Who Says Dead Boys Tell No Tales? A Conversation with Punk Rock Living Legend Cheetah Chrome
"Rock and roll is kind of like hitting yourself in the head with a hammer, the way it feels good when you stop." ~~ Cheetah Chrome (Lead guitarist, Dead Boys, Rocket from the Tombs, Batusis)
As Batusis was preparing to hit the studio for their first full-length record on Smog Veil Records, I had a chance to talk to Cheetah Chrome. As the guitarist for the Dead Boys and Rocket from the Tombs, Cheetah is considered to be one of the most influential guitarists to come out of the late '70's punk scene.
The Dead Boys, along with the Ramones and the New York Dolls, were staples at New York's CBGB, where once-owner, the late Hilly Kristal, took all of them in, made them punk legends, handled their drug-ravaged finances, their broken bodies and egos, and their barroom brawling brotherly antics. Unfortunately many of the original punks are no longer around, some gone to cancer and more to another sort of cancer, one that has slashed heavily, a grim-reaper-like swathe, through their ranks over the years: drugs.
Video: Interviews From The Edge Cheetah Chrome from Dead Boys to Batusis Punk History Pt 1
Cheetah Chrome was nearly taken out of the game himself, but thanks to divine "Hilly" intervention he has managed to survive, to get clean. To enjoy his surviving friends, his wife and son. To play his music again. But the price to survive stone-cold sober is high. It means facing life with many of those whom he loved gone. They were all young, loud and snotty. Locked and loaded. They were best friends, and best enemies as well. Now too few remain, in any condition, to tell the tales of the New York punk scene.
Video: Interviews From The Edge Cheetah Chrome from Dead Boys to Batusis Punk History Pt 2
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Along with the iconic band, Batusis, that Cheetah has formed with fellow-journeyer, New York Dolls' guitarist, Sylvain Sylvain, which boasts as well, legendary drummer Lez Warner from The Cult, and bassist Sean Koos from The Blackhearts, Cheetah has also recently released his biography, A Dead Boy's Tale: From the Front Lines of Punk Rock. It is a book that covers not only Cheetah's life but finally, at long last, a first-hand, and sober, accounting of life inside the infamous circle of New York punks.