Back during the halcyon, freewheeling, non-PC, “fuck ‘em if they can’t take a joke” days of the original punk rock from the 70s, when, as GLEN DANZIG correctly pointed out, it wouldn’t have even existed had the cancel culture of today been around in the 70s, it seemed that punk rock really only had one defining characteristic; that it be rock made by punks, also known as nogoodniks, troublemakers, assholes, juvenile delinquents, and just all around bad kids.

And, what album defines this better than Young, Loud, and Snotty, the first album by Cleveland, Ohio’s DEAD BOYS? It was released in October of 1977, right around the time that the Sex Pistols released Never Mind the Bollocks… Here’s the Sex Pistols, but received only a fraction of the attention.

The reason for this, quite simply, is that Dead Boys were viewed as heavy metal knuckleheads wearing punk garb, singing about being assholes, and just being rude and offensive without any overarching political or artistic motive behind what they were doing; or like a lower IQ IGGY AND THE STOOGES. But, I mean, at the end of the day, it is punk, isn’t it?

But, hey, the critics may have had a point. Like THE SAINTS, THE STRANGLERS, and SLAUGHTER AND THE DOGS, the Dead Boys were just a rock ‘n’ roll band that happened to make music that coincided with what became known as punk rock. On one hand, they have all the punk rock window dressing, from singer Stiv Bators’ slurred, pissed off shouting, which manages to be obnoxious and punky without doing the Cockney accent, to the members’ punky names – lead guitarist Cheetah Chrome, rhythm guitarist Jimmy Zero, bassist Jeff Magnum, and drummer Johnny Blitz – and songs that are raw, aggressive, fairly short, kinda fast, and poorly produced.

So, from the surface, if your definition of punk is just raw, lo-fi, hard edged, rock ‘n’ roll, then, yeah, that’s Young, Loud, and Snotty. But, that’s betrayed by the fact that some of the music sounds more like hard rock. For instance, check out the two slow songs “Not Anymore” and “High Tension Wire.” The excellent duel guitar interplay on those sounds closer to Glenn Buxton and Michael Bruce from ALICE COOPER than, say, the 1-4-5 aggressive down-strumming of Johnny Ramone.

The palm muted “chugga-chugga” riff in the song “Down in Flames” has had a few of my metal head friends saying how that sounds like thrash metal, then, well, punk. And, I dare you to listen to the tasteful as heck “Caught with the Meat in Your Mouth”, and tell me that’s not “Tie Your Mother Down”, only a little faster!

I mean, sure, you have the freakin’ four-chord punk anthem “Sonic Reducer”, which kicks off the album, but even that one has some dynamics vis-à-vis two guitar chords played in succession, some phasing on the cymbals, playing the root notes of the four chords while the second guitar produces a high-pitched sound, a few tom hits, and then, WHAMMO, the song firing on all cylinders. Call it punk all you want, but there’s a reason why OVERKILL had no problem covering it on their first album! Yeah, yeah, I know MEGADETH covered “Anarchy in the U.K.”, and Metallica covered those MISFITS and DISCHARGE songs. But, of these, “Sonic Reducer” is the one that most easily translates to metal.

Not to mention that GnR coverd “Ain’t It Fun” from the second DEAD BOYS album, We Have Come for Your Children, but we’ll save that for another time.

You DO have a couple anti-social punky gems on
Young, Loud, and Snotty, like “What Love Is” and “Ain’t Nothin’ to Do.” You also have a couple of mid-tempo tunes, which kinda sound like the slower songs on Never Mind the Bollocks. There’s the catchy-as-all-hell statutory rape admission “All This and More”, which is so catchy, mind you, that I had TWO girlfriends lovin’ the bejeezus out of this absolutely trashy little song and its romantic rhyming couplet “all this and more, little girl/how about on the floor, little girl”, and “I Need Lunch”, a tribute to local New York no-talent no-wave queen LYDIA LUNCH, and just sluts in general. Left-wing sluts, that is, since this is punk we’re talking about!

And, rounding out the ten-track, 30-minute LP, is a cover of “Hey Little Girl” by mid-60s garage rockers SYNDICATE OF SOUND, recorded live at New York’s CBGB’s, because why not?

Anyway, it’s one of those punk rock classics that the artsy-fartsy and political guys don’t talk about, since they can’t find a way to crowbar it into their pretentious art or political movements. Good. Who needs ‘em? It’s only rock ‘n’ roll. GOOD rock ‘n’ roll. Buy it.

Edwin Oslan
Revenge of Riff Raff
10th October, 2021

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