Off The Record: Genya Ravan and the Dead Boys

By  Peter Lindblad

Having Genya Ravan produce their debut album, Young Loud and Snotty, didn’t make much sense to The Dead Boys.

Here was this loud, nihilistic punk band from Cleveland, trying to make a name for itself in the gutters of a dirty, garbage-filled New York City scene that prided itself on confrontation and frenetic energy, and a girl-group veteran from the ’60s was going to be the one that extracted from them the violent sound they were looking for? No way would that work.

 “Oh, at first, we were kind of confused as to why Genya,” says Dead Boys guitarist Cheetah Chrome. “But she fit right in right from the beginning and she had a great attitude. She wasn’t, you know, impressed by us … at all (laughs). She wasn’t afraid of us … at all (laughs again).”

It turned out, Ravan wasn’t just tough. She knew her stuff.

“She was very honest with us right from the get-go in the studio, and she went in a little depth with us and explained to us why you gotta do things this way, why it was better to do things this way or why you can’t do this, and showed us. You know, ‘OK, listen to this, and listen to this … see the difference? That’s why, you know?” And she was very patient with us … and that album was our demo. That was never supposed to be the album. And then, we were told we were going to go in and re-record it, and everybody to her was like, ‘Why?’ And we were kind of shocked when we found out we weren’t going to re-record it, but that was the first time any of us had ever been in a studio, and we were just flying by the seat of our pants. So, we were hoping, after having a little experience, that we could go back in the studio and do it correct. And it turns out, we did it correct. And it stands up. If I thought it didn’t stand up over the years, I’d tell you. I know the (Dead Boys’) second one (We Have Come For Your Children) didn’t. The production and everything on it, she was very good. She knew what went where.”

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