Almost 28 years ago in 1987, the band known as UGLY KID JOE (UKJ) was formed in Isla Vista California. The name of the band actually came as a parody of the L.A band Pretty Boy Floyd when they joined the glam band on stage and Pretty Boy Floyd pulled out of the gig. Childhood friends Whitfield Crane and Klaus Eichstadt recorded a demo in 1989 after practicing for two years. The band released it's first E.P. in October of 1991. The album was titled "As Ugly As They Wanna Be." In 1992, the hit single from the E.P. Everything About You, peaked the charts at Number 3 on the Billboard 200. As a matter of fact, the song became so popular that it was included in the movie Wayne's World that same year.
As Ugly As They Wanna Be actually ended up selling over one million copies, which set a record for a debut E.P. sales in the United States. After the E.P. was released, the band spent only two months to record America's Least Wanted in the studio. Of course this album was a huge hit, but did not fare as well as it's cousin as it hit 27 on the Billboard 200. Ugly Kid Joe had proven that it could hold the line between grunge and hard rock/metal, which really had not been tried during this time period. I mean, Guns N Roses was the ultimate hard rock/metal band of this time, but UKJ was like another type of music. There was no glam in their bones; however they played to the masses.
After selling over 600,000 albums after it's release, the album went platinum in the United States. The single "Cats in the Cradle, a cover of Harry Chapain's classic was released and sold over 500,000 copies in itself. The amazing thing is that singles were not huge at this time and bands usually focused more on full fledged albums. Nonetheless, this single made Ugly Kid Joe a national star. Upon getting the press from the national media, Ugly Kid Joe joined Ozzy Osbourne and Def Leppard on a European tour, which sold out in less than six weeks.
In 1993, UKJ presented the favorite Heavy Metal band award to Metallica at the American Music Awards. They were also nominated as one of the best new heavy metal bands for 1993 and lost to Pearl Jam...go figure. That is like Testament getting nominated as the best new heavy metal band against Metallica. There would be no upset. At this point, after all of their commercial success the band covered Black Sabbath's Nativity In Black, for the Black Sabbath tribute album. During this time period, Crane recruited drummer Shannon Larkin from the band Souls at Zero at the Hollywood Rock festival, after headlining one of the stages. Then, Menace to Sobriety was released as UKJ's first LP. The world embraced the album as it received high reviews from metal and rock media alike. Shannon Larkin finally left the band and joined GODSMACK, and the band disbanded in 1997.
The world had not heard high nor hear from Ugly Kid Joe until 2010, when Klaus Eichstadt was interviewed by Metal Hammer and that the band would be reuniting. The song "Everything About You" should ring a bell in every metal/rock fans memoir as it was probably their best overall song ever. Then on June 5th, 2012 the new E.P. Stairway to Hell, was released as a digital download. One month later the physical copy of the CD was brought out. And let me tell you, as a metal fan this was a kick ass album! Very underrated. For anyone that has never heard the album I highly suggest that you buy it. And in conclusion, the band used the pledge music.com website to fund their next album, Uglier Than They Used to Be, which is due out in 2015.
Of course, the most famous musicians from the band are Whitfield Crane and Shannon Larkin, who left for the band Godsmack, until returning in 2010. Larkin was also in the band Stone Sour for a short time. I am sure now that you are reading this review that you will remember UKJ. Ugly Kid Joe was one of those underrated metal bands that played straight up rock n roll to the masses. I am excited to hear their new album, as I was a huge fan of the E.P. Stairway to Hell. All of my metal/rock fans need to check this band out if you have not already. They straight up play in your face rock and metal and Whitfield Crane has an amazing voice.