While D.C. struggled to clear the streets of snow and ice Sunday, New Hampshire pop-punk legends The Queers struggled to get into the city – and not just because of traffic.
“We were playing north of Harrisburg and our bus broke down. We drove an hour away to get a rental truck, drove back to the van, picked up our stuff, and came here for the show,” said Joe Queer (real name Joe King), founder, singer and guitarist of The Queers,
The Queers arrived at the Rock and Roll Hotel in an Enterprise rental van, ready to blow the audience away. For Queer, recovering the defunct bus is only part of the backstage anxiety: the Patriots and the Colts were tied at the time, and the New England fan did not want his team to lose.
While Queer waited backstage for football updates, local band The Rip-Outs opened the show with a lively set but failed to incite a response from the crowd. Following their act was the Iowa-based band The Riptides, who marred a decent set by playing too long. “Joey Ramone once told me, ‘Play your best 22 minutes and then get the fuck off-stage when you’re opening for a band,'” Queer said backstage.
After The Riptides, The Heart Attacks took the stage and played a loud, fast-paced punk set that riled the crowd. None of this, however, was a fraction of the response received by The Queers as they commenced their set. With Jeff Dewton on guitar, Geoff Useless on bass, Adam Woronoff on the drums and Joe Queer at the helm, The Queers played songs from their new album “Munki Brain” and took requests like “I’m not a Mongo Anymore” and “See ya Later, Fuckface” from the audience. Andy Vandal of the Riptides shared the stage with the band on the song, “Kicked Out of the Webelos,” and later, Haircut of The Heart Attacks added vocals to a cover of “Sheena is a Punk Rocker” by The Ramones.
The quality of the live show was a testament to the seamless transition in The Queer’s line-up. As Joe Queer said of the current band roster, “These guys play with a lot of enthusiasm. These younger guys. they’re really into it. People let me get away with [changing the line-up] as long as the band sounds good.”
The Queers seem immune to wealth and the chance to live “the good life.” “There isn’t anything wrong with making money off of punk rock, but I grew up on the Ramones and Black Flag, so that’s not for me,” Queer said. During their 25-year career, the band turned down opportunities to play with bands like Social Distortion, NOFX and Bad Religion in order to avoid “a big fucking soap opera. They all think they’re rock stars and shit. I don’t think I’m better than them; I just have a different feel.”
What else is there to do then, if he is not living it up as a rock star? According to Joe Queer, “Off the road, I have the social life of a 92-year-old man – I don’t do shit.”