Formed in Livonia while many of the members were still students at Bishop Borgess High School in nearby Redford, The Denizens were one of the first and key bands on the Bookie’s Club 870 scene. The group had been playing at several other bars before the scene developed around Bookie’s starting in the spring of 1978. Drummer Mike Murphy said the band originally started in 1977 and played their first shows at a school, a rental hall, and the Cabaret Theater.
The Denizens would catch the attention of Legs McNeil of Punk magazine in New York who worked to produce some recordings of the band. The process of McNeil’s management, who Murphy said only wanted to deal with guitarist Rob Sullivan for all matters related to business, added strain to the band which called it quits around 1980. Just before the band ended, Murphy started playing in a new version of The Pigs, known as the Rushlow-King Combo, and then The Boners. Later, in the 1980s, Murphy would come out from behind the kit to become a frontman – singing in the well-regarded band the Hysteric Narcotics.
Three of the original recordings by The Denizens were issued as a 7-inch in 2004 on the Young Soul Rebels label owned by Dave Buick & Dion Fischer (of The Go).