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Even Worse

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 didn’t 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 group’s 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 Berry’s 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 hadn’t say anything to us. We just picked out Berry, because he was a cool looking guy and said you’re our new singer.” The Marden, Berry, Rabid, Stein line-up continued until January of 1981, when the Stimulator’s 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 didn’t 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 a woman by the name of Rebecca Korbet to be the band’s 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 different.

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 didn’t 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 Tim’s name from his appearance on the Some 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 You’ve Ruined Everything, which features both studio and live songs, is now available through Jack Rabid’s 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.

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