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More pioneering synthpunk from Futurisk
09.03.2011
10:44 am
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More early 80s synthpunk madness, this time from South Florida’s Futurisk. These guys are pretty obscure and information on them is limited, but according to their website they formed in 1979 when teenager Jeremy Kolosine won some time in a recording studio, and their music was usually:

recorded by Richard Hess and the band in the rooms of Ron K’s house. The drum sound, gotten in a bathroom, rocks, even today. Reportedly, Futurisk may have been the 1st synth-punk band in the American South…or something, and 1981’s track ‘Push Me Pull You (pt. 2)’ was an early pre-‘Rockit’ excursion into electro-funk.

The revival of interest in the band was sparked when James Murphy included one of their tracks on a DFA mix for the French boutique Colette in 2003. Last year the Minimal Wave label released a retrospective of the band’s work called Player Piano, and earlier this year the band put out a remix 12” of the track “Lonely Streets”, one of whose remixes came from the mighty Chris Carter. Here’s a couple of videos of Futurisk in action:

Futurisk - “Meteoright”
 

 
After the jump the original video for the classic “Army Now”, and more Futurisk…
 
If you like what you hear, and you want to pick up Player Piano, you can get it here.

READ ON
Posted by Niall O'Conghaile
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09.03.2011
10:44 am
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Original synthpunk pioneers The Units present ‘Unit Training Films’
09.02.2011
12:41 pm
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The Units were one of the first “rock” bands in America to ditch guitars completely and focus their set-up on drums, vocals and synthesisers. Leaders of San Francisco’s post-punk synth-led music scene (a lot of which is now resurfacing with the current interest in “Minimal Wave”) the comparisons with Devo are clear, but still don’t detract from The Units’ cracking tunes and tangible influence on the new wave generation. Tracks like “High Pressure Days” and “I-Night” are still sought after by record collectors and forward thinking DJs alike, mainly because they still rock.

During live shows, The Units would perform to a video accompaniment of re-edited instructional shorts and found footage called the “Units Training Films”. Some of these films have been recreated and uploaded to Vimeo by founder member Scott Ryser. While still being very much of their time, they are excellent and definitely rank alongside similar efforts by the likes of Church of The Subgenius. Ryser has this to say about them:

The “Unit Training Film #1”, produced by Scott Ryser and Rachel Webber in 1980, was compiled from films that the band projected during their live performances. The films were satirical, instructional films critical of conformity and consumerism, compiled from found footage, home movies, and obsolete instructional shorts. In 1979 and 1980, Rick Prelinger was a frequent contributor and occasional projectionist at the bands live performances in San Francisco. The film was also shown sans band in movie theaters around the San Francisco Bay Area including the Roxie Cinema, Cinematheque, Intersection Theater and the Mill Valley Film Festival .

There was never a set length or definitive “finished version” of the original Unit Training Film. Just the current version. The film varied in length from about 10 to 45 minutes, depending on how long the Units set was on any particular night. Clips were constantly being added and others were deleted and discarded once their condition became too poor to project any longer. The film was constantly breaking, and the projectionists always kept a roll of Scotch Tape nearby for timely repairs.

This 5 minute version, compiled by Scott Ryser, includes some clips of the band playing along with a brief interview by a very young Fred Willard during the period 1980 - 1982.

Who’d have thought Fred Willard was a fan?!

Here is “Unit Training Film 1: Warm Moving Bodies”
 

 
After the jump, “Units Training FIlm 2: Cannibals” plus some more classics by The Units…
 
For a crash course in the awesome synth-punk sound of The Units, check out History Of The Units: The Early Years 1977 - 1983.

READ ON
Posted by Niall O'Conghaile
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09.02.2011
12:41 pm
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‘The New Wave’: dorky Hollywood ’77 report features the Germs & Rodney Bingenheimer
07.14.2011
04:04 pm
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The Germs’ Pat Smear & Lorna Doom get touchy-feely with lead singer Darby Crash in The New Wave
 
“Not exactly wholesome, you might say,” notes slick & laid-back narrator Andrew Amador at the end of this weird and rather incomplete look at the burgeoning new music scene in Los Angeles.

Inexplicably opening up with the highly New York sounds of Patti Smith’s version of “Gloria,” The New Wave seems to have been a quick segment put together by erstwhile TV host Amador and shot by someone called Andre Champagne. I wonder if and where it actually aired. It’s an interesting enough artifact in that it features:

  • The earliest footage of Rodney Bingenheimer outside of his biography Mayor of the Sunset Strip
  • Footage of The Germs with Darby Crash in full feathered-and-waxed Bowie mode
  • A Sunset Strip marquee within the first 30 seconds featuring Pasadena’s Van Halen!
  • A bit too much footage of The Quick’s heartthrob lead singer Danny Wilde dreaming of stardom. He’d later do the music scene proud by forming the Rembrandts and recording “I’ll Be There For You,” the fittingly excruciating theme for the TV show Friends.

 

 
Originally posted on 10/26/2010.

Posted by Ron Nachmann
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07.14.2011
04:04 pm
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Fucked Up - the best live band in the world deliver the single of the year?
05.13.2011
09:23 am
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Fucked Up are the best live band in the world right now. And you can take that to the fucking bank. Last night I saw them again, playing in Manchester, and even though I dithered about going all day, the second they launched in to their first song I knew I had made the right decision. Even the old ex-punks and the hard rock daddies agreed, showing their appreciation with beer-bellied body slams and hardcore dance moves they hadn’t busted in 20 years.

Fucked Up are a band who inspire genuine devotion in their fans, a reaction that goes much deeper than than simply liking the music and thinking they are pretty cool. They connect with their audience at a primal level. Singer Pink Eyes spends about 85% of the show in the crowd doling out as many sweaty bear hugs as he can manage. Their moshpits are intense but friendly and positive. They don’t hector their crowd or treat them like idiots, and they don’t use macho posturing to prove any kind of credentials. They are inclusive. You don’t come away from their show feeling weak and inadequate because some guy is over compensating for his white-bred privilege. If, as Richard stated the other day, Henry Rollins is the punk rock Charles Manson then Pink Eyes is the punk rock Santa Claus. And I’d rather get a present than get stabbed. 

Matador are currently gearing up to the release of the next Fucked Up album David Comes to Life on June 7th (US, June 8th UK) with four digital releases available to buy or download for free at 192 kbps. David Comes To Life is a 78 minute rock opera set in 80s Thatcherite Britain and if these tracks are anything to go by this album is going to be really good - “The Other Shoe” is already a very strong contender for single of the year.

Fucked Up - “The Other Shoe” Download here
 

 
Fucked Up - “A Little Death” Download here
 

 
Fucked Up - “Ship Of Fools” Download here
 

 
Fucked Up - “Queen Of Hearts” Download here
 

 

 

For more info on David Comes To Life visit davidcomestolife.com, or check out the Matador Records blog. I have to be honest with you guys - I haven’t been genuinely excited by a rock band in about, ooh, at least a decade. More. But Fucked Up are making me fall in love with rock music all over again. If you ever get the chance to see their shows, do it!

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile
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05.13.2011
09:23 am
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Happy Birthday Kim Gordon
04.28.2011
04:36 pm
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Today is Kim Gordon’s birthday - founder member of Sonic Youth and Free Kitten, producer, actress, designer, director, all round one of the coolest people in rock’n'roll. Here’s a few clips in celebration -  any excuse to post about Kim or Sonic Youth on DM is worth it.

Kim Gordon reads the Riot Grrrl Manifesto
 

 
Kim Gordon talks to Style.com about her label X-Girl, shopping in New York and working with Chloe Sevigny.
 

 
More Kim Gordon after the jump…

Previously on DM:
Unedited interview with Kim Gordon from 1988
More late 80s Sonic youth interviews
‘1991: The Year Punk Broke” Classic alt-rock documentary

READ ON
Posted by Niall O'Conghaile
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04.28.2011
04:36 pm
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Pigbag reform for one-off London show
03.22.2011
07:00 am
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Seminal post-punk disco-afro-funk act Pigbag have reformed for a special one-off gig on Saturday at London’s Jazz Café. Best known for their smash hit “Papa’s Got A Brand New Pigbag”, the band were signed to the seminal Y Records in the 80s, and had other minor hits with “Dr Heckle and Mr Jive” and “Sunny Day”. From the press release:

The new line-up features original members Chris Lee on trumpet (who’s also played with the Pogues and Kirsty MacColl), Ollie Moore on saxes (Neneh Cherry, The Abyssinians) and drummer Kofi Adu (Osibisa, Mulato Astatke). New converts are the renowned jazz trombonist Annie Whitehead (Dr John), bassist Mark Jay Smith (Hardware, Infinite Wheel) Jessica Lauren on keys (Tom Browne, Juliet Roberts), percussionist Godwin Awala (Kush, Nana Tsiboe) and guitarist Ed Riches (Omar). This talented new line-up has been writing fresh material that fuses joyful African sounds and charged funk beats with punchy hooklines and surreal arrangements.

Perhaps a bit overlooked in the annals of punk-funk (not as cool as Public Image or the Specials, sampled by some dodgy acts) they were excellent and had a very distinctive horn-and-percussion-driven sound and atmosphere. “Papa’s Got A Brand New Pigbag” still retains its power to pack a dance floor and inspire a wordless singalong almost 30 years later. Here’s the band performing their signature tune on Top Of The Pops at the dawn of 1983:
 

 
More PIgbag - “Sunny Day”:
 

 
Pigbag - “Getting Up”
 

 
Pigbag recently re-issued their back catalog on two CDs (Volume 1: Dr Heckle & Mr Jive and Volume 2: Lend An Ear + Pigbag Live) through Fire records. For more info on the March 26th Jazz Café gig, go here.

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile
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03.22.2011
07:00 am
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More late 80s Sonic Youth interviews
03.02.2011
01:46 pm
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Here’s some great footage of Sonic Youth being interviewed in the late 80’s - before grunge, before Nirvana, just on the cusp of signing with Geffen and the release of the Goo and Dirty albums. My God, how different things were then. The MTV interview piece makes this abundantly clear, with its declaration of Sonic Youth being “the biggest underground band in the whole country”. This was in 1989, and oh how different things would be just two years later.

Thanks to my older brother having purchased a copy of Goo on cassette when it was released, I was exposed to Sonic Youth at a young age, and before Nirvana became the de facto coolest band in the universe. I also had the utterly mind blowing “Teenage Riot” taped onto the end of one side of a C90 (remember them?) by one of the cool older kids at school.Thanks Simon Doyle!
 
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Although Daydream Nation is generally regarded as their opus (and it is fantastic), Goo has really stood the test of time. Despite the band coming in for a lot of flack for signing to a major and for daring to write *gasp* songs. The sleeve is now one of the most popular t-shirt designs on the planet, even appearing as a tattoo on the arm of an America’s Next Top Model contestant. “Kool Thing”, with its famous Kim Gordon and Chuck D monologue, has become one of the band’s best known singles.

Of course, the musical landscape has changed massively since these clips were filmed, but time captured here was one of massive change itself. The underground punk and hardcore ethics of the 80’s were mutating into something much more corporate and accessible to the mainstream. Punk rock was losing it’s sheen as the coolest, edgiest music with the growing popularity of hip-hop and the advent of acid house. For a while it seemed like Sonic Youth might be left behind by these changes. But the truth is that, despite their bevy of famous friends, tourmates and collaborators, Sonic Youth are a scene all unto themselves. They may not have become the biggest underground band in the world, but they didn’t need to. Their legacy is assured.

Here’s that MTV clip:
 

 
More Sonic Youth interviews after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Niall O'Conghaile
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03.02.2011
01:46 pm
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BBC4’s Reggae Britannia documentary liberated
02.19.2011
02:10 pm
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Somebody’s finally liberated Reggae Britannia, BBC4’s excellent—though by no means not exhaustive—documentary on the origins, growth and influence of British reggae from the ‘60s to the present. Reggae Britannia takes you from the scene’s ska beginnings in the hands of the children of the country’s first post-war wave of Carribean immigrants (known as the Windrush generation), through to the emergence of Bob Marley, the first Brixton riots, the UK sound system phenomenon, the Two-Tone era, reggae’s merging with punk and appropriation by pop, and more. Reggae Britannia is definitely worth a look.

Here’s the trailer…click on any of the title links or graphic above to check the full thing. And please, watch instead of embed so we can hold off our friends at the Beeb from bringing it down for at least a short while.
 

Posted by Ron Nachmann
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02.19.2011
02:10 pm
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JD Samson’s MEN: ‘Talk About Body’
02.01.2011
06:38 am
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JD Samson is the girl with the coolest moustache in rock’n'roll. Today sees the release of the debut album by JD’s band MEN, Talk About Body on Iamsound Records. MEN are a three piece that combine the best in dance-pop and punk rock with a definite queer/feminist outlook. JD already has form in this area - she is a member of Kathleen Hanna’s post-Bikini Kill/riot grrrl electronica act Le Tigre, and last year she worked with Christina Aguilera on her ill-fated Bi-On-Ic album., which saw the “Beautiful” warbler trying to break out of her pop/soul niche but not quite succeeding.  Nice try though.

However, MEN is JD’s passion - they have been touring the globe for the past few years spreading their word to the masses from a beat up van, with just a laptop, a MicroKorg and two guitars, and collaborating with a host of different musicians and artists as they get their sound just right. This is from their Wikipedia page:

MEN is a Brooklyn-based band and art/performance collective that focuses on the energy of live performance and the radical potential of dance music. MEN speaks to issues such as trans awareness, wartime economies, sexual compromise, and demanding liberties through lyrical content and an exciting stage show.

It would be tempting to say that they are at the forefront of a new wave of electronic queercore, only that would distract from the music itself, something that JD has had to put up with a lot already because of her unique image. So let’s abandon all preconceived ideas for a little while and just get down to the sound of MEN: 
 
MEN “Be Like This (Live)”
 

 
More MEN and JD Samson after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Niall O'Conghaile
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02.01.2011
06:38 am
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Merry Crassmas: Anarcho-punk goes Muzak (+ bonus Penny Rimbaud interview)
12.23.2010
11:05 am
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The charming cover of Merry Crassmas
 

Click play to hear all of Merry Crassmas!
 
The end of 1981 likely saw highly influential British anarcho-punk band Crass both energized and exhausted after dropping their third album, the remarkably complex feminist manifesto Penis Envy.

One speculates that the idea for their final release of the year came to the band as a “eureka!” moment. Why not release a 7” novelty record made up of a department-store-style, organ-and-drum-machine medley of their anthemic and obnoxious tunes, including “Big A Little A,” “Punk is Dead,” “Big Hands,” “Contaminational Power” and others? Slap on an innocuous Santa Claus intro and obnoxious outro at the end, pop it into a sleeve with a strange and horrific collage of an Xmas-day family holiday scene by Gee Vaucher, and you’ve got an instant inside-joke punk classic on your hands.

As a horror-day bonus for you Crass-heads, here’s a wide-ranging, as-yet-spotlighted 2007 interview from pancrack.tv with your man, drummer Penny Rimbaud…
 

 
Part 2  |  Part 3  |  Part 4  |  Part 5  |  Part 6  |  Part 7  |  Part 8 
 
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Crass remasters and epic interview
Crass: There is No Authority But Yourself
Music for Crass: Mick Duffield’s Christ the Movie
The unexpected Crass-Beatles Nexus Point

Posted by Ron Nachmann
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12.23.2010
11:05 am
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D. Boon lives! The Minutemen documentary “We Jam Econo”
12.22.2010
11:31 am
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As Brad noted last year at this time, it behooves us to remember D. Boon, guitarist and singer for one of L.A.’s most innovative punk bands The Minutemen. His death after a van crash in Arizona 25 years ago today shook the entire L.A. scene, and nothing was the same. But the influence of the band survives and thrives, in no small part due to We Jam Econo, the Minutemen documentary directed by Tim Irwin. Here’s part one—if you like it, buy the DVD!
 

 
Get: We Jam Econo - The Story of the Minutemen [DVD]

 

Posted by Ron Nachmann
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12.22.2010
11:31 am
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A great rock hero died 30 years ago: Darby Crash
12.08.2010
05:51 pm
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May he rest in peace. And somebody get him a beer…
 

Posted by Ron Nachmann
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12.08.2010
05:51 pm
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Janelle Monae is the truth: Live & close-up in ‘07
12.01.2010
09:59 pm
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If you generally detest today’s pop music, you may be sick of hearing Janelle Monae’s name so much. And considering that she’s firmly inside the music industry machine, it’d be hard to blame you.

But unlike many women in the pop and R&B realm, the girl has pretty confidently determined and shaped her own music and visual style. Synthesizing new rock and traditional soul into the kind of futuristic brew her foreparents David Bowie and Grace Jones served up back in the day, Monae’s still got the aesthetic zeitgeist at her back.

Let’s hope she retains the integrity and panache shown below. This video is excerpted from an appearance she made in the summer of 2007, just as she released her first EP on her Wondaland Arts Society label. And even though she was already officially signed to the megalith Bad Boy label, she saw fit to play the independent Criminal Records store in the Little 5 Points district of her adopted Atlanta hometown with her guitarist Kellindo Parker. Aaaand she tore it up.

Whatever happens to Monae’s career going forward—sometimes it pays to brace for disappointment, sell-out fuckery, etc.—we’ll be able to recount a time when she seemed like the future of pop. Go girl.
 

 
More Janelle getting real after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Ron Nachmann
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12.01.2010
09:59 pm
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“Destroy All Movies!!!: The Complete Guide to Punks on Film” Film Festival in Los Angeles
11.17.2010
02:07 pm
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Based on the new Fantagraphics book, Destroy All Movies!!! The Complete Guide to Punks on Film this weekend, our friends at Cinefamily are presenting a full weekend of punk rock cinema, a two-day meltdown of what appears to be yet another embarrassment of cinematic riches:

From teenage ragers to mohawked post-apocalyptic gutteroids to actual, bona fide punks, this two-day multi-event mega movie showcase of pure power is a brick in the face of every film snob and/or high school principal! The book’s editors, Zack Carlson and Bryan Connolly, will be on hand to casually guide you through the garbage-strewn annals of punk celluloid history. This is the final stop on their West Coast book tour, and they’re saving all the special guests, surprises and chaos for the grand finale! Plus, Sticky Rick’s will be here to curate a punk sticker display in the Cinefamily lobby!

The line-up for this is nothing short of wonderful:

TV Party Tonight: kicks off the event with a look at how punk was portrayed on the small screen. Who could forget the punk rockers on CHiPs and Quincey? The Dickies with Don Rickles on CPO Sharkey or Black Flag on Entertainment Tonight?  Then it all goes kaboom with the seldom-seen Afterschool Special The Day My Kid Went Punk (one of Tara’s favorites).

Urgh! A Music War: A 1981 film of live performances by Devo, Dead Kennedys, X, The Cramps, Oingo Boingo, Gang of Four, The Police, Wall of Voodoo, Klaus Nomi, Gary Numan, OMD, XTC, Pere Ubu, Magazine and more). The screening will be followed by scenes not included in the US version.

La Brune Et Moi, a 1980 look on the Parisian punk underground with Metal Urbain, the Go-Go Pigalles and Astroflash.

Shellshock Rock, a 1979 account of the Belfast, Ireland punk scene with The Undertones and Stiff Little Fingers.

D.O.A.: A seldom seen gem featuring X-Ray Spex, Generation X, The Dead Boys, The Sex Pistols and an insane interview with a nodding-out Sid VIcious and Nancy Spungeon. Directed by Lech Kowalski.

Also screening, The Class of 1984, Desperate Teenage Lovedolls (with cast members and director, Dave Markey, Allan Moyle’s Times Square (with Tim Curry), The Slog Movie (LA-punk doc with Fear, TSOL, and the Circle Jerks), a special “punk in cinema montage” by the fine folks at Everything is Terrible!, and there will even be an after party at Part Time Punks when the on-screen madness ends! This looks to be a blow-out good time, people! Festival passes are on sale until midnight on Thursday.

Co-presented by Fantagraphics, L.A. Weekly, Alamo Drafthouse, Razorcake, Big Wheel Magazine, Don’t Knock The Rock and Part Time Punks.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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11.17.2010
02:07 pm
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‘Very close to salvation’: Birthday boy punk-daddy Stiv Bators vs. the Rev. Dr. Hands
10.22.2010
06:36 pm
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Steven John Bator (a.k.a.  Stiv Bators) and his Dead Boys blammoed out of the post-steel paradise of Cleveland and landed in New York’s East Village to help jump-start the punk movement in the bowels of clubs like CBGBs. Soon after the Boys broke up in 1979, Bators formed the post –punk supergroup Lords of the New Church with the Damned’s Brian James and Sham 69’s Dave Tregunna.

That was the band Bators was riding in 1983 when L.A. artist Jeffrey Vallance—who’d scored a miraculous gig as a host of MTV’s underground music showcase (yeah, something like that actually once appeared on MTV!!) The Cutting Edge—grabbed him to “debate” the head of the Southland’s Last Chance Rescue Mission, whose name happened to be, yes, the Reverend Dr. Hands.

As you’ll see, Bators took the path of least resistance, but this segment stands as a fun, somewhat campy artifact of the other side of the Reagan ‘80s. Seven years later, Bators will have become a literal dead boy at 41 after getting hit by a taxi in Paris.

He would have turned 61 years old today.
 

 
Bonus clip after the jump: the Dead Boys give CBGB’s the “Sonic Reducer” in ‘77…
 

READ ON
Posted by Ron Nachmann
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10.22.2010
06:36 pm
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