Cheetah Chrome was a kid from the projects in Cleveland who made his way to becoming a member of one of the most influential punk bands
in the U.S. – the Dead Boys. In Cheetah Chrome: A Dead Boy's Tale From the Front Lines of Punk Rock
he documents his career in lurid, sometimes painful detail, and creates a time capsule that captures the heyday of American punk.
In 1977, the Dead Boys burst upon the New York scene, formed from another hallowed band, Rocket From The Tombs (who never actually saw an official recorded release until 2002), and immediately grabbed it for all it was worth. Notorious for their energetic and out of control performances, the band was a solid part of the CBGB scene, and their song "Sonic Reducer" remains one of the best punk songs to ever come out of the U.S.
This is all musical history that Chrome relates in detail through the book. But along the way, were the stories of rock and roll excess that killed many great talents in the scene and nearly killed many more. It's these stories of excess, which Chrome refuses to shy away from, that make this book so excellent.
Iggy Pop, John Lydon, Sid Vicious, Johnny Thunders and all the varied and colorful names from the era make appearances in this book - some at the peak of their careers and some not so much so - and Chrome's ability to recount these moments makes for great storytelling and insight into the inner workings of the New York Scene.
The years found Chrome dealing deeply with serious drug problems - almost resulting in his death. His ability to turn things around when many of his contemporaries never did, and to continue to play music that is energetic and relevant makes him one of the biggest successes of the era as well, no matter what commercial sales seem to report.
Cheetah Chrome: A Dead Boy's Tale From the Front Lines of Punk Rock is one of those books that will serve to become a classic document of punk rock, and of one of it's biggest names. When a boy rises from the projects to become a rock star, nearly loses it all to excesses and manages to turn it around in order to settle down with the girl and the child it's classic Hollywood fodder. But when that story is entirely true, it's inspirational.
Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy