The Screaming Yellow Players are an American rock band from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania which were formed in 1997 by lead vocalist/lead guitarist Derek De Vriendt, drummer/co-lead vocalist Polaris Browne, and co-lead guitarist Samantha E. Aizer. The group is known for their often bizarre lyrical themes (often involving references to their hometown of Pittsburgh), involvement in the personality-punk subculture and associated musical subgenre, and energetic live performances.
After first gaining popularity in Germany where the group was based following their formation, they gained mainstream recognition in the U.S. in the early 2000s, culminating with the release of their platinum-certified second album Hail to the Beef. The band were hailed as "the heirs to the Cars and Cheap Trick's thrones" during their initial popularity in the early 2000s.
Formation and early years
The band was formed in September 1997 in Pittsburgh by close friends Samantha E. Aizer, Derek De Vriendt and Polaris Browne, who were attendees of Oliver High School. The band was formed in part from Derek finding a copy of the Backstreet Boys' then-recently-released U.S. debut album in Samantha's backpack and being "confused and somewhat angered" at her interest in bubblegum teen pop music. Eventually, they took turns listening to their favorite albums, and released that they were "musically diverse", and decided to form a band that reflected that realization. Vinny Espinola, Tommy Lionheart and Gabriel Haim joined the band after they posted a "auditions" paper on a school bulletin board. The band took the name "Screaming Yellow Players" from Screaming Yellow Zonkers, a snack food that Polaris enjoyed.
The Screaming Yellow Players gained popularity locally in Pittsburgh, being a popular choice to perform at backyard parties. While performing at an after-party for an Erasure concert at Robert Morris University, the Players met Vince Clarke, who took interest and convinced his friend Ric Rykener to sign and manage them. Under Rykener, band were signed to Madonna and Freddy DeMann's Maverick Records for the U.S., and Rykener hired ex-Cocteau Twins member Simon Raymonde to produce their self-titled debut album. While initially a commercial failure in the United States, it gained traction in Europe and the band performed a series of sold-out arena concerts in Germany.
Early U.S. success
In November 2000, while performing on a Radio Disney mall tour at Carousel Center in Syracuse, New York, fans rushed the stage and a riot ensued. Pyramid Management Group and several of the attendees settled a $5.1 million lawsuit with ABC, Inc., WOLF Radio Disney AM 1490, and the band's management following the incident. When interviewed on MTV's Total Request Live, bassist Vinny Espinola compared the incident to "Like Beatlemania, but with some bloodshed."
In 2001, the band released their second studio album, Hail to the Beef, which peaked at no. 10 on the Billboard 200 and received platinum certification from the RIAA in October 2002. Also in 2001, the band appeared at the Insane Clown Posse's Gathering of the Juggalos in Toledo, Ohio. Despite being booed throughout the performance, the band continued playing, with Vinny Espinola joking that they were playing so loud that "we couldn't hear the Juggalos screaming at us to get off the stage."
The band took a hiatus throughout 2002 due to personal issues. During that time, a live album Live at Velodrom was released. In 2003, the band returned to performing live when they appeared at that year's Gathering of the Juggalos in Garrettsville, Ohio. This performance was recorded for their platinum-certified second live album The Screaming Yellow Players Put You to Sleep.
- Derek De Vriendt - lead and backing vocals, lead guitar
- Polaris Browne - lead and backing vocals, drums
- Samantha E. Aizer - lead guitar, lead and backing vocals
- Vinny Espinola - bass guitar, lead and backing vocals
- Tommy Lionheart - rhythm guitar, lead and backing vocals
- Gabriel Haim - keyboards, rhythm and lead guitar, lead and backing vocals
- The Orange Album (1999)
- Hail to the Beef (2001)
- Eighteenth Amendment Blues (2004)
- Lice (2005)
- The B&W Album (2007)
- Contract Fulfillment Album (2009)
- The Yellow Album (2011)
- Allegheny & Monongahela (2013)
- The Cyan Album (2015)
- The Santo Gold Years (2017)
- Wired to Go (2019)
- The Purple Album (2021)
- We Are the Screaming Yellow Players (1997)
- Knuke the Knack (2008)
- Live at Velodrom (2002)
- The Screaming Yellow Players Put You to Sleep (2003)
The Screaming Yellow Players Say...
- The Screaming Yellow Players Say Hell Yeah! (2011)
- The Screaming Yellow Players Say Yo! (2012)
- The Screaming Yellow Players Say Totally! (2013)
- The Screaming Yellow Players Say Radical! (2014)
- The Screaming Yellow Players Say Praise the Lord! (2015)
- The Screaming Yellow Players Say Don't Stop Believin'! (2017)
- The Screaming Yellow Players Say Relax... (2017)
- The Screaming Yellow Players Say The Walrus Was Paul! (2018)
- The Screaming Yellow Players Say Whatever... (2019)
- The Screaming Yellow Players Say It's Just What We Needed! (2019)
- The Screaming Yellow Players Say Uh Huh! (2020)
- Punk Goes AC (2004) (covering Billy Joel's "Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)")
- Punk Goes Indie (2008) (covering The Libertines' "Can't Stand Me Now")
- Punk Goes Christian (2009) (original composition entitled "I Like Jesus", credited to alter-ego "Church and State")
- Punk Goes Dream Pop (2015) (covering Julee Cruise's "Falling")
- Punk Goes Y2K (2018) (covering Soulja Boy's "Crank That (Soulja Boy)")
- Punk Goes K-Pop (2020) (covering NCT 127's "Regular")