XYZ (aka THE RAZOR BOYS) “WOLF SPIDER / LONG DISTANCE” 7″ (DECATUR, GA- INVASION, 1979)
Love that homemade feel to the back of the sleeve, including the handwritten graphics and hand-typed lettering that it looks they did on the good ol’ typewriter. Is it just me, or does member Dee Minor (third from the left) look like David St. Hubbins of Spinal Tap in this picture?
Here are The Razor Boys/XYZ in all of their glammed-out glory. The members are (l to r):
Chaz Westbrook (vocals); Bobby Werblin (drums); Dee Minor (bass); and Ronnie Razor (guitar and vocals). You will see that the singer is holding a heart and a sword- this was a common theme in some other photos of the band that I’ve seen so musta been a theme along the lines of “Don’t rip out my heart, girl!” that they were going for. Am I seeing things, or does the drummer (2nd from the left) totally look like Klaus Meine from the Scorpions in this picture?
This record is not that rare but I have yet to see it posted on other sites so here you go. The A-side, “Wolf Spider”, makes me gnash my teeth in pain, but flip it over and you have a winner with “Long Distance”. It’s glammy hard rock that is catchy and cool, but NOT punk- just check the song length and that loooong guitar solo in the middle! If you’re on a strict diet of frothing mad KBD punk then you probably won’t dig it. But if you’re lookin to take a breather from that stuff for a minute, then you may enjoy it.
“Long Distance” has a great guitar sound from the start, and some nice drum work too. The singer actually sounds like early Vince Neil, albeit snottier, and is something that would have fit in on Motley Crue’s 1st LP on Leathur as someone pointed out to me one time. Some great lines in the song too, sung with attitude, like:
“She puts the receiver in front of her dress; when I start talking nasty she gets in a mess”.
From the research I did, I am kind of confused why the band changed their name to XYZ for this 7″ because they were known as The Razor Boys beginning back in 1975, with the same band member lineup. It appears as if they played out quite a bit during that time around Atlanta, including opening for The Dead Boys and AC/DC at The Atlanta Agora. In digging around a little bit, the Dead Boys show was on October 21, 1978 and the AC/DC show was on May 25, 1979 during their “If You Want Blood” tour. Bon Scott was still alive so bet that was a good time. The Razor Boys also headed out of town on a Midwestern and East Coast tour. This tour included several dates opening for The Ramones in both Staten Island, New York and Columbus, Ohio (how’d they get on those bills?! Good manager?). According to the band’s Myspace site, they also opened for The David Johansen Band at a place called Toad’s in New Haven, Connecticut during this tour.
But the band broke up in late 1979 after the elusive “major label deal” never happened. Guitarist Ronnie Razor and bass player Dee Minor apparently played in some projects together post-Razor Boys/XYZ. Ronnie Razor also released a solo 7″ in 1983 called “Psychological Vampire” which I have never heard (anyone have it?). But apparently there were only about 100 copies pressed with some interesting stamp collector details- some were sleeveless, some had a white sleeve and an even smaller number had a red-colored sleeve specifically intended for a release in Japan (?!).
*Thanks to the several blog commenters who provided the rip some time ago of “Wolf Spider”!
This has absolutely nothing to do with XYZ, but the term “long distance” brings back some memories to an “old guy” like me who remembers the days when calling someone long distance was a big deal, and it had to be a well thought-out decision to call someone out of town because it was not cheap! I can remember many times having to keep looking at the clock when I was on the phone with someone out of town so it didn’t cost too much. Or waiting until it was after 8 or 9 pm or even later when long distance rates dropped for your land line. The most fun was having roommates during college and after college, getting the paper phone bill in the mail and dissecting long distance calls on the bill one-by-one to figure out who owed what- LOL! Actually the most fun was probably international calls back then. When I was in Zimbabwe for a stretch during college, I can remember pre-planning a conversation before I dialed the phone to the U.S. because every minute counted. So when I got on the phone I could get them caught up very quickly and ensure that I covered all of my news and other talking points without stammering or forgetting everything. With cell phones, Skype and “nationwide long distance” plans all taken for granted nowadays, this is all kind of laughable now and water under the bridge.
Well, enough about that. Here are a few more more vintage Razor Boys fliers:
This flier is from 1978 for this Atlanta show. Check out how the letter Z in their name is written with a line through it the same way they did on the back of the XYZ sleeve. Also check out the heavy metal garb on guitarist Ronnie Razor (2nd from the left)- yowlza!
The drummer again looks like Klaus Meine from the Scorpions in this picture too! And dig that blank tank top and dog collar he is sporting!
This 1979 concert looks like it was an interesting event- first of all, the Razor Boys played with Joy Ryder and Avis Davis from New York City (who released that kinda cool No More Nukes/Nasty Secretary 7″ by the way and which I just found out is now available digitally). Did they travel all the way from New York for this rally? Apparently so, according to the band’s site which says they were part of a nationwide Rock Against Racism tour, so this rally in Atlanta must have been one of the tour stops if you will. Secondly, everyone wanted to have their say during this 1979 Reefer Rally from the ACLU to a gay rights group to the Libertarian Party. I wonder how much music actually got played in between all of the speeches and pontificating from these political groups. Funny how the Libertarians are STILL branded 33 years later in 2012 as being for pot smoking rights. Classic skating and music photographer Glen E. Friedman recently posted an interesting piece on his personal blog about perception vs. reality with Libertarians if you’re so inclined to read some political writing.
Here is proof of the Razor Boys’ 1978 show in Columbus, Ohio
with the Ramones that I mentioned earlier. Love how the person
that did this poster (can’t really call it a flier in the classic
sense of that word) misspelled “Rockaway Beach” as two separate
words under The Ramones’ name.
And here’s the front sleeve for the Ronnie Razor 7″ from 1983 (the white-colored version, not the rarer red one). The hairdo and clothing was restrained compared to this Razors Boys/XYZ days, and he kinda resembles a rockabilly guy in some ways: