Judging from their name,were never afraid of a little controversy. Formed in Venice, CA, during the early '80s, the group's leader from the beginning was outspoken vocalist . The outfit specialized in vicious hardcore early on -- building a huge following among skateboarders, lending a major hand in the creation of skatepunk -- before turning their focus eventually to thrash metal. Early on, the group (whose original lineup included , guitarist , bassist , and drummer ) found it increasingly difficult to book shows, due to rumors of its members' affiliation with local gangs and consistent violence at their performances. The underground buzz regarding grew too loud for labels to ignore though, as the quartet signed on with the indie label Frontier; issuing and company's classic self-titled debut in 1983. The album quickly became the best-selling hardcore album up to that point; its best-known track, "Institutionalized," was one of the first hardcore punk videos to receive substantial airplay on MTV, and was eventually used in the Emilio Estevez cult classic movie Repo Man, as well as in an episode for the hit TV show Miami Vice (for which the group made a cameo appearance).
proved influential for future speed/thrash metal bands, but despite its early success, the quartet's reputation preceded them, as no other record label was willing to take them on (in addition, Los Angeles banned the group from playing around this time, lasting until the early '90s). Not much was heard from the group for several years afterward (leading many to believe that had broken up), but and company eventually found a home with Caroline Records. By this time, half of the original lineup had left; and were the only holdovers, while guitarist and drummer rounded out the group. 1987 saw the release of 's sophomore release, , which spawned another popular skatepunk anthem, "Possessed to Skate," as more and more metal heads began to be spotted in 's audience. Soon after, was finally offered a major-label contract (with Epic), as another lineup change occurred: exited the band, while newcomer took his spot; and a second guitarist, Mike Clark, was added as well. This lineup's first album together, 1988's , showed that their transformation from hardcore to heavy metal was now complete, as did a compilation of two earlier EPs, 1989's .
's first release of the new decade, 1990's , was another success; its video for the explosive "You Can't Bring Me Down" received repeated airings on MTV's Headbanger's Ball program, while the album (in addition to the comp) would be certified gold in the U.S. a few years later. The release also signaled the arrival of new bassist , whose penchant for funk added a new element to the group's sound. The group tried to broaden their audience even further by opening a string of arena shows for prog-metallists during the summer of 1991. Their next release, 1992's , proved to be one of 's most musically experimental albums of their career. and also teamed up around this time for a funk metal side project, (including several other participants, such as drummer ) and issued a debut release, . Upset that the group's classic debut had been out of print for several years by this point, decided to re-record the entire record with 's '90s lineup under the title of .
But after one more release, 1994's, decided to hang it up. A pair of compilations were issued in 1997: a best-of set, , plus . and continued to issue further releases ( and ), in addition to pursuing a solo career under the alias of ( ) and touring and recording as part of 's solo band (appearing on 's 2001 release, ). formed a new version of in the late '90s (with Clark being the only other familiar face), resulting in such further studio releases as 1999's and 2000's . and joined forces once more for a fourth studio release in 2000, ; while another release surfaced, Schizophrenic Born Again Problem Child, along with a follow-up up to their earlier compilation, . - All Music Guide