Ugly Kid Joe's Klaus Eichstadt

Though Klaus Eichstadt was not a founding member of rock group Ugly Kid

Joe, he was with the group for the bulk of its history, including the

recording of As Ugly as They Wanna Be (1991), the band's debut

multiplatinum EP.

Eichstadt was born Dec. 19, 1967, in Redwood City, Calif. He attended

high school with singer Whitfield Crane, who began the band Overdrive in

Isla Vista, a college town at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

With the exception of Crane, none of the original members of Overdrive

ended up in the band when it morphed into Ugly Kid Joe.

Drummer Mark Davis replaced Overdrive's original drummer shortly before

Crane talked Eichstadt into becoming the band's new guitarist. Overdrive

songwriter Eric Phillips was then booted, and guitarist Roger Lahr joined.

Meanwhile, the band changed its name to Suburban Alcoholic White Trash

and then Ugly Kid Joe, a jab at glam-rockers Pretty Boy Floyd, for whom

Ugly Kid Joe were supposed to open at one point.

Eichstadt and Crane began writing most of Ugly Kid Joe's songs, which

were loud rock numbers with irreverent lyrics.

Ugly Kid Joe gigged in California bars until a demo they cut with another

Eichstadt/Crane high-school mate, producer Eric Valentine (Third Eye Blind,

Smash Mouth), interested a number of record companies.

In 1991 Ugly Kid Joe signed with Mercury Records, and bassist Cordell

Crockett joined the band.

The group recorded As Ugly as They Wanna Be, the title being a

spoof on 2 Live Crew's As Nasty as They Wanna Be (1989). The Ugly

Kid Joe EP, thanks to its Beastie Boys-like, cheeky funk-rock, became the

first EP to be certified multiplatinum under the Recording Industry

Association of America's then-new category.

Ugly Kid Joe's first LP was America's Least Wanted (1992), which

contained a hit cover of the late Harry Chapin's "Cat's in the Cradle"

(RealAudio

excerpt) and the group's other big hit, "Everything About You."

The LP (on which Dave Fortman replaced Lahr) went top-30 on the Billboard

200 albums chart.

The band also contributed "N.I.B." to the 1994 Black Sabbath tribute LP

Nativity in Black.

In 1995 Ugly Kid Joe released the speed-metal/ballads hybrid Menace

to Sobriety, featuring "Oompa," "C.U.S.T." and "Suckerpath."

After Mercury dropped Ugly Kid Joe, the band issued Motel California

(1996) on the independent Castle label. By this point, Shannon Larkin was

the group's drummer, and only Eichstadt and Crane remained from the band's

early days. The LP featured such cuts as "It's a Life," "Rage Against the

Answering Machine" and "Sandwich."

Ugly Kid Joe split without fanfare a year later. Crane joined Life of

Agony for a spell, while Eichstadt worked with a rap group called Broughman.

Other birthdays Sunday: Maurice White (Earth, Wind and Fire), 58; Alvin

Lee (Ten Years After), 55; Zal Yanovsky (Lovin' Spoonful), 55; John McEuen

(Nitty Gritty Dirt Band), 54; Doug Johnson (Loverboy), 42; Christopher

"Limahl" Hamill (Kajagoogoo), 41; Kevin Shepard (Tonic), 31; Phil Ochs,

1940–1976; and Professor Longhair, 1918–1980.