It's Halloween, 1986, and The Ritz in New York City is set to explode. Joey Ramone walks out onstage and introduces the reunited Dead Boys, who plundered the city like bloodthirsty Vikings in the mid- to late''70s.
Playing to all manner of freaks, the Dead Boys tear into the venomous punk anthem "Sonic Reducer" and suddenly, a steady stream of stage divers and thrill seekers are getting in the band's collective face and then leaping — or being shoved by security — into oblivion. Even to a veteran of riotous punk shows like Dead Boys guitarist Cheetah Chrome, this development was a little alarming.
In the early days, "We were dodging spit or dodging bottles," laughs Chrome. "We didn't want them being part of the show."
Chrome and company had good reason to be wary of this kind of "in your face" audience participation. He remembers one time, back in the '70s, when someone in the crowd " ... ran behind the band and unplugged our guitars," says Chrome.
Chrome talked to Goldmine from his home in the country on Friday about all the craziness surrounding the Dead Boys' brief and the band's new DVD "Return Of The Living Dead Boys: Halloween Night 1986," out now on MVD Visual. A frenzied performance, with charismatic lead singer Stiv Bators sporting a leather outfit complete with a WWII German officers' hat, the show features the raw, primal rock 'n' roll that made the Dead Boys semi famous. Even though the picture quality isn't as sharp as anyone would like, it's impossible not to get goose bumps from the riff barrage unleashed by Chrome.
During the interview, which will soon be posted as a podcast on www.goldminemag.com, Chrome talked about how the band thought the recording of its debut album, Young, Loud and Snotty, would simply serve as a demo and not the final product. He also discussed the band's relationship with comedian John Belushi and why the Dead Boys turned down a chance to play Saturday Night Live, how the band formed from the ashes of Rocket From The Tombs and moved from its original home of Cleveland to New York City, the outrageous behavior of Bators, how Joey Ramone fit into the picture and how the band hoped that Lou Reed would produce its troubled second album, the one that eventually led to the Dead Boys' breakup.
To find out how to order the DVD, visit www.mvdb2b.com/