Dead Boys: "Young, Loud, and Snotty" LP


1977 Sire Records

This is going to be a shitty review. Not because I'll be saying anything negative, but because I've listened to this album so many times that I don't even know how to go about reviewing it. I could probably write a whole review on it without even putting it on. But, instead, I'm going to pop it in, and try to pretend I've never heard it before, or maybe just assume that you, the reader, hasn't. So heregoes.

Back in 1975, a band called Frankenstein was formed by two ex-members of Cleveland's Rocket From the Tombs (Cheetah Chrome and Johnny Blitz), a scrawny Iggy Pop wannabe from Youngstown named Steve Bator (who would rename himself, by no stretch of the imagination, Stiv Bators), and two others (Jimmy Zero and Jeff Magnum). When the band relocated to NYC at the urgence of one Joey Ramone, they changed their name to the even more low-brow "Dead Boys". Hence, a legend was born.

The band's debut long-player, Young, Loud, and Snotty, was released on Sire Records in 1977, spawning, inspiring, and influencing punk, hard rock, metal, and glam bands all over the world for the next three decades. The importance of this album alone can't be stressed enough. Cleveland, the world of rock music owes you quite a bit of gratitude.

Although almost half the songs on the album are rehashed classics, seeing as "What Love Is", the musically similar "Down in Flames", the classic punk anthem "Sonic Reducer" (one of the greatest songs ever, in my opinion), and the music to "Caught With the Meat In Your Mouth" are all Rocket From the Tombs' material, albeit with a tweak here and there ("Meat in Your Mouth" was Rocket's "I'm Never Gonna Kill Myself Again" with new lyrics), the progression of Cheetah and Jimmy's prowess shines through. These versions sound like they were marinated in attitude and swagger for 2 years and then thrown onto an open flame (the recordings do them a lot more justice, too). Not to diss on the Rockets, they were just a lot sloppier and slow, and the only recordings available are remastered radio broadcasts. The Dead Boys were tight (at least in the studio), and I tend to like Stiv's Iggy-style voice alot more than David Thomas' shrieking, off-key stab at Captain Beefheart. But enough comparisons (is that possible for me?). This isn't a contest. Both bands are important. I just love the Dead Boys.

The Boys' original tunes are all-out tributes to cheap sex ("All This and More", "I Need Lunch"), broken-hearted, presumably drug-induced paranoia ("Not Anymore"), boredom ("Ain't Nothin' to Do"), and cheating ("Hey Little Girl"). Of these, my two favorites are "I Need Lunch" and "Ain't Nothin' to Do", the former's lyrics being addressed to a one-night stand who wants to settle down into a domestic lifestyle (the catchy one-liner "Girl, I just wanna get in your pants" being one of the funnier lines I've heard put to such a rock ballad-sounding guitar riff), and the latter being about reckless abandon caused by a lack of interest in any of the entertainment resources available. In other words, "Everything sucks, I'm bored, I wanna go get in fights and cause trouble". Who hasn't at least felt like that once or twice? The most radio-friendly pick-of-the-litter, "Hey Little Girl", a live recording, was recorded at CBGB's, but there's no shoddy quality about it, and it's probably the only song that could've been in the pop charts, had Sire's promotion department been a little more on the ball.

The album closes with a "medley" of "Not Anymore / Ain't Nothin' to Do". I say "medley" because it's just an alternate take of each song with about five seconds between them. Not exactly a medley. But, in my honest opinion, these are superior versions of both songs, especially "Nothin'", which has an extended outro, kicked off by the last chord ringing out, followed by one of the most put-on exchanges between two people I've ever heard ("Hey Cheetah!", "Yeah, Stiv!", "I'm BORED, let's go pick up some Hilly girls 'er somethin'!"), then a barrage of shredding guitar and human screeching noises over an energetic one-chord backdrop. Great shit.

If you don't own this fucking album, what the fuck are you waiting for?? At least download it or something. What's wrong with you. Seriously.

--Sam Sinister

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