Prior to the formation of the Beastie
Boys, John Berry played in
two bands. One was the Young
Aborigines, whose members included Mike
D, Kate Schellenbach, and Jeremy Shatten. The other
was Even Worse which formed on April 29th 1980, when it
was learned that the Stimulators didnt have an opening
band for their gig at Tier 3 on May 2nd (1980). Berry did
not join until a little later on, but Jack
Rabid remembers the groups start. We decided
to form a band on the spot between myself and my best friend
Dave Stein. We had been playing covers in a friend of ours
basement in Summit New Jersey. We were doing like Heartbreakers,
Chuck Berry, Sex Pistols, Ramones, Patti Smith, and stuff
like that. So we had met Nick Marden in New York, and he
said he played bass and I had said to him we should form
a band someday and this was the catalyst. Our original singer
was a guy named John Pouridas, who was in the band for about
two to three months. But, he never really sang much and
then just quit without ever saying anything to us and that
was when we got John Berry.
Even Worse became John Berrys first band in the summer
of 1980. John was just a guy hanging out in the audience
when Pouridas failed to show at one of our gigs. We knew
then that he had quit even though he hadnt say anything
to us. We just picked out Berry, because he was a cool looking
guy and said youre our new singer. The Marden,
Berry, Rabid, Stein line-up continued until January of 1981,
when the Stimulators bass player quit. They decided
that they wanted Nick to replace her and lied to the guys
in Even Worse saying that Marden could play in both groups.
Then after Nick rehearsed with them for awhile, the Stimulators
told him that he cold no longer play with Even Worse. Without
the bassist, John Berry kind of quit, because we really
didnt have anything to do for awhile. Then Dave Stein
and I decided to get some more guys from Summit to keep
the band going, because we liked the songs.
In April of 1981, Bobby Weeks (guitar) and Eric Keil (bass)
became the newest Even Worse band members. It turned out
that Bobby was a better guitar player than Dave, so Stein
departed leaving Rabid as the only original member. Jack
then decided to bring in Rebecca
Korbet to be the bands singer. This would be the line-up
featured on the famous New York Thrash compilation tape
and continued until March of 1982, when Jack Rabid was fired.
Kate Schellenbach then replaced Rabid on drums and the group
changed their name from Even Worse to something completely
After those guys fired Rabid, he was so angry that he put
together another line-up and called them Even Worse. When
asked about it Jack said, ...it was kind of out of
spite really. I was twenty and had done all of the work
in terms of getting the band publicity and airplay and booking
all the gigs. I felt terrible that I suddenly I didnt
have a band. I still liked the songs since I had written
most of the lyrics, and saw no reason not to continue.
This recreated version of Even Worse featured Thurston
Moore, Jack Rabid and Tim Sommers. Beastie Boys fans
will recognize Tims name from his appearance on the
Old Bullshit album.
Twenty years later the Rabid, Korbet, Weeks, and Keil line
up reunited to play CBGBs during the June 2002 thrash reunion.
In addition to those performances, Even Worse has recently
released a collection of old recordings from sessions held
at 171A. The compact disc entitled Youve Ruined
Everything, which features both studio and live songs,
is now available through Jack Rabids website, bigtakeover.com.
For those that are curious, the original Even Worse line-up
never made a studio recording. However, Jack assured beastiemania.com
that he still has live tapes of their early performances.