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25th Anniversary of the Death of Stiv Bators, The Dead Boys

by George Tabb | | 0 comments

This month commemorates 25 Year since Stiv Bators, Lead Singer of the Dead Boys and Lords of the New Church, was hit by a bus in Paris, and died of internal injuries.  
An infamous bad boy of Rock, and  a true icon, Stiv is remembered by Volume & Tone's Co-Founder, George Tabb.
“I’m taking your shoes away,” explains the road manager of The Lords Of The New Church.
“What for?” asked Stiv Bators, the singer of the rock group.
“So you don’t run away and almost miss a show like last night,” explains their manager, who looks to be at least ten years younger then the elfish singer, who was so tiny and skinny he would regularly roll himself up into a little ball inside the bass drum of his old band, The Dead Boys.
“Aw, fuck you,” says Stiv, all five feet one of him and about 98 pounds, “really?”
“You can’t keep fucking up and putting your band’s jobs, never mind mine, in danger.  The label would have all our heads!” says the manager, like it’s his one billionth time explaining this to the tiny vocalist, who sometimes resembles an evil seal when he balances a mic stand on his nose along with his bubblegum.
Stiv sighs in agreement and gives the guy his little pointed elf boots.
“The socks, too!” says the manager.
“Fucking really?” yells Stiv.
“Naw, just fucking with you,” says the guy, “lighten up”.
With boots in hand, Stiv’s manager walks away.  As he does, Stiv Bators motions for me and my band, Roach Motel, to approach.  When the manager is around the corner out of sight, we do.
“Meet me around the back explains Stiv,” as he rolls his black jeans down over his once boot covered black socks.
“Huh?” I ask him.  
We are at the Holiday Inn in Gainesville Florida and it’s only about 95 degrees at midnight.  Never mind the humidity.
“Meet me around the back,” says Stiv again, a bit agitated.
I tell him I don’t know what he’s talking about.
“Meet me at the back window of my motel room,” the now half-snarling little demon barks at me, “Obviously I’m only on the second floor so I can jump.”
“But the bathroom window is tiny,” says my girlfriend, Natalie, and it only opens a few inches.
She knew.
We had once stayed there because neither of us could get rid of our college roommates for the evening.
The bathrooms were nice and clean, and even had the “Welcome To The Holiday Inn” paper banner wrapped around the toilet seat which gave the place instant class.
In our teenage brains at least.
We make our way to the back of the motel and sure enough, we see Stiv’s little head poking out of the window of room number 221.
“Catch,” yells Stiv in a sort of whisper as he throws down a small duffel bag full of clothes, and whatever else he may need for the evening.
As I catch it, I feel a couple of big bottles clink together.  
It’s a good thing I didn’t drop it.
“Okay,” says Mr. Bators, “here I come”.
With amazement, we watch as Stiv sucks in some of his gut and twists his head more sideways than humanly possible.
Bob, the singer of Roach Motel and I look at one another and at the same time say, “The Exorcist”.
Then Stiv shimmies and winds his way through the tiny opening of the tiny window.  He slithers like a baby snake until he is completely out and hanging by his little hands.
“Catch me!” he exclaims, and before we have time to even think, he’s falling toward us and somehow, all five of us caught him before his shoeless feet hit the ground.
“Alright,” exclaims Stiv Bators, “Now, let's go Party!”
Stiv Bators with George Tabb & Bob Fetz, Roach Motel, 1984

Tags: bob fetz, george tabb, icon, Lords of new church, Punk rock, Roach Motel, Stiv Bators, The Dead Boys

Turn It Up Tuesday - Algiers

by Amanda Griffin | | 0 comments

I recently discovered Algiers, and I am completely fascinated. I'm not talking about the capital city of Algeria, rather the band that is presently garnering a lot of press. Originally formed in Atlanta, GA, their sound draws heavily on their Southern roots, melding the sounds of gospel, punk and protest music. Their message calls loudly to social injustice and reform.

Upon first listen I instantly connected, feeling the old sounds of home. I grew up in a southern town rich in musical heritage, fostering spirituals, blues, country, gospel and rock. These resonate loudly in the songs of Algiers. Their use of manmade percussion - stomps, claps, foot taps, etc. - is especially reflective of early southern music and the call for change. Algiers have taken this up a notch and have created a modern reformation that speaks to many injustices and spans cultural divisions.

Their self-titled release dropped last week on Matador, and so far it's got my vote for best album this year. Check out a few of their new tracks below, and visit their website, which is a beautifully curated page of influences and inspiration. If you're in the NYC area tonight, they play an early show (8pm) at Mercury Lounge.

Tags: Algiers, Algiers Band, Gospel, Protest Music, Punk

Alice Cooper and the Snakes

by Amanda Griffin | | 0 comments

There is no shortage of stories around the oddball occurrences of Alice Cooper and his many famed snakes. While most did not belong to Cooper directly, many have joined him onstage for long runs, often spanning several years. Of all of the antics that occur on tour, Alice's seem more often than not to involve the reptiles and not the band members.

There is the famed L.A. House of Blues show where Alice's sidekick decided to defecate all over the stage. Repeatedly. While the amused audience thought it was part of the show, the band were not reveling in their joy. Needless to say, the snake friend was retired after that gig.

Another story centers around a show in Knoxville and country singer Charley Pride. According to Cooper, he returned from that night's performance and put boa Julius Squeezer in the bathtub for the evening. Upon waking the next morning, he discovered not only a missing snake, but also a missing toilet lid, as the hotel was newly constructed and still finalizing amenities. The snake had apparently gotten lost within the hotel's plumbing. The band skipped town sans snake, continuing on to the next gig. Two weeks later, Charley Pride checks into the (then) Hyatt Regency, only to discover the missing reptile. I don't even want to know how the discovery was made, though I'm sure it's a tour Mr. Pride would never forget.

Though numerous anecdotes abound, Cooper's snake antics seem to have dissipated in recent years. His stage partners are now relegated to local rentals from reputable handlers or sanctuaries and are returned to their homes following tour. Perhaps it's time for a new stage oddity.

Tags: Alice Cooper, Rock 'n' Roll, Shock Rock, Snakes

Max's Kansas City 50th Anniversary

by Amanda Griffin | | 0 comments

One of NYC's most iconic venues, Max's Kansas City, celebrates its 50th anniversary this weekend. Though the venue itself is long gone, it's history is legendary. It showcased a who's who of the NY underground, from Andy Warhol, Candy Darling, Velvet Underground, Patti Smith, New York Dolls, and many many more. Many other artists, designers and musicians also worked the restaurant there before moving on to bigger gigs, most notably Debbie Harry and Anton Perich.

Tonight kicks off a 4-night celebration at Bowery Electric marking Max's 50th Anniversary, with a two-night afterparty at Arlene's Grocery. Four-day passes for the shows can be purchased for $39, or you can purchase tickets for individual nights. Tickets are available at Bowery Electric or online through Ticketweb. Tickets for the afterparties are available online and in person at Arlene's Grocery. See below for the full schedule.

Tags: Andy Warhol, Blondie, Glam, Max's Kansas City, New York Dolls, NYC, NYC Venues, Punk, Rock