In the early 1970's in Cleveland, Ohio, one band was trying to resurrect the dying rock scene. The band was called Rocket from the Tombs and their frontman was a fat singer named David Thomas (at the time he was calling himself Crocus Behemoth). The band went through many line up changes until Thomas met Peter Laughner, a guitar player who had previously been in a band with Chrissie Hynde (of the Pretenders). A guitar player named Gene O'Connor and a drummer named John Madansky joined the band soon after. They began playing shows frequently and writing songs (Ain't it fun was written at this time) but they were already having problems. Thomas and Laughner were good friends, but the rest of the band didn't like Thomas' singing or his desire to make the band into an art rock group.

By 1975 they were looking for another singer. Stiv Bators auditioned to be the bands lead singer but shortly after they broke up for good. Gene O'Connor (now Cheetah Chrome) and John Madansky (now Johnny Blitz) were tired of playing "art rock" and decide to join Stiv, along with Jimmy Zero and Jeff Magnum, to form a band called Frankenstein. They thought up the motto "Fuck art, lets rock," and wrote the songs "High Tension Wire" and "Down in Flames". They played their first show on Halloween, 1975 to a near empty crowd at the Picadilly Inn. After that they played only a few more shows before the band began to fall apart. They were fed up with the shitty venues they were forced to play in Cleveland and the lack of interest the kids had in their town. Luckily the Ramones came to Cleveland and Stiv asked Joey to get him an audition at CBGBs. Frankenstein didn't really exist anymore but Stiv, Cheetah, Jimmy and Johnny went to New York anyway. They changed their name to the Dead Boys (from the song "Down in Flames") and played without a bass.

June 25, 1976 the Dead Boys's made their CBGB's debut. Surprisingly the band was met with great enthusiasm. Stiv's Iggy like antics and the urgency of the music earned the band a great write up in "Punk" magazine. With all this positive response the band decided to stay in New York. Hilly Kristal, owner of CBGB, took an immediate liking toward the band and decided to manage them. He wanted to sign them to his own label CBGB Records, but due to a previous failure, he could not afford it. He sold the Dead Boys to Sire Records. In April of 1977 the Dead Boys opened for the Damned at CBGB. This was monumental event it the history of punk rock. The DAMNED was the first British punk band to play America and the Dead Boys were to play with them! Neither band disappointed. Appropriately both bands made fun of each other's country. Each band were outrageous on stage. Stiv was defining his trademarks, jumping and rolling around, cutting himself and bleeding everywhere, shoving his head inside the bass drum, soliciting head from groupies. The Dead Boys would not admit, but the Damned wrote better songs. They played tighter and faster and were even funnier. This left a great impression on the Dead Boys that led them to improve still.

October 1977 brought us the Dead Boys debut album, 'Young Loud and Snotty'. Perhaps due to Cheetah and producer Gena Ravon's obvious dislike towards each other the album was flawed. Chrome and the Dead Boys was not satisfied with the mix which would later be corrected. However, the Dead Boys had invaded New York and it was definitely their crowd filling the clubs. Their second album "We Cum For Your Children" came out on Sire, June 1978. The Dead Boy's proved to be a great band, however, they were also a band without a lot of material. Johnny Blitz was stupidly knifed in a fight with Spanish hoods and put the Dead boys out of comission. Sire Records, sensing the fifteen minutes of fame was up for the band, dropped them.

The Dead Boys were just too volatile. they could not last, and disbanded shortly after.
 
Brian James (Damned) and Stiv Bators

 

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