It's an inspiring story of punk rock persistence. The Queers survived while weaker
and less adaptable "Killed By Death" bands faded into oblivion. Despite the numerous
line-up changes, missed opportunities, and tears over spilt beer, they continue to
record and tour to this day. But the question remains: if the game of survival is
won by the "fittest", then why the hell are the Queers still here?
The Starlight Club in Portsmouth, NH: birthplace of the Queers. It is here that
three impressionable lads (Joe King, Tulu, and Wimpy) learned to drink and developed
the identity of The Queers.
The 1982 "Love Me" EP was the first Queers release. Recorded before the band had
ever played a gig, the six-song EP includes a mix of garage-punk thrash and budget-rock
weirdness. The record's historically significant track, "Love Me", was written during
the last minutes of the recording session when they decided they needed to squeeze
in "just one more song". Their grizzled drinking sidekick, "Pappy", supplied the
vocals and improvized the lyrics by reading the words off someone's T-shirt. After
recording "Love Me" on the first take, The Queers never played the song again. The
band pressed 200 copies on their own Doheny label. When it came time to distribute
this epic, The Queers gave it away or sold it to their pals in the "Live Free or Die"
state (that's New Hampshire). Since the band couldn't scrape up a few bucks for some
cheapo picture sleeves, they hand-scribbled notes on the standard white inner sleeve
of each copy.
Two years later, and burned out from repeated listens to "TV Party" and "Six Pack,"
The Queers decided to meet the Black Flag challenge head-on by recording the seven-song
Kicked Out of the Webelos EP. Hands down, The Queers kicked Black Flag's arse.
The "Webelos" record isn't just way cooler (in that special garage-punk kinda way),
it's lots funnier. Still burdened by an ongoing cash flow crisis, The Queers only
pressed up 200 copies of this record and were too lazy to xerox a picture sleeve.
If you've heard anything by The Queers, it's probably been "borrowed" from this record.
Both the Killed By Death and Feel Lucky Punk compilation LP's have
"Webelos" tracks on them and that's where I first heard 'em, too. One scumbag even
had the balls to boot the whole damn 7in. right down to the label and passed his
copies off as mint "originals". Of course the matrix number is different than the
original, so check carefully — if your copy's matrix number is U-30803M, you've
From 1984 to 1987, The Queers survived dozens of personnel changes. The only remaining
original member, Joe King (guitarist and vocalist), began recording what would be
the Grow Up album, a pop-punk collection of love songs, hate songs, and instrumentals.
It took two years to complete. As their luck would have it, a British alternative label,
Shakin' Street, offered The Queers a deal they could not refuse. Shortly after the
ink dried, however, the contractual commitments of up-front cash, quantities of
finished product, and a cut of the profits failed to materialize. The label did
send four copies of the finished Grow Up album, but the band gave them away. The
Queers never did find out how many records were pressed before Shakin' Street closed
The Grow Up story does not end there, however. With no copies of Grow Up
forthcoming from the UK, the Queers decided to do their own pressing of the album
(and inexplicably list the defunct Shakin' Street as the label). The pressing plant
ends up destroying all but 160 copies of the record after The Queers fail to pay
their pressing bill. There's no money for a glossy record jacket, so The Queers
released the surviving copies of Grow Up with just a xeroxed punk-rock-type-of-insert.
The Queers reissued the first two 7in. EPs in a slick double-pack titled A Proud
Tradition. A whole 500 copies were pressed up (again on their own Doheny label)
but quickly went out of print. The double-pack was reissued by Selfless Records.
The Queers also recorded 13 tracks of early (1984-1987) unreleased material with
Wimpy (the singer on the Webelos EP) in January of 1993 and released five
of the tracks as the Too Dumb To Quit EP. Six hundred copies of this 7in.
were initially released on the band's Doheny label as a fan club project, but it
too is out of print. Selfless Records reissued this EP as well. Six more tracks
from the 1993 Wimpy sessions were released on the Look Ma No Flannel! EP on
Clearview. The Grow Up LP was remixed by Ben Weasel and reissued as a
HERE'S THE EARLY QUEERS DISCOGRAPHY...
• 1982: We'd Have A Riot Doing Heroin/Terminal Rut/
Fagtown/I Want It Now/Trash This Place/Love Me 7in. EP
(Doheny ~ matrix #8210x85, 200 copies w/ handwritten paper sleeves)
• 1984: Kicked Out of The Webelos/Tulu Is A Wimp/At The Mall
I Spent The Rent/I Don't Wanna Work/I'm Useless/This Place Sucks 7in. EP
(Doheny ~ matrix #8404x07, 200 copies)
• 1990: Grow Up LP
(UK Shakin' Street #010, 1000 copies?) w/ printed jacket
• 1990: Grow Up LP
(US Shakin' Street #010 ~ matrix #9012x11, 160 copies) w/ xerox insert but no jacket
• 1992: A Proud Tradition double 7in. EP
(Doheny ~ matrix #U-33568M, 500 copies) w/ picture sleeve & insert.
Fan club only reissue of the first two 7in. Reissued by Selfless Records in 1993.
• 1993: Too Dumb To Quit 7in. EP
(Doheny ~ matrix #U-35835M) w/ picture sleeve & insert, 600 copies
Fan club only release. Reissued by Selfless Records in 1994.
• 1994: Look Ma No Flannel! 7in. EP
Text & discography by Monsieur Michel Bastarache (Boston's
most cantankerous iceback)
CONTACT: Break My Face