Semi-Famous Destroy Ourselves LP

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Semi-Famous Announce Debut Full-Length, Destroy Ourselves,
Out July 26 on Rare Bird/Duck! Records

Featuring Members of Screeching Weasel, Ashers, Bombpops, Mixtapes

“A meta-fictionalized history of Screeching Weasel, but Pierson gives rock memoirs an artsy reworking by incorporating a surrealist, non-linear structure and a perspective-shifting narrative.
—AV Club / Kyle Ryan

From the mind of Screeching Weasel co-founder John Jughead Pierson (Even In Blackouts, The Mopes, Mitochondriacs), comes the creation of Semi-Famous, the fictional band from his book Weasels In A Box. When it was first released in 2001, it sold 3,000 copies. Now, over twenty years later, it’s being re-released on paperback and audiobook for the very first time voiced by Jughead himself along with the debut full-length, by Semi-Famous, Destroy Ourselves, on Friday, July 26, 2024 via Rare Bird.

In 2002, Jughead and friend Ryan Rockwell (Mixtapes) decided to work together and return to writing pop-punk songs after both of their long absences from the scene. They penned a song called “Middle School Monster” in the style of Dan Vapid’s “High School Psychopath,” off Chicago-based punk-rock band Screeching Weasel’s 1993 album, Wiggle. They brought along friends singer/guitarist Billy Brown (Crash and Burn, Ashers, Unseen) and drummer Tyson Cornell (Scooby Don’t) and recorded a two-song 7-inch at Sodomia, Chatsworth, California mixed by Ray Hartman.  

Side B’s “I Want,” was written by musician Grim Deeds and piano was played by Japanese-based musician Nanako Nishio. The recording of the two songs went so well that it was decided to make Semi-Famous an actual band. The group recruited producer Mass Giorgini to master it and Lookout! Records cofounder and artist Christopher Appelgren designed the cover. Semi-Famous spontaneously sprung into being with their first EP release, Collective Mindlessness.

To fill out the sound they recruited singer/guitarist Poli van Dam (Bombpops, The Poli van Dam Band) to join. In December 2022, they converged in LA with engineer Zach Kibbee and recorded fourteen new songs inspired by the classic pop-punk movement they had helped to create and propagate, and Destroy Ourselves was born!

“The intention from the beginning was to take the fictional band of Semi-Famous out of my book Weasels In A Box, and to record some songs under that name for the audiobook release. We had so much fun writing in a form that most of us had not been engaging in for years so we decided to write more. But the thing that happened is, even though still influenced by Screeching Weasel, the songs took on their own life. I have high regard for the songs written by Ben Weasel and Dan Vapid, and I have always stayed away from trying to sound like them. I don’t have the vocal talent of Vapid, or the humorous darkness of Ben, so it made sense that Ryan and my emulation of that time period would sound different from the originals. Semi-Famous’ music will continue to be inspired by that music and the music's multiple time periods but, especially with the writing of Poli van Dam and inspiration of Billy Brown, our sound will continue to grow in exciting new directions.

“Weasels in a Box” ended up being the intro of the album, and I think it's the only place it could be.  It has a little sarcasm, a little joy, and some sadness as well (the line some friends have fallen hit me a lot harder when Billy Brown passed away before the album got released). Overall it is a celebration though, of punk rock, getting to write music, the friends here and past.

Track Listing

  1. Weasels In A Box 
  2. Pedestal In Hell
  3. Pharmacy Girl
  4. What’s a Metaphor
  5. Obvious 
  6. There is Always You 
  7. Katy Still Puts Up With Me 
  8. Clown in the Window 
  9. They Live Today 
  10. Not Ready 
  11. Middle School Monster 
  12. Sun’s Waning Moon 
  13. Rush II 
  14. Yermo