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The Sound

The Queers are the last of punk’s depraved, old guard


The Queers play Gas Lamp on Saturday, Jan. 5 at 7 p.m. with Lipstick Homicide and North of Grand.

The Queers play Gas Lamp on Saturday, Jan. 5 at 7 p.m. with Lipstick Homicide and North of Grand.

Founded in 1981, The Queers are one of the last holdovers of the east coast, melodic pop-punk sound typified by the Ramones. The Queers were heavily influenced by “da brudders,” a fact they saluted by releasing a song-for-song cover of the Ramones’ “Rocket to Russia” in 1994.

When your stock-and-trade is the two-and-a-half minute pop song, there’s not a lot of room for introspection or even particularly deep meaning. This is how you wind up with songs like “Drop the Attitude Fucker” and “Ursula Finally Has Tits.”                

“(I write about) shit that amuses me,” said front man Joe Queer. “We’re always writing down song titles on tour. I have a bunch of great ones for the next album. Last album me and (bassist DangerousDave) wrote a bunch of them. I wrote most of them, and he arranged them and came up with harmonies and leads and shit. It’s pretty fun making albums. We wing it a lot and see where we go with it. It’s a blast. That’s how we did (2007’s) “Munki Brain,” too. That album came out great.”                

The Queers are a time capsule. Its music is a reminder of an era when punk could be melodic and stupid and (yes) even poppy, without being cross-marketed and sold in Hot Topic.                

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“I don’t think there’s a ton of bands out there doing pop punk very good today,” Queer said. “There’s a ton of ‘OK’ bands but not many ‘special’ ones.”                

“Of course Green Day is the big dog on the block, and they’re still playing and doing great,” he continued. “Blink 182 always sucked I thought. Fallout Boy lasted one album, had one good song and now they’re done. I don’t think we’re missing all that much. I remember Goldfinger opened up for us way back in the day before they got big. They got onstage and were making fun of how old our audience was and slagging on them. Next thing I know they do a Green Day-style song (1996’s “Mabel”), and they’re all over the whole scene. If heavy metal was in, they would have gone metal. Or funk or whatever the flavor of the day was. Nice guys, but not too sincere.”                

Nobody questions The Queers’ punk sincerity. And despite tracks with titles like “Homo” (“Pleasant Screams,” 2002) and “Tit Fuck” (“Back to the Basement”), the boys from New Hampshire are just too goofy and good-natured to be taken seriously.                

“People know we’re tongue-in-cheek,” Queer explained. “I don’t really care for (politically correct) fuckers. To me they’re the most racist people on the planet. Most of them don’t give two shits about stuff but want to act superior to others by saying so-and-so isn’t PC. They’re all hypocrites.”                

But The Queers have never been ones to let the bastards get them down. They’ll keep making music where they say what they mean, even if they rarely mean what they say. And while a new album may be in the works, there are still miles to go before the band sleeps.                

“We’re starting a tour Friday for 10 shows. Then I have a few sessions in my studio producing bands, and then we have (a tour in) Japan,” Queer said. “Then (a U.S. tour with) Teenage Bottlerocket. Then we’re overseas for a few weeks in April and May. It never ends, I swear. Seriously, it surprises me.              

“Still, it’s a lotta fun,” Queer concluded. “You always have something to get out of bed for in the afternoon.” CV

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