STIV: No Compromise No Regrets DVD

(-REVIEW by Moses Midnight)


1983 was the year we first formed our goth gang. We were dirty and sweet untamed youth, a loose collective of much hated misfits, new wave poseurs, Smash Hits magazine readers, and Baby Bowies, discovering new music and makeup and styling products, just kissing to be clever. The only thing more unforgivable than androgyny, in the macho midewestern culture of rigid conformity, non-stop violence, and sports competition was, poverty. We were condemned for both, from an early age. The Lords Of The New Church were outside of society sovereign kings unto themselves, and their songs taught us about history revisionism, propaganda, psy-ops, and the true nature of authentic rebellion. That post-apocalyptic poster that came with the first Lords record made an indelible impression upon our tortured little psyches. We knew there was no place for us in the fix-is-in mainstream world and that we’d eventually have to create our own subcultural kingdoms and take up residency in the bonfire light of no man’s sand. My old sidekick gave me my Dead Boys skull tattoo the year before he went to med-school. “Disconnected” is still my favorite record besides “Mystery City” and “Into The Valley Of the Dolls”. The Lords Of The New Church taught us to see through the smokescreens of goose-stepping totalitarianism, perverted religious zealotry, and controlled-media propaganda. They made us believe it was possible to create a new society away from the bigotry, hate, paranoia, and us versus them social control, programmed into us since birth, by the honky death machine. Everything Stiv warned us about in 1983-a dystopian police state, and Orwellian torture gulags, and endless war, has long since come true. Gimee some of that old time religion! “I’ll recruit a ragged army/why let your hatred scar me?” He was like a time travelling messenger from the future.

I was a sucker for all that lively and colorful MTV escapism-I loved it all-Boy George and Cyndi Lauper, Prince, Psychedelic Furs, and Flesh For Lulu, but when my space pirate new romantic icons Duran Duran started glamourizing the Reagan/Thatcher lifestyle of safaris and acquisition, cocktail parties on yachts with coked-out models and pink pastel Miami Vice suits, the Lords Of The New Church were already prophesizing about secret societies, totalitarian regimes, the deep state permanent government, and the one percent elite’s ominously secretive movements towards global slavery and corporate prison states; while pointing us towards a more righteous and free, alternative vision of truth and soul, steely-eyed clarity, and egalitarian values. While Bowie and George Michael were making big cash grab commercials for Diet Coke, the New Church were sermonizing that television is nothing but lies, the prison’s filled while the rich still rob, to be here now, throw-away youth you gotta make a stand, no one’s gonna help you but yourself, start your gang, etc. I answered his call. When many of my former peers were into RATT and Mötley Crüe, or grunge, or unreality tv lifestyle programming, I was a down in flames detention hall sonic reducer, already ready, anytime, ready to snap! A choirboy at the New Church. He informed my core values, entire belief system, and life’s work. Sometimes it’s felt like not enough people really heard the message. For a mighty long time, it felt like the congregation had dwindled to almost nothing. Most of my lunatic fringe dancing old friends are long dead. I mean, me, I’m still seething with sedition, my old lady’s anointed with wisdom, and my old fun hog, road buddy just wants to duck walk on the rubble of shock doctrine, shock and awe, imperial disaster capitalism, but very few gadget guided I-Phoners and rah-rah warpig consumerist zombies of rightwing Murkkka really seem to have any desire to open their eyes, anymore. Like I said, nearly every grim and dreary thing Stiv warned us about-the dystopian police state and military and prison industrial complex and Orwellian torture gulags and panopticon surveillance has all come true. There are brown babies in cages. Racist gestapo. Poison in the water. War all the time. Robot muzak. It is harrowing to behold. Most of my countrymen are too bamboozled by cable tv diversions and too busy Keeping Up With The Kardashians to even notice, let alone, give a fuck. Luckily, this crucial, must-have DVD, and some of his old pal’s various other projects have created a renewed interest in his music that is probably more important and meaningful now, than ever before. A whole new generation of black haired scarf wearers are discovering his always heartfelt and provocative and thoughtful songs. Stiv lives in the hearts of the musicians and outlaws, the artists and rastas and dreams.

The impeccable and sensitive film-maker, Danny Garcia shines through, once again, with a really lovely and poignant and often hilarious valentine to our beloved alley Bator. If you are anything like me, you will only wish it was a ten part series. I never get tired of hearing first hand Stiv anecdotes from his intimate apostles, loves, and collaborators. Many of my favorite rocknroll super heroes, like Ray Hanson, Neal X, Nicky Turner, Dave Tregunna, Frank Secich, Jimmy Zero, Cynthia Ross, Nina Antonia, and Eddy Best share unseen photographs, rare music, and intimate reflections about the King Of The Brats. If you ever loved the Stiv Bators band on Bomp!, Dead Boys, Wanderers, or Lords, you will want to own this dvd and watch it again and again. To my little crew of merry pranksters, lostboy mischief makers, and snotty glam kids, Stiv was like Alice Cooper, Iggy Pop, Bill Hicks and Joe Strummer rolled into one. Join The New Church!

“He’s Good-Bad But He’s Not Evil….” Tribute To Cheetah Chrome by Pepsi Sheen & The Rocknroll People…

“I have a hand-made badge with Cheetah’s pic on it. It was obviously made by an art rocker ’cause the caption reads, Cheetah Chrome FAN CLUB – ONLY MEMBER.
If I was roasting him, I’d say, ‘Good evening ladies and germs. As the president and only member of the Cheetah Chrome Fan Club, I welcome you to an evening of….”
(-Peter Crowley)

“First time I met Cheetah I was with Stiv Bators in L.A., I think in ’88, Cheetah walks into my friends apartment, Stiv introduces us: This is Sami Yaffa and this Prick With Ears…..”
(-Sami Yaffa)

”Along with Brian James and Robert Quine,Cheetah is my favourite guitar player to emerge from the punk rock scene.
Always loved both Dead Boys albums…But his real genius is on the Rocket from the Tombs stuff, which if had ever seen a proper release at the time…In my opinion we’d be talking the greatest punk album of all time!!!!”
(-Darren Birch, bassist of Gunfire Dance)

“I just love Cheetah. I’ll leave the roasting to others! Thanks though!”
(-Alison Gordy NYC legendary singer in Johnny Thunders And The Oddballs)

“A fiery character from the great band The Dead Boys that the Ramones loved. Cheetah’s still keeping up the Punk spirit”.
(-Monte A. Melnick Ramones Tour Manager and author of “On The Road with the Ramones”.)

 “Well, I never knew him too well. but I met him several times and I thought that he’s a lovely character. and a great guitarist of course. plus he was a close friend of Stiv and he (Stiv) naturally told me a lot of stories about him.”
(-Danny Fury, lead singer of Tango Pirates)


 “These past 10 years I have seen many changes …It’s a toss up between triumphs and roadside burning wreckage….I think the hardest thing for me is seeing family, friends, lovers and the ones we have seen as leaders in the past change before our eyes…They become less familiar and more of an un-answered question: “Why?”….What I’m alluding to is the many musical figures that have crossed over to strange political camps that seem very mean spirited in agendas towards our fellow man ….Knowing this, I try and always keep a non-judgmental ear and just let the music do the talking…Having said this, my mind is guilt free when I hear the Dead Boys cranked …. All the time knowing that Cheetah is still  ‘A man of the people’…..Hard workin’, Hard Travellin’, Hard Playing soul….It’s this familiarity that rocks you back to your teen years where we were all idealistic and invincible …Hey–I can Handle the world changing, because from where I came from, it’s always in constant change, at the end of a gun…but to see souls that you respect do a 360 on your senses I can’t express how disappointing that is. Thankfully, that hasn’t happened to Mister Chrome. I wish him many more years of sonically assaulting our senses! God Speed!”
(-Neen Youkhana singer/guitarist of Trash Gallery)

 “He’s great.”
(-Ena Kostabi)

“I have one recollection of seeing The Dead Boys for the first time when I was about 16 years old… I didn’t know who was who in the band at that time, but they performed on the Uncle Floyd Show on UHF TV Channel 68 in New Jersey. I knew I was seeing something pretty special, but didn’t quite understand it yet. I was still new to the whole Punk thing, but the energy and urgency and fuck-all attitude came across and was a total turn on, something I have not forgotten in over 30 years. They were the new generation of rock stars… And ‘Uncle’ Floyd Vivino would go on to introduce me and my high school buddies to other great “local” bands at that time and soon after like The Ramones, Randazzo, Dramarama, Shrapnel and others.”
(-Joe Normal, guitarist of Cold Blue Rebels)


“My crystal meth nightmare began with ‘her’ talking about Cheetah Chrome. Later she racked-out lines and played Sonic Reducer at full volume. I tried to make it louder. She became the subject of my first book … Last night I watched Cheetah play Sonic Reducer at a tiny Lower East side bar (a warm-up gig for tonight’s Bowery Electrik show). I was glad that she wasn’t there.”
(-Jeff Ward, guitarist of Gunfire Dance, author of “Parasite Joyous Flashbacks Amidst A Crystal Meth Nightmare”)

“I remember seeing the Dead Boys at Hurrah and if I remember correctly (not likely), CBGB’s in NY late 70’s;later on my old band Circus of Power opened a Dead Boys reunion show at the Ritz and we used to see Cheetah around a bit in NY around that time, not sure if he really knew me but I knew him and would say hello if I saw him, an important part of an important and clearly hard rocking band and I was happy to have watched a bit of that history.”
(-Gary Sunshine, songwriter; guitarist for Circus Of Power and NY Loose)

“Cheetah is one of the finest songwriters I know. I will never forget an afternoon I had with him n’ Stiv in the spring of 88′ It made me what I am today. I hope to see you soon my friend.”
(-Stevie Klasson)

“1977, and I’m stuck in a small town in the middle of nowhere, all harvest gold and bellbottoms flapping with dust in the wind as the yokels are jolted awake by a new sound, a new look, a new attitude: Disco. Yep, my backwash burg slept right through Punk. Probably hasn’t woken up even now. Just in time for my own teenage tumult, Punk spoke to me as it happened, and rather far beyond as it turned out. Alienation as visually manifested by young reprobates with forked hair and eyes like burning flares. There were many such figures tearing through the bland cultural and musical landscape of the era, all of them dangerous and as such, enthralling. But one particular group seemed somehow more familiar. The Dead Boys were a product of the great unwashed Midwest: Ohio boys. Just like me. OK, from the other side of the state, and from an actual city. Still, knowing that these cats could come out of a place as hopeless as 1970’s Cleveland, and do some real damage right in the heart of the Bowery, a mythical place I longed to dive into while poring over mail-ordered copies of Punk magazine and New York Rocker, was heartening. They were also the first American Punk band I heard that exuded the howl of adolescent frustration and rage that attracted me to UK Punk bands like the Sex Pistols, The Clash, and The Damned. Patti Smith and Television were great, but rather cerebral and artsy, whereas I wanted to break things. The Ramones were a revelation, but I could still hear echoes of summers at the beach in the mid-60’s within their melodies. On the other hand, the Dead Boys snarled, they spat. Their guitars were too loud. They looked dirty, pissed off, and definitely up to no good. Your parents were never, ever going to be happy about you bringing their album home to blast out of your record player. With perfect timing, they got me. Having by then determined that I was going to be the guitar player in a big deal punk rock band, my attention was more often given over to whoever was abusing the six strings than to the front man. Cheetah Chrome was that guy in the Dead Boys. What more could I have wished for than the unharnessed electricity of a James Williamson, with the classic skill of a Glen Buxton? All battered Les Paul slashing and burning holes through every teacher, jock bully, disapproving adult and anyone else on the wrong side of the line in the sand that punk drew for me. It didn’t last long, but that kind of white-heat intensity never can. Sadly, as is the case for so many of the folks from that era, the ensuing decades were less than kind to the man. He’s been down lower than probably anyone, anyone who lived to tell about it anyway. But he’s always been the real deal. Fortunately, he’s still out there, and still loves playing the guitar really loud, and best of all, seems to have found some happiness. I’m glad he made it out the other side, and that he shared his stories via his memoir. Most of all though, I’m thankful for the time, some 36 years ago, when a misfit kid from the other side of Ohio with a shock of red hair and a crazed stare plugged in his guitar and sonically reduced all of my boredom and doubt to a pile of wreckage. I’ve never forgotten…”
(-Brian Morgan, guitarist of Carvels, Saviors, and Disruptors)



   Consider if you will all, the hyperbolic language used by advertising weasels to sell crooked politicians, mediocre rappers, and blow-dried Ken doll actors on cable shows about vampires to America’s intentionally dumbed down Taco Bell drive-thru customers. All the extravagant descriptions squandered on the latest round of emo sissy Fauntleroy’s and champagne room heiresses with boring sex tapes.“Maverick…Revolutionary…Outlaw…Survivor….Diehard….Renegade….Elder Statesmen….” We’re all so numb from being sold false goods all day that it’s hard to even tap into that true vein, but all of these descriptions really do apply to this wise, heroic, and profane artist, Cheetah Chrome. (“That’s MISTER Scumbag to you!”) One of the funniest, biggest hearted, and most true blue human beings I’ve ever brushed with. He used to let me follow him around Manhattan and we’d joke about being in the “loser’s club”, there was a moment, when he had nothing and I had nothing, too, we were both in a bad way on the NY streets, but would still find ourselves laughing compulsively almost daily and telling each other stories for hours on end. He was one of the most sincere folks I ever met, back then, we were both in mourning, and making the kind of decisions desperately poor and broken hearted people, who both have the mischievous souls of clowns, are inclined to make, but thankfully, he doesn’t have to worry about that, anymore.Nowadays, if he’s not ushering his son, Rogan, backstage to meet Aerosmith, he’s lecturing at some university. His legacy is daunting to even skim the surface of, from collaborating with Laughner and Rockets, to Stiv, he co-wrote with some of rocknroll’s all-time great lyricists. He hangs around both lowlife hoodlums like Keith and Belushi, and showbiz royals like Spacely and Vicious. He’d even personally lined Lou motherfuckin’ Reed (R.I.P.) up to produce the Deadboys next album, but was thwarted by the business weasels who wanted them to go “new wave” in commercial suits and skinny ties. The always controversial Deadboys were, obviously, every bit as important to C.B.G.B.’s and the development of what is now called “punk” as any of their art school friends, or disco queen crossovers, though, in most corporate “punk” documentaries, they barely get mentioned in between the Ramones and Devo and Talking Heads. That big movie with the good looking youngsters portraying all the venerable artists of the seventies is being endlessly picked apart and argued about on a million chat rooms and music pages, online. I haven’t seen it, but I love the idea of the kid from Harry Potter playing Chrome, even if I’m a bit surly about not being asked to audition for the Stiv role. Ask around-I know how to lose weight, fast.DeadBoyTaleThe indestructible Cheetah Chrome’s a busy man nowadays, juggling fatherhood with writing his critically acclaimed memoirs “Cheetah Chrome: A Dead Boy’s Tale: From the Front Lines of Punk Rock” , book tours, having a day job, rocking is his business, etc. In recent years, we’ve seen him working with people as diverse as (the reunion of) Deadboys, (the reunion) of Rocket From The Tombs, the Batusis with Sylvain Sylvain, Alejandro Escovedo, Bebe Buell, Blondie, Michael Monroe, Jeff Dahl, Texas Terri. He’s jammed with Bob Stinson and even Nico. In what some consider his darkest hours, when Stiv and Johnny died, his songs were being covered by Pearl Jam, Guns N Roses, Hanoi Rocks alumni, and a million dead-end kid bands in Midwestern garages and rented farmhouses on the edge of town in between the car dealership and the Christian bookstore. I see why the fan base is divided on the punk nostalgia. We’re all grateful to behold some of the more deserving trailblazers and genuine figureheads finally receiving their long awaited and well deserved acclaim, better late than never, but I think everybody’s pretty jaded by the capitalist cash-cow milking oversaturation, and lack of deep feeling for our favorite artists, who changed some of our lives irreparably forever. Cheetah released a live disc recorded in Detroit about ten years ago, surrounded by longtime friends and his rabid Motor City following, but “SOLO” is the real record that his most fervent and dedicated constituents have been waiting for ever since we wore out that pink and white splattered “Ghetto Dogs” vinyl from twenty years ago. 

“There ain’t no future and there ain’t no past, there’s just a graveyard and it’s comin’ fast…When you check out of this hotel, Jack, you ain’t nuthin’ but an autograph…All my boyhood friends told me I’d fail…Don’t need no pretty face, don’t need no human race…virgins with tainted saviors…I don’t wanna be no Catholic Boy…” The Deadboys gang spoke straight to the heart of Midwestern j.d.’s and expelled Catholic school outcasts like me…Bators and Chrome….”Sick in the head, she’s in my bed, how can I laugh when I’m three quarters dead?” They really affirmed something primal, and honest, and true in all of us sneering, porn-hearted hellions, who just weren’t put here to shutup and obey, and punch the clock, and watch tv. It was actually PAINFUL to discover their legions of fratboy fans when we finally fled smalltown hell to seek our own rocknroll redemption in the big city only to end up singing hymns for a cup of soup. Fuckin’ A, man, I felt every note those guys ever played. The original Frankenstein monsters of rock. All their offensive, straight society scorning, square-baiting, anti-social stoogery resonated with all of us smutty weirdos and marauding, hard partying, dropouts ,who learned their songs and imitated their blueprint, preposterously, out of time. We were the ones who became the devoted congregation of the Lords Of The New Church. The bloody nosed, leather jacketed losers with duct taped creepers and jailhouse tattoos. We had, similarly, broken up every band that we ever begun, we fucked up everything that we’d ever done. Some of us didn’t even successfully die young. We just got fat and brokenhearted–retail knees, ruined backs, bad teeth, and chronic heartburn. “Used to get what you paid for, but not anymore.”

CHEETAH CHROME “SOLO” (-Plowboy Records)

 cheetah-chrome-solo “Sharky” surprisingly boasts some retro sixties sounding keyboards reminiscent of the Batusi’s cover of “Blue’s Theme”, or any of your other favorite “Nuggets” era surf/garage scuzzery. Finally, one of the most essential guitarists in the world gets back in a real recording studio and what does the still unpredictable crazy kook open the album with? A teenage delinquent instrumental. The searing guitar lines will remind you of Link Wray, Wayne Kramer, Dick Dale, Buxton/Bruce. In spite of his legendary reputation as a hell raising hotel destroyer, smashing up stages and pissing in the ice machine, Chrome is foremost a motherfucker guitarist. “East Side Story” is stone beauty-confessional, soulful, and as thoughtful as any bruised rumination by Keith Richards, Tom Waits, Johnny Thunders, or Peter Perrett. To me, it’s as lovely as anything Cheetah has ever written. Brings back a lot of hazy memories of stumblin’ around in the moonlight of the Lower East Side. Really exceptionally gorgeous, surpasses our expectations.

“Rollin’ Voodoo” is pure blues, like a midnight knife fight between Bo Diddley and Willie Deville. Cheetah still has Robert Johnson and Peter Laughner’s hellhound on his trail. Still killer, after all these years. Love it to death. Demonstrates how few of his imitators ever came close. A lot of people have worn animal print scarves and smoked cigarettes. Very, very, very few of ’em have ever faintly demonstrated anything similar to Chrome’s stamina, integrity, feel, guts, or imagination. Just fantastic. Cheetah sings the hell outta this one, guitars go wild like a self-immolating Mick Taylor. Breathtakingly beyond. Coarse, scabby vocals, always full of irrefutable sincerity, pain and pathos, with menacing, glowering, evil guitar work. “Whoo, whoo.”

“Stare Into The Night” sounds like classic Chrome, ya know, catchy, tough guy power pop. If you love the Deadboys, the Ghetto Dogs, or any old seventies pop bands like the Real Kids or Knots, this one’s for you. The kind of rocknroll I can listen to everyday, something that goes on a cassette tape in between the Flaming Groovies and Dictators. His trademark charring lead guitar playing and innate mastery of sixties pop forms. “No Credit” is a somber rooftop Cheetah Chrome, surveying his savage kingdom in the a.m., in the burnt-out Mad Max cityscape of Lower Manhattan before the venal white collar criminals and pinstriped billionaire elites and hedge-fund scumbags kicked all the poor people out and Disneyfied the once dangerous, melting pot, art-ghetto, downtown.

“This ain’t Sears”. I remember rolling smokes outta cigarette butts while looking at the limos lined up outside the Palladium through a broken window with the generous and compassionate, hilarious and always humane, Cheetah Chrome. “Nuthin'” is dark. We don’t hear music like this, too often, no more. Will remind the youngsters of top-shelf Social Distortion, and oldsters of the real Alice Cooper, when he was part of a band, not a brand, and the Dead Fuckin’ Boys. Proves again, and again, how Cheetah is the very essence of rocknroll. He’s the meanest mean, he’s the blackest black, the last man standing, the minister of mayhem. “Love Song To Death” is another pitch black spooky ballad, from someone who’s been all the way to the bottom, about walkin’ around in the dark alone. Extraordinary, one of the greatest guitar players to ever grace a stage reminds us how he is also still one of the great punk rock SONGWRITERS. Naturally, this one’s steadily becoming one of my own personal favorites. If you only purchase one autobiography, compact disc, and t-shirt this Christmas, it should be Cheetah Chrome’s. The man is every bit the wildly courageous and incorrigible personification of rocknroll as Lemmy, Keith, or Iggy…and those other guys don’t need the money. I love you, Cheetah. Just ’cause we don’t talk every day, that don’t mean we ain’t cool.  Long live Cheetah Chrome.

The Batusis “S/T” EP

“New York City’s Such A Whore!” (-Electric Frankenstein)ATTN CITIZENS: Speaking as someone who got chased out of public schools for dressing alot like Karen O, at her splashiest, way back in the mid-eighties, I can tell ya, not just anyone can rock the Raggedy Andy look, and “Make It Work”, like Sylvain Sylvain. He’s the only guy I ever saw wearing the “one armed bandit” style, half-sleeveless, leather jacket, and with the personality to carry it off! Not to mention the umbrella hat, or all those kooky jump-suits with lemon piping and eight-inch platform heels he wore before Kiss. When me, and Gunfire Dance, and the Throbs, and Mister Ratboy all started wearing those velvet newsboy caps, in the flash metal era, who but SYLVAIN had already integrated the Little Rascals look into rock’n’roll? Even THE OSMONDS used to copy Sylvain’s crazy looks.
In addition, to cutting quite a dash throughout the decades, and introducing so many styles, and sounds, inventing the fads, and setting the trends, SYLVAIN SYLVAIN has been at the heart of every significant “movement” of the real rock’n’roll era. Heck, the notorious Sex Pistols manager even swindled their best guitar offa, who else, but Sylvain. The NY Dolls have meant so much, to so many. From Morrissey, and the punks, to the drag queens, to the Hair-metallers. Their fans are like a big dysfunctional family-true bohemians, poseurs, junkies, aristocracy, gutter bums, and socialites. The Dolls and their fans are obviously, the “OUR GANG” of rock’n’roll.
I was only two, or three, when the Dolls were getting together, but as a pre-teen, in the early eighties, they made such a big impression on me. Vividly, I recall being just captivated by Alice Cooper in his Wonder Woman t-shirt and silver sequined trousers in the “I’m Eighteen” video, Iggy’s platinum panther “Raw Power” look, Bowie, and all those Dolls album sleeves. Yeah, they only had two studio l.p.’s, but by the time, my rock dreams started blossoming, there were loads of repackaged, reissues, and bootlegs, etc. It was a good decade before I got a hold of Nina’s first Thunders book, so it was mostly old ROCK SCENES and CREEMS, we’d find at garage sales and flea markets. Even the record stores just had stacks of ’em, in boxes, for like a quarter each-there was no internet, and the record store owners weren’t as obnoxiously greedy, back then. I didn’t have no videos of ’em, for years, until someone finally started circulating that dodgy “Live In A Dolls House” VHS tape, so I just stared and stared at the album covers, and waited for my chance to split for Manhattan. I remember when I was young, people wanted to kill me for being a Dolls fan, and that tended to really bond me to my fellow travelers, the other true believers, misfits, jetboys, and rock’n’rollers, who were few and far between, out here in rural, fly-over country….so when I moved to the city, and I initially encountered some less-than-kind people who were flyin’ the Dolls colors, I was really actually shocked for a long while. All the Dolls people I’d ever known, previously, were soul brothers, you understand. It STILL gets in my crawl, sometimes, to see one of those vapid, mainstream, television bimbos, wearing a Dolls t-shirt. Sylvain was one of the few people I confided in, when one of my most beloved family members died, and I was absolutely shattered by it. He innately understood. He’s probably the friendliest rockstar who ever lived. Totally a fan, at heart. Humble, generous, genuine, with a hit wit. Everything you’d want him to be.
After delivering two near-perfect comeback platters with a reconstituted NY DOLLS, Steve Conte and Sam Yaffa have joined the Dolls influenced Michael Monroe, to continue their against the wind campaign to bring back true rock’n’roll without permission, David Johansen’s been doing some bluesy solo gigs, and Saint Sylvain’s joined forced with the kamikaze guitar punk, Cheetah Chrome, and various members of “Electric”-era The Cult and the Blackhearts, wowing life-long fans, currently touring all over the nation as THE BATUSIS.
Cheetah Chrome is the embodiment of wildass rock’n’roll, like Lemmy, or Keef. There’s only one Cheetah Chrome, y’know? It’s hard for me to even discuss what Cheetah and Stiv meant to this Catholic School expulsion, it’s like trying to soundbite the book that first captured your imagination and made you leave home, to seek out a freer existence, unhindered by witch-hunting, tv-watching, hate-radio programmed, flag waving, Wal-Mart shopping, video-game playing, McDonald’s worshipping, suburban nazis and smalltown hard-on authoritarians. It’s like talking about your kids or grandparents-no frivolous matter, something we only talk about as dawn approaches with our tightest amigos.
The Hat Brothers 45 of “Still Wanna Die”. “Here Comes Trouble”. That Ghetto Dogs e.p. on swirly colored vinyl directly resulted in at least one of my own junkyard drunk bands.
“USED TO BE FUN” just SLAYS me: “Kids don’t hang out on the corners no more-they’ve all gone inside…” It’s like Stiv’s “King Of The Brats”, Tom Wait’s “Hold On”, Lazy Cowgirls “Somewhere Down The Line”, Steve Earle’s “Livin’ In The Motherfuckin’ U.S.A.”, or Dee Dee Ramone’s “Poison Heart”. One of those songs that just said EVERYTHING to me.
Cos it used to be FUN. The BATUSIS e.p. sounds exactly like you think it should. If you are too stuck on Johnny Thunders to buy the New New York Dolls records, there’s a good chance you ain’t heard nothin’ this primo since the Waldos “Rent Party”, or the Humpers “Positively Sick On Fourth Street”. Remember how ON FIRE Electric Frankenstein were, in the early days, with Steve Miller? “It’s All Moving Faster”, or the Bobby No More-inspired, “Demolition Joyride”? The Batusis got that same crunchy, ferocious, effortlessly badass, streetpunk down to a science, this is Cheetan and Syl, it just emanates from their core, they have to try really hard to NOT ROCK, so, instantly, you think of how so few groups can do this type of music, authoritatively, anymore…There’s Silver from Norway…that first Stereo Junks e.p. from Finland was pretty good….but mostly, all ya ever hear is that trendy, third-rate, Strokes/Bomb Turks/Hives/Stripes wanna-be, middle-class, poseur, gutless shit that rarely comes within 100 miles of the Batusis’ soul and truth.
It’s funny that they open with “Blue’s Theme” from the “Wild Angels” soundtrack, cos the dangerous biker Vietnam Vet that adopted me and my childhood guitarist, as kids, and who is responsible for all of my unforgivable, G.G. Allin style tattoos, just loves dat tune.
Second song reminds you of Keith Richards, with the slasher riffs, and Johnny Johnson/Ian McLagan/Greg Kuehn style piano pounding, courtesy of Monsieur Mizrahi.
“What You Lack In Brains” reminds me of this baffled blonde I used to know, who had me, the singer of Buck Cherry, J.C. from N’Synch, and a violent Weiland clone with no money and a bad temper, all on her speed dial, and just couldn’t decide…Funny, cool, reminds me of Syl’s solo albums.
“Bury You Alive” is Cheetah protest punk, shades of Stiv. Three chords and a grudge, two fingers in the air, a pox upon the oil barons, torture mongers, secret police, media-monopolizing, murderous, fortunate son, global elite, false flag, prison building, propaganda pimping, Constitution shredding, taser-wielding, thug-financing, austerity bringing, police state shysters who contentedly enslave kids in Wal-Mart swet-shops, contaminate the food supply with G.M.O.’s, pollute the skies with geo-engineering experiments, destroy the Gulf, bust unions, stir-up phony racial divisions, and occupy poor people all over the planet for Fun and Profit. It’s about how nationalism is just power-hunger, tempered by self-deception. ‘Makes you wanna watch “Democracy Now”. Bator would be very proud.
“Big Cat Stomp” is one of those sleazy instrumentals only oldschool motherfuckers like these BATUSIS can successfully bring to life. Right The Fuck On. Come On, Commissioner Gordon! To the Bat Signal!(-Anguish Young)