A significant figure in American punk rock from the late '80s onward, Ben Weasel is best known as the founder, lead singer, and guitarist with the band Screeching Weasel, though he's also worked with other acts, recorded as a solo artist, and built a thriving second career as a writer. Weasel was born Ben Foster in Prospect Heights, IL, a suburb of Chicago. Foster developed a strongly opinionated streak and rebellious nature as a teenager, and was tossed out of three different Chicago-area schools before he was shipped off to Maine to attend the Elan School, described by its administrators as "a residential school for troubled teens." While Foster had been a serious heavy metal fan, at Elan he was introduced to punk rock and became a passionate follower of the Ramones and pioneering hardcore acts such as Black Flag and the Circle Jerks. After returning home to Illinois, Foster took at a job at a movie theater, where he renewed his friendship with fellow usher John Pierson, who'd known Foster in junior high. Foster and Pierson bonded over their shared enthusiasm for punk, and they decided to form a band after checking out a Ramones show; Foster christened himself Ben Weasel and Pierson became John Jughead.