Sniper (American band)

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Sniper was an early, American glam punk band [1] that formed in New York in 1972. They were one of several bands that played at the Mercer Arts Center, Max's Kansas City and The Coventry, alongside the New York Dolls and Suicide.[2][3]

Sniper is most famous for its former members. Joey Ramone was their first singer, prior to forming the Ramones.[4] Ramone (Jeff Hyman) played with Sniper under the name Jeff Starship. Joey Ramone: "I used to wear this custom-made black jumpsuit, these like pink, knee-high platform boots- all kinds of rhinestones- lots of dangling belts and gloves".[5] Mickey Leigh: I was shocked when the band came out. Joey was the lead singer and I couldn't believe how good he was. Because he'd been sitting in my house with my acoustic guitar, writing these songs like "I Don't Care", fucking up my guitar, and suddenly he's this guy on stage who you can't take your eyes off of."[6] He continued playing with them until early 1974, when he was replaced by Alan Turner.

In 1975, Sniper recorded their only demo, "Hots", at Record Plant Studios.

Other notable members of Sniper included guitarists Frank Infante, who later joined Blondie, and Bob Butani, who played with Tuff Darts. The original lineup of the band also included Danny Wray (guitars), Peter (Morgan) Morales (bass), and Patrick Franklyn (drums).

Sniper played regularly at Max's Kansas City, Club 82, CBGB and Mother's, as the punk scene developed. In 1975, Butani left Sniper to join Tuff Darts and was replaced by Infante. Later that year Sniper changed their name to Kid Blast and added Vinny (Bank) Sanchez on keyboards. In 1977, Turner was replaced by Michael Harrington, and Infante left to join Blondie. They continued playing until 1978, when they changed the name of the band to Grand Slam. Grand Slam continued to play dates in New York City and the East Coast, eventually recording "Stitch in Time" at the Record Plant for the Max's Kansas City Volume 2 compilation album.[7] They finally disbanded in 1979. Sanchez stayed in New York and joined Mrozinski Music,[8] while Morales and Franklyn formed the band Hunter in London with vocalist Bob Chabala.


  1. ^ "Biography for Frank Infante". IMDB. Retrieved 11 February 2012. 
  2. ^ AS Van Dorsten (1990). "A History of Punk". Fast and Bulbous. Retrieved 1 May 2010. 
  3. ^ "Pre-punks Let Their Freak Flag Fly at the Mercer Arts Center". This Ain't the Summer of Love. Retrieved 1 May 2010. 
  4. ^ Legs McNeil, John Holstrom (1997). Please Kill Me: The Uncensored History of Punk. Penguin. ISBN 0-14-026690-9. 
  5. ^ Mickey Leigh, Legs McNeil (2009). I Slept with Joey Ramone. Touchstone. ISBN 0-7432-5216-0. 
  6. ^ Legs McNeil, John Holstrom (1997). Please Kill Me: The Uncensored History of Punk. Penguin. ISBN 0-14-026690-9. 
  7. ^ Max's Kansas City Vol. 2
  8. ^