In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Los Angeles was a mecca for hardcore music, and Circle Jerks was at the top of the heap. Formed in 1979 by Black Flag vocalist Keith Morris and Redd Kross guitarist Greg Hetson, along with bassist Roger Rogerson and drummer Lucky Lehrer, the group cut its first album, Group Sex, in 1980. With 14 tracks totaling a mere 15 minutes in length, it permanently altered punk rock. That same year the group was one of several California punk bands to be featured in the Penelope Spheeris documentary The Decline of Western Civilization. In 1984, Hetson joined Bad Religion, but performed dual guitar duties, continuing to gig with Circle Jerks. The following year found Rogerson and Lehrer being replaced with Zander Schloss and Keith Clark respectively to record the band's fourth release, Wonderful. The group disbanded in 1990 only to regroup in 1995 to record Oddities, Abnormalities and Curiosities, the band's last full-length release to date. One true oddity on the album was the Jerks' cover of the Soft Boys' "I Wanna Destroy You," which featured guest vocalist teen queen Debbie Gibson. Today Circle Jerks are again being featured in a punk documentary (American Hardcore) and, luckily, still touring. Strap on your mosh boots.
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