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, U.S.
Years active1980–1985, 1988–1993, 2006–present
LabelsSecretly Canadian, Z-Disc, Panic Button, 1-2-3-4 Go!
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" 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" 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]

  • Vicious Circle (1981)
  • Make It Stop (1991)
  • The Heimlich Maneuver (1993)
  • Monkey (2014)


  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]