|FORMED: 1979, Los Angeles, CA
One of the leading lights on the L.A. hardcore scene of the early '80s, the Circle Jerks were formed after Black Flag vocalist Keith Morris left that group after their Nervous Breakdown EP and hooked up with former Redd Kross guitarist Greg Hetson. The band's early lineup was rounded out by bassist Roger (Dowding) Rogerson and drummer Lucky Lehrer. The Jerks developed a stellar live reputation among the skateboarding and slam dancing crowds and released their debut album, Group Sex, in 1980. A year later, they were featured in the L.A. punk documentary The Decline of Western Civilization and appeared on the soundtrack. The albums Wild in the Streets and Golden Shower of Hits continued in much the same loud, fast, tastelessly funny vein, and the latter included a medley of AM radio hits like "Along Comes Mary," "Afternoon Delight," "Having My Baby" and "Love Will Keep Us Together" done Circle Jerks style.
The Circle Jerks' later albums pursued more of a heavy metal direction and featured the rhythm section of Zander Schloss and Keith Clark. In spite of attracting little attention outside their core following, they continued to perform live, releasing an anthology of concert performances titled Gig in 1992. The Circle Jerks pulled off one of 1995's more memorable publicity stunts when they recorded a version of the Soft Boys' "I Wanna Destroy You" on their major-label debut, Oddities, Abnormalities and Curiosities, with a lead vocal by former teen queen Debbie Gibson; Gibson later made crowd-surfing cameo appearances to perform the song live at several Jerks gigs. ~ Steve Huey, All Music Guide