The Weirdos are an American punk rock band from Los Angeles, California. They formed in 1975 and broke up in 1981, were occasionally active in the 1980s, and recorded new material in the 1990s. Critic Mark Deming calls them “quite simply, one of the best and brightest American bands of punk’s first wave.”
The band was formed in 1975 by singer John Denney and his guitarist brother Dix, initially using the band names the Barbies and the Luxurious Adults. The Weirdos were originally a 1950s-inspired hard rock and roll band that, like the Ramones in New York City, predated the UK punk scene. While initially trying to distance themselves from the genre name “punk” that was created in New York, ultimately the band, in the words of John Denney, “just kinda became more like this punk ROCK N ROLL type thing and we kinda went with it because the fans wanted it. They wore us down and we just said ‘OK, fine! We’re punk rock, similar to the Ramones. Whatever you say.'”
Show List and Key Dates – This index features show dates, venues, and flyers
Releases – This index features only vinyl and includes official releases
Unofficial Releases – This index features only vinyl and includes unofficial recordings
If-Then-Else – Side project by Dix Denny and John Denny
In a 1990 Flipside interview, John Denney listed the Ramones, New York Dolls and Iggy Pop as fundamental musical inspirations, adding:
“When we saw the Ramones in ’76, we already had short hair and we were already playing fast music like that in late 1975 in small venues and halls mostly, but the Ramones really made us decide to go for it even more. We came before the Sex Pistols and The Damned. They may have been our peers later, but we already had a set of songs in 1975 which were sort of Ramones meets Iggy Pop’s Stooges influenced punk songs. Well before any of the UK bands started cloning America’s punk sound and before any of the UK albums were released. I always felt we were a true garage punk band…”
Denney claimed that the band’s name dated from the early part of the 1970s and referred to his countercultural short hair, at a time when long hair on men was the fashion of the day. “In 1974 according to some left over hippies, I looked like a lobotomy, hippies thought I was weird,” Denney said. “A few months later when we formed, the rest of the band got really short cropped hair too. “We were all weird then, we were considered weirdos”.
By the beginning of 1977, the Weirdos were able to pack clubs (eventually including the Whisky a Go Go, The Roxy and later The Masque) as a headlining band. Known for their zany stage costumes and antics, the band helped shape the vigorous and experimental early Los Angeles punk scene and served as an inspiration to a crop of new bands.
John Denney recalled:
“We [Los Angeles] had our own look, our own sound. It was apart from New York or London…. We were staunchly against safety pins, we tried to parody punk rock at first. We did happy faces onstage as a joke sometimes, which was the exact opposite of what New York was doing. We were just thumbing our noses at everything. Everything was a joke; punk was a joke, we were a joke. Nonetheless, we were still serious about rocking.”