Zero Boys

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Zero Boys
Dave Lawson playing guitar during a Zero Boys concert in 2014.
Dave Lawson playing guitar during a Zero Boys concert in 2014.
Background information
OriginIndianapolis, Indiana
Years active1980–1984, 1987–1994, 2006–present
LabelsSecretly Canadian, Z-Disc, Panic Button, 1-2-3-4 Go!
SpinoffsDatura Seeds
MembersPaul Mahern – vocals
Mark Cutsinger – drums
Scott Kellogg – bass
Dave Lawson – guitar
Past membersJohn Mitchell – bass
David "Tufty" Clough – bass
Terry "Hollywood" Howe (deceased) – guitar
Vess Ruhtenberg – guitar

The Zero Boys are an American hardcore punk quartet from Indianapolis, Indiana[1] fronted by Paul Mahern that debuted in 1980. Other members include bassist Scott Kellogg, drummer Mark Cutsinger and guitarist Dave Lawson. The band was known as one of the few popular hardcore bands from the Midwest, as the scene was mostly dominated by bands from the coasts.


The band formed in June 1980[2] and three months later released their first EP.[2] Entitled Livin' in the '80s, it was a 7-inch EP released by the band on their home-brew Z-Disc label.[1] Their debut full-length album, Vicious Circle, was released in 1982 with its distinctive bright yellow cover on the local label Nimrod Records. The band embarked on a 1982 "Hell Tour" with one notable appearance at The Barn in Torrance, CA, on a bill with Dead Kennedys, MDC, and Minor Threat.[3]

Vicious Circle was reissued on Toxic Shock later in the 1980s, with added bonus tracks taken from the Affirmation Records compilations LPs The Master Tape and The Master Tapes 2.[citation needed] It was reissued again in 2000 by Lookout! Records, without the Master Tape tracks, but with two additional songs from the original album sessions, "She Said Goodbye" and "Slam and Worm", which had been given limited release on a 7-inch single.[citation needed]

The Zero Boys managed to record a handful of tracks intended for a second LP, but broke up before the album could be finished.[1][4] These tracks were released on the History of the Zero Boys cassette on Affirmation, along with the above-mentioned compilation tracks and other demo tracks and outtakes.[1]

In 2009, Secretly Canadian reissued both "Vicious Circle" and "History Of", making the latter available on CD for the first time.[5]

Since their breakup, the band has reunited for the occasional gig, including a series of shows at CBGB's designed to raise money to help keep the club open, and a series of shows in 2006 – 2012 where they performed the entire Vicious Circle album. The new lineup consisted of Paul Mahern, Tufty, Mark Cutsinger, and Vess Ruhtenberg of The Lemonheads on guitar[4] as original guitarist Terry "Hollywood" Howe died in 2001.[6]

Paul Mahern went on to form the power pop band the Datura Seeds and has since become a producer in Bloomington, Indiana, where he also teaches yoga and owns the Affirmation Records label.[4]

In 2012, Vess Ruhtenberg and Tufty left the band just before a European tour. Scott Kellogg (bass) and Dave Lawson (guitar) are their replacements. In February 2013 the new band released an EP titled "Pro Dirt." This was their first release in 20 years. The Zero Boys' new LP, Monkey, was released on May 20, 2014.

Band members[edit]



Studio albums[edit]

Singles and EPs[edit]

  • Livin' In The 80's 7-inch EP (Z-Disk) (1980)
  • Split 7-inch EP with Toxic Reasons (Selfless) (1992) - "Black Network News", "Blood's Good"
  • "We're Gonna Love" / "U.S.A." (Skyclad) (1993)
  • Pro Dirt 7-inch EP (1-2-3-4 Go!) (2013)
  • Hollywood 10-inch/CD EP (Z-Disk) (2014)


  • History Of (Affirmation) (1984)

Compilation Appearances[edit]

  • Red Snerts-The Sound Of Gulcher (Gulcher) (1981) - "New Generation'
  • The Master Tape (Nimrod/Affirmation) (1982) - "High Places", "Human Body", Mom's Wallet)
  • A Drink For Sue Ellen (Schrott) (1983) - "Outta Style", "High Times"
  • The Master Tape Vol. 2 2XLP (Affirmation) (1983) - "Black Network News", "I Need Energy"
  • Killed By Death #4 (Redrum) (1989) - "Stoned To Death", "Stick To Your Guns", "I'm Bored", "A Piece Of Me"
  • Live Treatment cass. (Shotgunning Tape SXXXXX Inc./Discraceland) (1989) - "I'm Bored"
  • Parkhof Live Nr. 2 cass. (I Hate Billie Tapes) (1991) - "01-05-88"
  • Life Is Too Short For Boring Music Vol. 11 (To Be Continued) (EPA) (1992) - "Indianapolis"
  • Faster & Louder - Hardcore Punk Vol. 2 (Rhino Records|Rhino) (1993) - "Civilization's Dying"
  • For A Fistful of Yeng! (Bitzcore/Indigo) (1994) - "Indianapolis", "Positive Change"
  • Decade Of Disasters (Westworld) (1994) - "Living In The 80's"
  • Strange Notes! A Germs Cover Compilation (Bitzcore) (1994) - "What We Do Is Secret"
  • So You Wanna Be A Rock'N'Roll Compilation? (Bitzcore) (1995) - "Down The Drain", "Civilization's Dying", "Outta Style"
  • Splitter Kompilaischn (Art Beat) (1997)- "Civilization's Dying"
  • Dangerously Unstable (Suburban Voice) (1999) - "Positive Change"
  • American Revolution Vol. 1-Rare Hardcore Punk From The United States 1978-1984 CDr (Killer Boot) (2000) - "Black Network News"
  • Bank Robber Music Compilation Vol. 17-Winter 2008 (Bank Robber Music) (2008) - "Hightime"
  • Collectors #2 (Volume) (2009) - "Livin' In The 80's"
  • Survive + Music CDr (not on label) (2011) - "New Generation"
  • Early Indiana Punk And New Wave (The Crazy Al's Year(s) 1976-1983 (Time Change) - "Commies", "I'm Absent"
  • Ox Compilation #114 (Oz Fanzine) (2014) - "Someone To Blame"
  • Memorable But Not Honorable Mix Tape Vol. 10 cass. (Memorable But Not Honorable) (2021) - "Livin' In The 80's"


  • Live At Cosmo's 1984 DVD (Rifleman) (2006)
  • Live At The Pizza Castle-1981 DVD (Gnome Park Productions) (2009)


  1. ^ a b c d Klein, Joshua (June 8, 2009). "Zero Boys - Vicious Circle". Pitchfork. Retrieved June 17, 2019.
  2. ^ a b Haynes, Carl. "ZERO BOYS interview from Maximum Rock'n'Roll". Maximumrocknroll. Archived from the original on February 6, 2012. Retrieved June 17, 2019.
  3. ^ Ibarra, Craig (2015). A Wailing Of A Town: An Oral History of Early San Pedro Punk And More 1977-1985. END FWY. pp. 215–216. ISBN 978-0-9860971-0-2.
  4. ^ a b c Joseffer, Jordan (October 28, 2009). "Thrasher Magazine - Zero Boys". Thrasher. Retrieved June 17, 2019.
  5. ^ "Secretly Canadian - Zero Boys". Secretly Canadian. Retrieved June 17, 2019.
  6. ^ Finn, Craig (February 12, 2009). "Relight my fire". The Guardian. Retrieved June 17, 2019.

External links[edit]