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About Lee Ving

Along with the Germs' Darby Crash, Fear's Lee Ving was unquestionably one of the more confrontational front men to emerge from the west coast punk scene of the late '70s. But while Crash got in his audience's face by mutilating himself and other forms of outlandish behavior, Ving accomplished the same feat by verbally attacking/insulting his audience non-stop, from the show's beginning to end. Born on April 10, 1950, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Ving (who has gone by several different names over the years, including what may be his real name, "Lee James Jude," which is tattooed on his right arm) eventually made his way out to the west coast. Checking out the burgeoning punk scene at the infamous venue, the Masque, Ving at first wasn't impressed with the musical style, but after giving it another few tries, he became an admirer, and soon after, formed Fear (as in 'to put the fear of God into punks'). Fear (who originally featured Ving on vocals/guitar, guitarist Philo Cramer, bassist Derf Scratch, and drummer Spit Stix) automatically built a solid fan base with the Sunset Strip punks, with such early singles as "I Love Livin' in the City," and their riotous live show. The group (and Ving in particular) would eventually receive some flak for their nightly rants against homosexuals, but Ving has recanted and said his remarks were aimed at homophobic meat-head jocks in the audience, to (unsurprisingly) rile them up. Fear's buzz began to grow outside of the west coast shortly after the dawn of the '80s, as celebrity friend/fan John Belushi landed the group a performance on Saturday Night Live, in addition to a scene-stealing performance in the movie The Decline of Western Civilization, which perfectly captured the out of control nature of your typical Fear show (as fans storm the stage at one point to try to get at Ving, after his continuous insults). Also issued around this time was Fear's now-classic debut album, The Record, considered by many to be among the finest of the original west coast wave of punk. Bandmembers soon began to come and go, however (with such renowned names as the Red Hot Chili Pepper's Flea and Frank Zappa's Scott Thunes playing alongside Ving over the years), while Ving began to concentrate on getting a career as an actor in film and TV off the ground. Appearing in such movies as Flashdance and Clue, as well as bit parts on such TV shows as Fame, Crime Story, and Who's the Boss?, Ving has returned to Fear from time to time, resulting in such sporadic subsequent releases as 1985's More Beer, 1995's Have Another Beer With Fear, 2000's American Beer, and live shows (additionally, Ving has been known to perform under the name 'Lee Ving's Army'). Ving has appeared on other artist's recordings, as well, including a one-off collaboration with Megadeth leader Dave Mustaine in the project MD.45 (1996's The Craving), in addition to serving as producer for the Angry Samoans' debut, 1980s Inside My Brain. ~ Greg Prato