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Cheetah Chrome: A Dead Boy's Tale: From the Front Lines of Punk Rock [Kindle Edition]

Cheetah Chrome , Legs McNeil
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Here is the autobiography of Cheetah Chrome, lead guitarist of the Dead Boys, one of the greatest punk bands ever. It’s a tale of success--and excess: great music, drugs (he overdosed and was pronounced dead three times), and resurrection.

The Dead Boys, with roots in the band Rocket from the Tombs, came out of Cleveland to dominate the NYC punk scene in the mid-1970s. Their hit “Sonic Reducer” soon became a punk anthem. Now, for the first time, Cheetah dishes on the people he’s known onstage and off, including the Dead Boys’ legendary singer Stiv Bators, Johnny Thunders of the New York Dolls, the Ramones, the Clash, Pere Ubu, and the Ghetto Dogs, as well as life at CBGBs, a year with Nico, and more.

 

Straight from the man, these are the backstage stories that every punk fan will want to hear. Never mind the Sex Pistols, here’s Cheetah Chrome!


Editorial Reviews

Review

“A Dead Boy's Tale is a fascinating read, not just revealing about the author's life but also informative about the music industry in general and this genre in particular. While there have been great books - especially the oral histories - describing the advent of punk music this memoir provides a fascinating more personal approach and it works well.” - BlogCritics.org
“Xmas Gifts That Don’t Suck”
“…a wild, and at times poignant, ride that fans of American music history and reckless behavior will treasure.” - My Old Kentucky Blog, October 6, 2010
“The Dead Boys have always been the Rodney Dangerfield of punk rock. They had the chops, but never really got the respect or credit they deserved for their role serving on the front lines of the New York punk scene in the late 70’s…[In Cheetah Chrome] The Dead Boys are finally getting some of the credit they deserve.” - Examiner.com, September 30, 2010
From the day I received this book every open opportunity I had, I buried my face in its pages! This book combines some of my favorite things in books, autobiographies, punk rock, and graphic detail of life wrecking adventures. The book starts with an endearing forward written by Legs McNeil leading to Cheetah Chrome’s brutally honest assessment of his life and it’s affects on others. Like many people in the world of punk rock, I look at the name Cheetah Chrome as a piece of MY history. His name ranks up there with the immortals of punk rock such as The Ramones (All of them), Iggy Pop, Sid Vicious, Johnny Rotten, Johnny Thunders, Stiv Bator, etc… This book not only mentions those legends of punk, but also great personal stories and interactions Cheetah had with each. When the cliché, sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll I normally roll my eyes and groan. However, in this situation that is truly the only way to label Cheetah Chromes life, but particularly in that order. Cheetah has lived a life that many have tried, but not many have succeeded to live as long as he has. Never in a book have I felt so connected to a character, let alone a true to life person who wrote an autobiography! I would recommend this book to not only the Punk Rock historians & punk rock enthusiasts, but to anyone who roots for the underdog. - Punk Rock Review, September 21, 2010



"A Dead Boy's Tale is a highly entertaining account of Chrome's experiences, and you can practically smell the stale beer and vomit along the way...an invaluable trip through some of punk's most important years." - Under the Radar, July 2010

About the Author

Cheetah Chrome has played guitar for bands including the Dead Boys and Rocket from the Tombs, co-wrote punk classics like “Sonic Reducer” and “Ain’t It Fun,” and was declared one of Musician Magazine’s Top 100 Guitarists of all Time. An enduring influence on punk-rock guitarists, Cheetah continues to write and perform. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife and son.


Product Details

  • File Size: 1300 KB
  • Print Length: 369 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 076033773X
  • Publisher: Voyageur Press; First edition (November 10, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004GHOHUC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #449,150 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must-Read For Dead Boys Fans September 22, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If you ever saw the Dead Boys at their peak (before the breakup and the countless reunion tours), you probably remember it as one of the greatest rock 'n' roll shows you've ever seen. I know I do, and at age sixty, I've seen a lot of shows! When I heard Cheetah was writing his story, I looked forward to reading it, but didn't know quite what to expect. The book was all I had hoped for, and then some. Of course there's an ample supply of stories of the various excesses of a life spent on the road with Stiv Bators and company, and these won't disappoint. Nor will the many tales of his encounters with rock 'n' roll royalty such as Keith Richards and Iggy Pop. However, what I wasn't expecting was the very sensitive and articulate evaluation of a life that, while having some incredible highs, also reached depths that were indeed gut-wrenching. Cheetah's not afraid to lay his soul bare here, nor is he afraid to admit his failings. His story is a fascinating one, and in the end, an inspirational one as well. If you're a Dead Boys fan, or just a rock 'n' roll fan, this book is a must-read.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Long live the punk rock spirit! May 2, 2011
Format:Hardcover
Disclosure #1: I was about 6 years old when Cheetah Chrome and the rest of the Dead Boys were terrorizing the NYC music scene.

Disclosure #2: After reading Chrome's autobiography I feel as if I was there in the front row of their punk rock roller coaster ride.

This book takes readers from Chrome's days as an awkward youth in Cleveland trying to find that perfect mix between talent and passion. It also details his role in the extremely underrated Cleveland glam/punk rock band Rocket From the Tomb. What made the book for me, though, were the stories of Chrome's days with the short-lived and combustible Dead Boys. You can practically feel the bond between Chrome and frontman Stiv Bators.

Readers will be pleasantly surprised by Chrome's writing chops. He blends humor, self-deprecation, and a vividly painted 70s and 80s set piece to bring the Cleveland and NYC punk scene to life. This is a must-read book from one of the great guitarists of our time and an unheralded legend from the days when rock had teeth.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE REAL DEAL February 6, 2011
Format:Hardcover
Much has been said here about who Cheetah Chrome is so I will skip that. What's important to know is that this is not some ghost written rock autobio churned out for the advance. This is more a like a diary / story. Cheetah emerges as an intelligent and insightful man not afraid to expose himself while capturing exactly what it was like to be in Cleveland in the 70's. And thus what it was like to be a kid in America living anywhere outside of Hollywood and the upper east side. When he talks about the music that was played and the "dazed and confused" life you will relate to every bit of it. I flashed on my youth as he provided the soundtrack. From Alice Cooper's "Eighteen" that every kid had to learn whether in Cle or as sex pistol in london to the various substances ingested to teenage sex there is no book that better takes you into those uncomfortable moments riding in the adolescence of punk. Cheetah emerges from this as one of the most intelligent voices of the period contrary to his image. A good companion read is Mike Hudson's equally brilliant Kerouac like tomb, Diary of a Punk.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars He ain't no loser.. May 14, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Cheetah Chrome's memoirs are made of the kind of material that memoirs should be made of. He just tells stories. He's also simple and to the point, leaving the reader to determine the emotional weight of what he went through. In other words, you're not going to get a load of crap here. It's raw and blunt, much like his approach to the guitar.
What stands out is one of the more poignant portraits of a mother-son relationship you may ever read. Sure there's a lot of funny and disturbing tales with the Dead Boys and countless others, but the overall theme here is one of a poverty stricken, fatherless Clevelander who gets a chance because his very loving mother went to great sacrifices to put that six string in his hands.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this book. May 14, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Great autobiography by an icon of the punk rock era. To my surprise, I actually liked the stories about Cheetah's childhood more than the later chapters on punk rock excess. They document the anatomy of a true musician. He paints a portrait of Cleveland and New York that is priceless, and of course all of the stories of debauchery are entertaining. But overall this book is about an interesting guy, a smart guy, who survived and you should never underestimate.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Right up there with Please Kill Me May 31, 2013
Format:Hardcover
I've read a bunch of rock autobiographies, and this is one of the better ones. Cheetah, despite being a bad rock `n' roll burnout, seems to have the memory of a nun, because he gets very detailed about his childhood, his teenage years, and his years as a falling-down drunk guitar genius with The Dead Boys at their height. Wow!

A lot of the details from this book also come out in Please Kill Me as well - the beatings, the ODs, the rock and punk alliances and famous NYC anecdotes - but it's nice to hear them in Cheetah's words, including subtleties like how he didn't get along with Patti Smith or her entourage, how he actually felt remorse about throwing his guinea pig out the window while high, and other points. The son of an older single single mom (she was 40 when CC was born - compared to someone like Axl Rose, whose mom was 16 when he was born) and blessed with bright orange hair and the name Eugene - growing up in Cleveland, Ohio probably wasn't easy for CC. Sure he has a genius IQ (like Axl Rose) and a great knack for music, and adding in the support of a great and understanding (albeit racist) mom - things probably could have been worse.
Great story how he tricked his first bassist into joining his group... by convincing him the aspiring guitarist that he really needed to trade his guitar in for a bass. The first song they played was "The Little Black Egg" by The Nightcrawlers (check it out - it sounds like "The Crying Game").

Those earlier episodes are interesting because they show the method to his commitment to getting a band together, and how he went about it (a lot of other books gloss over these details, especially the "method" part).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Sonic Reducer
Great book. This should be sold as a companion piece to Legs McNeil's book as it covers the same era. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Travis
3.0 out of 5 stars A fairly self-indulgent book by a bit player
Look, this is fine for what it is, but it's mostly stories about Chrome taking drugs. The original bits about the music are ok but even then it's mostly about the Dead Boys and not... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Nick Melchior
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing recounting of the early days of Punk
One of the more interesting books I have read lately. After such a lifestyle hard to believe he can remember so much.
Published 5 months ago by cappttenron
5.0 out of 5 stars Killer read!!!!!!!!!
Move over Patti and Richard Hell--it's Cheetah's turn.

Having hit the scene late '76/early '77 in NYC, Cheetah's book is such a great reminder of the scene as it was. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Pepe le Pew
5.0 out of 5 stars A fun read
I really enjoyed this book. I was worried that it would be poorly written, but it turned out to be very readable.
Published 8 months ago by Andrew Macduffie
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Punk read
Cheetah's self-penned punk story is nothing short of a classic page turner and a great rags to rags story of punk rock origins and excess. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Julian Malone
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible book by a terrible human being
Punk rockers tended to be scum and Cheetah Chrome is no exception. His tales of punk rock idiocy and excess are humdrum. Read more
Published 9 months ago by cynicalgirl
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
Great read and highly recommended for a music bio fan like myself! Surprisingly very well composed, which along with the crazy stories, made it a very enjoyable read.
Published 9 months ago by Matthew Bush
5.0 out of 5 stars loved it!
i love the Dead Boys so i really enjoyed this book. would recommend this book to alll punk fans. highly entertaining
Published 16 months ago by joan fagan
5.0 out of 5 stars I just recieved it.
I saw Cheetah Chrome perform twice when he was with the Dead Boys. I liked his guitar playing very much.
Published 23 months ago by Stephen Brown
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