Circle Jerks

Wild In The Streets 40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition

Early L.A. punk was a many-headed monster, birthing everything from the glammy Runaways to the more prototypical Germs, as well as rootsy outfits like X and the Blasters. Even the Go-Go’s broke in at Hollywood punk clubs. Along with Black Flag, the Circle Jerks were at the vanguard of Los Angeles’ hardcore subgenre, and now their 1982 sophomore LP gets the deluxe treatment.

Clocking 15 tracks in a breakneck 27 minutes, the songs find frontman Keith Morris – one of punk’s greats – belting the hardcore’s de rigueur agitprop (e.g., “Stars And Stripes”) alongside punk-rock anthems.

Guitarist Greg Hetson might be the real hero. In his economical fills and leads, listeners hear the synthesis of predecessors like the New York Dolls’ Johnny Thunders and Sex Pistols’ Steve Jones, but also his influence on contemporary and later practitioners of SoCal punk-pop (no less a figure than Chuck Berry once asked to sit in with the Jerks at a St. Louis gig, reportedly calling them the best rock-and-roll band he’d ever seen).

The package includes a 20-page booklet featuring photos, gig flyers, and an essay by music journo Chris Morris, as well as three live bonus tracks.

This article originally appeared in VG’s June 2022 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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