|Birth name||Steven John Bator|
October 22, 1949|
Youngstown, Ohio, United States
|Died||June 4, 1990
|Occupations||Musician, composer, actor|
|Associated acts||The Dead Boys
The Lords of the New Church
Stiv Bators (born Steven John Bator; October 22, 1949 – June 4, 1990) was an American punk rock vocalist and guitarist from Youngstown, Ohio. He is best remembered for his bands, The Dead Boys and The Lords of the New Church Bators worked as a telemarketer selling circus tickets in the summer of 1976 in Lakewood Ohio. His Deadboys bandmate Cheeta Chrome (Gene) also worked there.
Music and film career
In the course of his career Bators was involved with a variety of bands beyond those for which he was best known. These short-term bands included Hormones, with Dennis Comeau and Andre Siva, Frankenstein, The Wanderers and The Whores of Babylon (with Dee Dee Ramone and Johnny Thunders). He also recorded as a solo artist with Bomp! Records.
It was as the lead singer and driving force of the Cleveland, Ohio based Dead Boys, however, that Bators helped pioneer the punk rock sound, look and attitude. The band quickly became a popular staple at CBGB's, the music club in New York City's East Village. The Dead Boys were featured in the independent punk rock film Punking Out (1978), Live at CBGB's (1977) and Crash 'n' Burn (1977).
Following the demise of the Dead Boys in 1979, Bators began a tumultuous relationship with Bomp! Records and its president, Greg Shaw. According to Shaw: "[W]hat he craved most was to escape the fetters of his Dead Boy image and win respect as a singer of contemporary pop rock. . . . in other words, he wanted to be 'the thinking punk's Eric Carmen.'" To this end, and usually with first-wave punk rock veterans in tow, he recorded several singles, many of which were unreleased, and an LP, Disconnected, which was released in 1980. A retrospective album released in 1994, L.A. L.A. documented Bators' efforts as a pop-punk singer.
After England's Sham 69 disbanded, Bators, now located in London, formed the Wanderers with Dave Tregunna, the Sham 69 ex-bass-player. The band came up with a concept album, called Only Lovers Left Alive (released in May 1981), along with two singles.
Bators formed The Lords of the New Church later in 1981 with Brian James of The Damned and Dave Tregunna of Sham 69. The Lords became notorious for their live shows. A devotee of Iggy Pop, Bators had developed a fearless reputation in his Dead Boys days and continued such antics with The Lords, the most famous being the time he reportedly hanged himself during a show. Bator's stunt went awry and he was pronounced clinically dead for several minutes. Nonetheless, Bator survived and The Lords recorded two more successful albums.
Later, the punk vocalist gained additional exposure through more mainstream film. In 1981, Bators co-starred in the satirical John Waters film, Polyester. Seven years later, Bators made a memorable cameo appearance as "Dick Slammer", lead singer of "The Blender Children", in the offbeat comedy, Tapeheads, starring John Cusack and Tim Robbins.
In mid-1990, Bators was struck by a taxi in Paris. He was taken to a hospital but reportedly left before seeing a doctor, after waiting several hours and assuming he was not injured. Reports indicate that he died in his sleep as the result of a concussion. Dave Tregunna said that Bators, a fan of rock legend Jim Morrison, had earlier requested that his ashes be spread over Morrison's Paris grave and that his girlfriend complied.
In the director's commentary of the film "Polyester," (starring Bators) with John Waters; regarding Bators' death, Waters stated that Bators' Parisian girlfriend Caroline confessed to him years later that she snorted a portion of Stiv's ashes to be closer to him.
With The Dead Boys
- Later Releases
- Night of the Living Dead Boys - Bomp! Records 1981
- The Return of the Living Dead Boys - Revenge 1987 (Import/France)
- Liver Than You'll Ever Be - Various Labels 1988 (Import/Various)
- Younger, Louder and Snottier - Bomp! 1997
- Twistin' on the Devil's Fork - Hell Yeah / Bacchus 1998
- All This and More - Bomp! 1998
- 3rd Generation Nation - Bad Boy Production 1999
- 7" Singles
- Sonic Reducer - Sire Records 1977
- Tell Me - Sire Records 1977
- Search and Destroy - Revenge 1977 (Import/France)
- Buried Gems - Cold Front 2000
- Paul Sherry goes Back - The Paul Sherry Sessions 2007
With Lords of the New Church
- Studio albums
- Live albums
With the Wanderers
- Studio Albums
- "Ready to Snap" b/w "Beyond the Law" (Polydor Records; #POSP 239); rel. March 1981
- "The Times They Are A-Changin'" b/w "It's a Little Bit Frightening" (Polydor Records; #POSP 284); re. July 1981
- "It’s Cold Outside" b/w "The Last Year" (Bomp Records 7" BOMP 124); rel. May 1979
- "Circumstantial Evidence" b/w "Not That Way Anymore" (Bomp Records 7"; #45-128); rel. Jan. 1980
- "Not That Way Anymore" b/w "Circumstantial Evidence" (Phantom Records, Australia 7"; #PH-5); rel. 22 July 1980...edition of 500 only with reversed A and B sides and unique pic sleeve.
- "Too Much To Dream" (12"); rel. 1980
- "Story In Your Eyes" b/w "Have Love Will Travel" (Bomp Records 12"; #45-12136); rel. fall 1986
- "Here’s A Heart" (12"), by Lyres with Stiv; rel. 1988
- "King of the Brats" (7"); rel. 1994
- Liner notes, L.A. L.A. CD.
- "Stiv Bators, 40, Singer With Dead Boys Band". New York Times. June 6, 1990.
- Jeremy Simmonds (2008). The Encyclopedia of Dead Rock Stars: Heroin, Handguns, and Ham Sandwiches. Chicago Review Press. p. 259. ISBN 978-1-55652-754-8. Retrieved 28 October 2010.
- Legs McNeil; Gillian McCain (2006). Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk. Grove/Atlantic, Inc. p. 426. ISBN 978-0-8021-4264-1. Retrieved 28 October 2010.
- Steve Birmingham (June 8, 2010). "Interview with John Waters about his new book Role Models". Dog Canyon Magazine. Retrieved 28 October 2010.
Wolff, Carlo (2006). Cleveland Rock and Roll Memories. Cleveland, OH: Gray & Company, Publishers. ISBN 978-1-886228-99-3