Monday, March 29, 2010

The Weirdos: Condor

When I moved to the Pacific North-West in the spring of 1991, Grunge may have been ascendant but the alternative sound du jour was still funk-punk (a.k.a. funk-metal). Licentious California funk-punk related bands like the Red Hot Chill Peppers, Fishbone, Jane's Addiction, Faith No More and Primus ruled the day. While each of those bands had their virtues and sins, the worst aspect of this micro-genre was the wave of pseudo-funk it unleashed upon the world. Slap-bass became ubiquitous, token funk tracks invaded set-lists and white kids tried, and oh how they tried, to rap. Infectious Grooves, Bootsauce, Mind Funk, Mary's Danish, Psychefunkapus: the gruesome parade was so wretchedly phony that it makes you question if Stone Temple Pilots really represented the nadir of nineties derivation.

It was upon this funk-addled world that The Weirdos staged their most ambitious comeback attempt. Between 1990 and 1991 the Weirdos released their first two full lengths, both of which I bought on L.P. in the summer of 1991. While 1991's Weird World collected up SOME of their old singles and demos, 1990's Condor was in fact, thirteen years into their career, their debut album!

Weird World's flaw was its omission of "Destroy All Music" while Condor's was giving sock-dick'ed funky bass-man Flea a slot in the band. Flea does have accomplishments to his name (many would dispute me) but Cliff Roman was the Weirdos key song-writer and he should not have been side-lined. No matter what, side one of Condor is packed with warp-speed weirdness (much of it co-written with Roman) like "Shining Silver Light", "WWYD", "Tropical Depression", "Terrain" and the positively psychotic, "Cyclops Helicopter". The problematic side two, where the funk bleeds in on such songs as "Night After Day" and "Her" suggests The Weirdos metier was the short form.

(P.S. I've added the rawer Condor Demos becasue they contain "Nowhere To Run" which should've made the album.)

MRML Readers: Was funk-punk/funk-metal really all that bad?
Is Condor a good/bad/mixed album?
Leave us a comment!

Condor (and Condor Demos) links are in the comments.

Support the Band:
Frontier Records

For more out-of-print Weirdos (and further L.A. madness) go visit the estimable Mr. Roky Manson.


  1. Condor

    Condor Demos

    1. Hey great blog.
      The links don't work. Can you upload again?
      Thank you.

  2. Your Weirdos posts have inspired my latest blog post.


  3. I've always considered inspiring another blog an awesome thing.
    I even linked right to it!

  4. Heh I couldnt wait. Just downoaded this somewhere else. Thanks for the demos!

  5. Woohoo dork time! It was during the "condor" period that I saw the Weirdos, so while I agree that this record leaves much to be desired I still dig it! Sometimes memories are not pretty.

  6. MRML Q: Personally I didn't care for it with one exception The Disposable Hero's of Hypocrisy who I had the privilege of playing a show with. So strangely enough I ended up joining a band emulating that sound but was able to shift it to a cross of The Stooges and Black Sabbath with a hip hop beat... Strange? But it worked ok for what it was. Meddapysical was the name of the band. Actually the 2nd CD that never came out during the Def America to
    American Records switch got lost in the shit, to bad it was some of my favorite playing... As for this Weirdos rec. It's new to me !!! Thanks for the History/filling in the gaps!!!

  7. Oh Funk, poor sweet Funk, how we did molest you! Look, as with all forms of music (save maybe smooth jazz...but then again who am I to say?) there is some fantastic funk punk but, unfortunatly, the crap is what comes to mind(funk - you missed that one) at this juncture in history. I own Primus' "Frizzle Fry" and think it's a fantatic disc. Hell, even the mighty Nomeansno took a dip into FP/FM. Anyway, white suburban kids had been going at the Blues and R & B for quite some time by the early 90's so, tragically, they had no where else to turn but to the Funk for a new kind of kick. Such is the embarrasing history of rock & roll.

  8. Thank you, this Weirdos album never made it to the record stores in my part of the world, always wanted to hear it.

    As for the punk/funk thingy, for me it contains the virtues of neither punk nor funk, but the worst parts of both. Some things just don't mix well. But maybe I'm missing something, whatever floats your boat...

  9. Thanks a lot. I had totally blocked out the funk-punk scare of the Bush Sr. years. Seriously though, great post. But you left out one of the better CA bands of the era: Thelonious Monster. Their funk-punk was good, but their folk-punk was great.

  10. I think this is a great album, my only problem is it's too short. It's funny I posted this cd about 3 or 4 weeks ago. And now all of a sudden every blog is posting it. I see you have done a great weirdos post. Im very happy to dl a few things I didnt have anymore. Thanks bro

  11. When this posting emerged on the screen I said to myself, "Not Condor again." In the mid-90's, the cassette used to filled the cut-out bins at Camelot Records in Mid-Michigan. I bought it because it was a quarter, it was Weirdos and it was on Frontier. Maybe played it twice and it was a very far cry from the Weirdos I heard on the Rhino DIY disc.

  12. There was more great funk/punk stuff out there. Someone earlier mentioned Nomeansno. I haven't heard a Nomeansno record I haven't loved, my favorite being the Sex Mad/You Kill Me CD Alt Tent compiled. That stuff is really funky.

    Also, 24/7 Spyz were pretty good.

    The Bush Tetras were amazing.

    Also, there was a great scene that sprung up in Sao Paulo, Brazil in the mid-80s that was extremely influenced by the No Wave/ early 80s Downtown scenes. The spastic funk/punk caught on with a few of those bands, specifically Patife, Geuto, and Akira S.

  13. Before I heard Pimus and The Red Hots and NoMeansNo....... I remember a band from Toronto called 'Rocktapus'.

    I had their tape, and I remember it was absolutely fantastic.

    I can find no reference to Rocktopus /Rocktapus anywhere.

  14. roc
    enjoy the demos, especially that one unreleased track.

    I bet they were still kicking it on this tour (no Flea, I'm gusssing.)

    thanks for that excellent story. While the name's a bit wince-inducing, I'd really love to hear the albums. DO you have copies of them?

    Oh I did NOT leave off Mind Funk (how could I they were old punks turned dirt heads?) But to me NoMeansNo, despite being bass-lead AND slightly funk-influenced were always just their own sub-genre of punk-jazz-prog.

    Dr. Hank
    Glad to bring the Weirdness directly into your home. Yeah Funk Punk did incorporate problem of each genre,an inevitable risk of genre-mixing.

    Yeah Thelonious Monster would've fit perfectly on the California part of my list!

    Glad we're all simpatico, I keep tabs on your blog but I missed your posting this album. I still would've posted as it ends the series but if I'd seen it earlier I'd have given you a well-deserved shout-out.

    I understand your disappointment, but here at MRML we kind of specialize in digging through the detritus of punk rock to find what might've been neglected.

    Yeah I left off 24-7 Spyz off the first list because it was all California bands and the second list because they were all bad bands. That 1st 24-7 Spyz was nowhere near as good as I'd hope it would be but it was still an interesting album.

    Rocktapus! Damn but this post generated lots of well-informed comments. I'd forgotten all about that band - good call.

    Have you done a post on that whole Sao Paulo scene? Because I'd be keen to read such a piece as the only thing I associate that city with is wretched poverty, I had no idea of this scene you speak of.

  15. Rev. Bum II
    Thanks for mentioning the terribly-named but damn good Disposable Heroes of Hip-Hopricy who seemed to exsist in kind of punk-hip-hop-dub-poet-Gil-Scot-Herron netherworld. I should post "Television" some day...


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