You Say It's Your Birthday: Ugly Kid Joe's Whitfield Crane

Ugly as they wanna be.

Today is the birthday of Ugly Kid Joe frontman Whitfield

Crane, born in 1968 in Palo Alto, California. Ugly Kid Joe is perhaps best

known for its immature, if infectious, lyrics in songs like "Everything About

You" as well as its skilled, hard-rockin' melodies.

Crane and guitarist

Klaus Eichstadt had grown up together, even moving to Santa Barbara together to

attend college, so it seemed natural the two would form a band together. They

handpicked drummer Mark Davis, bassist Cordell Crockett and guitarist Roger

Lahr to complete the lineup, which was originally known as Suburban Alcoholic

White Trash. They took the name Ugly Kid Joe after they were booked to open for

a later-cancelled show with Pretty Boy Floyd, and it stuck with them. The

group's debut EP, As Ugly As They Wanna Be, surprised everyone by going

platinum in 1991; its success was fueled by the aforementioned single, whose

crass, hatemongering yet playful lyrics were crowned proudly with the chorus,

"And I hate everything about you." They followed with a full-length album,

America's Least Wanted, in 1992, and a surprisingly tender cover of Cat

Stevens' coming-of-age ballad "Cat's In The Cradle."

In 1995 they replaced

Lahr with Shannon Larkin and released their sophomore work, Menace to

Sobriety, to little media buzz. No word yet on whether they'll be recording

anything new this year. Other birthdays: Phil Everly (Everly Brothers), The

late David Ruffin (The Temptations), the late Janis Joplin, Rod Evans (Deep

Purple), Dolly Parton, Robert Palmer, Dewey Bunnell (America), Mickey Virtue

(UB40) and ooky-spooky writer Edgar Allan Poe. -- Beth Winegarner