Circle Jerks emerged from the punk underbelly of LA’s South Bay in 1979. After serving as a co-founder and lead vocalist of Black Flag during the recording of its essential Nervous Breakdown EP, Keith Morris joined forces with former Redd Kross guitarist Greg Hetson to form what would become Circle Jerks, along with bassist Roger Rogerson and jazz drummer Lucky Lehrer. Unlike much of the unapologetic hardcore that seeped through the cracks of American suburbia, the music of the Circle Jerks was thoughtfully steadfast, yet relentless and ferocious in nature. Bringing together a potent, articulate rhythm section with earnest yet oftentimes derisive lyrics and themes, the band was thereafter heralded as a leader of the pack – and a force to be reckoned with. Plowing forward with a relentless, tooth-cutting work ethic and a rousing stage presence, the band would soon find itself headlining shows at LA’s 5,000-capacity Olympic Auditorium and emblazoned in cult video classics like Decline of Western Civilization, Repo Man, New Wave Theatre, and The Slog Movie. Over the decades, Circle Jerks would release six studio albums, including the acclaimed Group Sex (1980) Wild in the Streets (1982), Golden Shower of Hits (1983), Wonderful (1985), and IV (1987), where they would become a major headliner during the alternative music explosion of the 80’s and 90’s. During hiatuses, Morris fronted bands like OFF! and FLAG, while Hetson played guitar in Bad Religion. Bassist Zander Schloss (The Weirdos, Joe Strummer) has been a member since the 1980’s and veteran drummer Joey Castillo (The Bronx, QOTSA, Danzig, BL’AST!, Wasted Youth) completes the lineup as its newest member.
The long list of those influenced by the legacy of the Circle Jerks ranges from Butthole Surfers to Red Hot Chili Peppers – with notable fans being Dogtown skateboarders, Chuck Berry, Alice Cooper, Elton John, Johnny Depp, Guns N’ Roses, and Philip K. Dick. Decades later, their music continues to make an imprint on generations of diverse music fans and those who challenge the status quo.
In celebration of the band’s 40th anniversary and the commemorative reissue of their celebrated landmark record Group Sex, Circle Jerks have returned to the stage for the first time in over a decade. The band recently kicked off their highly anticipated 2021-2022 world tour with performances at Punk Rock Bowling and Riot Fest.