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Formed in 1986 by acerbic front man Ben Weasel, Screeching Weasel immediately set out to provoke. In their early days the band was known as much for Weasel’s on-stage diatribes and battles with audience members as their music, but with the release of 1991’s My Brain Hurts they helped to usher in the pop-punk explosion, and have remained at the forefront of the genre ever since. In a career punctuated by internal friction and break-ups, to say nothing of their run-ins with promoters, label owners, other musicians and the press, Screeching Weasel has inspired countless bands with their infectious, hook-laden songs; Blink-182 and the All-American Rejects cite Screeching Weasel as an influence and Green Day’s Mike Dirnt (who played on the band’s 1994 How To Make Enemies And Irritate People) sports a Weasel head tattoo on his arm.
Ben Weasel, the only remaining original member and the only constant amidst dozens of lineup changes, sums up the band’s notoriety by noting “You can’t worry about making friends or alienating people. You’ve got to be your own man no matter who it upsets. That’s the only way to make music of any lasting value.” More than a quarter of a century on, the band continues to court controversy while seemingly effortlessly cranking out new pop-punk gems. “My goal,” says Weasel, “was always to put the crowd in a position where they didn’t know whether to boo us or start dancing.” Screeching Weasel continues to win over fans both old and new with each new release; none of their 11 studio albums have ever been out of print and their latest release, the 7-song EP Carnival Of Schadenfreude, finds the band as cantankerous and tuneful as ever. The newest lineup of Screeching Weasel is on the road and working on new songs, and will be for years to come if Weasel has his way. “Screeching Weasel is never breaking up again,” he says. “The band dies when I do.”