Dead Boys Biography
The Dead Boys evolved out of the band Rocket From The Tombs and were originally called Frankenstein. When the band members relocated to New York City in July 1976, they adopted the Dead Boys moniker.
Moving to New York City at the encouragement of Joey Ramone, the Ramones' lead singer, the Dead Boys quickly gained notoriety for their outrageous live performances. Lewd gestures and profanity were the norm. On more than one occasion, lead singer Stiv Bators slashed his stomach with his mic stand. They frequently played at the legendary rock club CBGB and in 1977 they released their debut album, Young, Loud and Snotty, produced by Genya Ravan. Their song "Sonic Reducer" is often regarded as one of the classics of the punk genre, with Allmusic calling it "one of punk's great anthems."
Sire Records pressured the group to change their look and sound to appeal more to the U.S. mainstream (which had yet to embrace punk on the level seen in the UK) and this contributed to Dead Boys breaking up in 1979. Several 1979 performances were featured in the 1980 film, D.O.A.. A few months after the breakup the band had to reunite to record a live album and thus fulfill their contractual obligations. To exact revenge on the label, Bators purposely sang off mic and the resulting recording was unusable. When the material eventually surfaced on Bomp! Records, Bators had re-recorded the vocals in a studio.
Bators recorded a solo album, Disconnected, on Line Records. Bators later formed Lords of the New Church with Brian James from The Damned and Dave Tregunna from Sham 69. They released several albums on IRS Records, including the keyboard-laden hit single "Open Your Eyes" and a cover of "Like A Virgin."
After the Dead Boys break up, Chrome played around New York City (mostly at Max's Kansas City) doing shows with the Stilettos, as well as his own band Cheetah Chrome and the Casualties. He recorded a single for ORK Records, "Still Wanna Die/Take Me Home", recorded by Atlantic Records co-founder Herb Abramson. Shortly thereafter, he played on Ronnie Spector's debut solo album Siren. He appeared on several recordings during the 1980s, most notably his own "Cheetah Chrome and the Ghetto Dogs" (Get Hip) and Jeff Dahl's " I Kill Me" (Sympathy For The Record Industry). He also rejoined the Dead Boys for the ill fated reunions of the late 1980s. In the 1990s, Chrome moved to Nashville, Tennessee and recorded a live album Alive in Detroit (DUI) at Lili's in Hamtramck, Michigan. In the 2002, he played guitar on several track for False Alarm's Fuck ‘Em All We've All Ready (Now) Won!. In 2003, after the release of The Day the Earth Met the Rocket from the Tombs, he reformed Rocket From The Tombs with David Thomas, Craig Bell, with Steve Mehlman (Pere Ubu) on drums and Richard Lloyd (Television) replacing the late Peter Laughner. The reincarnation of the group toured in 2003 and 2006. In 2004 it entered the studio to record some of the band's old material for the first time. The recordings were released as Rocket Redux (SmogVeil). Chrome continues to play live shows both in the United States and Europe.
The Dead Boys reformed for several gigs in the 1980s. They re-released their first album as Younger, Louder and Snottier in 1989, mastered from a cassette tape of rough mixes, attributed to a young Bob Clearmountain, a studio assistant at the time.
In 1990, Bators died in France due to injuries sustained after having been hit by a taxi. In September 2004, the remaining members of the band re-formed for a one-off gig in Cleveland. In 2005, they played a benefit show for CBGB and another reunion show on Halloween.