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Ugly Kid Joe Biography

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Birth Place: Isla Vista, California, USA
Years Active: 1989–1997
Genres: Rock, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal

Ugly Kid Joe is a rock band from Isla Vista, California, that formed in 1990. The band incorporates hard rock, funk metal, and heavy metal into their sound. Members of the group include childhood friends Whitfield Crane (lead vocals) and Klaus Eichstadt (lead guitar) who grew up together Palo Alto, California, and began playing music together while still in elementary school.

After several band member changes, Ugly Kid Joe’s lineup solidified with Crane, Eichstadt, Mark Davis on drums, Roger Lahr on guitar and Cordell Crockett on bass. The band released their debut EP, “As Ugly As They Wanna Be,” in October 1991, garnering success in 1992 with the single “Everything About You,” which peaked at #3 on the U.K. Singles Chart and made it into the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart Top 10. “As Ugly As They Wanna Be” went on to sell over one million copies in the U.S. alone becoming the highest selling debut E.P. of all time.

The band's debut album, “America's Least Wanted,” arrived in 1992, with Lahr leaving the band before its release and being replaced by guitarist Dave Fortman. The album reached #27 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart and was later certified platinum. It featured a cover of Harry Chapin’s “Cat's in the Cradle,” which peaked at #7 in the UK Singles chart and sold well in the U.S.

After their tour in support of their 1992 album America's Least Wanted, the band searched around for a replacement drummer, as Mark Davis left to pursue a life away from the spotlight. He was later replaced by Shannon Larkin. Larkin's contributions led to a grittier sound for the second album, 1995’s “Menace to Sobriety.” The album was recorded in Palacio Del Rio in northern Santa Barbara and reached #178 on the Billboard 200.

Ugly Kid Joe then formed their own label, Evilution Records. The band's third album, “Motel California” was issued in 1996. The album, however, was met with poor record sales and lukewarm reviews. As a result, Ugly Kid Joe disbanded in 1997. The members all went their separate ways to pursue other musical endeavors with Larkin joining the band Godsmack, and Crane becoming Life of Agony's vocalist.

The band confirmed a reunion in 2010 and began work in the studio on new material. A new track, “Love Ain't True,” was released via the band's website and the EP, “Stairway to Hell,” was released in 2012.