This week: Mick “Dagger” McIuan of Room Full of Strangers on the Dead Boys’ Young Loud and Snotty
Room Full of Strangers may be anything but that to Orlando – we’ve been enjoying iterations of their rocking experimental sounds since 2009 – and they’ve also been known nationally to repeatedly steal the stage at CMJ showcases and the inaugural CBGB Fest. Their first official release, Bad Vacation, due out in October, was co-produced by Mark Kramer (Jacuzzi Boys, Butthole Surfers, Sonic Youth) and mastered by Bill Skibbe (Dead Weather, the Kills). So if you don’t know them by now, maybe it’s time you finally meet.
For a bunch of Strangers, their music is easy to cozy up to, due to a clean pop incision cutting a layer cake of intriguing, bizarre flavors blending art-punk, psych and soul. Room Full of Strangers frontman Mick “Dagger” McIuan likely has a laundry list of recommended listening to trace the roots of his band’s sound, but for this week’s Rotation, he chose to point us to the Dead Boys’ Young Loud and Snotty. McIuan writes:
“When the Ramones came to Ohio in the ’70s, Dead Boys lead singer Stiv Bators greeted them on the highway by car-surfing naked alongside their tour van at 70 mph. The Ramones, who were no strangers to punk’s energy and antics, were nonetheless intrigued by the Dead Boys’ very real punk attitude, and it was not long after this friendly punk union was made that led to Joey Ramone encouraging the Dead Boys to move to New York City.
“The Dead Boys obliged, and shortly afterward they picked up Hilly Kristal, owner of the legendary punk nightclub CBGB, as their manager. From there Young Loud and Snotty was born, which is arguably one of punk’s most important albums. Why? The album did not emulate the art-punk influences of NYC or the more pop-oriented punk of the U.K.; instead the band would draw from its blue-collar roots and pay homage to a more proto-punk and psychedelic garage rock sound, derived from bands like the Stooges.
“This was made obvious when the Dead Boys covered Syndicate of Sound’s ‘Hey Little Girl,’ which was recorded live at CBGB. However, the album is also packed with all the punk rage and snot one could ever want, such as ‘Sonic Reducer,’ ‘All This and More,’ ‘I Need Lunch’ – reportedly about Lydia Lunch offering up blowjobs and lunch to the band – and, lest we forget, the quintessential punk song encapsulating boredom and frustration, ‘Ain’t Nothin to Do.’ I got into punk in the late ’70s, and Stiv was from my rust-belt hometown of Youngstown, Ohio, a place rife with violence and blue-collar strife. So I can tell you the Dead Boys went their own way on Young Loud and Snotty; it’s honest and real to the core.”
Room Full of Strangers perform new songs 9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 16, at Will’s Pub with the Band in Heaven, Me Chinese and guests; $6-$8