Airheads is a 1994 American comedy film written by Rich Wilkes and directed by Michael Lehmann. It stars Brendan Fraser, Steve Buscemi and Adam Sandler as a band of loser musicians called "The Lone Rangers" who take a radio station hostage, just so that their song would get played on-air. Joe Mantegna plays the radio station's DJ and Michael McKean plays the Station Manager.
Chazz, Rex and Pip are in a Los Angeles rock band called The Lone Rangers who are continuously turned down as they try to get their demo tape heard by producers. Chazz unsuccessfully tries to get Jimmie Wing, a record executive, to listen to the tape; to make matters worst, his hard working girlfriend, Kayla (who wants a slice of the rock and roll lifestyle), demands that he leave and find a real job after so many failed attempts. Chazz, Rex, and Pip finally decide to try to get the local rock station, KPPX 103.6 ("Rebel Radio"), to play it on the air, after they saw how Rebel Radio helped another band The Sons of Thunder get a record deal. They attempt to break-in by using Pip's ATM card and its PIN. The card, however, gets confiscated. Then, Rex tries to short circuit the electronic lock with Pip's Big Gulp, but with no luck. They finally get in when a station employee Suzzi, who later falls for Pip, comes out to smoke and they keep the door from shutting behind her.
Once inside, DJ Ian "The Shark" puts them on the air without them knowing. Station Manager Milo overhears them and intervenes. After Milo calls Rex "Hollywood Boulevard trash", Chazz and Rex shove water pistols that look like Uzis loaded with hot pepper sauce in Milo's face and demand airplay. After setting up a reel-to-reel for the demo, the tape starts and is destroyed when the reel runs out and catches fire in an ashtray. The guys try to run, but Doug Beech, the station's accountant, had already called the police and the building is surrounded.
They soon realize that they are armed hostage takers and begin negotiations with the police, with Sergeant O'Malley in charge. News of the hostage goes all over the city as numerous hard rock/metal fans begin showing up outside the radio station; to complicate matters for O'Malley, the local SWAT team shows up while in the midst of the negotiations. During the crisis, it is learned that Milo had signed a deal to flip KPPX's format to Soft Adult Contemporary (soft rock), which includes having to fire Ian and most of the other employees. Ian and the rest of the employees side with the band and turn against Milo, with Ian attacking him. But after a while, the employees find out about the fake guns and the police try to barge in upon learning this. But Doug, who was hiding from them in the air ducts, is given a real gun by a SWAT member; Ian knocks the gun from him, causing it to shoot wildly. After the gun stops firing, the police move back while Ian grabs the gun and gives it to Chazz.
During the ordeal, Chazz tries to play the song via a cassette spare, in which Kayla (still upset at Chazz) throws it away. It isn't until O'Malley's assistant, Officer Wilson, tells her at the Whisky about the situation that she goes and retrieves it, although it has been damaged significantly. Upon arriving at KPPX, Chazz reveals his true self that he was a geek in high school and that his real name is Chester. Despite this, some of the crowd come out and side with Chazz by revealing some embarrassing moments they did. Chazz and Kayla make up, only momentarily when he and Rex discover the tape's ruined. An argument breaks out, resulting in Kayla tossing a chair and destroying the radio console. After much dispute, Chazz and Kayla make up for real.
Eventually, Wing, comes to the radio station. The band signs a record contract and goes out on stage to play, only to realize that they are supposed to lip sync the song and fake playing the instruments. They refuse to lip sync while the music is playing and get a round of applause from the audience, who rush the stage. The band destroys their instruments in protest to the pleasure of the audience; they then stage dive into the audience, who proceed to surf them.
Afterwards, Ian becomes The Lone Rangers' manager and the band is sent to prison, but serve only a 3-6 month sentence. They record an album while in prison called "Live in Prison", which goes triple platinum. The film ends with the band playing amongst the inmates who enjoy the music.
Brendan Fraser as Chazz Darby/Chester Ogilvie,
Steve Buscemi as Rex,
Adam Sandler as Pip,
Joe Mantegna as Ian "The Shark",
Michael McKean as Milo Jackson,
Chris Farley as Officer Wilson,
Ernie Hudson as Sgt. O'Malley,
Judd Nelson as Jimmie Wing,
Amy Locane as Kayla,
Nina Siemaszko as Suzzi,
Marshall Bell as Carl Mace,
Reg E. Cathey as Marcus,
David Arquette as Carter,
Michael Richards as Doug Beech,
Michelle Hurst as Yvonne,
Harold Ramis as Chris Moore,
Allen Covert as Officer Samuels,
Rob Zombie as Himself,
Kurt Loder as Himself,
Lemmy Von Kilmister as School Magazine Editor Rocker,
Rich Wilkes as Corduroy Pants Rocker,
John Melendez as Constant Masturbating Rocker,
Vinnie DeRamus as Dungeons & Dragons Rocker,
The band Galactic Cowboys perform in the film under the name "The Sons of Thunder". Their sole musical contribution to the film, "Don't Hate Me Because I'm Beautiful", was omitted from the soundtrack and is not available anywhere. Even the band does not have a copy.,
Mike Judge plays the voices of Beavis and Butt-head, who call in to the radio station.,
White Zombie appear in the bar scene with Chris Farley searching for Amy Locane, playing the track they recorded for the film "Feed the Gods".,
Lemmy Von Kilmister makes a brief appearance in the crowd outside the radio station as the editor of his school newspaper.,
"Born to Raise Hell"
Motörhead with Ice-T and Whitfield Crane
"I'm The One"
Eddie Van Halen, Alex Van Halen, Michael Anthony, David Lee Roth
4 Non Blondes
"Feed the Gods"
Lyrics: Rob Zombie; Music: White Zombie
"No Way Out"
Jesse Malin, Richard Bacchus, Howard Kusten
Lyrics: Les Claypool; Music: Primus
Morrissey, Johnny Marr
"Can't Give In"
Lyrics: Kevin Martin; Music: Peter Klett and Candlebox
"Curious George Blues"
Paul Bakija, Dave Rubenstein
"I'll Talk My Way Out Of It"
John Melendez, J. Cantor
"We Want the Airwaves"
Jeffry Hyman, John Cummings, Douglas Colvin
The soundtrack as released by Arista recordings is meant to be a concept soundtrack, rather than an accurate total of the songs actually featured in the film. While all the songs on the Arista release are on the film, a number of songs that were featured were omitted from the album. For the full list of songs used in the film, refer to the IMDB Airheads Soundtrack page.
The song played by The Lone Rangers in the film, "Degenerated", was actually originally by hardcore punk band Reagan Youth. The version in the film featured Jay Yuenger and Sean Yseult from White Zombie with Fraser on vocals, and was produced by Yuenger and Bryan Carlstrom.
Box office and reception:
The movie debuted in 10th place, grossing $1.9 million US in its opening weekend.Airheads earned negative reviews from critics and currently has a score of 22% "Rotten" on Rotten Tomatoes based on 32 reviews. The film has gained a cult following.