October 22, 2009
Though Iggy Pop did Iggy first (and better), STIV BATORS (1949-90) did Iggy with a striver’s zeal in the right place and at the right time. The arrival of the Dead Boys in 1977 marked the transition of CBGBs from a highbrow/lowbrow DMZ that hosted Television and the Ramones to a lowbrow rawk club. Of course, the greatest Dead Boys songs — “Ain’t it Fun,” “Sonic Reducer” — had their origins in the hilo Dead Boys precursor Rocket from the Tombs, the highbrow half of which went on to form Pere Ubu. Soon after playing with the Damned in a tour-cum-battle of the bands, the Dead Boys disbanded, ceding the field to the superior force (whose tempo was faster, songs better, and lyrics and pseudonyms smarter). Bators next formed The Wanderers and released a paranoid conspiracy concept album, Only Lovers Left Alive; and later collaborated with former Damned guitarist Brian James as the Lords of the New Church, which took The Wanderers’ lyrical themes further, but with a bit of the crazy sanded off — thus helping to usher in low-middlebrow hard rock. No wonder Axl Rose has claimed Bators, who always did have some David Lee Roth in him, as a spiritual kinsman.
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READ MORE about members of the Blank Generation (1944-53).