In the mid to late 70's, there were many bands formed in the wake of the Ramones and the Sex Pistols. Most pulled influence from either the art-punk chic of New York or the speed infused pop of England, but Cleveland's the Dead Boys steered clear of New York's pretentiousness and England's political affiliations opting to rather adhere to a more working class mentality. With their motto of "F#ck art, let's rock," they set about making music that drew influences from Detroit's wild and loose proto-punks the Stooges and the Mc5, Black Sabbath's doom and gloom, Alice Cooper's violent theatrics, the New York Dolls' trashy sleaze and, of course, Iggy Pop's energetic, blood-soaked persona. After moving to New York at the invite of Joey Ramone, the Dead Boys took up residency at CBGB's and also took on its owner, Hilly Crystal, as their manager. They made two proper studio albums, but the essential Dead Boys purchase will always be Young Loud and Snotty (originally released 1977).
1- Sonic reducer- The Dead Boys anthem. From the opening flange and feedback to its final pummeling chords, the song never lets up. Duel guitarists (an uncommon trait for most punk bands) Cheetah Chrome and Jimmy Zero start the song off with a call and response guitar part and are soon joined by the bands rhythm section of Jeff Magnum (Bass) and Johnny Blitz (Drums). Singer Stiv Bators (Iggy Pop's second favorite singer after Jim Morrison) completes the picture with his aggressive vocals and anti-social lyrics. He also proves to have quite a falsetto during the chorus. The Dead Boys manage to not only display better songwriting and musicianship of most punk bands of the era but also to out-do them in the performance category with their wild, dangerous and violent style which are all represented well in this song. 5/5
2- All This And More- Shows an almost poppy side of the Dead Boys but still is an excellent, hard rocking song. Written by Jimmy Zero, who was the band�s most avid pop fan, it is sure to remain on replay in your head long after listening. A lumbering guitar riff complete with handclaps, staccato snare drumming, and tom rolls begins the song and pre-dates bands such as Black Flag�s use of strange sounding guitars. The intro leads into an infectiously catchy guitar riff and Stiv�s moaning and semi-risqu� lyrics. The rest of the band joins in the chorus of �I�m just a Dead Boy/ You know that I�m just a Dead Boy/ I wanna be a Dead Boy� before Stiv�s promise of �I�ll die for you/ If you want me to� and a nice drum and tambourine break courtesy of Johnny Blitz. The band reverts to the intro riff while Cheetah Chrome lays a brilliant two note solo over it. This song keeps the driving pace set by the album�s opening song and leads well into the next. 4/5
3- What Love Is- A fast paced and high energy song. It shows a more traditional Rock side of the Dead Boys with their use of a standard E D A chord sequence utilized by bands such as AC/DC, but it�s blistering pace and high energy of its delivery keep it from the realms of staleness. This song may be the closest thing on the album to a Stooges party/ rave up tune. The chorus also contains Jimmy Zero and Cheetah Chrome�s more direct Rock riffs. The song appears to be sung by multiple members of the band but it is also possible that Stiv�s vocals were double tracked. Whatever the case may be, we get another listen of Stiv�s falsetto. For the solo, Cheetah Chrome uses even more Dick Dale-esque reverb than usually applied. One of the album's shorter songs at 2:10. 4/5
4- Not Anymore- The albums ballad. Stiv's vocal performance for this song is noticeably restrained for the verse but he and the band throttle the chorus. The guitar begins the song with arpeggio minor chords and a cymbal crescendo before building up to the verse. The guitar arpeggio continues with the second guitar playing palm muted or ringing chords. The band then quit down while Stiv sings about New York�s multitude of homeless who �Sing your hymns for a cup of soup� and are �So hungry I don�t care.� The song boasts a semi-epic chorus, some of the band�s most delicate guitar work (with the exception of, perhaps, Ain�t it Fun), and shows a vulnerability an melancholy about the Dead Boys that wouldn�t be expected of a band who regularly staged mock-hangings, dragged used gum of the floor before re-chewing it, and generally behaved like barbarians. 3.5/5
5- Ain't Nothin' To Do- The Dead Boys return to high energy form on this song. The chugging rhythm guitars (and, finally, an audible bass) lead into a Black Sabbath on speed verse and a dark sounding almost Rockabilly chorus. The bridge continues the song�s sequence of standout riffs that seem to cover most of the Dead Boy�s seminal influences in seven chords total; from the New York Doll�s trashy glam, to Black Sabbath�s doom and gloom, and the Stooge�s raw power. Leading into the solo, Stiv imitates the rhythm guitar sound before a cry of �Punch out.� A quintessential Chrome solo follows. In this song, they also manage to keep �Ain�t nothin� to do� from sounding like a punk clich� as they sing about beating up hippies (I�m gonna beat up the next hippy I see/ Maybe I�ll beat up you), knocking down old men (I�m gonna knock down the next old man I see/ Maybe I�ll be knocking down you), and their lack of anything to do besides play in a band comprised of degenerates. 4.5/5
6- Caught With The Meat In Your Mouth- The meaning of this song is quite self explanatory. Their lack of respect for women is also immediately evident when the lyric �Everyone knows you been caught with the meat in your mouth� is first spat out. In it, the band plays a sort of Rockabilly backing while Stiv takes the opportunity to display his mastery of a variety of odd noises. For the solo, clashing notes are applied that recall the �Funhouse� era Stooges. Although it is a decent song, it sounds a bit like filler. 3/5
7- Hey Little Girl- A cover of the Syndicate of Sound�s garage standard recorded live at CBGB�s. Stiv once said that the Dead Boys sound was a marriage of their love for thrashing Rock, such as the Stooges and the Mc5, and 60�s pop and garage tunes. The thrash side gave them their hard edged sound and the pop side granted them their accessibility (what little they had). On the bright side, Jeff Magnum�s bass is very prominent on this recording and proves that he was as skilled a player as any member of the Dead Boys. The guitars and drums play well and Stiv shows his capabilities of carrying a tune. This recording, however, fails to conjure the excitement of Night of the Living Dead Boys (their monumental live album) but is very catchy and a good cover. 3/5
8- I Need Lunch- Showcases Cheetah Chrome�s soloing, Johnny Blitz�s excellent drumming, and Stiv Bator�s chauvinistic and offensive lyrics. It, like �What Love Is,� follows a basic E D A chord progression. The intro has a sort of backward cymbal crescendo and stinging chords before allowing Stiv room to croon �I-I don�t need your company/ Girls like you they come for free.� There is much room given to the drums and guitar to shine on this song with heavy, Keith Moon-like fills and some more of the band�s early Rock and Roll inspired riffs similar to those of AC/DC. The subject matter is very much in the mold of Caught with the Meat in Your Mouth with its title a metaphor for oral sex. We, also, see Stiv serenading his lucky lady with �Don�t look at me that way bitch/ Your face is gonna get a punch.� Another example of the Dead Boys� more stripped down, Mid-Western, straight ahead, Rock and Roll sound. 3.5/5
9- High Tension Wire- Ties with Sonic Reducer for best song on the album. It has a darker, gloomier sound that the Dead Boys are often characterized by and borders on the realms of insanity with its paranoid vocals and unhinged instrumentation. The song�s intro and main guitar part features what is known as the �Devil�s Third� (a clashing sequence of two notes introduced to modern music by the likes of Black Sabbath�s Toni Iommi) and gives the song much of it�s gloomy sound. The drums are on another planet for this one with Johnny Blitz playing everything unexpected of a punk drummer. Stiv�s lyrics once again are an inside look into the fast lives of the band�s members and their various chemical abuses and a sorrowful premonition of sorts with words such as �Living too fast got my head in full throttle/ I saw a side screaming skull in the bottom of a bottle� that speak volumes of future casualties of the New York punk scene. The song�s breakdown presents heavy jungle sounding drums, a metallic solo, and intertwining guitar parts but the Dead Boys pull it all off without sounding over complicated. The beautifully executed guitar parts and outstanding rhythm section work are completed by Stiv�s animal-like vocals and provide �Sonic Reducer� with competition for best Dead Boys song. Classic Dead Boys. 5/5
10- Down In Flames- The final song on the original album. This is the song that gave the Dead Boys their name (from their lyric �Dead Boy running scared�). The band is back singing this one along with Stiv, as heard in �What Love Is,� and once again, E D A is repeated to the full effect. But the song�s storming tempo and snarling energy inject this already deadly formula with fresh blood. A great, high energy closing song with a manic solo, high pitched mechanical shrieking, an �incendiary introduction� done by �Punk of the month� Ronald Binder, and the sound of clanging metal that recalls their youth among the Mid-West�s many steel mills. An excellent closer to an excellent album. 4.5/5
11- Not Anymore/ Ain�t Nothin� To Do (Medley) - The album�s most blatant filler. While it is a little interesting to hear these alternate versions, it is an unnecessary inclusion. Not Anymore contains extra reverb a slightly more lyrical solo but other than that, there are no real differences. Ain�t Nothin� To Do provides a clearer drum sound and an extended ending containing scratchy guitar noise and Stiv�s wailing. The biggest difference in these versions is possibly during what would have been the ending to �Ain�t Nothin� To Do� when Stiv and Cheetah exchange dialogue with �Hey Cheetah� �Yeah Stiv?� �I�m bored let�s go pick up some Hilly girls or something� �Alright!� or the harmonization during the �Not Anymore� solo. 3/5
Overall, this album is a classic for anyone remotely interested in gritty, American rock and roll. I have heard many times that, if less filler was included, Young Loud and Snotty would be the greatest album of American punk�s second wave. After multiple listens, I believe it as well. With bands such as Black Flag, Guns �N� Roses, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, etc. and a vast contingent of bands of assorted genres claiming the Dead Boys as a major influence, their importance can not, for better or for worse, be taken lightly. It may be difficult to track down in your local record store but it is well worth searching for. This is my first review and any feedback would be appreciated.