Straight outta Cleveland, the Dead Boys probably were never meant to climb the long and treacherous path to rock stardom. They were too aggressive, too uncontrollable and too willing to do almost anything – no matter how foolhardy or repellent – to engage an audience. Guitarist Gene O'Connor aka Cheetah Chrome had been part of the influential but unrecorded band Rocket from the Tombs. When he and singer Stiv Bators formed the Dead Boys in 1976, they incorporated several of RFTT's best songs into their repertoire, including "Sonic Reducer," with O'Connor's rapid-fire eighth-note guitar riff bolted to the ingenious lyrics of RFTT frontman David Thomas (later of experimental rockers Pere Ubu). In 1977, the song was released as a single with b side "Down in Flames" and also included on the Dead Boys' debut album, Young, Loud and Snotty. After two albums and a couple of chaotic tours, the Dead Boys broke up in 1979. But "Sonic Reducer" became an American punk-rock standard that continues to resonate with new audiences: It was covered by 2012 Hall of Fame Inductees Guns n' Roses and sampled by 2012 Hall of Fame Inductees the Beastie Boys on"Open Letter to NYC," a track from their 2004 album To the 5 Boroughs. The Dead Boys are among the artists featured in the Cleveland Rocks exhibit, located in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum's Ahmet M. Ertegun Exhibition Hall. The Cleveland Rocks exhibit includes artifacts from the careers of Alan Freed, Bobby Womack, Joe Walsh, the Outsiders, the Raspberries, Pere Ubu, Wild Cherry and many more.
WATCH: Dead Boys perform "Sonic Reducer" live