The Queers is the kind of band that could be playing in a larger venue than the Gas Lamp. They could take a slot on the Vans Warped Tour, or try to get their shirts into every mall like the Misfits and the Ramones.
But despite the merchandising push from the generation of punk bands before and after, the band doesn’t have any interest in selling out.
“For lots of kids today, the Ramones are like a clothing line,” said Queers frontman Joe King, who performs under the name Joe Queer. “And I’d feel like too much of a whore if we went on Warped. I got into punk to be against that kind of s***.”
King started The Queers in 1981 out of boredom. He and some friends graduated from high school and would sit around listening to the Ramones, watching “Family Feud” and going to punk shows. They were all musicians, and eventually formed the band.
The Queers gained fans around New England and started picking up a larger following in the 1990s as the band began to tour the country.
Its 1993 album, “Love Songs for the Retarded,” brought the band a larger audience, but not exactly mainstream success. After all, it was an album called “Love Songs for the Retarded” by a band called The Queers containing songs like “F*** the World” and “I Can’t Stop Farting.”
Alt-rock stations were not rushing to play those songs between “All Apologies” and “Jeremy.”
The Queers have won their fans through word-of-mouth and regular touring, not radio singles. The band performs at clubs the size of the Gas Lamp, and sells out often. They could go bigger (and occasionally do), but King likes more intimate shows.
“We always grew up on those small places, and it’s what I like. It’s where I feel comfortable,” King said. “When we play bigger places I’m thinking too much about not (screwing) up and putting on a show.
“I don’t like that much. The energy is better in sweaty little clubs where we can feed off the energy of the crowd.”
The Queers are currently in the process of re-recording their late ’90s albums “Beyond the Valley …” and “Punk Rock Confidential.” Then the band will begin work on a new album, which King expects to be out by the summer.
The Queers’ style has been described as a fusion of The Ramones’ punk sound with The Beach Boys’ harmonies. King sees the connection, and said the Ramones’ sound was just an extension of what The Beach Boys started. He also sees connections between acts like the pop group The Monkees and punk rocker GG Allin.
“That’s the stuff we grew up on, I love that bubble-gummy type stuff,” King said. “I got to know Joey (Ramone) and he said what they did all came out of 1960s Beach Boys music, just adding bad rhythm guitar.
“That’s what I like, stuff based more in melody and harmony. A lot of harder edge punk just sounded like noise to me.”
When: 7 p.m. Saturday
Where: The Gas Lamp, 1501 Grand Ave.
Cost: $10 in advance through midwestix.com, $12 at the door