Teenage Dirtbag

Album: Wheatus (2001)
Charted: 2

Songfacts®:

  • American alternative rock band Wheatus was formed by Newport, New York musician Brendan B. Brown in 1995 with his brother, Pete Brown. The group is best known for this song, which Brendan Brown explained is about, "a skinny guy with a mullet who probably didn't have a lot of friends."
  • Brendan B. Brown explained the story behind the song in a 2012 interview with Tonedeaf.com: "It came from the summer of 1984 on Long Island, when I was 10 years old. That summer in the woods behind my house, there was a Satanic, drug-induced ritual teen homicide that went down; and the kid who did it was called Ricky Kasso, and he was arrested wearing an AC/DC T-shirt," he begun.

    "That made all the papers, and the television, obviously; and here I was, 10 years old, walking around with a case full of AC/DC and Iron Maiden and Metallica – and all the parents and the teachers and the cops thought I was some kind of Satan worshipper. So that's the backdrop for that song."

    Brown added that the sing-a-long chorus, remains an act of defiance: "so when I sing: 'I'm just a teenage dirtbag', I'm effectively saying: 'Yeah, f--k you if you don't like it. Just because I like AC/DC doesn't mean I'm a devil worshipper, and you're an idiot. That's where it comes from."
  • The sentence "He brings a gun to school" was removed from the radio version due to the Columbine High School massacre. It was replaced with the line, "He brings his mates to fights."
  • The song features in the opening titles of the 2000 Jason Biggs and Mena Suvari starring romantic comedy film Loser. The song's music video alludes to the movie Loser and features Jason Biggs playing a nerdy character similar to that in the film with Mena Suvari as the love interest.
  • The single was especially successful in Australia, where it spent four weeks at #1 and became the second-highest selling single of 2000.
  • After peaking at #2 with this song, Wheatus achieved two more Top 40 singles in the UK. A cover of Erasure's "A Little Respect" reached #3, but their third single, a double A-side of "Leroy" and "Wannabe Gangstar," only reached #22. Though Wheatus didn't enter the UK top 40 again with any fresh material, this song has returned to the chart on a couple of occasions. Speculating to Tone Deaf on the possible reasons for its continued success, Brown recalled his father's words: "Every teenager has to go through that 'being an outsider' thing, at least a little bit. So that story is still the same for people, even if it's thirty years after I went through it."

Comments: 2

  • Wombatstuffs from HungaryYes, the female voice is the lead singer,
  • Diana from Medellín, ColumbiaHi, I wanna know if is true that the female voice at the end of the song is really the lead singer with a high pitched voice.
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