Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 27
the time punk came around; he was a hell of
a lot more punk than the Clash, if you ask me.
Were you aware of Ohio bands like the
James Gang or the Raspberries?
Both bands played regularly at bars and teen
clubs in Cleveland, doing covers and original
stuff. Joe Walsh was just insanely good back
then, as was Wally Bryson, who had this
weird setup - a Fender Champ run through
a Marshall. But it sounded great!
What do you remember about the Young,
Loud & Snotty sessions at Electric Lady
Studios 40 years ago?
Really, it's a blur of beer, speed, Hell's Angels
members, and long walks to wind down enough
to sleep. I ran into Peter Frampton - then the
biggest rock star in the world - and growled in
his face, which was a high point. Watching [late
Dead Boys singer] Stiv Bators do his vocals was
the biggest revelation. We'd never really been
able to hear him and he sounded great!
How did you recapture that energy for
Still Snotty: Young, Loud and Snotty at 40?
The Dead Boys Live Again
chords. Mom, bless her heart, recognized I
had a calling and supported me 100 percent.
Were you one of those kids who saw the
Beatles play "The Ed Sullivan Show " and
wanted to play guitar?
At that time, anything on my transistor
radio! I constantly listened to WIXY in Cleveland and CKLW from Detroit. The Beatles
were my gateway to Elvis, Johnny Cash, Roy
Orbison, and Tamla Motown. The British
Invasion began in earnest then and I sat with
a radio by my ear and guitar in hand. Not
surprisingly, my school work took a nosedive.
By a fortunate mistake, Mom later bought me
the first Stooges album as a birthday present,
and my tastes got permanently twisted! That
led me to scouring record stores and picking
up stuff like the MC5 and New York Dolls.
Cheetah Chrome: Jeff Fasano.
s the punk rebellion exploded in 1977,
the New York scene became dominated
by the Ramones, Television, Patti Smith,
Richard Hell & the Voidoids, and (newly
transplanted from Cleveland) a group called
the Dead Boys. More than 40 years later,
two original members - guitarist Cheetah
Chrome and drummer Johnny Blitz - have
re-created the Dead Boys' debut LP. This new
set, Still Snotty: Young Loud And Snotty at
40, is a powerhouse recording and confirms
that Cheetah still has the ferocious attitude
that made him a punk icon four decades ago.
Oh, I was watching that very night, and
knew from the first notes what I would be
doing for the rest of my life. I began bugging
my mom the next day, asking for a guitar.
About three months later, I had a cheap plastic
one with gut strings and learned a few basic
Who were some of your guitar influences?
You use a lot of driving double-stops,
like Chuck Berry.
Chuck was high on the list, though I found
myself drawn more to Keith Richards' interpretations than the originals. I think it's a
crime Chuck got kind of swept aside around
Mainly, we just went after strong guitar
sounds and a big, clear drum sound, not that
the original wasn't plenty big. We weren't
trying to outdo the original, as we think this
new one stands up fine. We just wanted to
imagine how it may have sounded if we'd had
the opportunity to go back in. I'm happy to
say I think we got it.
American punk and British punk evolved
independently, but exploded at the same
time in the mid/late '70s. How did that
There was an awful lot of synchronicity
going on, that's for sure. If you see early pics of
me, Johnny Rotten, or Mick Jones, we all had
long hair and looked like typical '70s hippiethug types! I know early bands like Rocket
From The Tomb and London SS were active
at roughly the same time, while Joe Strummer
had the 101'ers before the Clash. And you had
Doctors of Madness, Skyhooks, and AC/DC
in Australia. The punk revolution was coming
from all over the planet!
You're now playing now a red Gibson SG.
That's my baby. I love that guitar and have
had it since around 2000.
What's in your amp rig?
My main recording rig is a '61 Silvertone
1483 and a '60s Supro Bantam, split through
an A/B box and miked together. I use a Rat
distortion for a boost when needed. Live, I just
use one of the Marshall JCM800 half-stacks
owned by [current Dead Boys co-guitarist]
Ginchy. I hope to figure out a way to use the
Silvertone and Supro rig on the road, but they
didn't build them for that sort of abuse. I do
miss them out there! - Pete Prown