Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Jimmy Zero



Jimmy Zero was the lesser volatile of the young, loud & snotty Dead Boys that I love so much - my dysfunctional big brothers. In the Dead Boys, Jimmy was the butterfly to Cheetah Chrome's bee. Jimmy has always had a great pop sensibility. As a singer, he's a brilliant harmonizer, and as a guitar player, he brings in that George Harrison/Beatles chiming thing and a clean lead when called upon. As a ladies man, Jimmy was just like the rest of them... because who doesn't like a bad boy? The Dead Boys were indeed the baddest.

I spent quite a lot of time in Cleveland last year and in 2004. It was such a pleasure to see Jimmy. We first saw each other after a 23 year absence in February 2004 at the Beachland Ballroom, where although there was a big, highly promoted celebrity rock show, Jimmy Zero was the real guest of honor...with New York hipsters coming to pay homage to him when he was spotted in the bar just trying to get a beer. This photo of Jimmy playing guitar was how I last remembered him - playing with Stiv's solo band of George Cabaniss, Frank Secich, and David "Quinton" Steinberg, all of whom became this band as one by one, they replaced the departing Dead Boys.

Jimmy had been in the studio and played the live shows. But the truth is, the Dead Boys wore him out with their grueling tour and he too left the fold and went back to Cleveland. These days, he's the only Dead Boy left in Cleveland! Cheetah's in Nashville, Blitz is in Canada, Jeff Magnum is in NYC. I heard they were going to do some reunion shows in Canada, but have not heard that much more about those dates. Of course, they did the well attended, well received 2004 reunion at the Beachland, and two shows at CBGB to help out their old manager and CBGB owner, Hilly Kristal.

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Last year, in February, the members of the Disconnected band and I converged in Stiv's hometown of Youngstown, Ohio to finish the vocals on their track for the Greg Shaw tribute record. Everyone caught up with each other. We spent HOURS in the Youngstown Denny's where Stiv and Frank used to while away their teenage years causing trouble and planning world rock n roll take over.

Many many years later, here's what these fellas look like:
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George Cabaniss, Jimmy Zero, David Steinberg, Frank Secich

If it weren't for the fact that Stiv was fronting them, this band could have fit right in with the Beatles. In fact, while we were waiting for each man to go in and sing his part, I had to cover up a big poster of the Beatles with my big shawl because Jimmy at least had way too much respect for the Fab Four harmonies to let them watch over the process...

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Jimmy Zero is a wonderful and thoughtful guy. I don't want to tell too many of his stories, because he has a book of his own in him.

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