Arts & Entertainment | April 17, 2020 5:43 pm

Why Are One-Hit Wonders Wheatus on a Quest to Re-Record “Teenage Dirtbag”?

The group is re-recording their self-titled debut in its entirety

Brendan B. Brown of Wheatus performs on stage at Cardiff University on November 20, 2018 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Mike Lewis Photography/Redferns)
Brendan B. Brown of Wheatus performs on stage at Cardiff University on November 20, 2018 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Mike Lewis Photography/Redferns)
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Wheatus’s 2000 cult classic “Teenage Dirtbag” will celebrate its 20th anniversary this summer, and as a new Rolling Stone profile points out, the group has spent the past two years meticulously re-recording the self-titled debut album that contained their biggest hit note-for-note.

As Rolling Stone notes, frontman Brendan Brown and company began the process of re-recording the album in its entirety because Brown no longer possesses the masters to Wheatus, which was recorded on the defunct ADAT format. Brown reportedly handed over his last set of masters to Sony years ago, and they were never returned.

“I told my A&R guy, ‘This is my last set of masters — are you guys putting them on backup?’” Brown told the publication. “We never found out where they went.” He says he suspects they were lost or never transferred, and that Sony has never given him a straight answer about their whereabouts. “They would get annoyed when you would start tech-nerding them, like, ‘What are you bothering me for?’” he said.

Eventually, the singer got frustrated with waiting and decided to re-record the album in its entirety. “It’s like being made whole again,” he said. “If you make something, and you’re precious about the process, and then you deliver it to the world, and then suddenly it’s inaccessible to you, forever — that’s kinda shitty. It’s troubling. Feeling whole, one song at a time, is really nice.”

You can listen to the 2020 version of “Teenage Dirtbag” along with the original below and see if you can spot any differences.

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