It's 1977, in Manhattan's East Village.. A chilly night but there's a buzz in the air. Rowdy misfits line the block leading up to the little awning adorned with white letters.. young faces, leather, mohawks, dirty T's, cigarettes and sweat make up this uncanny bunch. They're all waiting to see the infamous Dead Boys take the stage at New York's underground punk institution, CBGB. With their wild antics, you'll never know what you're going to get from these notoriously obscene boys.
They kick things off with a bang and hit the stage with the well-known punk classic, Sonic Reducer...
Don't need no pretty face
Don't need no human race
I got some news for you
Don't even need you too.
Stiv in his white suit jacket and red tie, Cheetah Chrome with an open shirt and dog collar. These guys represented an era of intense rage and backlash to the "proper" and complex progressive rock era... They were real, straight forward and brutally honest. It was about not giving a heck when, where or why. It was just about the now...and THIS was now.
Bators takes off his jacket only to reveal slices of meat pinned to his sleeveless shirt. Was there a deeper meaning to this crazy sight? No... probably not. But hey, it'll get a reaction! Everything you saw was what you got and boy there was no way you were going to miss it. It was "in your face" rock 'n' roll and they sure knew how to put on a show. High energy, quick songs, catchy riffs and biting lyrics.. they were magnetic, hypnotizing and utterly disgusting.
The Dead Boys only made two studio albums and their debut Young Loud and Snotty, released in 1977 was by far their greatest. It features some of the best examples of punk that the 70's had to offer, many regard them as the founders of hardcore punk in the US. The great part about this group was while being intense and loud, they never lost their melodic sensibility. They weren't solely shouting at you, there was still a stream of consciousness, something you could grab hold of.
The Dead Boys were in and out like a flash of lightning... a quick rise to some level of fame only to be squeezed by the hand of their record company Bomp! Records to become more palatable for the mainstream which ultimately contributed to the demise of the group. Bators went on to do some solo work and then later fronted The Lords of New Church featuring Brian James of The Damned. He was sadly struck by a taxi in the mid 90's and died hours later in his sleep not realizing he had brain trauma.
Although gone, along with the iconic rock club CBGB, the Dead Boys come alive with every play of Young Loud and Snotty. It's a moment captured in time and still holds strong with the hardcore community to this day and for those who weren't able to experience the legendary 70's punk scene in NY.
Thank you for the soul shaking music, Stiv.