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I Wanna Be Naked

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Before our Screeching Weasel song I Wanna Be A Homosexual helped us to amazingly help others to break down, and become aware of, the division of heterosexual and homosexual in the punk scene (LGBTQ), we had a song that was most popular to play at our live shows. It was I Wanna Be Naked. After a few times of playing it live back in the late 80s, people in the audience started to strip down to their skivvies, at first provoked by Ben himself getting naked, but soon audience members would beat him to it. Eventually at our first “last show” at McGregor’s in the suburbs of Chicago, a group of punks we called the Polish Punks, stood in the middle of the mosh pit and stripped down to their previously prepared decorated undies. They each had a different animal covering their penises. The one I remember, of course, was an elephant and its trunk, which is obvious since the trunk so easily becomes the penis. At this show we had many more naked people (men and women) than we had had before, and …

Falling Apart

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The lyrics by Ben, I have come to finally analyse with perspective.  He was a genius for writing for the outcast. It is nice to feel a song is written for you.  One of the main powers of punk is that it never truly makes it into the mainstream, so it still feels special to you as an individual, having avoided the mediocrity of popularity.  But the words of many of his songs are not a settling point, they talk of being lost and frustrated, "I'm in my own world and it is falling apart." Yes this supports the idea that to be an outcast gives an important perspective that you can't get if you have somehow fallen into being a sheep or in a relationship with someone with adamantly different opinions then your own, but it leaves you torn apart when you are in your own world, falling apart.  I feel Screeching Weasel during my days was a question, that I am still trying to answer. Don't think that it is a solution, it is a question, and that is one of the things I love…

Musicality of the Mundane: A Screeching Weasel Ballad

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Paul Russel, the creator of the Screeching Weasel logo did this cover art for my article about my condensed history of Screeching Weasel through the eyes of a flower delivery man.  Check it out!
Musicality of the Mundane: A Screeching Weasel Ballad


Vigilance and love in the face of what we hate

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VIGILANCE AND LOVE IN THE FACE OF WHAT WE HATE
As a product of a community of punk that we all have helped to create, we sometimes have to look back to when we were young. We saw the world from the perspective of outcasts, of oddballs, of lost souls from an island of misfit toys, of people that felt they had to rebel, but at times we may not have known what we were rebelling against.
And now that I am older I am here to say, “My friends, this thoughtful struggle never ends.” We must always be vigilant. We must always strive to prevent ourselves from becoming what we hate. And what we hate changes over time. We must be aware of what new hates come from experience and which ones come from surrender.
Recently I went through a punk existential dilemma questioning my place in this scene. I want to thank my friends for helping me to see the perspectives needed to make my own decisions to continue this fight to be a positive force, my rebellion to face adversity with kindness and unabashed indi…

My Brain Hurts - What We Hate - top 50 "pop" punk records

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http://www.rollingstone.com/music/lists/50-greatest-pop-punk-albums-w508222
I remember we drove Ben's malibu to the west suburbs of Chicago to play in one of our parents' basements, to start learning the new songs for our reforming the band, under the blanket of following our passions and being a bit more melodic. I called it Melodic Punk then, there was no term "pop punk" yet. Ben showed us the basics for What We Hate, I chose to play an octave higher than Vapid, thought it would give it more desperate energy, which is what Ben and I talked about alot, playing beyond our capabilities, neither of us were very good guitar players at the time. And this helped to give it that feel. Ben wrote the easy melodic solo for the opening, but I decided to play this wanky weird hammery thing when the song kicks in after Vapid plays the rhythm guitar part at the start.  And as soon as the band began rehearsing this song with the pieces in place that day, behind Panic's drummin…

The Westone Guitar with the smiley faces and Benetton sticker

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I haven't done one of these Screeching Weasel remembrances in awhile. But my friend David just asked me a question, and this came up. It is more about the nuts and bolts and really has no emotional content. The photo is from the contact sheet I have of the House of Blues shows that took place in 2000 and 2001. I am not sure which show this is from.

David: Hey John, you may have addressed this in your album videos, but did you use the same guitar for most of the Weasel recordings?

John: Up until Bark Like a Dog I used basically the same guitar, a cheap 100 dollar Westone I bought in a record store. I used that for 10 years, till it nearly fell apart. That guitar is in a personal museum at Jeff Spreitzer's house. I had a back up guitar that was a strange Gibson Telecaster, but I never used it. I eventually gave it to Andrea from The Manges. His guitar cracked on the plane ride over from Italy to Chicago. I gave it to him and it still had the setlist from the Anthem tour taped onto…

When Weasels Wrestled

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If it wasn't for River Trails Jr. High Wrestling Team, there may not have been a SCREECHING WEASEL. This is where we met. Spot the Weasel and the Jughead.