Sometime around when I was fourteen, my friend introduced me to a band called Circle Jerks and an album called Group Sex. While it had been released four years previous, and I was late to the party in discovering it, I was an instant fan. I immediately bought a T-shirt with the band name and album cover on it, and sneered back at the people who would give me dirty, yet quizzical, looks upon reading it. It was punk rock after all, and my goal was to p*ss off the world. Soon after I learned what a circle jerk is. (Apparently, had I had Wikipedia, I would have known immediately . . .)
Anyhow, Circle Jerks music was all over my life and on the screen for three of my favorite movies. We saw them in The Decline of Western Civilization, a movie that needs no explanation and if it does, you need to go watch it now. They also showed up in Repo Man, performing an acoustic version of “When The Shit Hits The Fan.” “Coup D’Etat” appeared on the Repo Man Soundtrack (one of the best soundtracks ever) as well. In addition, their “Love Kills” became an iconic tune for the film Sid and Nancy. I think some of you may not share my love of that particular movie, but that is a discussion for another time.
Circle Jerks have been producing music for over thirty years, which actually astounded me when I did the math because it’s so hard to believe so much time has passed. That said, the road hasn’t always been a smooth one, in fact, the band has gone on hiatus twice, changed band members over the years, and met with more than their share of controversy.
Now, two years after the band’s last split, “My Career as a Jerk,” a DVD documentary by David Markey, is making its debut release on September 25.
(Thank you, Clint Weiler of MVD Entertainment Group, for the information below.)
From the beginning, LA punk band the CIRCLE JERKS were rooted in controversy. Formed by ex members of Black Flag and Red Cross (now Redd Kross) in late 1979, the band came to encapsulate the image, sound and energy of California Hardcore Punk.
Filmmaker David Markey (1991: The Year Punk Broke, The Slog Movie) mixes in-depth interviews, rare live footage and historical perspective to illustrate the story of one of the most influential bands in the American underground.
“I was at many of these shows, and let me tell you, there wasn’t a tighter band in Los Angeles at the time,” said Markey. “Making this film reminded me just how truly great they were.”
“My Career as a Jerk” follows the band from their early days and classic debut to navigating the independent label and touring scene of the 80s to the addictions, fights and injuries that forced their break up.
Of course the story doesn’t quite end there . . .
Features interviews with members Keith Morris, Greg Hetson, Lucky Leher. Earl Liberty, Zander Schloss as well as J. Mascis (Dinosaur Jr), Henry Rollins (Black Flag), Brian Baker (Minor Threat, Bad Religion), and more.
Bonus Materials include: Deleted Scenes and Bonus Interviews
You can preorder the DVD here for $12.71 (25% off the list price). For a sneak peek, check out the trailer attached to this article.
I leave you with some reflective words Keith Morris (also thank you, MVD):
I was a participant on a very long musical adventure through all the fun and miserable times and thinking about this I don't know if I’d change any of it!