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Night of the Living Dead Boys

Dead Boys

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Album Review

Like the Sex Pistols and N.W.A, the Dead Boys seemed built to self-destruct. The Cleveland punk rockers were so combustible, so reckless, so nihilistic that you figured they couldn't stay together for more than a few years — and sure enough, the band broke up after only two studio albums. Apart from Young, Loud and Snotty and We Have Come for Your Children, the only other legal Dead Boys album is Night of the Living Dead Boys, which was recorded live at CBGB in New York in March 1979 but didn't come out until 1981 (the year after their breakup). In 1979, CBGB was considered the Village Vanguard of punk and new wave, and it was the perfect venue for the Dead Boys when they played New York. Stiv Bators and friends are as crude and obnoxious as they are inspired on material from Young, Loud and Snotty (including "Sonic Reducer," "Caught With the Meat in Your Mouth" and "What Love Is") and We Have Come for Your Children (most notably, "Son of Sam," "Catholic Boy" and "3rd Generation Nation"). While the Sex Pistols and the Dead Kennedys combined their nihilistic rage, anger and crudeness with strong sociopolitical concerns, the Dead Boys were never really political — they were a band that thrived on nihilism for its own sake. And if you don't have delicate sensibilities and are blessed with a robust sense of humor, this recording points to the fact that they were also a lot of fun.

Biography

Formed: 1976 in Cleveland, OH

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

The Dead Boys were one of the first punk bands to escalate the level of violence, nihilism, and pure ugliness of punk rock to extreme new levels. Although considered part of New York's mid-'70s CBGB's scene, all of its bandmembers originally hailed from Cleveland, OH. The group's roots lay in the early-'70s Cleveland cult band Rocket from the Tombs, which included future Dead Boys Cheetah Chrome (aka Gene O'Connor) on guitar, and Johnny Blitz (aka John Madansky) on drums, along with future Pere Ubu...
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