Dead Boys - 40th Anniversary
Dead Boys are largely associated with the New York punk scene of the late ’70s, but were actually a band that relocated from gritty Cleveland, Ohio. This explains a lot about they managed to stand out even among the Ramones, Blondie and Talking Heads. The band oozed frenetic energy and a nasty sneer that was more sincere than the Sex Pistols who, while brilliant … for a minute … tended to come off as naughty boys misbehaving.
If you’ve read Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain’s brilliant tome, “Please Kill Me: the Uncensored Oral History of Punk,” you probably have an idea of who the Dead Boys were. In a nutshell: They would drink your beer, do your drugs and steal your girlfriend. They were, for all intents and purposes, the punkest band of the era. The Dead Boys went through some serious shit in their short stint as New York’s answer to the Sex Pistols, an initial run of 3 years. Their impact is still being felt 40 years later.
Which brings us to today. Stiv Bators, the stick-thin madman at the microphone, has been a literal dead boy since 1990. However, with a “renewed” interest in certain circles — see that maligned CBGB film — it was decided the Dead Boys must ride again. Last year they came through town for the Miami Punk Rock High weekend with just one original member, guitarist Cheetah Chrome, to kick out the proverbial jams and play the hits. This time around it’s for the 40th anniversary of the group’s groundbreaking album, “Young, Loud and Snotty.” If you haven’t heard it — and you probably have, because anchor track “Sonic Reducer” has been sampled by the Beastie Boys and used to sell televisions — then you’re completely missing a seminal part of punk history … if you’re into that sort of thing.
The Dead Boys, once thought to be a chapter in an awesome book about history have risen. Chrome and founding drummer Johnny Blitz, will be bringing the snottiness to Miami one more time. The guy from “The Hangover” and Ronald Weasley will not be included, thank God.
Dead Boys play with Shark Valley Sisters, Sandratz and Death Lottery on March 21 at Churchill’s Pub in Miami. ~ Tim Moffatt