Fear (band)

Last updated
Fear at Warped Tour 2010-08-10 07.jpg
Fear performing on the 2010 Warped Tour
Background information
Origin Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Years active1977–present
Labels Slash, Fear, Sector 2
Associated acts MD.45, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Breeders
Members Lee Ving
Philo Cramer
Spit Stix
Geoff Kresge
Eric Razo
Past members Derf Scratch
Burt Good
Johnny Backbeat
Eric Feldman
Lorenzo Buhne
Will MacGregor
Scott Thunes
Kelly LeMieux
Mando Lopez
Sean Cruse
Richard Presley
Derol Caraco
Jeffery “Beldo” Beller
Sam Bolle
Lawrence Arrieta
Andrew Jamiez
Paul Lerma
Dave Stark
Tommy Ufkes

Fear, stylized as FEAR, is an American punk rock band from Los Angeles, California, formed in 1977. The band is credited for helping to shape the sound and style of Californian hardcore punk. [1] The group gained national prominence after an infamous 1981 performance on Saturday Night Live .


Frontman Lee Ving has been the band's only constant member. Since its formation, the band has gone through various lineup changes, and at one point even featured Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers on bass. The classic FEAR lineup existed from 1978 to 1982, and was composed of Ving, guitarist Philo Cramer, bassist Derf Scratch and drummer Spit Stix.



Fear was formed in 1977 by singer/guitarist Lee Ving and bassist Derf Scratch, who recruited guitarist Burt Good and drummer Johnny Backbeat. In 1978, Fear released the single "I Love Livin' in the City". Shortly after this, Good and Backbeat left the band and were replaced by Philo Cramer and Spit Stix.


Film director Penelope Spheeris met Ving and Stix while they were hanging handbills on telephone poles in Los Angeles on Laurel Canyon Boulevard. After a brief discussion, she asked if they wanted to be in a documentary about the Los Angeles punk scene, [2] The Decline of Western Civilization (1981). In the film, Fear performed a set in which they baited members of the audience with personal attacks, sexist and homophobic slurs, and offbeat humor, inspiring some audience members to come on stage to fight them. At the time, Spheeris was married to Slash Records president Bob Biggs who, later that year, signed a recording deal with Fear.

Spheeris's documentary brought the band to the attention of John Belushi, who lobbied successfully to get the band a spot as a musical guest on the 1981 Halloween episode of his former show Saturday Night Live . Belushi had originally offered Fear the soundtrack for his major motion picture Neighbors . The film's producers eventually forced Fear off the project, and Belushi got them the infamous SNL gig as compensation. The band's appearance included a group of slamdancers, among them Belushi, Ian MacKaye of Minor Threat (and later Fugazi), Tesco Vee of the Meatmen, Harley Flanagan and John Joseph of the Cro-Mags, and John Brannon of Negative Approach. The show's director originally wanted to prevent the dancers from participating, so Belushi offered to be in the episode if the dancers were allowed to stay. [2] The end result was the shortening of Fear's appearance on TV. They started their second song by saying, "It's great to be in New Jersey", drawing boos from SNL's New York live audience. Fear played "I Don't Care About You", "Beef Bologna", "New York's Alright If You Like Saxophones", and started to play "Let's Have a War" when the telecast faded into commercial. The slamdancers left ripe pumpkin remains on the set. Cameras, a piano and other property were damaged. After their SNL appearance, which resulted in $20,000 in damage, some clubs chose not to hire the band. [3] [4]

Fear also appeared in the 1981 rotoscope animated film American Pop , directed by Ralph Bakshi. Ving performed under the name Lee James Jude. [5]

Additionally that year, Josie Cotton released the hit song "Johnny Are You Queer". The song was based on Fear's song "Fetch me One More Beer", written by Philo Cramer and John Clancy. [6] Bobby and Larson Paine, who were managing The Go-Gos, re-worked the song with new lyrics and gave it to them, but after a falling out forbid the band from playing it and gave it to Cotton. [7] In several interviews Cotton has suggested that the song's title was lifted from lyrics in the Fear song, [8] [9] though she has also stated that Fear's version of it went “You're a fuckin’ queer”, [7] which is consistent with Fear's demo of the song. [10] [11]

When Fear found out a variation of their song had become popular, a meeting regarding the publishing rights of the song was arranged between them and the Paines. The two sides decided the winner of a coin toss would get the publishing rights to the song, which the Paines won. [12]

In 1982, Fear released their debut album The Record . After touring in support of the album, Ving fired Scratch. Eric Feldman (of Captain Beefheart, Pere Ubu, and later PJ Harvey and Frank Black) briefly filled in on bass before he was replaced by Flea. Flea left the band and was replaced by Lorenzo Buhne. On July 3, 1983, Fear performed at the "Rock Against Reagan" protest concert at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. along with the Dead Kennedys, MDC, Toxic Reasons, the Crucifucks and others. In the summer of 1983 through early 1984, while Stix was touring Europe with Nina Hagen, Chuck Biscuits was supposed to replace him, but Stix returned and Biscuits never played any shows with Fear. [13] With Ving producing, the band recorded their second album More Beer in 1985 in just two days, supposedly. However, according to a representative from Enigma Records, it took a full year, as quoted in a March 1986 issue of Spin . [14]


Live...For the Record , a live album of a 1985 performance, was released in 1991. Shortly afterwards, bassist Will "Sluggo" MacGregor was hired. After 1991–93 North American tours, Fear disbanded. Cramer and Stix left the band, citing disputes with Ving over finances, his right wing beliefs, and his lack of empathy. For the next two years, Ving performed in Austin, Texas as Lee Ving's Army. This eventually became the new Fear lineup, including Ving backed by LVA members Sean Cruse (guitar), Scott Thunes (bass) and Andrew Jamiez (drums). In 1995, Fear released the Have Another Beer with Fear album, followed by American Beer (2000), which featured Ving and Jamiez along with new members Richard Presley and Mando Lopez. The album included new recordings of several previously unreleased older Fear songs, as well as some new compositions. Richard Presley and Mando Lopez then began playing with Kim Deal and Kelley Deal in the Breeders.

2000 – present

Fear (with Ving as the only original member) performed in the annual Warped Tour in 2008, and at South by Southwest in 2012. [15]

A re-recording of 1982's The Record was released in late 2012. [16]

In 2018, the band reunited with Cramer and Stix, and added former AFI bassist Geoff Kresge and former Viva Hate guitarist Eric Razo. [17]

Band members





Lead guitar


Fear (band)


Studio albums

Singles and EPs

Live albums

Soundtrack compilation appearances


Fear has influenced a number of bands who have paid tribute to the band by covering its songs.

Fear's music has also been featured in several video game soundtracks. "I Love Livin' in the City" appeared in The Warriors "SLC Punk" and Tony Hawk's Underground 2 , and "The Mouth Don't Stop (The Trouble with Women Is)" appeared in Grand Theft Auto V , on the fictional punk rock radio station, "Channel X".

The band, specifically Spit, also appear in the Brett Easton Ellis novel Less Than Zero.

In the 1987 film Summer Camp Nightmare , the inter-camp talent show includes a performance of "Beef Bologna" which upsets Chuck Connors' straitlaced camp director.

Related Research Articles

The Blues Brothers American blues and soul band

The Blues Brothers are an American blues and soul revivalist band founded in 1978 by comedians Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi as part of a musical sketch on Saturday Night Live. Belushi and Aykroyd fronted the band, in character, respectively, as lead vocalist 'Joliet' Jake Blues and harmonica player/vocalist Elwood Blues. The band was composed of well-known musicians, and debuted as the musical guest in a 1978 episode of Saturday Night Live, opening the show performing "Hey Bartender", and later "Soul Man".

<i>Jealous Again</i> 1980 EP by Black Flag

Jealous Again is a 12" EP that was the second release by American hardcore punk band Black Flag and the third-ever release on SST Records.

<i>Out in L.A.</i> 1994 compilation album by Red Hot Chili Peppers

Out in L.A. is a compilation of rare tracks by the Red Hot Chili Peppers released November 1, 1994 on EMI.

The Donnas

The Donnas were an American rock band formed in Palo Alto, California, United States, in 1993. The band consisted of Brett Anderson, Allison Robertson, Maya Ford and Amy Cesari. Cesari replaced Torry Castellano, who left the band in 2009 due to tendonitis. They drew inspiration from the Ramones, The Runaways, Girlschool, AC/DC, Bachman–Turner Overdrive and Kiss. Rolling Stone has stated that "the Donnas offer a guileless take on adolescent alienation; they traffic in kicks, not catharsis, fun rather than rage". MTV has stated that the band offers "a good old-fashioned rock & roll party". After gathering a cult following in the punk scene since their 1997 debut, the band achieved major label commercial success in the early 2000s and afterward as their music mixed punk, metal and classic rock sounds.

Toy Dolls

Toy Dolls are an English punk rock band formed in 1979. Departing from the angry lyrics and music often associated with punk rock, the Toy Dolls worked within the aesthetics of punk to express a sense of fun, with songs such as "Yul Brynner Was a Skinhead", "My Girlfriend's Dad's a Vicar" and "James Bond Lives Down Our Street". There is often alliteration in their song titles. They are probably best known however for their sole UK hit, a punk-rock cover of "Nellie the Elephant".

Lee Ving American musician

Lee James Jude Capallero, known professionally as Lee Ving, is an American musician and actor.

Derf "Fred" Scratch was an American musician, best known as a former member of the punk rock band Fear and its original bass guitarist.

<i>Beat Is on the Brat</i> 1998 compilation album by Screeching Weasel

Beat is on the Brat is a CD compilation of out of print and vinyl-only material from Screeching Weasel. The majority of the CD contains their cover of the first album by The Ramones in its entirety. The band was approached to cover the album at a party for the completion of their fourth album, Wiggle. Having just lost bassist Johnny Personality, the band was unsure of its future, and they claim that the recording of these covers helped revitalize them. The band mixed the album just like the Ramones record, with the guitar panned hard to one side and the bass to the other. Very little was changed in terms of the songs themselves, though all were slightly faster than the originals. The album was recorded in approximately fifteen hours and released on vinyl on Selfless Records in a limited run of 1700 copies, 300 of which were on white vinyl. Selfless re-pressed 300 copies of the album in 1993 with silkscreened covers. The remaining tracks (15-18) are from the vinyl-only EP Formula 27. These songs were outtakes from the recording of the 1996 album, Bark Like a Dog.

Stellar Kart

Stellar Kart was an American pop punk band from Phoenix, Arizona, signed to Inpop Records and Capitol Records. The band released their first album, All Gas. No Brake, in February 2005. Most of their singles have been accepted exclusively on Christian radio stations such as Air 1. Their song "Me and Jesus" from their 2006 album We Can't Stand Sitting Down hit No. 1 for seven weeks on the Hot Christian Songs chart and won the 2007 Dove Award for "Rock/Contemporary Recorded Song". Their song "Something Holy" from their 2010 album Everything Is Different Now, an album which adopts a more "worshipful" flavor charted at No. 23 on Billboard Magazine for eighteen weeks. Their latest full-length album, All In, was released on August 27, 2013.

<i>The Record</i> (album)

The Record is the debut studio album by the American hardcore punk band Fear, released May 16, 1982, by Slash Records. It was produced by Gary Lubow. The album was reissued on CD in 2007 with the single "Fuck Christmas" as a bonus track. The band re-recorded the album in its entirety and released it under the title The Fear Record in 2012.

Godzilla (Blue Öyster Cult song) 1978 single by Blue Öyster Cult

"Godzilla" is a single by American hard rock band Blue Öyster Cult, the first track from the band's fifth studio album Spectres. The lyrics are a tongue-in-cheek tribute to the popular movie monster of the same name. Despite failing to chart, the song received significant airplay on rock radio stations and would go on to become a sleeper hit. The song is, along with "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" and "Burnin' for You", one of the band's best-known songs and has become a staple of its live performances. It has been covered by bands such as moe., Racer X, Fu Manchu, The Smashing Pumpkins, Sebastian Bach, Double Experience and Fighting Gravity.

Louiche Mayorga

Louiche Mayorga is best known for his bass playing in the Venice Beach punk band Suicidal Tendencies. He co-wrote many of their earlier songs including the punk classic "Institutionalized" from their 1983 debut album on Frontier, as well as" "War Inside My Head," "Possessed to Skate." and the title track "Join the Army" from their second release on Caroline. He has also played for Venice bands; Los Cycos, Uncle Slam, Horny Toad, AgainST and most recently joined forces with his long-time friends Beowülf playing bass on their new album, entitled Jesus Freak. Mayorga is currently playing bass in Luicidal, who plays songs from Suicidal Tendencies' first three albums and has released original material.

<i>Teen Punks in Heat</i> 2000 studio album by Screeching Weasel

Teen Punks in Heat is the eleventh studio album by the American punk rock band Screeching Weasel. It was released in September 2000 through Panic Button Records. Though receiving mixed reviews from national critics, it was championed upon its release by many critics in the band's Chicago hometown.Shortly after the release of the album, the band played two sold out shows at Chicago's House of Blues, their first live performances in seven years. Rumors of a full tour to promote the album swirled, but the band announced their break-up before any plans were confirmed.

<i>More Beer</i> 1985 studio album by Fear

More Beer is the second album by Fear, released in 1985. Frontman Lee Ving spent over a year producing the album.

<i>American Beer</i> (album) 2000 studio album by Fear

American Beer is a studio album by Fear, released in 2000. Many of the album's tracks were written and recorded during Fear's earlier years, but had not appeared on any prior studio albums.

<i>Live...For the Record</i> 1991 live album by Fear

Live...For the Record is a live album by American punk band Fear, released in 1991.

I Love Livin in the City 1978 single by Fear

"I Love Livin' in the City" is the first single by the punk rock band Fear. It was originally released in 1978 on the Los Angeles-based Criminal Records.

Fuck Christmas

"Fuck Christmas" b/w "(Beep) Christmas" is the second single by Fear. It was recorded during the sessions that produced their debut The Record, but was not released until months later. The single's A-side was later added as a bonus track to the CD reissue of The Record. It is also present on cassette copies of the album. "(Beep) Christmas" is identical to "Fuck Christmas" but with censored profanity, done as a way to promote the single on radio. Punk band Bad Religion covered the song at KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas in 1993 and 1994

Philo Cramer is an American musician who was the lead guitarist for the Los Angeles punk band FEAR, from 1978 to 1993. He was a member of the band's classic lineup along with Spit Stix, Derf Scratch and frontman Lee Ving.

Tim Leitch is a Los Angeles-born drummer, producer and songwriter. He gained prominence as drummer for American punk rock band Fear and producer of the first Red Hot Chili Peppers demo tape.


  1. Huey, Steve. "Fear". AllMusic . Retrieved 2011-07-22.
  2. 1 2 "Spit Stix interview". Markprindle.com. Retrieved 2011-07-22.
  3. "Citizenmag.com". Archived from the original on 13 February 2010. Retrieved 16 September 2020.
  4. Dequina, Michael (December 22, 2004). "ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER'S THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA". filmthreat.com. Wayback Machine. Archived from the original on April 11, 2005. Retrieved August 31, 2016.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  5. "American Pop". The New York Times .
  6. Destroy All Movies!!! The Complete Guide to Punks on Film, Zach Carlson ISBN   978-1606993637/
  7. 1 2 Miller, Eric T. (9 September 2006). "Josie Cotton: The Story Of '80s New-Wave Hit "Johnny, Are You Queer?"". Magnetmagazine.com. Retrieved 16 September 2020.
  8. "Oh Yeah: Josie Cotton is 'Everything'—Then and Now". Chelseacommunitynews.com. Retrieved 16 September 2020.
  9. "Josie Cotton Interview". Spacecaserecords.com. Retrieved 16 September 2020.
  10. "FEAR - Fetch Me One More Beer (1978 Demo)". YouTube . Retrieved 16 September 2020.
  11. "FEAR - Fetch Me One More Beer (1978 Demo)". YouTube . Retrieved 16 September 2020.
  12. ""Johnny, Are You Queer?": Cover Songs Uncovered". Popcultureexperiment.com. 9 October 2017. Retrieved 16 September 2020.
  13. "Fear". MisfitsCentral.com. Retrieved 2011-07-22.
  14. Loud, Lance (March 1986). "NOTHING TO FEAR". books.google.com. Spin Magazine.
  15. "Music News | SXSW 2013". Sxsw.com. Archived from the original on 2013-07-03. Retrieved 2013-06-15.
  16. "The Fear Record - Fear | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". Allmusic . Retrieved 16 September 2020.
  17. "FEAR". Facebook.com. Retrieved 16 September 2020.