R at A&M Records. , to catch a glimpse of them at an LA club concert.
Singer Morris, then one of the reigning wild men of SoCal hardcore, recalled, “We were playing, and after we wiped clean and socialized a bit backstage, Gary introduced me to David Anderle. David Anderle looked at me and said: “I have to check you in before you kill yourself.'”
Although signing with A&M was a bridge too far for the top-tier label, Anderle volunteered to co-produce an album for the band, which was recorded at label co-founder Herb Alpert’s private studio on the Charlie Chaplin’s former movie ground in Hollywood. Like its predecessor, the record that became Wild in the Streets was essentially cut live, with minimal overdubs; recording and mixing took a total of four days.
Guitarist Hetson said: “Almost everyone was like, ‘Just do your thing, this is awesome.’ [Anderle] wanted us to sit down and play. It was our goal. We weren’t trying to make a finely-produced art album in quotes. We were doing our thing, and hopefully it was captured in the studio.”
Drummer Lehrer recalls, “The songs seemed to fall into several categories. There were the songs that were fun songs and more in the spirit of, like, 50s, let’s say. And then there were the songs that were more in the spirit of the Dead Kennedys that dealt with current issues, legal or political. And then there were the songs that were by Keith Morris, which were basically, ‘I’m frustrated, I’m angry, I don’t get not what I want in life, I’m trapped, why me?'”
The Circle Jerks ended up signing to Faulty Products, an independent distributor/publisher run by Police Director Miles Copeland, whose A&M-distributed IRS Records released best-selling Go-Go’s and REM records. The conception and release of Wild in the Streets is recalled in the new notes by IRS/Faulty staffers John Guarnieri, Betsy Alexander, Carmel Conlin and Carlos Grasso, as well as legendary punk photographer Edward Colver, who took the classic cover photo of the band members and their friends invading a San Francisco Street Parade.
After a string of local shows that drew frequent visits from Los Angeles riot police and a near-fatal drug overdose by bassist Roger Rogerson, the band embarked on a rocky six-week tour of the United States. United – their first big American journey – which culminated in a New Orleans Spectacle (promoted by Carlo Nuccio, later the drummer for Keith Morris’ band Buglamp), where the out-of-control little Jerks singer was locked in one drum cases from Lehrer.
On the heels of the Circle Jerks’ return to Los Angeles, Faulty Products was closed; although Wild in the Streets quickly became unavailable, reissues of the record by Frontier and Epitaph kept alive the legacy of LA’s hardcore pioneers. The album’s new Trust LP issue, which tells the full story of its remarkable genesis and devastating aftermath, will be the definitive rendition of this crucial early punk opus.
Photo credits: Atiba Jefferson