Cheetah Chrome is a punk rock legend, whose incendiary guitar work with Cleveland, Ohio's Rocket From The Tombs and The Dead Boys helped define the genre's raw, ragged sound. Here, in his own words, is Cheetah's guide to his favourite recordings.
Rocket From The Tombs - 30 Seconds Over Tokyo - (The Day The Earth Met Rocket From The Tombs, 2002)
This one stands out to me as it was the first time I’d done any sort of recording at all. We held a marathon overnight session at our loft (coincidentally on my birthday) to record a set for a show to be broadcast on WMMS, very bare bones, two mics and two tracks. This really captured the essence of RFTT, how the band backed up the drama of David’s vocals. That room was great to record in, wish I still had it! We recorded the early Dead Boys rehearsals there as well, same way, maybe only one mic; that was released as Eve of The Dead Boys.
**Rocket from the Tombs - Amphetamine (Rocket Redux, 2004)**
I’ll always remember the day we recorded the vocal for this one at Richard Lloyd’s studio in NYC. We had been doing it live for a while, with me singing a song that was in my mind totally Peter’s [Laughner, RFTT singer/guitarist]; I felt like I had some big shoes to fill. It was just Richard and I in the studio. We tried it with a couple of the usual vocal mics, and it just didn’t work, and Richard suggested we use this extremely sensitive, high dollar ribbon mic he had. After giving me the run down on how if I sang too loud I could blow the mic and to watch my breathing as it picked up everything no matter how inaudible you thought you were being, I dove in, singing right on top of this mic. We knew immediately that it would work, but it took several takes to get the entire vocal down, as in my mind it had to be perfect, to do Peter justice. When we listened to the playback, Richard and I both were crying, thinking of Peter and feeling we had done our best to keep his spirit alive.
Dead Boys “Any Song” (Young Loud and Snotty, 1977)
Other than the RFTT loft tape, and rehearsal recordings, this was my sole recording experience, and my first in a real studio. It was a real eye opener for us, and one hell of a party. We had friends in the studio, we had Hell’s Angels in the studio, tons of speed and we had CBGB delivering beer every 2 hours for 4 days……whew! This album is very special to me, as it has truly stood the test of time and still sounds like nothing else. Genya [Ravan] did a great production job on it – thank God it wasn’t re-recorded as planned! If only she had done the second album too…
**Jeff Dahl - Ain’t Nothin’ To Do (I Kill Me, 1990)**
My favourite song from one of my favourite projects. I spent a good part of November 1987 in rainy LA, working on two Ovation acoustic guitars with Jeff on the basics of this album, a whole batch of great songs. It was also the first time I’d ever recorded sober, which was very strange but led to some nice things!
Ronnie Spector - Here Today Gone Tomorrow (Siren, 1980)
This was an amazing session, not only because Genya [Ravan] was producing and had put a great band together, but also because of the whole side scene going on. We did this at Electric Lady, and we were downstairs in the big room. It turned out that the Stones were upstairs doing overdubs, and so this was the first time I met them and got to hang out a bit. It was fun to see the reunion between Ronnie and Keith, who hadn’t seen each other in years, and be a fly on the wall while they caught up. Some pretty damn good blow making the rounds, too!
Cheetah Chrome’s new solo album Solo is out now on Plowboy Records