Ugly Kid Joe
America's Least Wanted
/polygram; 1992/

1992 –

     We are all part of what we like to call now the Nirvana generation. Teen age was starting off and those riffs constituted our first electric commotions. We were (at least we thought) ‘so damn cool’ and we started to freak the hell out of our middle-class parents: wearing ripped & bleached second-hand jeans & guns’n’roses tee-shirts, not washing our long hair, sometimes smoking cigarettes (although Angus and Horace were not that extrovert and not that rebel and expressed their angst through the purchasing of such cds – Seb was to smoke pot a little later…) and watching video-clips on afternoon TV sharing a lonely beer if need be. (Infoooormer! Laurence Romance was hot at that time according to Angus). While we were desperately  waiting for Nirvana’s video-clips, we watched nonchalantly other long-haired guitar bands. One of them was called UGLY KID JOE and they were playing in the water in ‘Everything About You’ vid. Waterproof manufactured fake grunge! We didn’t know it was highly mainstream at the time… Besides, the long-haired guy who played the guitar in our school and was who was regularly expelled told us Ugly Kid Joe were brilliant. So we head-bopped and sang along “Everything About You… Yeah…”

We thought we looked cool and we impressed all the girls (we didn’t know any kinderwhores unfortunately) who were supposed to say with their high-pitched voice: “Hey Sophie, look at these guys, they are totally insane, they look good in these checked shirts, they listen to heavy bands whose lyrics deal with death and suicide and hate and maybe love and stuff… I wish one of them asked me out for a date.” Now, these are only SHAMEFUL MEMORIES.

- 2002, a Saturday night at Drunk yard café :

Horace De Tupolev: Fuck You All (friendship mark). ‘Come Tomorrow’ is the best song.

Angus Anderson: I agree with you but it is their best song live. ‘Busy Bee’ stands out of the album. It is so 
melodic and naive; “everybody is alright with me…”

SEB WOOd: At that time, officially my favourite song was ‘So Damn Cool’ because that was the idea behind 
showing our Ugly Kid Joe listening but the truth is that my favourite song has always been ‘Cats in the 
Cradle’. It’s not even one of their song… but I remember how disappointed I was when I bought the record 
and discovered that the lyrics of this song were not inside. I was not fluent then. All I understood was 
“All that she wants is a baby, yeaheaheah”. It was not even Ugly kid Joe… 

HDP: ‘Same Side’ is so funky, with the wah wah bass in the intro. That song widened my musical references at the time. I though I was cool listening to funk…

AA: You’re right Horace. UKJ mixed all styles altogether but ‘Same side’ is shit today. As far as I’m concerned, I liked the duality in their music: heavy vs. slow.

SW: And we could pick up girls on saturday afternoons during ‘Cats in the Cradle’ or ‘Mr Recordman’ (which was the girls favourite song) and maybe slip a finger under their tee-shirt and maybe slide their nascent breasts (for those who got lucky)…

**** Barbara H enters the room ****

BH: I fell in love with a boy who was listening to UKJ so I started listening to his cds, feeling so special because he let me borrow America’s Least Wanted from him. Unfortunately, I was not as attractive as I am now and even though he let me hang around with him, we never went out together (although we kissed once while listening to Nevermind after having drunk 3 beers at his parents’ on a Sunday afternoon). And that’s all I have to say about that.

**** Barbara leaves the room ****

AA: I think we must do something for Barbara. UKJ ruined her life you see but we must try to make her understand she should not live through shameful memories. I never skipped the 5 first tracks. ‘Neighbor’ opens the album perfectly. It’s so dirty and vindictive (‘I drink, I sit, I smoke and I am a joke’).

SW: We didn’t know Pantera and Henry Rollins in 1992 so when we wanted to look nasty we regularly sang along in our changing voice ‘Won’t you be my neighbor ?’ (with a ridiculous grin too…).

AA: Every song in this album has that little thing that makes you bob your head. 

HDT: I remember I wanted to have a tattoo across the chest, based on the cover of the album. But my mum
said no. She said I should leave the house first and then I could do such stupid things out of her sight. By 
the time I eventually left the house my passion for UKJ had cooled off so I never got the tattoo.

AA: I suppose you suffer more than us today Horace, thinking back of this musical awakening era. I have 
never been as fanatic as you were. You had all the albums and 2 live bootlegs.

HDT: Come on, I’ve sold the past. I am clean now. I only kept "America’s least wanted", just like I kept my 
Guns and Roses t-shirt, for empty afternoon parties.

SW: I still have "As Ugly As They Wanna Be." Actually, I hanged on for a long time to these 47 seconds of 
fury entitled ‘heavy metal’.

AA: Look, if we had not listened to UKJ in those times, we might not have done the music we play today. 
You should listen to Dave’s last song, it kicks the hell out of the power chords! And as far as I am concerned
the riffs in my song ‘Suicide of the Doomed’ are partly the same as those in ‘Madman’. I even mimicked the 
idea of the Disney World intro turning into a nightmare killing fantasy. We must not regret.

HDT: You’re right, shame has got nothing to do with it. It’s only pride in the name of love.
SW: Well, that might explain why Blacklisted Igor sold his guitar during our high-school years. From the 
moment he no longer had a guitar he couldn’t be suspected of having been part of those long-haired losers 
who were looking for people to play with and underlined their UKG and Skid Row influences in their want-ads 
(Skid Row is another story which shall not be discussed here because 1) this story is becoming long enough 
2) this is about UKG 3) Skid Row is shit). I am not part of these people but I know a boy who did that and 
does not like to talk about it now…

HDT & AA: Well, to us this era is over but it will always remain pride in the name of love. We must not regret.

SW: Regret is a reminder of time gone by but what is past is not always dead and gone (philosophy moment 
– think about it – we should always have this sort of solemn statements about time in this Shameful Memories 
column). I guess Ugly Kid Joe’s cds are one of America’s least wanted now. It took a long time to realize that 
they made a very good choice when they opted for this title…

-Angus Anderson, Horace de Tupolev & SEB WOOD

 /jan 15th 2003/