Punk rock — revived, as they say, by multiplatinum discs from Green Day and Offspring — is engaging in its own form of resuscitation. The top 10 success of those two Buzz Bin Cinderellas has finally given some of the genre’s forefathers their shot: On-a-roll Interscope Records recently signed All, the punk-pop quartet drawn from cult faves the Descendents; Madonna’s Maverick Records has picked up Bad Brains, fronted once again by hyperactive lead singer H.R.; and Mercury is on the verge of inking a long-term deal with hardcore pioneers the Circle Jerks, who disbanded in 1990.
”I was seeing bands that weren’t that talented gaining a lot of attention,” Jerks lead singer Keith Morris, 39, says of his four-year hiatus from recording. ”And a lot of things we had done being done again.” So last summer Morris reunited with original members Zander Schloss, Keith Clark, and Greg Hetson — now guitarist for up-and-coming punkers Bad Religion. A chance encounter at a rehearsal studio allowed Morris to pass a demo to Mercury A&R $ rep Bobby Carlton, who quickly sold the label on the band’s viability. ”It’s not that very melodic, cheery punk that’s doing really well now,” admits Carlton. But the Jerks’ poppier brethren have made even their patented speed- thrash more palatable to major-label execs. ”Punk’s not an evil term no more,” says Carlton.
”Even if no other band attains Green Day and Offspring’s stature,” says Atlantic’s Mike Gitter, ”at least they’re opening doors in terms of record deals, acceptance at radio, MTV, and the print media.” Which is just fine by the hard-bitten Morris: ”For years, we played every hole-in-the-wall to 20 people, so I would like there to be a reward.”