Some NYC interviewer caught the Dead Boys in an expansive mood one day in 1977—the video below presents a well-executed montage of the session, complete with the straightforward charm and discernment specific to original punks from the Midwest. As a New Yorker recently moved to Cleveland, I really cannot get enough of their accents, not to mention the unpretentious exasperation with just about everything save Iggy Pop, Paul Revere and The Raiders, small venues, and women who know enough to get lost after the fucking ends.
Jimmy Zero is by miles the most articulate of the bunch; his brief gloss about their song “Sonic Reducer” is as pithy and comprehensive a distillation of the punk ethic as I can recall hearing in quite some time:
That’s pretty much I think the feelings that all teenagers share, but in certain individuals they surface more, and in others they’re totally repressed. It’s just like, we weren’t out to write an anthem or anything like that, that’d be ridiculous. But it’s pretty much what I think, kids in all generations, to my knowledge, have always had on their minds—alienation, when you don’t know where the hell you’re gonna go or what you’re gonna do. You know you’re gonna end up with some kind of a job, which you might not want—you know, just alienation, total alienation. And that song is about saying, Well, all the people that are being stuffed down my throat, I’m not gonna take it anymore. I don’t want it.
The final frame of the video, fittingly enough, is of Stiv quaffing down a brewski.
Below, The Dead Boys captured at their peak at CBGB in October 1977 performing blistering versions of “Sonic Reducer,” “All This And More,” “Caught With The Meat In Your Mouth” and “High Tension Wire.”