East Coast Rocker

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Donna Balancia and Vince Conrad Release Single ‘One Step at a Time’ to Help Hurricane Harvey Victims

Punk Rocker and The Writer Want to Give Back

By JOHN DALY

Donna Balancia, music journalist, and Vince Conrad, music producer and founder of bands The Smart Pills and American Bad Taste, have released a single called “One Step at a Time,” to help support the victims of Hurricane Harvey.  The single precedes the release of their album, City Streets.

Downloads of “One Step at a Time” are available on Bandcamp and CDBaby for $1.99 and a portion of all sales will go to Coastal Bend Food Bank, one of the organizations helping hurricane victims.

“We’ve endured a lot of tragedy this year, but we can’t forget the victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas.” Balancia said. “Vince and I want to help, even if it’s in some small way like a music download.”

 

One Step at a Time: ‘Like Aimee Mann Meets The Cars’ – Alyson Camus

“One Step at a Time” is an upbeat 1980s-style adult contemporary song similar in sound to The Cars, and Balancia’s melodious vocals sound like “an upbeat Aimee Mann,” according to a review by Alyson Camus in Rock NYC Live and Recorded. “The chorus will stay with you on first listen,” Camus writes.

“Vince is known for his work in the punk rock world and he’s a multi-talented musician,” Balancia said. “He’s a prolific songwriter, guitarist and arranger. I’m the wordsmith, singer, and melody composer. We’re releasing an EP in the fall, but this song, ‘One Step at a Time’ is being released early so that we can help the victims of Hurricane Harvey.”

Vince Conrad and Donna Balancia released upbeat 1980s-style single ‘One Step at a Time’ early to help raise money for hurricane victims – Photo by John Norris

The Punk Rocker and The Writer

Conrad who made his mark in the 1980s with punk bands The Smart Pills, The Aliens and American Bad Taste, recently released some hidden gems he unearthed while going through his storage unit.   He remastered and re-released several of the original punk recordings from the 1970s. Check out his website here at VinceConradProductions.com 

For disclaimer, Balancia is the editor of CaliforniaRocker.com and the president of The Entertainment Magazines LLC, the parent company to this site and several other websites that cover tourism, technology, film and music. As a hobby, she has been singing and playing music since she was a child, she says.

Conrad and Balancia crossed paths many times in the 1980s in New York City, but never actually met until their love of alternative music brought them together at a Los Angeles punk club to see a Walter Lure show.

Check out “One Step at a Time” and donate here at either at Bandcamp or CD Baby

For more information contact EastCoastRocker.com Editor Balancia at editor@californiarocker.com

Cheetah Chrome and Johnny Blitz Revive Punk’s Dead Boys with New Album and Tour

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW With Cheetah

By DONNA BALANCIA

The Dead Boys have come back to life.

Cheetah Chrome is touring with a renewed Dead Boys band and will be releasing a new album, Still Snotty: Young, Loud & Snotty at 40! 

It’s a reunion of sorts as drummer, Johnny Blitz, from the original Dead Boys rejoins Cheetah with Chinchy on guitar, Detroit punk legend Ricky Rat on bass and vocalist Jake Hout from ‘zombie’ Dead Boys tribute band, the Undead Boys. They launch their tour in Dallas on Sept. 7 and the album drops Sept. 8 on Plowboy Records.

“We have a band together now, and we have the opportunity to use the name,” Cheetah said. “And now I’m in the merch business.”

Cheetah Chrome is touring to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Dead Boys’ ‘Young Loud and Snotty’ – Photo by Heather Harris

 

Reunited and it Feel So Good

How does it feel to reunite with Johnny?

“Johnny”s totally happy to be back in the fold,” Cheetah said. “He says ‘You’re a good man, Chrome, this is fun.’ Me and Johnny have been playing since we were 15. We’re going back to the beginning with me and him. To have him come back and playing and having a great time getting along is really wonderful,” Cheetah said.

The Dead Boys Featuring Cheetah Chrome and Johnny Blitz Perform at The Bowery Electric on Sept. 17.

The Dead Boys were formed in 1976 and they put out the Young, Loud and Snotty album in 1977, which gave the world one of the most well-known punk songs, “Sonic Reducer.” After a second album, the band split in 1979. There were a couple of reunion gigs in 1980s, but after frontman Stiv Bators died in 1990, it was pretty much the end.

The Dead Boys featuring Cheetah Chrome and Johnny Blitz – Photo by Heather Harris

Dead Boys as Darlings

The Dead Boys were the darlings of the punk world. They’ve worked with everyone who was anyone in punk, ranging from Blondie to The Ramones. And there were rivalries in the punk world, especially between Stiv and the godfather of punk himself, Iggy Pop. But Iggy took Stiv’s death very hard and underneath all their competitive ways there was a great mutual respect, Cheetah said.

“We did three or four gigs with Iggy in the old days in the midwest,” Cheetah said. “And he joined us on stage in Cleveland one time.”

Cheetah Chrome and the Dead Boys are touring the East Coast – Photo courtesy of Cheetah Chrome

Cheetah Chrome and Facebook

Cheetah reconnected with another member of the Stooges, James Williamson after a few years.

“He disappeared and went to Sony,” Cheetah recalled. “As soon as he came back, he friended me on Facebook.”

Well now we went and did it, we mentioned the “F” word.

Cheetah has had some issues with that social network so he’s laying low these days. There’s been an unusual issue of not being able to use the name Cheetah Chrome. Instead, Facebook wants him to use his birth name.  It’s been something Cheetah has been fighting but to no avail. to no avail.

“Social media used to be fun,” he said.

But he hasn’t got a lot of time for it these days as the band has been touring and will put out a new record.

What would Stiv say if he were alive?

“He’d say ‘Why ain’t I involved?'” Cheetah said. “But of course if Stiv were alive he would have been asked to be involved.

What was his personality like?

“Stiv was a nut job on stage and a calmer nut hob off-stage,” Cheetah said. “Off stage, he was more softspoken and subtle. He was great.”

Jake and Cheetah Chrome – Photo © 2017 Heather Harris

Breakups and Reunions

Recalling the breakup of the Dead Boys, Cheetah minces no words: Seymour Stein cast the seeds of mistrust among us,” he said. “We imploded and we fell for old trick.”

What old trick is that?  Cheetah says management pitted the guys against each other.

“If the band goes away, it gets them off the hook for spending more money,” Cheetah said. “Seymour was saying ‘Punk is dead.’  The unity of the band was screwed up. We had gone from being ‘One for all’ to ‘Everybody for themselves.’  They wanted us to be something we weren’t. They wanted us to be The Cure and we couldn’t do that.”

What could the Dead Boys have done differently?

“The only thing we could have done was stick together,” Cheetah said.

Are there any tracks on the record Cheetah doesn’t like?

“‘Big City,’ ” Cheetah said. “I hated it, it’s a horrible song.”

The original album, Young, Loud and Snotty  wasn’t intended to be released as is, Cheetah said.

“We were told it’s going to be a demo so we could go back in and record.  But the next thing you know, they said, ‘We like the way it is, we’re not going to re-record.’ So we didn’t.”

Check out the Dead Boys on Facebook 

Video courtesy of Bryan Macnamara