Willful Neglect were a hardcore punk band from the East Side of St. Paul, Minnesota. The band was formed in late 1981 by Wade Calhoon (vocals), Roger DeBace (guitar), Scott Peterson (drums), Rory Schoenheider (guitar), and Jimmy Wallin (bass). Wade's brother, "Thirston Howell", was the soundman and roadie for the band. Band names were tossed around (Sorry Confusers and Unlikely Whimperers were a few) but eventually the name Willful Neglect was chosen. All members were around 20 to 21 years old.
In less than a year Willful Neglect had 12 original songs and in the summer of '82 decided to record at Blackberry Way Studios with Steve Fjelstad, who also recorded many Twin Tone Records acts. The result was the Willful Neglect 12" EP, released November of 1982 on the band's Neglected Records. 1000 copies were pressed, the first pressing of 500 copies including an insert with some lyrics. Maximum Rock'n'Roll fanzine called "Abort the Mission" from the EP "one of the best songs of 1982" on the cover of MRR issue #4.
Willful Neglect set up and played many shows in halls in St. Paul, bringing in and selling their own booze and using the profits to record and rent the next rehearsal space. They were featured on local CBS affiliate WCCO-TV on a "Local Punk" news report, where a show at Castle Greens in North St. Paul was filmed for broadcast. The band also played clubs in St Paul & Minneapolis such as The 7th Street Entry, McCafferty's, and Goofy's Upper Deck with bands such as Hüsker Dü, Minor Threat, The Circle Jerks, Loud Fast Rules (who became Soul Asylum), The Effigies, Rifle Sport, Man-Sized Action, Final Conflict, Ground Zero, The Reds, and Civil Defense. They then started to play other Midwestern cities such as Chicago and Milwaukee while becoming friends with The Effigies, Die Kreuzen, Naked Raygun, Articles of Faith, Sacred Order, Rights of the Accused, The Clitboys, and Negative Element.
Willful Neglect recorded their second 12" EP Justice For No One in early 1983, once again employing Steve Fjelstad at Blackberry Way. The Replacements recorded their EP Stink the very same month in the same studio. Justice For No One was released in the summer of 1983 on Neglected Records. 1000 copies were pressed. The band then toured the West Coast in August, playing Reno, San Jose, San Francisco, San Fernando Valley, East LA, and Albuquerque. They shared the stage with bands like DRI, SS Decontrol, Government Issue, Agression, Ill Repute, The Fuckups, Los Olvidados, Plain Wrap, and Personality Crisis, and stayed at the BYO house in Hollywood while in southern California. Unfortunately, shows with The Butthole Surfers in San Antonio and Houston had to be cancelled.
When the band got back to Minnesota, they rented an old Christian recording studio in suburban St. Paul and started presenting shows on weekends, which were well-attended by Minneapolis and St. Paul Punks, along with biker gangs and thrill-seekers of all kinds. Spring of 1984 the group entered Control Sound to record their third effort. A much wider variety of music was recorded here, and the result – material for a full-length LP to be titled Big Enough to Get It - can be compared to Bad Religion's Into the Unknown because of its determined effort to get away from the confines of Hardcore Punk. Sadly, this LP was never released, and the band broke up in 1984. Six of the most rocking tracks from Big Enough... have ended up on 1982-1984, a CD released Fall of 2003 on Neglected Records. This CD contains all 23 tracks from both of the first two EPs with the six bonus tracks, and was remastered by Ed Ackerson and Roger DeBace.
Good Clean Fun