Semi-Famous: Punk Rock Supergroup Unleashes Two New Singles and Debut Album Semi-Famous
Reviewed by Sam Lowry

Semi-Famous, the punk rock supergroup led by Screeching Weasel co-founder John Jughead Pierson, announces their debut album Destroy Ourselves with the release of two dynamic singles, “Weasels in a Box” and “Clown in the Window,” showcasing their nostalgic yet fresh pop-punk sound.

Semi-Famous, the brainchild of Screeching Weasel co-founder John Jughead Pierson, is finally emerging from the pages of Pierson's 2001 book, Weasels In A Box, into the real world with their debut album Destroy Ourselves, set for release on July 26 via Rare Bird/Duck! Records. This announcement comes with the release of two gripping singles, "Weasels in a Box" and "Clown in the Window," showcasing the band’s raw, nostalgic pop-punk sound.

The project initially began in January 2022, when Pierson teamed up with Ryan Rockwell of Mixtapes. The duo’s creative synergy sparked the song “Middle School Monster,” reminiscent of the high-energy, irreverent style that defined Screeching Weasel’s early work. They soon brought in Billy Brown (Ashers, Crash and Burn) and Tyson Cornell (Scooby Don’t) to flesh out their sound, recording their first tracks at Sodomia in Chatsworth, California, under the seasoned ear of Ray Hartman.

"Weasels in a Box," which opens the album, immediately pulls listeners into a whirlwind of punchy riffs and emotionally charged lyrics. As Pierson puts it, the track is a mix of "sarcasm, joy, and sadness," embodying the spirit of punk rock while paying homage to the friends and musical influences of the past. This sentiment is especially poignant given the recent passing of Brown, whose contributions to the project were invaluable.

"Clown in the Window," penned by the legendary Dan Vapid, is a track that captures the essence of Screeching Weasel’s formative years. Recorded with meticulous attention to Vapid’s original demo, it stands as a testament to the enduring influence of early '90s pop-punk on Semi-Famous’s sound.

The recording process for Destroy Ourselves saw the addition of Poli van Dam (Bombpops, The Poli van Dam Band), whose dynamic guitar work and vocals brought a fresh edge to the band’s evolving sound. Recorded in Los Angeles with engineer Zach Kibbee, the album’s fourteen tracks reflect the band’s collective experience and passion for the genre they helped shape.

Pierson describes the creation of Semi-Famous as a joyful return to roots, a project that started as a fictional band for an audiobook and transformed into a living, breathing entity. "We had so much fun writing in a form that most of us had not engaged in for years," he explains. "Even though we were influenced by Screeching Weasel, the songs took on their own life."

For fans of Screeching Weasel, Mixtapes, The Clash, and Angry Samoans, Destroy Ourselves promises a journey through time, reconnecting with the raw energy of pop-punk's early days while charting new territory with fresh, inspired sounds. Semi-Famous isn’t just a nod to the past; it’s a celebration of what’s yet to come.

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