Edit: Check out the new companion blog Degrassi The Next Generation Reviewed.
In the Pantheon of popular Canadian musical artists such as Rush, Nickelback, Celine Dion and Snow. Comes what is possibly one of the greatest school bands in the history of school bands. The Zit Remedy! Led by front man and keyboardist Joey Jeremiah. Lead guitarist Archie “Snake” Simpson and bassist Derek “Wheels” Wheeler. They were so bad ass, they said, “Fuck it, we don’t need a drummer!” Their one and only single Everybody Wants Something catapulted them right into the stratosphere. In Joey’s mind that is. They’re what every lazy, short sighted juvenile band strives to become.
THE EARLY YEARS.
The Zit Remedy had their humble beginnings in the Degrassi Junior High Cafi-gymitorium stage. They originally formed because they wanted to play at the school talent show. Their first rehearsal was a disaster. Musically they sucked a bunch of donkey dicks. Ms Avery wanted to have a heart attack when she first heard them play. Joey also started sporting a stupid looking wig that made him look like the guy from Kajagoogoo. We never did find out how that talent show played out. But we can assume it was bad.
Some early name suggestions were The Creatures, Lovely Lads, The Electric Shoes, The Hong Kong Cavaliers, The Joey Jeremiah Experience, Snake and the Charmers and Joey and the Joey Buzzers. After much arguing they decided on The Zit Remedy and thus a musical legend was born.
About that time Wheels grades were so much in the shitter, his parents made him quit the band while his grades improved. Joey and Snake then decided to recruit Simon Dexter to become a Zit because Simon could also play the bass. Wheels asked them what happens when he comes back. Joey’s brilliant idea is that they’ll be the first band to have two bass players. That Joey Jeremiah, always an innovator. Soon after that, Simon lost all interest in the Zit Remedy because he would rather play Soccer. Snake was so disgusted with him that he called him a Narbo. Wheels’s grades eventually improved and he returned to join the band. The boys kept practicing and practicing the first 5 seconds of the song and then they’d call it a day.
They then hit their second snag as the band slept over at Snakes house. This was also the time when talk of making a music video first started to surface. Wheels was late for an eye Dr appointment the next morning so they decided to take Snakes dad’s car for a little joy ride. Of course they got caught, especially after Snake ratted them out. So their parents hit them where it really hurt and forced them to disband. Joey’s parents who normally don’t do jack shit to him took away his Z 7000 keyboard.
Some how the band survived and continued to rock on. It was never explained but not that long after that the band reformed and Joey being their leader started to bother Stephanie Kaye if they could play at the school graduation dance. After much begging, she finally agreed to talk to Mr Lawrence to see if they could even play. Right away Joey had stars in his eyes.
THEIR FIRST AND ONLY CONCERT.
But this was the moment that tested one young Joey Jeremiah. He found out that he actually flunked the 8th grade and had to repeat. Wheels found him at the local arcade sulking. Joey informed him that he wasn’t going to play at the dance due to extreme embarrassment. Wheels basically called him a pussy and if he can’t even play at the dance for their classmates, then how could he play in front of thousands of people. Finally Joey came to terms with his stupidity and came dressed in his best tuxedo shirt. Of course the Zit Remedy rocked the house. Maya started to boogie in her wheel chair, Ms Avery started to twerk way before that was a thing. Spike went into labor during their rockin performance because even Emma wanted to get into all the fun. This was to be the greatest night of Joey Jeremiah’s life, especially after he heard the crowd chanting, “Zits! Zits! Zits!”
After that, everyone at Degrassi couldn’t get enough of the Zit Remedy. That’s when Joey decided to sell copies of Everybody Wants Something in a live album called The Zit Remedy: Live at the Budokan. Too bad the band never made a vinyl. These things were hot and selling for 2 dollars a pop. Too bad Alex only wanted it so that he could tape over it. How dare he. This single is music history because it was recorded at Joey’s basement at the same time that Wheel’s nerdy parents went to go meet their maker. But we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves here. This was also around the time that Caitlin Ryan became their biggest fan and Joey’s groupie. She bought the cassette and played it where ever she was, whether it was in Mr Raditch’s class or at her home where she was daydreaming of becoming Joey’s girlfriend. Of course Joey broke her heart because he was more interested in Liz. He must have started a drug habit, because what was he on when he decided that? So what did Caitlin do? She threw the single into the trash. Da noive!
A DARK TIME.
Inevitably with every band there comes a dark period and the Zit Remedy were no different. It all started when Wheels parents were tragically killed in a car accident by a drunk driver. Wheels fell into a deep depression and lost all interest in the Zit Remedy. He even told Joey that he sold his bass. Then he added the insult to injury that the Zits weren’t going anywhere and he didn’t care about the “stupid” band anymore. This news devastated Joey and they had to cancel what would have been their triumphant world tour. Too bad because they had London, Paris, Munich, and Degrassi all lined up.
So having nothing left to lose, he decided to run away to Port Hope to be with his real dad and possibly join his shitty cafeteria band. Even though Wheels was out of the band, he still had the bass guitar rock god living inside him. So he couldn’t help slapping the bass with his air guitar while he was walking over there. But he soon found out that his dad wanted nothing to do with him and his nag of a grandmother told him that she does love him and for him to come back to live with her and his vegetable of a grandpa. It was also around this time where Joey wanted The Zit Remedy to make it big in the air waves, so he decided to go get a job at CRAZ radio. Even Snake didn’t think that the Zits were going anywhere. His job there was mostly just a front so that he could leave his demo with the program director. But he was such a bad janitor that he got fired and nothing really came of his attempts of making it big in the Toronto area.
A CHANGE IN DIRECTION.
The boys then started high school and it was at this point in their careers that the group decided to change with the times so they decided to change the name of the band. One suggestion was The Barf Bags. But Wheels and Snake hated that name. So what did they chose? They simply decided to drop Remedy from the name. So from then on the band was simply known as The Zits. Very creative huh. They also decided to write more songs that was big to the teen market. This entailed writing about getting a car and getting good grades. I’m sure Joey wanted to include a song about boning, but more than likely he was vetoed by Snake.
THE MUSIC VIDEO.
Finally after much talk through out the years The Zits finally made their long anticipated music video. But even this had a few hurdles they had to over come first. The biggest one was getting Lucy Fernandez in directing it for them because she was the only one who had a camcorder. But Lucy being drunk with sudden power wanted 100% creative control and told Joey that there would be no way that there would be girls in bikini’s in the video. It’s a shame because those girls would have been the hot duo of Allison and Amy. Joey and the band decided to give in and she finally agreed to direct. Of course the video was filmed around Degrassi. They even included Clutch’s paint ball shot up car to be the Zit Mobile. The video then had it’s world wide premiere on public access and it seems like they finally recorded a studio produced version of the song. Because it’s much more superior than the demo version.
THE END OF AN ERA.
After the video came out all three band members seemed to lose interest in The Zits and eventually never talked about it again. Joey and Snake moved on to driving and dating woes. Meanwhile Wheels went into a downward spiral and resorted to stealing. Especially after his grandma kicked him out of their house for being an unruly asshole. Thus the brilliant career of The Zit Remedy came to a close.
Years later the group continues to get new fans and influence people the world over. People even love to dress up like their favorite Zit. Even though here, whoever’s dressed like Snake looks like Buffalo Bill from The Silence of the Lambs. They’re so influential that someone even recorded a reggae version of Everybody Wants Something. Yet again proving how timeless the music of The Zits actually is.
Well there you have it. The long anticipated retrospective of The Zit Remedy. This one had it all. Humble beginnings, triumph and tragedy. It’s a shame their career was so short lived. Who knows what other singles they could have came up with if they sung about getting a car. But their music will live on forever, even though it was just one song. But you never know, maybe this will help the Zit Remedy get a whole new generation of legions of loyal fans. Especially since this is one of Degrassi’s most iconic musical gifts.
And the rest as they say is Rock and Roll… The Zit Remedy foreva!
I’d like to thank my friend the lovely Veronica for doing the Behind the Music pic. Thanks Ronniecakes!!