California Rocker

Award-Winning Online Music Magazine

Cheetah Chrome Revives ‘Dead Boys,’ and Talks Tour and a New Album in an Exclusive Interview

‘Stiv Would Say, Why Ain’t I Involved?’


The Dead Boys have come back to life.

Cheetah Chrome is touring with a renewed Dead Boys band and will be releasing a new album, Still Snotty: Young, Loud and Snotty at 40! 

Johnny Blitz, drummer from the original Dead Boys, rejoins Cheetah with Chinchy on guitar, Detroit punk legend Ricky Rat on bass, and vocalist Jake Hout from ‘zombie’ Dead Boys tribute band, the Undead Boys. They launch their tour in Dallas on Sept. 7 and the album drops Sept. 8 on Plowboy Records.

Jake Hout and Cheetah Chrome of the revived Dead Boys – Photo © 2017 Heather Harris

Hilly’s Gift

“We have a band together now, and we have the opportunity to use the name,” Cheetah said. “And now I’m in the merch business.” That’s because the late manager and CBGB owner Hilly Kristal left Cheetah the Dead Boys name in his will, Cheetah said.

How does it feel to reunite with Johnny?

“Johnny”s totally happy to be back in the fold,” Cheetah said. “He says ‘You’re a good man, Chrome, this is fun.’ Me and Johnny have been playing since we were 15. We’re going back to the beginning with me and him. To have him come back and playing and having a great time getting along is really wonderful,” Cheetah said.


Cheetah Chrome Snarls His Way Through SoCal Swing at Whisky A Go-Go and Alex’s Bar in Long Beach

Cheetah Band Brings Life to Dead Boys Songs, New Tunes


Cheetah Chrome and his band got the crowd going at the Whisky A Go-Go and they’ll probably light up Alex’s Bar in Long Beach in much the same manner.

Cheetah, known as one of the original Dead Boys is single-handedly keeping punk alive with his cool demeanor and enthusiastic interaction with the fans.

Frontman Jake gets air during Whisky show - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Frontman Jake gets air during Whisky show – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Let’s face it, Cheetah’s no stranger to change, as he has played in a few extremely well-known punk groups and has introduced a cast of characters to his audiences time and again.

This time, enter via flying leap, Jake from the Undead Boys who took over fronting duties on Cheetah’s current tour.   The frontman really knows how to grab and hold the attention of the crowd who ate up his every move.

Cheetah and his undead band swing through SoCal - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Cheetah and his undead band swing through SoCal – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

It was hard to hold on to your spot on the floor as moshers took over the Whisky, colliding with everything and everyone in sight.

But Cheetah takes it all in stride and played a range of favorites and a couple of new tunes as well.  After all, this is a guy who was one of the original punks, and still today snarls his way through sets to the delight of the fans.

The band - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The band – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

On hand for this gig were some great friends of Cheetah, including Evita, Heather and Bruce Duff and his wife.  And we can’t forget to mention James Ames, his trusty roadie, who has a talent when it comes to creating cool punk clothes, all with the theme of each tour.





Musicians Have More Power Than They Believe; They Gave California Rocker The Awards in 2015

Ron Young with James Williamson - Photo © 2015 Heather Harris

Ron Young with James Williamson – Photo © 2015 Heather Harris

Extraordinary musicians who each took a gamble helped earn awards from major journalism organizations this year.

Donna Balancia’s video coverage of “The New Basement Tapes: One Night Only,” was good enough to earn California Rocker a Best Entertainment Blog third place finish in the LA Press Club’s National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards.

Heather Harris secured second place in the Photo Essay category of the LA Press Club’s entertainment awards for her photographic coverage of “James Williamson Produces A-List Concert.”  California Rocker was fortunate to present Heather’s outstanding photography of Williamson’s live “Re-Licked” concert in Los Angeles. Heather’s work documented a remarkable one-off event that showcased some top talent in Rock N Roll.

45 - Copy

Alison Mosshart hugs James Williamson at ‘Re-Licked’ concert – Photo © 2015 Heather Harris

Both of those were risky one-off concerts that turned out to be remarkable events.

California Rocker also earned several “finalist” designations in 2015, and an honorable mention from the International Photography Awards for its coverage of the very first Rock In Rio USA festival in Las Vegas last May.

See The New Basement Tapes

See James Williamson’s Concert

See First Rock In Rio USA Concert

Awards For Reporters Help Promote Musicians

Today more than ever, the awards and wins — no matter whether they’re first, second or 15th — are significant and have relevance to journalists and musicians alike.  Especially to those journalists and musicians who are doing it on their own, competing against bigger entities.

— California Rocker is a 2-year-old “blog” that was started for the purpose of promoting independent, young, and upcoming musicians through top-notch music journalism. Its mission is to help musicians promote and publicize their work in an environment today that is extremely challenging for musicians and journalists alike. When our work is honored by the Los Angeles Press Club and similar organizations, the musicians also win.

TNBT Card shark

The New Basement Tapes: Rhiannon Giddens, Marcus Mumford, Taylor Goldsmith, Elvis Costello and Jim James – Oh, and Johnny Depp (not pictured) – Photo © Donna Balancia

— There aren’t very many “music journalism” categories of the few journalism awards that are actually presented today.  There really aren’t that many journalism awards these days — or journalists either — as the shift is towards eyeball-seeking, clickbait-driven management initiatives, and media executives who care more about advertising than editorial integrity.

— Heather’s fine photographic work on James Williamson’s “Re-Licked” show was a solitary effort and was coverage of a live concert. The win for Heather was second place to a major national magazine which had used four people for a posed studio shoot.  It is the first year the photo essay category was introduced and Heather’s work, as always, stood out among the rest.

The New Basement Tapes at Montalban Theater - photos and videos © Donna Balancia

The New Basement Tapes at Montalban Theater – photos and videos © Donna Balancia

— The Best Entertainment Blog award for California Rocker was third place to two blogs owned by major corporations which have many times the resources.  California Rocker’s producer and contributors not only write, but shoot still photos and videos; edit the writing; edit the stills and the videos; upload the work; tag and categorize the work; and then social media-ize all the content, promoting the content, photos and videos on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others.

So, to be in the mix — and to win at these awards presentations — is vital.


Frank Meyer and Lisa Kekaula at James Williamson’s ‘Re-Licked’ concert – Photo © 2015 Heather Harris

Why Awards Matter

The digital era has revolutionized music and its distribution, and also the journalistic coverage of music.  It’s a learning process that we master together for the best promotion. While new digital technologies have enabled musicians to distribute on demand, it is also creating a mindset whereby consumers — and some broadcast groups — don’t want to pay.

In an ever more challenging world in which many personalized flourishes are disappearing, California Rocker and its contributors take the time to relate to the subject matter in a human manner.  California Rocker interviews its subjects, reviews the material before it goes online, consults with the subjects of the interviews and works toward establishing good will at all opportunities.


Joe Cardamone performs with James Williamson at ‘Re-Licked’ show – Photo © 2015 Heather Harris

We are pleased that California Rocker secured its 2015 wins and “finalist” designations from the Los Angeles Press Club and for the other nominations and honorable mentions. We have come a long way and also have a long way to go as California Rocker grows in viewer/readership.

A big round of applause goes to all the musicians who have supported California Rocker, our advertisers and sponsors who are happy with the work and to our journalist contributors.  We’ll continue to put forth the talents we meet, present the musicians and their work, and show ’em all what Rock N Roll is really all about.

A prosperous and healthy New Year to all.

Facebook F***s Cheetah Chrome Out of his Name; Punk Legend Battles Company Over Identity

Cheetah Chrome, r, with Bruce Duff performs with James Williamson last January at Bootleg in LA - Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

Cheetah Chrome, (R), with Bruce Duff, performs at James Williamson’s Re-Licked show last January at Bootleg in LA – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

By DONNA BALANCIA – Punk Rock icon Cheetah Chrome — the famed musician and founder of legendary group The Dead Boys — has been denied a page under his famous stage name on Facebook.  And he’s furious about it.

The renowned guitarist, whose real name is Eugene Richard O’Connor, has been lobbying the social media giant to be able to use the name he has gone by for more than 40 years — Cheetah Chrome — but the company is denying him.

“I’ve been on Facebook for 10 years using Cheetah Chrome and one day with no warning, they shut me down,” Chrome told

What’s more, Facebook allowed a fan in France to call herself Cheetah Chrome and start a page with the name.  And the company added insult to injury when it sent Chrome an automated note informing him that Facebook was generating a compiled common license Cheetah Chrome Facebook page “based on his interests.”

“I’ve had this Facebook page for years,” Chrome said. “I can’t believe this situation.  They want to see a driver’s license and they want all this proof from me, but yet they just let someone else — who clearly isn’t me — present themselves on Facebook with my identity.”

Fans of Chrome, one of punk rock’s most well-known characters, and considered one of the midwest founders of the genre, went berzerk after reading Chrome’s posts about the topic on Facebook.

Not only do his fans feel he ought to be able to have a page in the name of Cheetah Chrome, they got together and started a Facebook page to raise awareness of the issue.  The page is called “Give Cheetah Chrome Back His Name,” created by Jack Lee Galbraith.  In the first hour the Facebook page was up, it attracted more than 400 fans.

“I have been dealing with this problem since last July,” Chrome said. “I’m ready to shut down my page and get off Facebook altogether.”

The lady in France is a fan with no malice intended, but it took Chrome some tender words to her and a special messaged request for the fan to take down the page.

“She was really nice about it,” Chrome said. “It was something she had done a while ago and overlooked.”

Attorney Neville Johnson of Johnson and Johnson LLP of Beverly Hills said while unfair, the experience is not uncommon. A simple perusal of celebrity pages on Facebook shows many copycats.  Johnson said Chrome’s issue underscores the need for artists, musicians and other creative types to exert the right to ownership of their names — and trademark and copyright their creations as well as their created names, Johnson said.

“This is not the first time something like this has happened and it won’t be the last,” Johnson said. “It shows that people using assumed names have to register and trademark them when appropriate.”

Many artists, musicians, writers and others in the creative fields also use a DBA.

Facebook has not returned’s calls for comment.


Punk Weekend Rocks With Cheetah Chrome, James Williamson in SF Show

Cheetah Chrome James Williamson and Streetwalkin' Cheetahs

Cheetah Chrome James Williamson and Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs – photo by Kuuguy1

By DONNA BALANCIA – It was a great weekend in California for the punks.

Cheetah Chrome and The Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs hit San Francisco; Richie Ramone, The Sonics and The Dead Kennedys rocked The Queen Mary in Long Beach, Calif.; and Bad Religion and Guttermouth played the Picnic in Pozo.

On a day that brought out punk rock’s best across California, the choice was difficult as inevitably, fans opted to go regional.

Cheetah Chrome

Cheetah Chrome gave a great one-off show in San Francisco – Photo © 2015 Russell Allen

Cheetah Chrome of Dead Boys fame took the stage of San Francisco’s Verdi Club stage with his West Coast Band, The Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs, and gave the crowd its money’s worth.

“The Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs got the call to back Cheetah Chrome at this awesome punk festival and he mentioned that James Williamson would be sitting in, but to keep it secret for a while,” said Frank Meyer of The Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs. “Eventually the word got out, so there were  definitely a lot of Stooges fans in the audience.

“The place was packed and Cheetah’s set was well-received throughout. Then the place went absolutely berserk when James came on stage,” Meyer said.  “People are fascinated by him.”

Chrome and the Cheetahs opened with the classic “Big Cat,” and played some favorites including the RFTT tune “Amphetamine,” “Ain’t It Fun,” with Ralph Carney from Tom Waits’ band on sax, and Williamson came on for “Raw Power” and “Search And Destroy.”

Williamson, who last January hosted the Re-Licked concert featuring Chrome and The Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs, had one question about the gig: “‘Ain’t It Fun’ to catch up with Cheetah Chrome?” he asked.



See video of James Williamson, Cheetah Chrome and The Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs here courtesy of Kuuguy1:

James Williamson ‘Re-Licked’ Show Featuring Biafra, Mosshart, Released On Video

Last January, The Stooges’ influential guitarist James Williamson gathered together some of his alternative A-List pals and put on the ‘Re-Licked’ show at the Bootleg.  It rocked the house.

The Re-Licked show featured Alison Mosshart, Jello Biafra, Cheetah Chrome, Lisa Kekaula and other fantastic musicians.  The artists reinvigorated some classic but “underexposed” songs written by Iggy Pop and Williamson.

Read the Review of the show here.

Here is video of that show courtesy of Yahoo!

James Williamson’s ‘Re-Licked’ Show: ‘Alternative Music’s A-List’ Brings Raw Power to New Project

Lisa Kekaula with James Williamson at Re-Licked show Photo © 2015 Heather Harris

Lisa Kekaula with James Williamson at Re-Licked show Photo © 2015 Heather Harris

Alison Mosshart, Jello Biafra, Cheetah Chrome Bring It to Bootleg Show


SILVER LAKE — There was a kitchen drawer at our house that had all sorts of cool things: From screwdrivers to Scotch tape, gumballs to love beads. My dad called it “contained craziness.”

It was like that the other night for James Williamson’s Re-Licked concert at the Bootleg.  Set against a ambient backdrop, the show was a powerful reminder of punk rock’s past, and an exciting sign of the future of the genre.

Accompanied by what could only be called The A-List of Alternative Artists, Williamson amassed a show that was one of the most action-packed we’ve ever seen.  Williamson may have been known as producer and guitarist before, but now he can certainly claim the title of talent scout and promoter.

Calling on his relationships with people like Dead Weather’s Alison Mosshart, Jello Biafra, Joe Cardamone, Lisa Kekaula of the Bell Rays, Cheetah Chrome, and Frank Meyer and the Street Walkin’ Cheetahs, Williamson took a one-off show and turned it into a screaming social event of great success.


James Williamson with Jello Biafra - Photo © 2015 Heather Harris

James Williamson with Jello Biafra – Photo © 2015 Heather Harris

Band Street Walkin’ Cheetahs and ex-Dead Boys guitarist Chrome lent support as opening acts and joined in the action during the main show, as did “new guys” The Richmond Sluts, who were the young standouts.

The Richmond Sluts’ music and appearance were reminicent of a true 1970s rock n roll band. The charisma, stage presence and white go-go boots of frontman Shea Roberts is really something to appreciate.  Roberts is clearly the new sex symbol of Rock N Roll.

Williamson said he selected Carolyn Wonderland to sing “Open Up And Bleed,” because he was looking for a Janis Joplin-type style for the song.  She breathes new life into a great classic with a feminine touch and vulnerable but commanding stage persona.

Meyer of the popular Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs has a fabulous personality, cool performance style and he did an excellent job running the show, introducing performers and keeping people laughing with his jokes. He gave super energetic renditions of “She Creatures of the Hollywood Hills” and “I’m Sick of You.”

Mosshart’s performance is always something to see — unique and relaxed — her body twisting with each word and wild hair seemingly with a life of its own. She knows how to keep the audience hanging on every motion.

Her crooning “Till The End of the Night” captured the audience as she is both flirtatious and powerful in her delivery. With Malin on “Wild Love,” she shows a gregarious and giving nature in her performance. She clearly enjoys collaborating with established as well as up-and-coming musicians.

Ron Young with James Williamson - Photo © 2015 Heather Harris

Ron Young with James Williamson – Photo © 2015 Heather Harris

Ron Young of Little Caesar was a breath of fresh air with his hard rock style.  He delivered a solid performance of “Rubber Leg.”  Young’s the kind of guy you want to be in the trenches with, as he is a real team player with a great attitude and cool swagger.

Joe Cardamone of The Icarus Line taunted the audience with “Scene of The Crime” and “Pinpoint Eyes.”  This Los Angeles artist has been working with The Icarus Line and previously fronted Kanker Sores. Kekaula’s wild energy turned “I Got A Right” into a hopping punk revival, soul style.

The opening song was a predictor for the superband performance: Biafra’s “Head On The Curve” was a wild shout out to both Iggy Pop and his Dead Kennedys days — he is still a wild man and compelling to the point where you can’t keep your eyes off him.

For show-enders “Search and Destroy” and “Louie Louie” it was like controlled chaos erupted on stage, and it was calamity on whom to focus the lens.

There was so much action at once it was like a three-ring circus with people running all over the place — Malin whipping his microphone cord around, Cheetah Chrome’s bald pate gleaming, Biafra waving his arms around, and Kekaula relieving her fellow musicians by fanning them wildly.  Yes, with a fan.

Meanwhile, Williamson, who assembled the crazy crew of alternative’s wildly talented, kept his cool, calmly playing his well-recognized guitar in the corner of the stage.

When we asked him, “How did you keep a straight face?” he responded with a cool chuckle and the whole reason for the show: “It was a lot of fun, wasn’t it?”

Yes It Was.   See The Entire Show HERE

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”22″ gal_title=”RELICKED © 2015 HEATHER HARRIS”]



%d bloggers like this: