The Lewd

Punk Rock Flashback Friday: The Lewd

The Lewd turned the San Francisco punk landscape upside down with American Wino

The Lewd on Selective Memory

Before Kurdt Vanderhoof became the guitarist for Metal Church and instilled his fame as a metal titan, he was an integral part of forming the niche Seattle punk band The Lewd. Adopting the stage name “Blobbo,” Vanderhoof with J. Satz Barrett (who continues to resurrect the band as the only original member) and Bob Clic created a gritty anarchistic approach to Northwest punk aggression.

The band moved from Seattle to San Francisco before Vernderhoof left the band for Metal Church. The group added Olga de Volga on bass and Clic changed roles to guitars. Christopher Reece came in on drums and they churned out their only American release, American Wino.

Much like the Angry Samoans releasing Back From Samoa in the same year, The Lewd helped shape the California punk movement and should fall in line with Flipper, No Alternative, and The Dead Kennedys. Sometimes snotty social and sometimes exploiting grittiness through chaos (their live recordings for the album from Target Video Studios best displayed the rawness they possessed). However, between the studio recordings from Hollywood dominating the first side and the live recordings on the B-side, the comparison is a fine line. The Lewd created a West Coast punk masterpiece that was a rebellion to the streets of San Francisco and exposed a harsh reality that we would not really see again until Rancid released their self-titled album.

Soon after the release, Clic left the band and The Lewd quickly fell apart. Reese then joined Social Distortion. Throughout the rest of the 1980s, The Lewd became this obscure punk fantasy and American Wino a collector’s item. By the late 1990s, The Lewd reformed and released the live album Lewd Conduct in a Public Place. As soon as 2019, they occasionally come out of the seedy California underground to play shows and prove that they were a white hot statement combustible too early.

The Lewd—American Wino

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