Although they weren't a true New York band, Ohio transplants the Dead Boys are considered one of the finest acts to emerge from the same first punk wave that unearthed the Ramones, Blondie and the Tal
Although they weren't a true New York band, Ohio transplants the Dead Boys are considered one of the finest acts to emerge from the same first punk wave that unearthed the Ramones, Blondie and the Talking Heads. After frontman Stiv Bators died in 1990, the Dead Boys seemed unlikely to reunite. But a run of shows last year has led to a new round of activity.
"We're going to do about a week's worth of gigs in May, starting around the 8th up in Montreal," guitarist Cheetah Chrome tells Billboard.com. "The confirmed dates so far are Montreal, Toronto, London and Hamilton.
"And then while we're there, we're going to do a couple of long rehearsals, and then for a couple of days, we're going to record things -- just mess around in the studio and see what we come up with," he adds. "We have no idea what to expect from it, but we figure we'll run some ideas around at soundchecks, block out 10 hours and see what we've got at the end of the day."
Instead of attempting to replace Bators with a new frontman, Chrome will continue to split lead vocal duties with second guitarist Jimmy Zero. "Stiv is not going to be replaced for any reason. We're still dodgy about calling it 'The Dead Boys' [but] that's kind of what we're stuck with," he says with a laugh.
No songs have been written yet, but Chrome is confident the new material will reflect the Dead Boys' classic debut, 1977's "Young Loud and Snotty."
"It's the same four people doing it, so that's one of the reasons we're doing it," he says. "I'd been against it, because I thought there was really no point in doing it. But once we got together and did it a couple of times, it was like, 'Damn, this is fun.' We re-established our relationships -- we're all getting along real well now, and everybody's grown up a little bit. So I guess there is a point. I'm going to stop saying, 'Never.'"
Chrome is also at work resurrecting another group, Ohio proto-punk act Rocket From The Tombs, which also includes Pere Ubu singer David Thomas and Television guitarist Richard Lloyd.
"David's going to be in the States for the entire month, so we're going to try and get Richard, [bassist] Craig [Bell] and everybody down here to Nashville for a weekend or so, to do some brainstorming," he says. "The hard part now is what I want to do with the Rockets and what I want to do with the Dead Boys, because you've got so much material and you've got to divvy it up all of a sudden."
When time permits, Chrome is hoping to finish what he calls his "great lost solo record. Smogville has been working on a Cheetah Chrome greatest hits, which is a career retrospective of the different things I've done besides the Dead Boys. And I'm possibly going to be doing some recording with the band Crime from San Francisco -- they're doing a new record, and they've asked me to do some lead guitar on it."