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

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

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

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.

What Jughead was listening to that lead up to Screeching Weasel

Punk Songs Ben Foster, Matt Nelson and Jughead were listening to when  Screeching Weasel became a band
by John Jughead Pierson
 Ramones: It’s Alive 

It is very obvious this band was an influence on us, but it is not the key to what our music was. Of course influences on a band are usually varied and hard to pinpoint to the exact inspiring moment. And I feel that is as it should be. This is the supposed video to the live album, It's Alive. I remember this record because Ben would play it in its entirety on all our suburban trips in his car, back in 86 and 87.  He saw the Ramones right before he started working at the GCC movie theater, where we met again, for the third time in our lives, and that is why he asked me to start a band. I have always loved the Ramones, but they never would have been my main influence for starting a band. That was purely Ben. But I would never deny how these black leather clad rock n roll musicians changed us, and the world. The rest of this list is incompl…


A JOHN JUGHEAD PUNK ROCK DRESS CODE (Dos and Don’ts thought lost but eventually found in a crusty box buried in the ashes of the headquarters of Panic Button Records)
Listen kids if you are looking to be a star pupil of punk rock and not an outcast amongst the members of your own scene, do not do as I have done, but as I tell you.
1. Do not wear baseball caps, especially ones turned backwards, and adorned with the horns of an imaginary dragon. And under no circumstances wear a derby or a fedora.
2. Do not wear baggy shorts with little marvin the martian prints, or anything other than tighty-whiteys, unless you want other punks who have never really intellectually graduated from high school to give you an atomic wedgie, even when you are all 50 years old.
3. Do not cary a backpack, even if you are the accountant for the band and it’s the easiest way to keep the money with you without looking obvious, like carrying around a cash box.
4. Do not, not, have a leather jacket, especially fo…