Screeching Weasel is one of the most important contributors to the pop-punk genre (although the band originally started out as a hardcore band). Their self-titled first album came out in 1987 on Underdog Records, and their greatest hits album Weaselmania
was released in 2005 (on Fat Wreck Chords) after they'd broken up for the fourth time. In 2008 the band re-formed yet again, this time with a lineup of Ben Weasel, Dan Vapid and three new scabs. Founding guitarist and lone other constant John "Jughead" Pierson was not invited back into the band due to clashes with Ben. However, this lineup, too, came to an end at the 2011 SXSW Festival in Austin, where Ben Weasel got in a fight with some girl in the audience who had thrown ice at him, then punched the club owner. Everyone except Ben quit within a few days. As of 2014, Ben and the newest lineup of Screeching Weasel continue to play shows and record, with the band playing a concert for the SLC Punk!
sequel and Ben currently writing an opera by the title of "Baby Fat".
The band was a breath of fresh air at the time of their formation - the punk scene at the end of The Eighties
was filled with overly serious straight edge
and politically driven hardcore
, with attention to catchy, bouncy melodies lagging. Screeching Weasel imitated the Ramones and were about as un-PC as you can get.
Whilst Screeching Weasel were starting out in Chicago
, so were the likes of Green Day
and Pansy Division
in Northern California
, The Mr T Experience, The Descendents
and many more pop-punk
bands, and the genre declared The Nineties
as a decade of their own.
Screeching Weasel were also notable for having an instantly recognizable logo that is tattooed on thousands of fans. Google the band, and you will see it.
- Anti-Love Song: "Veronica Hates Me", "Nobody Likes You", "I Hate Your Guts On Sunday"... the list goes on.
- Cover Version: "I Can See Clearly"
- Deadpan Snarker: Ben Weasel's lyrics.
- Fan Hater: In-Universe. "I Hate Led Zeppelin" was written solely to annoy Led Zeppelin fans.
- I Am the Band: Ben is the only consistent member.
- Jerkass: Ask anyone who has ever worked with Ben, and you'll get a few responses calling him something to this effect.
- Lampshade Hanging: Ben satirized many of the tropes of punk rock in his work; "DIY" is a good example of this.
- Miniscule Rocking: They're a punk band, so this is to be expected, especially on their earlier more hardcore-influenced songs. Of particular note are "We Skate" and "Panic," both only 12 seconds long.
- Not Christian Rock: Ben Weasel is a Catholic. It doesn't come into play in many of his lyrics, but "Holy Hardcore" is essentially his response to the punk community's often negative view of religion.
- Protest Song - "Nicaragua" skewers the reactionaries of the punk scene who talk about politics but do nothing, however it's actually aged rather well to the point where one can direct it at today's trend of "slactivism" without changing a single lyric. You can practically taste the sarcasm; when Ben pronounces and spells the word Nicaragua wrongnote . Played almost straight with "I Wanna Be a Homosexual" which tears apart homophobic attitudes (and specifically the song "I Don't Wanna Be a Homosexual") with the accusation that "you don't have the balls to be a queer"
- Revolving Door Band: Ben has been backed by 25 different musicians and counting.
- Stage Name: Ben's real last name is Foster. Many other members of the group throughout the years have also taken stage names, usually simply giving themselves an unusual surname (e.g., John Jughead, Vinnie Bovine, Steve Cheese, among many others).
- Three Chords and the Truth - a very sarcastic truth.