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St. Louis’ almost-famous 1970s girl band the Welders finally gets its due

The Welders
Notable songs from the Welders' upcoming album include: “P-E-R-V-E-R-T,” “S.O.S. Now” and “Earth Dies Screaming.”

Members of the all-girl band the Welders were mere teenagers when they burst onto the St. Louis music scene in the 1970s — yet, they were ahead of their time.

The Welders
The Welders perform at Kiel Assembly Hall in July 1979.

“They formed in 1975 and were already playing what would become punk rock a couple years later,” Jason Ross (aka Jason Rerun) told St. Louis on the Air.

It was a somewhat unusual sound to come out of Florissant, admitted drummer and keyboardist Jane Fujimoto.

“Everyone was into Three Dog Night,” she said. “We were definitely outsiders.”

Ross, the owner of Rerun Records, said that the Welders weren’t just ahead of the punk game; they were also producing indie tracks years before the garage revival scene of the 1980s. “I'm just amazed that they were doing that before it was cool.”

Unfortunately, the Welders never got their due. Their four-track album, recorded in 1979, went unreleased after their business manager’s deal with the studio went south.

Their work never made it to vinyl — until now. A remastered compilation of their work is being released by BDR Records on CD and vinyl in the U.S., Europe and Japan.

“It's just like a dream come true,” said Jane Fujimoto. “It's great to be recognized now.”

Her sister, bassist Caroline Fujimoto, agreed: “Yeah, how bizarre that this is happening now. It’s just phenomenal.”

Emily Woodbury
Kelly “Rusty” Draper, Jane Fujimoto and Caroline Fujimoto meet at STLPR studios on Friday.

Notable songs from the Welders' upcoming album include “P-E-R-V-E-R-T,” “S.O.S. Now” and “Earth Dies Screaming.” The lyrics cover everything from sexism to girl power — with recorded stage banter added between the tracks. (A member of the Welders once shouted at an unresponsive crowd: “Is this an audience or an oil painting?”)

“These were kind of like the defining years of my life as it turned out,” Jane Fujimoto said, in reflection. “It was just really great to be together in a group of like-minded young people, and it was a lot of fun — just a great way to grow up.”

The band saw seven members over the course of its existence. All former bandmates are in touch today.

“The band was basically based on friendship first,” Jane Fujimoto added.

The Welders join St. Louis on the Air
Three founding members of the Welders include: guitarist Kelly “Rusty” Draper, drummer and keyboardist Jane Fujimoto, and bassist Caroline Fujimoto

“Our Own Oddities 1977-81” is being released by BDR Records. Pre-orders of the album are available now.

BDR Records
A remastered compilation of the Welders' work will be released on CD and vinyl this month in the U.S., Europe and Japan.

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill, Lara Hamdan and Kayla Drake. Jane Mather-Glass is our production assistant. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.

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Emily is the senior producer for "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.

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