At the height of Metal & Nu-Metal, coming out of the late 90s and launching itself into the early 2000s, MTV and radio stations were dominated by Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park, Slipknot and System Of A Down, however, the rock charts were still full of happy go lucky tracks by bands like Jimmy Eat World, The Vines, Jet, and a completely unknown American band from Northport, New York.

Wheatus somehow managed to become an instant hit in the year 200 with their self-titled debut record. You couldn’t turn on MTV2 and not see them playing that basketball court in an American high school.

They were the new pop-rock hit superstars and they had incredibly upbeat songs. You’ll remember ‘A Little respect’ (an Erasure cover) and the super catchy, ‘Teenage Dirtbag’. Probably one of the happiest sounding songs on the radio and video channels at the time.

Although the lyrics seem to tell an innocent story of a lonely teenage kid that can’t get the attention of the popular girl in school. SInger, Brendan B Brown, has revealed in a new interview that there was an incredibly dark side to the smash hit and that it only lightly touched on how dark the singers upbringing really was.

The aspect of a teenage dirtbag actually refers to a violent murder that took place in his hometown when he was just ten years old.

There was a murder in my town when I was 10 and it turned out to be teenagers who were doing enormous amounts of drugs, lots of PCP and acid, anything they could get their hands on
- Says Brandon

He continues: “There was lots of petty crime and drugs and these kids got involved in some kind of Satan thing and they lured their friend Gary to the woods and stabbed him to death in the name of the devil”

The name ‘Teenage Dirtbag’ came from the headline Rolling Stone magazine used to actually cover the story.

“That’s where I first read the phrase teenage dirtbag, and it stuck in my mind when I was writing the song.”

Whilst ‘Teenage Dirtbag’ has always had an air of innocence about it (apart from the guy bringing a gun to school) it now translates metaphorically as a completely different intention in terms of the lyrics and the story behind the song. It probably wouldn’t have been as popular if he sang about a guy getting stabbed in the woods.

Author Bio: AC Speed

Senior Editor

I started my career as a music journalist in 2013 and have been involved in the music industry as a touring musician, studio engineer and artist consultant since 2002, as well as previously being a signed artist. My passion for delivering high quality, informative music-related news is a daily driving force behind the content I create. Also a huge gaming nerd! Born in the United Kingdom and currently living in Sweden. Skål!


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