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Who knew that a scrawny kid from Youngstown, Ohio would become such a legendary player in rock history?

The skinny singer with a penchant for shock value onstage certainly held a torch in creating the punk rock movement. Snarly and vicious, Dead Boys’ singer Stiv Bators was known to get naked on the CBGB’s stage while pelting food into the crowd.

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‘Young, Loud, And Snotty’,  the 1977 album from The Dead Boys, made awkward teenage punks from broken homes feel empowered. Painfully shy and in need of an escape from the mediocre existence of suburban life, I stumbled upon this record at the Bionic record store across the street from my high school. Having never heard of them before, I blindly bought the CD on the faith that their punk sneers and dangerous name could provide.

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Stiv Bators and the gang slapped me in the face with the ‘Sonic Reducer’ lyrics, “I don’t need anyone, don’t need no mom and dad, don’t need no pretty face, don’t need no human race. I’ve got some news for you, don’t even need you too!” (lyrics by David Thomas)

I finally felt that being imperfect was an attribute and grew a spine to speak up for myself and say “screw you“, to anyone that didn’t like it. Stiv and the gang changed my life dramatically for the better.

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(Bebe Buell and Stiv Bators)

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(Lords Of The New Church)

When the Dead Boys broke up in 1979, Bators wanted badly to escape his image and earn respect as a pop rock singer. Nothing much came of his efforts. It wasn’t until the goth rock super-group of The Lords Of The New Church came along that he had some success. Stiv wrote about intelligent issues such as the corrupt government and the spoon-fed television helpings that keep people sedated enough to not see what’s really going on. A far cry from the nihilistic, angry, and apathetic Dead Boys tunes. Stiv called on Brian James of The Damned, Dave Tregunna of Sham 69 and Nick Turner of The Barracudas to form The Lords.  Stiv hung himself on stage at one of their shows and was pronounced dead for several minutes before being revived. Quite the finale.

“Once you’ve actually died on stage….. I mean, how do you top that?” – Stiv Bators