Queers unapologetic, just as punk should be

Joe Queer high fives members of the audience following his band's performance June 7 in Billings.

Joe Queer high fives members of the audience following his band’s performance June 7 in Billings.

Though the attendees at Sunday’s Queers show didn’t seem to care, I feel there is a bit of explanation necessary for the general public regarding the crudely named punk rock group.

Joe Queer fronts pop punk band The Queers.

Joe Queer fronts pop punk band The Queers.

Formed in the early 1980s, the Queers named their band in punk rock style – dissing the things they didn’t like, such as the artist community in Portsmouth, NH, where the band formed.

“We wanted to piss off the art fag community that acted all high and mighty, strutting around town like they were better than everyone else there,” said Joe Queer, the band’s frontman and founder, on the band’s MySpace page.

Not one for political correctness, Joe Queer has gotten a lot of mileage out of his foul mouth. A band that is entirely unapologetic for their un-P.C. punk rock ways, The Queers are capitalizing on the novelty of pop punk from the 1980s as it comes full circle to be popular once again. Their well-attended concert at the Yellowstone Valley Brewing Co. was as pop punk should be – energetic, moshable and obnoxious.

As he introduced his band (in a tee-shirt claiming he had relations with our grandmothers, no less), Joe Queer unabashedly told the audience: “My name is Joe Queer, and I’m an alcoholic and a drug addict.” Cheers erupted as the band launched into “I Was a Teenage Bonehead.”

Wyoming punk rockers The Front opened the show.

Wyoming punk rockers The Front opened the show.

Lauren of the Front

Lauren Bayert, frontwoman of the Front.

The band had apt lead-in from Wyoming punk rock group The Front, who was welcomed back to Billings by a slew of faithful followers in the front row. The band’s bassist Mike estimates it’s been at least two years since the oil city rockers hit town. They’re as lively as ever, Lauren’s snarl and the band’s chemistry honed since we were in high school (yes, I went to high school with members of the Front). They promised not to stay gone so long again.

All-female rock group the Hot Toddies.

All-female rock group the Hot Toddies.

The Mansfields bassist meshes his love of Mötley Crü and Social Distortion.

The Mansfields bassist meshes his love of Mötley Crü and Social Distortion.

The all-female group Hot Toddies, an adorable surf-pop punk band that’s destined to be in the next iPod commercial, took the stage after The Front, and were followed by punk rockers The Mansfields, surprisingly good for their low-fi MySpace tunes I previewed before the show (though the lead singer probably really wanted to be Nikki Sixx when he grew up).

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About Anna Paige

Anna Paige is a writer, poet, and photographer advocating for live music culture, visual and performance arts, and the creative class in Montana through writing. More >>