I cannot convey to you the balls it took to dress like that in Indiana in the early 80’s
As a Hoosier, I will always have a special place in my heart for Indiana punks, but I’d love The Zero Boys if they were from Park Avenue. Formed in the late 70’s in that vibrant renaissance town of Indianapolis, Indiana (big dose of sarcasm there), the band released their full-length album, Vicious Circle, in 1982. Though your casual punk may not know the name, the Zero Boys shared bills with Dead Kennedys and Minor Threat, and their petulant hooks and irresistibly sleazy melodies have always been a favorite of your more esoteric record collectors
You can hear their EP, Livin’ in the 80’s here, but I highly recommend you check out the fantastic live footage below, from their 1981 performance at Indianapolis’ own Pizza Castle. The audio is expertly restored, and you can hear the boys perform such underground classics as “Livin’ in the 80’s” and “Civilization’s Dying,” which was later covered by The Hives. There’s something just so absolutely perfect about the lyrics of “Livin’ in the 80’s”—“I have no heroes, just having a good time, don’t remember The Beatles, I don’t like the Stones,” delivered with such youthful contrarian snot. I can’t imagine a better venue for a show like this than a pizza joint, either.
You can actually buy a DVD of the entire performance here, which contains most of Vicious Circle. I had a friend who used to play it non-stop in the background at parties, and I vouch for the performance—it’s not often you find 1980’s ephemera that still feels fresh and mean. At one point, singer Paul Mahern hypes the album, cordially urging the audience to buy the EP for two dollars, and a button for seventy-five cents. He’s not too snotty about it though—we midwesterners value good manners, even in our punk legends.