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DAWN OF THE UNDEAD (liner notes)

September, 1981.  A hospital in New York City. Bobby Steele - the Misfits'
one-time guitar hero and token drugbag fuck up (EVERY punk band NEEDED one of
those, back then) and now leader of his own hotshit punk band, the Undead - is
lying in a bed listening to doctors debate whether or they should amputate one of
his toes.  A sore had recently burst open on his left foot, after months of
neglect. From the wound poured not only lots of blood, but the remaining bone
structure of the toe.  If the remaining flesh wasn't removed, he was risking the
loss of the foot, possibly the leg.

Steele looks up at the white men in their white coats and white hair, and fixes
'em with a measured, determined gaze.

"Cut it off," he says, evenly.  "Just cut it off."

Steele later celebrated the moment by titling the Undead's debut EP Nine Toes
Later.  Which proves, as the Great Philosopher once mumbled, that despite all the

Two Things You Should Know About Bobby Steele:

1.He's a dead ringer for Alice Cooper.  You wouldn't know this, however, for
Bobby insists on appearing un public with his scalp foliage bouffed up in this
nightmare vision mutiod hairdo which resembles the bastard offspring of Wattie
and Robert Gordon.  Trust me: once he's washed the 126 cans' worth of Aqua Net
Quick Dry Follicle Cement from his 'do, you'd swear he's The Coop.

2.He's the only person I know in all of New York City who owns an air
conditioner.  This is important, for most New Yorkers like to fool themselves
into believing they're tougher than 30 ft. titanium steel walls by braving the
convection oven heat of NYC summers minus an air blower.  Or else they fool
everyone into BELIEVING their constitution's so steely with all-day subway rides,
or hours spent in some movie house, enduring endless showings of "Uncle Buck." No
such posing for Bobby Steele: He knows no human can withstand such temperatures,
and he'll be damned if he's gonna do without AC for the sake of image. Which
means he's the most honest human specimen living in that high rent slum know as
Manhattan's Lower East Side.

Why am I telling you this shit?  Well, Factiod Number One is an entirely
disposable, humorous facet of the critter know as Bobby Steele I just inserted to
embarrrass the boy.  The opening anecdote and Factiod Number Two, however, prove
that: a) Bobby Steele's been saying "fuck you" to imposible odds for a long time,
even to his own detriment; b) There's not a lotta bullshit stuffing the Bobby
Steele machine; and c) He always manages to bounce back through sheer will and a
morbid sense of humor.  All these qualities've shaped Bobby Steele's biography,
and probably will continue to.

Steele's first fuck you was delivered to the Misfits, the punk legends who gave
him his first fame.  They accepted this fretboard dexterity and substance-fueled
antics on-and-offstage with glee in the beginning.  But once Misfit kingpin Glenn
Danzig and his ego saw his sideman-cum-gimmick eating huge chunks out of HIS
notoriety, then he said and his ego decided the Misfits were too small for the
three of 'em.  Out Steele went, to be replaced by the youger brother of 'Fits
bassboy Jerry Only, Doyle.  And out went half the Misfits' greatness with Steele.
(Don't believe me?  Fish out your copy of "Horror Buisness."  Now play it
back-to-back with the Doyle-guitared version of Evilive.  Now stop laughing.)

So, does Bobby crawl under a Manhattan sewer grate and die, now that Uncle Glenny
says he'e not his friend?  Nope.  What does he do instead?  Starts a new band,
calls it the Undead, and proceeds to become the biggest draw on the New York club
circuit, outselling even the Misfits and the Bad Brains.

Fuck You Number Two was delivered to Max's Kansas City, the legendary home of the
Velvet Underground and Johnny Thunders' Heartbreakers.  Steele's been banned from
its premises for life for several of his hijinx, including "slashing the arm
of...a famous singer/television personality's brother" and something involving
the "daughter of a Turkish ambassador."  Steele managed to get the Undead booked
into Max's bill featuring UXA in August, 1981.  Max's management went totally
unaware of the sin they'd committed until a flyer had fallen into their hands
just days before the event: "Bobby Steele...scourge of Max's Kansas City" was
back, and "there's no telling what could happen."

The Undead went on as scheduled.  The Max's soundman assured the club's managment
the Undead were "excellent" and a "worthwhile risk".  Max's was packed to the
rafters that night, which was Fuck You Number Three.  For his trouble, the Undead
were booked for two more headling shows at Max's.

Fuck You Number Four-To-Twenty nine were delivered to the numerous chickenshit
sidemen who'd dump the Undead once things would get rough. It's as much a
testament to Steele's constitution as the ownership of an air conditioner that
he'd press onward, picking up another rhythm section as needed anytime another
set'd bail on him.  (Some rather luminous names've passed through the Undead,
too, including Jack Natz of Blacksnakes/Cop Shoot Cop fame and Steve Zing, who
went from the Undead to Danzig(!)'s post-Misfits project, Samhain).

Fuck You Number Thirty was delivered to themusic industry itself.  After three
decent-selling self-released 45s (a reissue of Nine Toes Later following the
death of Stiff Records' American branch, "Verbal Abuse" b/w "Misift", and "Never
Say Die" b/w "In Eighty Four"), Steele attempted to get the tapes which
eventually composed the Act Your Rage LP out through either a major label or
large independent.  He'd even gone through an eight month course in audio
engineering to learn how to infuse what'd otherwise be crude-as-dirt punk rock
tunes with slick production values.  Time and again, he was told: a) "The music
sucks"; b) "This isn't what we're looking for"; or c) "Punk is dead". Finally
sick of blowing loads of money on what was a lost cause, Steele released and
distributed Act Your Rage himself, on his Post Mortem label.  It sold 14,000
copies.  The Undead became the largest-selling unsigned band in music biz

As you can see, a pattern has formed.  Bobby Steele'es (and, effectively, the
Undead's - Steele IS, for all intents and puposes, the Undead) life/art/career
boils down to two words: "Fuck" and "You".  Which, after all, IS both the overt
AND covert meaning of punk rock, isn't it? 'Course, all this fucking and youing
has made Bobby Steele a lotta enemies: club-owners, promoters, A&R men, police
officers.  Which hasn't meant an easy life for Steele.  Then, again, fuck you
never does.  Fuck you means open defiance of scumbag rip-off merchants, vocal
defiance which nails you to a cross so others' lives can run a little smoother.
SOMEONE has to, after all.

All that fucking and youing seeps its way into Steele's material, too: "Never Say
Die", "A Life Of Our Own", "Verbal Abuse", on and on down the fuck you trail. And
all that fucking and youing could get awfully damned tedious if Steele didn't
deliver the goods musically.  He learned the fundamentals of composition at the
knees of not only the Ramones and Glenn Danzig, but Lennon and McCartney, too.
Which means Steele is well-versed in the art of the hooky three-minute pop song.
Is it any wonder most of his releases have been on 45s, the classic medium for
teenage radio symphonies? He's also one of the rare, bona fide guitar heros of a
form notorious for its anti-guitar hero bias.  Steele is totally steeped in the
Johnny Thunders School of Attitude Guitar, but he's also one of the few
six-string attitudinalists to back it up with some actual chops: He once capsized
a performance by his high school stage band with a few bars from Hendrix's
rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner".  Does this tell you anything?

What you hold in your hands is the collected works of ten years of screaming
"fuck you" to the whole world.  Pretty punk rock, eh?  Also pretty skimpy, eh? 
Hey, that's just the sort of rewards the world dishes to those who dare to scream
"fuck you":  You sleep easier at night with your pride and integrity fully
intact, but  you're denied a lotta breaks.  Sure, if Bobby had gone with the flow
he could've been like the Clash or someone of that ilk and has enough for a whole
friggin' box set.  Then again, the Clash ceased to be punk rock in 1981, didn't
they?  Bobby Steele didn't.  He never said die, and here's the results. 
Fuck you.

TIM STEGALL (with a little help from Bobby Steele)
Alternative Press Magazine