Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

The Dead Boys Are Alive Again

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

The Dead Boys Are Alive Again

Article excerpt

In his compelling 77-minute interview on the "Turned Out a Punk" podcast, Anthony Bourdain, sounding like a walking punk-rock encyclopedia, sang the praises of the Dead Boys' "Sonic Reducer."

"You talk about great rock 'n' roll songs, great punk songs ... that is the iconic," the late "Parts Unknown" star told Damian Abraham of hardcore band [F---ed] Up. "It's got the perfect sound, perfect lyrics, it's about longing and rage and envy and a desire for revenge. It's absolutely what rock 'n' roll should be about - in a perfect world."

"I'm not going to argue with that," says Cheetah Chrome, original guitarist for the now-revived Dead Boys, which bring their 40th Anniversary Tour to the Funhouse at Mr. Smalls in Millvale Sunday night.

"That song," he recalls, "took about 10 minutes to write. David [Thomas] had the words for it, and we got to rehearsal early and he showed me the lyrics and we messed around with it for a couple minutes till that riff popped out and then we put a bridge on it and called it a song. It happened so fast. David had the lyrics, which I think are brilliant, basically about the classic outsider building a bomb in the basement."

"Sonic Reducer" was written prior to the Dead Boys when they were in Rocket From the Tombs, formed in Cleveland in 1974. That band split into two parts, with Thomas and Peter Laughner forming Pere Ubu, and Chrome and drummer Johnny Blitz forming the Dead Boys with singer Stiv Bators. The song appeared on the Dead Boys' 1977 debut album, "Young Loud and Snotty," released a year after the band moved to New York City (which is how Mr. Bourdain would have known them so well).

They were accepted in that burgeoning NYC punk scene, "for the most part," Chrome says. "We got called Johnny-come-latelys a lot, that we were jumping on the bandwagon and we weren't from New York, blah blah blah. …

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