Nerf Herder

Nerf Herder


Damn! The combined forces of foreign wars, unbridled capitalism, a
politically divided nation and the semi-controlled vestiges of a world
pandemic make waking up in the morning a complete and utter drag. Then
suddenly, like a bunch of furry-scene Mighty Mouse cosplayers coming to
save the day, pop-punk jesters Nerf Herder pop up again for a round of
Whac-A-Mole you can never beat. On June 8, frontman Parry Gripp’s crew
return to the greater punk radar sharing the story about how nearly
everyone in his band contracted COVID-19. Couched in 240 seconds of
pure pop-punk perfection, it’s more fun than a cadre of ProTooled pop
princes and princesses being intubated.

“This is a song where we recorded the music a few years ago before the
pandemic and has been sitting around waiting for lyrics,” reveals chief
Herder Gripp. “And then COVID happened and we got COVID. And I'm like,
'Boom! Let me just make this song really fast.’ I recorded the vocals while I
had COVID. Within three days after [recording] the thing, we were just
going to release it. And then we thought, 'Let's release it through FAT.'"
Nerf Herder’s slice o’ life vignettes are high in joy and low on
pretentiousness. From the early days that spawned 1996’s legendary
single “Van Halen” and a solid self-titled debut LP on Arista to arriving at
the stable of Fat Wreck Chords artists, Gripp and his Herd-mates—lead
guitarist Linus of Hollywood (who has yet to contract COVID), bassist Ben
Pringle and drummer Steve Sherlock—have returned to remind you that in
the face of life’s unrelenting sadness, there is always reason to laugh and
pogo or discover that your zipper is down.

Gripp is an affable guy who has created a successful cottage industry of his
own, writing and recording blink-and-miss-’em songs for cartoons, jingles
for products that don’t exist and love songs to everything from kittens (“Cat
Flushing A Toilet”) to carbohydrates (“Do You Like Waffles?”)—and picking
up an Emmy Award for his work with Disney in the process. (Seriously, his
“Raining Tacos” is a better smile generator than anything in that whole
rassin’-frassin’ Baby Shark phylum.) But lest you think the Gripp and his
Herder commandos are merely whimsical one-trick goofballs using pop
punk like some kind of replacement poker night, Gripp will call you on your
shade quickly.

Gripp describes Linus Of Hollywood as “a really amazing guy. He is, first of
all, the best musician in Nerf Herder, an incredibly shredding guitarist. He
was in a band called Size 14. They had a song called ‘Claire Danes
Poster.’ So they're kind of like contemporaries of Nerf Herder.” Bassist Ben
Pringle did a stint with the Rentals and has a graduate degree in music
history. (“He has this knowledge. If you have a question about Monteverdi
or something like that, he can answer that. Not that it ever comes up, but
nice to have.”) Drummer Steve Sherlock is an original Herder that Gripp
credits with, well, everything. “I would not be doing this at all if it wasn't for
Steve,” says Gripp. “He's my pal, I like hanging out with him and it's fun to
do stuff with him. He handles a lot of the artwork for Nerf Herder. He works
in the art department at Powell-Peralta, so he's got that cool skateboarding
thing going for him.” Clearly, Nerf Herder’s punk bona fides speak for

It also should be stated that Gripp and his squad aren’t making light of the
devastation that’s happened in the wake of the coronavirus. In typical Nerf
Herding style, he’s staring into the mirror long and hard—and slapping
himself silly.

“It actually did cross my mind that people would go, ‘Oh, you're making fun
of this thing, and all these people are dying,’” Gripp says. “But I feel like the
point of the song is that we got COVID and we’re bummed about it. It
doesn't try to make any judgments or anything. It’s a staple Nerf Herder
thing to [act] like an idiot singing the song. You're like, ‘Hey, I'm an idiot. I
played these shows and I got COVID. Almost every one of our songs is
from the point of view of someone who you're supposed to think, ‘Oh, I
don't want to be like that person.’ I describe the perspective as the relatable
idiot. Someone can hear the song and say, ‘Oh, I might do that. That is a
dumb thing to do.’ That’s sort of the point of a lot of Nerf Herder songs.
And there are people who would love to make fun of somebody who did
something stupid. They can be like, ‘Ha, that Nerf Herder guy. Man, what a
dumb ass.’”

Because we all need some good news for a change, “And Then We All Got
COVID” is a taste for more Herder activity. Fat will be reissuing the band’s
third album, 2002’s American Cheese. Previously released on Honest
Don’s and featuring such smudged gems as “Mr. Spock” and “Welcome To
My World,” Cheese is a SoCal talisman no 21st century pop-punk
practitioner should be without (especially with the inclusion of seven digital-
only bonus tracks). In 2022, Gripp and Nerf Herder are preparing to make
a bigger clamor for your attention. As much as they can without touring,
that is...

“Oh my God, and get COVID again?” he asks in mock horror. “No, thank
you! I think we'll wait and see what happens. There was an article in the LA
Times recently and it was just like, ‘All these bands are touring and
everyone's getting COVID.’ And I don't want to go out and keep getting
COVID all the time. But we are very excited about doing stuff with Fat. It’s
something to do for fun, so we're going to keep doing it because of that.”