The Weirdos were arguably the first and best entrant in late-’70s Los Angeles punk. The crunching powerhouse wallop of “Destroy All Music” (the band’s first 45) and the incendiary “(We’ve Got the) Neutron Bomb” — classic US punk singles — provided a convincing reply to those who dismissed the efforts of Southern California youth in 1977. Unfortunately, the original quintet splintered before the Weirdos began making longer records, leaving the Denney brothers (singer John and guitarist Dix) and guitarist Cliff Roman to carry on, employing various sidemen with stellar but less poignant results.
With ex-Quick (later Three O’Clock, etc.) drummer Danny Benair, the six-song Who? What? When? Where? Why? is an appealing blend of punk, psychobilly (a bizarre cover of Hank Mizzel’s ’50s obscurity, “Jungle Rock”) and gonzo rock with unsettling lyrics.
Action Design adds only four selections to the Weirdos’ oeuvre (including a pedestrian rendition of the Doors’ “Break on Through”), but “The Hideout” finds the Denneys at their most sinister, offering a lowriders’ invitation to dark places. The silly “Helium Bar” is a frantically irreverent pogothon.
Although the Weirdos split soon after, the group never completely vanished. They did reunion shows throughout the ’80s and made semi-regular home recordings. In ’88, the Denneys formally relaunched the Weirdos. The all-new Condor features original drummer Nickey Beat (Alexander) and Cliff Roman in a part-time role, playing a bit of synthesizer and sharing bass chores with Flea (on loan from the Red Hot Chili Peppers). This inconsistent LP suffers from the long layoff, but the old flair for mildly subversive rock surfaces on such head-rushing hyper-punk zaniness as “Cyclops Helicopter” and the more conventional “Shining Silver Light.”
Weird World is a compilation of early 45s, demos and other unreleased items.