Golden punks still have it

Mar 202002
Authors: Brian Holcombe

Pinhead Circus is still tearing down walls and ripping off fire hydrants in the Denver punk scene with their brand of hard-nosed, straightforward punk rock.

Emerging in 1992 from the suburban battleground that is Golden, Pinhead Circus has battled adversity to represent misfits and hopeless romantics of all ages with their self-coined “straight rock.”

After experiencing numerous lineup changes during their 10-year history, Pinhead Circus now consists of founding members Scooter Wellensiek (vocals, guitar) and Trevor Williamson (bass, vocals), as well as newer additions, Jordan Hauser (guitar, vocals) and Dave Barker (drums, vocals).

The most recent lineup change came when the band added a second guitarist in Hauser, a move that “gives (the band) more room to layer different guitar parts together, so (the band) isn’t limited to just stuff I can play and sing on my own,” Wellensiek said. This move was one in a series of evolutions in Pinhead Circus’ sound, as their style has become more edgy and fine-tuned since the band’s freshman full-length effort, “Nothing Groundbreaking,” on Black Plastic Records.

Wellensiek calls the band’s growth in musical capacity natural, “as (the band) got more comfortable with playing, the songwriting got better.” While this growth has widely spread Pinhead Circus’ musical margin, the band stays true to its roots, playing their grinding sounds in small, local venues and supporting the sometimes-embattled Denver punk scene with blood and sweat. No tears.

Pinhead Circus has gained fans outside of the Denver punk scene but the band’s early years were filled with distaste from larger scenes on the East and West coasts. In order to battle this disdain, Wellensiek claims the band’s members formed a gang with the joking mission to, “beat people’s doors down and shove music down their throats.”

With local bands touring in support of their scene and Pinhead Circus signing to BYO Records, the larger punk scenes on the coasts are “starting to realize that there are great bands coming out of Colorado these days,” Wellensiek said.

The band has played with the likes of Anti-Flag and AFI and will appear in an upcoming issue of leading skateboard publication, Thrasher. Scooter hails the Thrasher appearance as “a dream come true.”

“Trevor and I grew up reading Thrasher and our whole band skates, so for us it’s a pretty big deal,” Wellensiek said.

Pinhead Circus’ third release on punk powerhouse BYO Records, 2001’s “The Black Power of Romance,” displays the band’s musical dexterity, racing through tracks such as “Rumble, Young Man, Rumble” and “Bomb the Strip Malls.”

Pinhead Circus will play a free show with Qualm and Planes Mistaken for Stars on March 29 at the University of Northern Colorado University Center in Greeley. n

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