The late Stiv Bators is equally well known for his leadership stints in pioneering rust belt punks The Dead Boys and trans-oceanic glam/goths Lords of the New Church, but in between those bands, Bators briefly attempted a career as a pop singer, more or less in the “Paisley Underground” vein.
Was every L.A. rocker issued a Rickenbacker back then?
That effort began in 1979, when he recorded a remake of the garage-pop gem “It’s Cold Outside” as a single for Bomp Records. This choice may have been an overt nod to Bators’ Northeast Ohio roots - the song was written and originally recorded by The Choir, a precociously popular band of Cleveland teenagers who would go on to form the much more successful Raspberries in 1970. Check out Bators’ version and compare with the original.
Stiv Bators - “It’s Cold Outside”
The Choir - “It’s Cold Outside”
Stiv positively nailed the song, did he not? The sound is as far from The Dead Boys’ tuneless glory as it is from the Lords’ preening Batcaveisms, but still, he was really great at it. This poppier phase, though brief, lasted long enough for him to make the album Disconnected, also on Bomp. Though it leans a hair more towards punk rawness than the single’s overtly jangly pop-psych, Bators continued to prove his mettle as an interpreter of garage classics with a fantastic cover of the Electric Prunes’ “I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night.”
Stiv Bators - “I Had Too Much to Dream Last Night”
The entire album is worth a listen. Much of it was written by Blue Ash refugee Frank Secich, and it comprises some of Bators’ most accessible work, including great tracks like “A Million Miles Away” (not the contemporary Plimsouls song) and “I Wanna Forget You (Just The Way You Are).” And while you’re listening, get a load of this review of the LP comparing Bators to Tom Petty!
Stiv Bators, Disconnected, full LP
Bonus: enjoy “Stiv-TV,” a wonderful full-length interview from 1986.