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Music / Fear (band)
aka: Fear

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Describe Fear here...

Where to begin? Fear is one of the most infamous bands to emerge from the Los Angeles punk rock scene, known best for their politically incorrect lyrics, insane live shows, and for having Flea in the band in the earlier days. Formed in 1977 in Los Angeles by singer/guitarist Lee Ving, bassist Derf Scratch, guitarist Burt Good, and drummer Johnny Backbeat, the band released one single, 1978's "I Love Living in the City" before Good and Backbeat left; their spots filled in by Philo Cramer and Spit Stix almost immediately afterward. Shortly afterward, the band was approached by Penelope Spheeris with an offer to be in her movie, The Decline of Western Civilization. The band accepted the offer, appearing onscreen pissing off their audience when they weren't playing music, while the film went unnoticed by most people in the mainstream.


...except for John Belushi, that is. Belushi thought the band was hysterical, and attempted to get them on the soundtrack to one of his films. The studio refused, so Belushi offered them a spot on the Halloween Episode of Saturday Night Live as compensation, complete with an audience of actual punks to slam-dance. Predictably, this didn't end well...for the SNL crew. The publicity from the show led multiple punks to claim that seeing them on SNL was their "Beatles on Ed Sullivan" moment, skyrocketing Fear to...slightly larger cult status. Over the next few years, the band went through a few lineup changes, releasing five full length albums, and achieving cult status due to various covers, video game soundtrack appearances, and scattered shows here and there in between recording albums and pursuing other duties. The band is still going strong today after thirty-seven years of playing to audiences across the globe, and routinely makes appearances at festivals such as Warped Tour and SXSW.


Their albums include:

  • The Record, 1982
  • More Beer, 1985
  • Live...For The Record, 1991
  • Have Another Beer With Fear, 1995
  • American Beer, 2000
  • The Fear Record, 2012

Tropes that apply to Fear:

  • The Alcoholic: "More Beer".
  • Anti-Christmas Song: The bonus track for The Record, "Fuck Christmas".
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: From "New York's Alright if You Like Saxophones"
    New York's alright if you like drunks in your doorway!
    New York's alright if you wanna freeze to death!
    New York's alright if you wanna get mugged or murdered!
    New York's alright if you like saxophones!
  • Bedlam House: "Camarillo".
  • The Big Rotten Apple: "New York's Alright if You Like Saxophones".
  • Broken Record: "Let's Have a War" "Camarillo", and "We Destroy the Family".
  • Crapsack World: A few of their songs mention (despite it not being the primary topic) people stuck in horrible situations - usually poverty and homelessness that paint their world this way.
  • Double Entendre: "Beef Bologna" doesn't even bother to be subtle about this.
  • The '80s: The band reached the height of their popularity in this era.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong / Gone Horribly Right: Horribly wrong for the studio, but hysterically right for Belushi on the band's appearance on Saturday Night Live. To compensate for Fear losing the opportunity to be on the Neighbors soundtrack, John Belushi mentioned to the people at SNL that he'd guest star on the show under the condition that Fear appears on the show with some slam-dancers. Much to Belushi's amusement, what ensued next was nothing short of a complete clusterfuck. Some of the punks brought in to dance had been "imported" from Washington, DC; what the producers didn't know was that the DC and NYC punk scenes had a bit of a feud at the time, so when they let them loose on the set, the harmless moshing eventually gave way to punks smashing cameras, throwing prop pumpkins around the studio, and eventually, the audience just started whaling on each other. By the time the police were called, the punks caused somewhere between $20,000 and $500,000 in damages, embarrassing the studio to the point where the episode hasn't seen the light of day since. The episode also gave Fear a popularity boost, with many punks at the time saying it was a major part of what got them into the genre (if they weren't already in the audience - Ian MacKaye, Tesco Vee, and John Joseph were among those present) as well as showing the public its first taste of what would later be called "moshing".
  • Hardcore Punk: Among the genre's most influential bands.
  • Intercourse with You: "Beef Bologna", "Gimme Some Action", and in a way, "Fresh Flesh".
  • Kick the Dog:
    • "Fresh Flesh" mentions mutilating a person by cutting their legs off and leaving them downtown to watch them crawl around in agony.
    • "I Don't Care About You" has a line with the singer talking about watching an old man die of a heart attack while doing nothing about it.
  • Miniscule Rocking: This is a punk band we're talking about here. Their first album crams fourteen tracks into a brisk 25:32 (27:03 if you add the bonus track "Fuck Christmas").
  • Older Than They Look: This is Lee Ving in 2013. At worst, he looks like he's pushing fifty, right? He's actually 63 in that shot.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: "DIS! CON! NECTED!"
  • Refuge in Audacity: A good chunk of the band's songs (especially on The Record), as well as the onstage behavior of the band fall into this category.
    "New York's alright if you're a HOMOSEXUAL!"
    "LET'S HAVE A WAR!/Give guns to the QUEERS!"
    • Lee Ving actually attempted to avert this trope with 2012's "The Fear Record", a re-recording of their first album, with the lyrics changed to remove references to homophobia and sexism. Reception among the fanbase has been...negative, to say the least.
  • Revolving Door Band: Lee Ving is the only constant member after almost forty years.
  • Title-Only Chorus: "Beef Bologna", "I Don't Care About You" (aside from some strays "Fuck you!"), "Gimme Some Action", "New York's Alright if You Like Saxophones", "We Destroy the Family", "I Love Livin' in the City", "Fresh Flesh", "More Beer", "The Mouth Don't Stop"...
  • Troll: The band would routinely verbally abuse their audiences For the Lulz in the earlier days, often leading to fights and more verbal abuse from the stage.
  • Unusual Euphemism: "Beef Bologna".

Alternative Title(s): Fear


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