The Queers live at Revolution in Ft. Lauderdale, FL - June 11, 2017. Photo by Chuck Livid.
|Origin||Portsmouth, New Hampshire, United States|
The Queers are an American punk rock band, formed in 1981 by the Portsmouth, New Hampshire, native Joe Queer, along with Scott Gildersleeve (a.k.a. Tulu), and Jack Hayes (a.k.a. Wimpy Rutherford). With the addition of Keith Hages in 1982 the band started playing their first live shows. The band originally broke up in late 1984, but reformed with Joe Queer and a new line-up in 1986. In 1990, the band signed with Shakin' Street Records and released their first album Grow Up. The album earned the band notability within New England, but with the release of their next album 1993's Love Songs for the Retarded, on Lookout! Records, their following grew larger.
In 2006, after releasing six albums on Lookout! Records, the band rescinded their master rights from the label, citing breach of contract over unpaid royalties. Later that year they signed with Asian Man Records.
The Queers play a Ramones-derived style of pop punk. Much like The Ramones, common lyrical themes are of girls, love, drugs, alcohol and having fun. Musically the band deviates slightly from the driving rhythm guitar sound of the Ramones and augments their songs with harmony vocals and guitar solos. They have been described[by whom?] as "The Ramones meets The Beach Boys".Ben Weasel of Screeching Weasel infrequently collaborates on songwriting with Joe Queer. The band is well known for the variety of cover versions they include on their records and during live performances. Bands/artists covered by The Queers include The Beach Boys, Ramones (including a complete re-recording of the Rocket to Russia album), Unnatural Axe, The Nobodys, Angry Samoans, The Mr. T Experience, Skeeter Davis, The Fantastic Baggys, The Who, The Undertones, The Hobos, Tommy James and The Shondells, Helen Love, The Catalogs (from Hawaii, featuring Les Hernandez of The Quintessentials), The Banana Splits and many more.
Joe Queer has been publicly outspoken against Nazism and white supremacy over the years as expressed in various interviews and in the song "You're Tripping" off of the 1993 Lookout Records release Love Songs for the Retarded. The lyrics state "I hate white power... Can't you see, this ain't Nazi Germany".
In a 2014 open letter, Joe Steinhardt of Don Giovanni Records called on Asian Man Records and Recess Records to drop The Queers after Joe Queer made public statements in support of Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. Artist Mitch Clem, who had previously done work for the band, publicly broke ties as well. Steinhardt later apologized for the open letter, stating "I remain personally appalled by Joe Queer's defense of Darren Wilson, his use of the term Obongo regarding the president...at the same time, I recognize that a better way to go about this would be more thoughtful discussion directly with the people involved." Joe Queer later called Steinhardt a 'gutless wimp' and challenged him to a face to face debate to be filmed and put online. Steinhardt has yet to respond.
In an interview with Noisey, after their February 2016 show was cancelled due to a call for a petition to boycott the show from a local collective, Babely Shades, Joe Queer voiced his opinion when asked if he "supports racist, misogynistic or homophobic values?" he replied "Of course not. What normal minded person does? My closest pals here in Atlanta are Chris and Chester, two gay black guys. I was actually working a part time job. I was one of two white people on the whole job. If I was so racist, I wouldn't have worked there or be living in Atlanta! The whole city is predominantly black." He also voiced his opinion of the activist group Black Lives Matter, stating "Black Lives Matter doesn't care about black people, they just want to cause trouble and hate white people. If they truly cared they'd be in the ghettos of America trying to help there instead of screaming about white America. That's where the murders of black people are happening, but according to BLM it's all white cops who are doing it! It's insane thinking and not getting to the root of the problem at all. All lives matter."
In a 2017 interview, Joe Queer stated ""I get called a Nazi and racist because of our name, and then because I had an opinion about the Ferguson thing," he says. "I'm liberal as hell, and I was taken aback by how quickly people attacked me. To this day, I'll get snide comments. I was jumped by Nazis as a gay person, even though I'm not gay. I fought Nazis, so to be called a Nazi is lame by this alt-left." In the same interview he states that humor is a way to social change, we shouldn't take ourselves so seriously and that many people are looking for a reason to be offended, ""In the old days of punk rock, all these bands were laughing at themselves, and they got their point across through humor," King says. "The Dead Kennedys, Black Flag, the Circle Jerks, the Dickies, the Angry Samoans, Flipper, X -- they were funny, but they had a message. They were laughing at themselves. I don't think the new liberals are really offended. I think they're just looking for a reason to say they're offended. They completely take everything out of context. It's so insincere, this faux outrage." 
Since its formation, the band has gone through a few line-up changes, with Joe Queer as the only constant member. The band currently consists of Joe Queer (Guitar/Vocals), Cheeto Bandito (Bass), and Hoglog Rehab (Drums). The first line-up was Joe Queer, Tulu, Keith Hages and Wimpy Rutherford. The mid-1980s line-up was Joe Queer, JJ Rassler, Hugh O'Neill with Kevin Kecy or Evan Shore. The best known line-up is from the 1990s Lookout Records era : Joe Queer, B-Face and Hugh O'Neill. After leaving Lookout Records, B-Face and Hugh O'Neill left and Dangerous Dave joined. The Queers continue to actively tour and a new record is in the works.