Dead Boys - Young Loud and Snotty (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Dead Boys

Young Loud and Snotty (1977)


If the Ramones were the The Beatles of punk, then the Dead Boys were the Rolling Stones. While the Ramones may have perfected the punk blueprint, the Dead Boys made it sexy and dangerous. Forty years after it first blistered eardrums, Young Loud and Snotty still stands as a definitive statement of what punk was in New York City in 1977.

The album opened with one of greatest, if not the greatest punk song of all time. “Sonic Reducer” has aged like a fine wine. Even all these years later, it still has the power to make the hair stand up on the back of your neck. It was like an updated version of The Stooges’ “Search and Destroy” with singer Stiv Bators channeling his inner Iggy Pop to go along with his ever present inner Mick Jagger. Bators was the prototypical, contorted, shirtless punk frontman. He was an unpredictable wildman, and stood in stark contrast to Joey Ramone’s soulful stoic. His words dripped with obnoxious attitude. He was, well, the very definition of snotty.

Where Johnny Ramone’s guitar was a study in fast, precision downstrokes, Cheetah Chrome and Jimmy Zero’s guitar playing was firmly rooted in the blues. (Like Keith Richards.) The twin guitars had what could only be described as swagger. They wrapped around one another like snakes, with Chrome’s slinky leads perfectly complementing Zero’s memorable riffs. “All This and More” shuffled along like a relic from an earlier era, and the chorus made it the band’s de facto theme song. “What Love Is” was about as close as the Dead Boys got to an upbeat pop song. “Not Anymore” was the most melancholy tune on the Young, Loud and Snotty, and was really the only song where Stiv showed any vulnerability. “Ain’t Nothin’ To Do” perfectly captured the bored state of the youth at the time (and today).

“Caught With the Meat In Your Mouth” and “I Need Lunch” were two of the most overtly sexual songs to come from the CBGB scene. (Not counting Wayne County.) They came from a different era, before the puritanical influence of hardcore set in. “High Tension Wire” built in intensity across its three minutes with the help of bassist Jeff Magnum and drummer Johnny Blitz. It also had one of the catchiest choruses on the record. “Down in Flames” was extremely chaotic and ended with what felt like an improvised train wreck. Truth be told, every song on Young, Loud and Snotty is a classic.

Unfortunately, the Beatles/Stones comparison doesn’t work when it comes to longevity. The Dead Boys would only last for one more album, 1978’s overproduced, underrated and often overlooked We Have Come For Your Children. Fortunately, these five Cleveland transplants were able to accomplish something that most bands only dream of. They made a record for the ages. A perfect punk rock record. It’s impossible to overestimate the influence of Young, Loud and Snotty. It is simply one of the greatest albums ever made and should be a cornerstone of any self-respecting punk’s record collection.