UGLY KID JOE is a rock band that formed in Isla Vista, California in 1990. The band’s name is a pun on the glam hair band PRETTY BOY FLOYD. Unlike other garage bands, UKJ’s sound touches on a range of styles, including: hard rock, southern, funk, rap and thrash. In conclusion to the band’s overall sound and vision, the members of the band have cited many times, that they are simply a manifestation of their environment and lifestyles — mounting from their geographic location of Southern California. UKJ enjoyed popularity in the early to mid-1990s with their mix of sarcastic humor and metal sound. Their logo is a cartoon embodiment of an “ugly kid” wearing a backward baseball hat and giving the finger. UGLY KID JOE first gained success with “..Everything About You..,” which peaked at number three on the Billboard Top 100 Singles chart [enjoying 20 weeks on the charts] and was later used in the movie ..Wayne’s World. The debut E.P. “As Ugly As They Wanna Be” sold two million copies making it the highest selling debut E.P. of all time. The positive response to the band’s live performance of HARRY CHAPIN’s “..Cat’s in the Cradle..” prompted a studio version and was subsequently released as a well-received single that sold over 500,000 copies in the United States alone and spent 20 weeks peaking at number six on the BB Top 100 Singles chart.
UKJ toured the US several times; their second tour was in support of SCATTERBRAIN, and later opening for former BLACK SABBATH vocalist and mentor OZZY OSBOURNE. Heavily influenced by BLACK SABBATH and AC/DC, they covered several of their songs, including, “Sweet Leaf,” “Sin City” and “N.I.B.” After a world tour (including tours with MOTÖRHEAD, OZZY and DEF LEPPARD) in support of their 1992 full-length album ..America’s Least Wanted.. [which peaked at number 29 on the Billboard Top 200 chart and also sold around two million copies Worldwide], the band searched around for a replacement drummer, as MARK DAVIS left to pursue a life away from the spotlight. DAVIS was eventually replaced by SHANNON LARKIN (Godsmack). His contributions led to a grittier sound for the second album ..Menace to Sobriety.., released in the Summer of 1995. Menace to Sobriety.. received much praise from the press and fans, and UK rock magazine Kerrang! ranked it as a contender for “Album of the Year.” Despite success overseas and successful European tours (including a tour with VAN HALEN and BON JOVI), the album was given little encouragement from Mercury Records and subsequently failed in the United States.
After parting amicably with Mercury Records, UGLY KID JOE formed their own independent label Evilution Records [with marketing and distribution support from Castle Records], which spawned the 1996 release of ..Motel California… Frontman WHIT CRANE described the album as “heavy, funky and has everything in it.” ..Motel California.. received lukewarm reviews and sold poorly, although it has gained a minor cult following in recent times. .Shortly after the release of ..Motel California.., UKJ toured Europe to smaller crowds in support of what became UKJ’s final studio album. The tour was named “Late Check-Out Tour,” underlining the band’s characteristic sense of humor. UGLY KID JOE officially disbanded in 1997 after seven years together and record sales exceeding five million Worldwide. Notable guest musicians on their various albums include Rob Halford of JUDAS PRIEST, Lemmy Kilmister of MOTÖRHEAD, and most recently members of FISHBONE. The band reunited in 2011 and recorded a 6 song EP entitled “Stairway to Hell” which was released in 2012. The band is currently active having done successful tours in 2012 (Europe, Brazil, & Israel) opening for the likes of legendary bands such as ALICE COOPER, THE CULT, FAITH NO MORE, and GUNS N’ ROSES.
UKJ will be re-releasing their “Stairway to Hell” E.P. in North America on April 16th, 2013. It will contain bonus acoustic tracks and video content.