Read this week’s Scene for a review of Return of the Living Dead Boys, a new DVD of a 1986 reunion show by the Dead Boys, Cleveland’s official representatives to New York City’s 1970s old-school punk scene. Never regarded as the brightest bulbs in the movement, the band were best known for the classic song “Sonic Reducer,” which pre-dated the band; guitarist Cheetah Chrome co-wrote it with future Pere Ubu frontman David Thomas when the two were still in the legendary punk precursors Rocket From the Tombs. So enduring is the song that it’s been covered by bands including Pearl Jam.
On either end of a set that includes covers of the Stooges’ “Search and Destroy” and the Rolling Stones’ “Tell Me.” For the Halloween show, frontman Stiv Bators takes the stage in a black vinyl outfit, hair teased out like a sadomasochist poodle, mocking the glam-metal bands of the day.
When MVD Visual announced the DVD, C-Notes reached out to Dead Boys bassist Jeff Magnum (no relation to the Neutral Milk Hotel mastermind of the same name). He was surprised the show was coming out on DVD, and not surprised that it wasn’t out already. ...
“Hahaha, that's pretty funny,” wrote Magnum via the MySpace. “Yeah, I've had a copy of that gig since 1986. Bators looks kinda goofy with his Lords Of The New Church ‘rock star’ outfit, and Cheetah was really fucked up and played poorly. Not a very good performance, I must say. I think we played better at the Beachland in '05.”
That said, the DVD’s actually pretty good. Extras include an interview with Gerard native Bators on the Good Morning Youngstown TV show. It’s a funny juxtaposition of the rail-thin punk singer -- who’s wearing sunglasses and looks like a drowned rat that just woke up -- and a chatty interviewer in a tan three-piece suit. They play a video for “Sonic Reducer” in which the group looks more dangerous than the Sex Pistols ever did. – D.X. Ferris