Cheetah Chrome, 2011
|Birth name||Eugene Richard O'Connor|
|Born||February 18, 1955|
|Origin||Cleveland, Ohio, United States|
|Genres||Punk rock, garage rock|
|Associated acts||Rocket from the Tombs, Dead Boys|
Eugene Richard O'Connor (born February 18, 1955), better known by his stage name Cheetah Chrome, is an American musician who achieved fame as a guitarist for Rocket From the Tombs and the punk rock band Dead Boys.
Rocket From the Tombs
Chrome joined Protopunk band Rocket From the Tombs in September 1974, having previously been in a band with member Peter Laughner. The band broke up in mid 1975, having never recorded any material.
In 2003, after the release of The Day the Earth Met the Rocket from the Tombs, he reformed Rocket from the Tombs with David Thomas, Craig Bell, with Steve Mehlman (Pere Ubu) on drums and Richard Lloyd (Television) replacing the late Peter Laughner. The reincarnation of the group toured in 2003 and 2006. In summer 2003 it entered the studio to record some of the band's old material for the first time. The recordings were released as Rocket Redux (SmogVeil). Chrome did a US West coast tour in April 2004 (backed by Sweet Justice) as well as a 10 date Midwest/East coast tour as guitarist in Texas Terri's band in July. At the end of July he headlined "Festimal" in Cedeira, Spain. In 2005, the members of RFTT flew to Germany to headline one night (the Buzzcocks headlined the other) of the International Punk Kongress in Kassel; then, in 2006, they reconvened in Cleveland to write material for a new record. This material became the single "I Sell Soul/Romeo and Juliet", released in 2010, and the full-length album Barfly, released in 2011.
Chrome left the band again in December 2011.
After the initial breakup of RFTT, Chrome, alongside other members Stiv Bators and Johnny Madansky would form a new group, Dead Boys. They took the name after the RFTT song "Down In Flames". The band released two albums before breaking up in 1979.
After Dead Boys broke up, Cheetah Chrome played around New York City (mostly at Max's Kansas City) doing shows with the Stilettos, as well as his own band Cheetah Chrome and the Casualties. He recorded a single for ORK Records, "Still Wanna Die/Take Me Home", recorded by Atlantic Records co-founder Herb Abramson. Shortly thereafter, he played on Ronnie Spector's debut solo album Siren. In 1980, he played guitar for Nico at New York's Squat Theatre as well as Max's Kansas City. He appeared on several recordings during the 1980s, most notably his own "Cheetah Chrome and the Ghetto Dogs" (Get Hip), Jeff Dahl's "I Kill Me" (Sympathy for the Record Industry), and Todd Tamanend Clark's "Into the Vision" (TMI). He also rejoined Dead Boys for the ill-fated reunions of the late 1980s.
In the 1990s, Chrome moved to Nashville, Tennessee and recorded a live album Alive in Detroit (DUI) at Lili's in Hamtramck, Michigan. In the 2002, he played guitar on several track for False Alarm's Fuck 'Em All We've All Ready (Now) Won!. Additionally, he played with The Replacements' Bob Stinson in the band Shotgun Rationale. He also toured with GG Allin around this time.
In 2007, Chrome played periodic solo shows, including headlining the Road To Ruins festival in Rome, Italy (backed by Unnatural Axe).
In May 2008, on the way home from the "Joey Ramone Birthday Bash", Chrome had a chance meeting at LaGuardia Airport with the members of Joan Jett's band the Blackhearts, including drummer Thommy Price, with whom he had played on Ronnie Spector's Siren. This led to several NYC area shows with the Blackhearts as his band, including a live performance on WFMU in NJ.
In the Fall of 2009, Chrome got together with old friend Sylvain Sylvain to record an EP on the suggestion of SmogVeil Records head Frank Mauceri. They recruited Thommy Price and Enzo Pennizotto from the Blackhearts as a rhythm section, naming themselves the Batusis after the dance from the hit 60s TV show "Batman". They performed two shows at SXSW 2010; Price and Penizzotto were unable to do live shows with the Batusis, due to their schedule with Joan Jett, and were replaced by Chuck Garric of Alice Cooper's band on bass, and Lez Warner, formerly of the Cult, on drums. The four song ("Big Cat Stomp/What You Lack in Brains/Bury You Alive/ Blues Theme") EP was released in May 2010. A UK tour had to be cancelled due to a volcanic eruption in Iceland, but they toured the US extensively through December 2010 with Warner on drums and another former Blackheart, Sean Koos, on bass.
In 2009, after repeated suggestions that he write a book from a friend who worked at Voyageur Press in Minneapolis, MN, Chrome relented and submitted a sample chapter to them in Spring 2009. He signed a book deal with Voyageur and began writing his autobiography. In September 2010 "Cheetah Chrome: A Dead Boy's Tale From The Front Lines Of Punk Rock" was published. Chrome participated in the February/ West Coast and April/ Midwest-East Coast "Cleveland Confidential Book Tour" with fellow Cleveland musicians and authors Mike Hudson of the Pagans and Bob Pfeiffer of Human Switchboard. Stops included the Experience Music Project in Seattle, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Exile on Bowery @ Bowery Electric in NYC and the GRAMMY Museum at L.A Live in Los Angeles. At the end of a week-long RFTT tour in December 2011, Chrome announced to the band that he had decided to stop touring extensively after 2012. While he planned to honor any shows they booked in 2012, they chose to get another guitar player for the upcoming European tour in May 2012.
In February 2012 Chrome became Creative Director of A&R/Director of Special Projects for Plowboy Records, an alternative/legacy label being launched by Shannon Pollard, grandson of Country legend Eddy Arnold, and music historian/author Don Cusic. This was officially announced on May 15, 2012. Chrome is currently producing a tribute record to Arnold by various artists at RCA Studio B in Nashville; as well as preparing a new full-length release by the Batusis.
In 2013, an American made motion picture titled CBGB was released. Actor Rupert Grint portrayed Chrome while Justin Bartha portrayed Stiv Bators. Chrome himself makes a cameo appearance in the film as well.
- Deming, Mark. "Cheetah Chrome: Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved July 3, 2012.
- Gross, Jason (September 1996). "Ain't It Fun Rocket From The Tombs". Perfect Sound Forever. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
- Flood, Alex (April 21, 2015). "Cult heroes: Rocket from the Tombs, the most self-destructive group ever to smash a six-string". The Guardian. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
- Wascovich, Matthew (2003). "ROCKER FROM THE TOMBS - AN INTERVIEW WITH CHEETAH CHROME". 3 AM Magazine.
- Kot, Greg (June 8, 2003). "ocket From the Tombs a blast from past, present". Chicago Tribune.
- "Punk Legends DEAD BOYS Celebrate 40 Years Of 'Young Loud And Snotty' With Album And Tour". Blabbermouth. July 26, 2017.
- Epting, Chris (November 1, 2017). "Dead Boys legacy very much alive thanks to Cheetah Chrome". Huffington Post.
- Stegall, Tim. "Havin' Milk 'N' Cookies With GG Allin". Flipside.
- Ludwig, Jamie (May 16, 2014). "From Dead Boy to Plowboy: Cheetah Chrome Says It Like It Is". Vice.
- Norman, Michael (August 20, 2013). "Cheetah Chrome, guitarist with Cleveland punk legends the Dead Boys and Rocket from the Tombs, to release 'Solo' EP to coincide with 'CBGB' movie". www.cleveland.com. Retrieved December 7, 2015.
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