In honor of Mr. Bators, who served posthumously and well as my fanzine’s Math Editor back in The Day, i’ll put things mathematically: There are 14 Stiv Bators tracks that you need to own. 9 of them compose “Disconnected,” the punk-pop solo album released contemporaneously with the Dead Boys’ demise. 5 of them—”Circumstantial Evidence,” “I’ll Be All Right,” “Not That Way Anymore,” his cover of the Choir’s “It’s Cold Outside” and the 45 version of “The Last Year”—were exclusive to singles. To not possess each and every one of said 14 tracks is an affront most grievous; to possess anything Stiv-credited above and beyond the previously mentioned Big 14 is a superfluous indulgence reserved for fops, dandies, and repeat snake oil consumers. I did not buy Disconnected upon initial release, as, if you’ll cross-check the math, it was a power-pop (“punk-pop” perhaps more accurate a hyphenate) album with nine songs. What the fuck kinda power pop album has only NINE songs on it? That’s right! The kinda power pop album i don’t buy! I mean, everybody knows that power pop albums have twelve songs on them. That is a rule of some sort. To fuck with the 12-count Golden Mean O’ Power Pop is to court disaster, or, worse yet, the withholdal of currency! (now, okay: One might think one has a leg to stand on in defense of the three-songs-light lid of Disconnected by pointing out that punk albums are supposed to have fourteen songs on them, but Stiv’s old band, the Dead Boys, who were punk, only put ten songs on each of their albums, and that therefore 9 < 12 in the same way that 10 < 14 so it’s all good, but i refute this backpedaling jive by pointing out that the Dead Boys only put ten songs on their albums because that’s what ROCK bands did, and the Dead Boys thought they were ROCK. At no point in time could power pop confuse itself with a nine-song-per-album type genre, if such a thing even exists [and, if it does, like, who cares?]). So, anyway, yeah, i never bought it when it came out the first time. A few years later, some French label came out with a Stiv album called The Lord and the New Creatures which was the 9 Disconnected songs + the 5 songs exclusive to singles = all 14 of the necessary solo Stiv sub-objects. THAT is what you should buy, if they still make it. I mean, i will admit that it was a bit of a shock to the system to hear that first Stiv Bators 45 (“It’s Cold Outside” b/w “The Last Year”) in ‘79, and see Our Hero go from leather-licking King of the Jackals to blouse-wearing Gelding Prince in one quick and decisive Pop Gambit—but, despite sounding like a cross between the Stiv we all knew (and, counterintuitively, loved) and Laurie Records, the Searchers vs. Byrds vs. Dead Boys charms of the real early Stiv solo stuff cannot be denied (i dutifully point out that by the time Disconnected had rolled out, things had regressed to the mean a bit, and were sounding a bit more like Dead Boys vs. Nuggets than Dead Boys vs. Searchers/Byrds). Which, of course, brings me back to the task at hand: Reviewing Disconnected. Well, HA! I CAN’T! I can’t disconnect Disconnected from the full fourteen-song mass of Relevant Stiv material; to me, it sounds like 9/14ths of a classic album. Oh, sure, Disconnected, understocked as it is, is worth owning IF, by cruel marketplace realities, you have no recourse to The Lord and the New Creatures, but, i mean, to me, Disconnected is like taking “Judy Is a Punk,” “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend,” “Loudmouth,” “Let’s Dance,” and “Listen to My Heart” off the first Ramones album, then trying to pretend nothing is amiss (although i will admit that ending Disconnected with “I Wanna Forget You (Just The Way You Are)” makes more sense than the sequencing on Lord, which ended each side with a version of “The Last Year,” which sorta makes sense too). This is the second time Bomp! has reissued Disconnected on CD, and also the second time they padded it out with essentially irrelevant bonus cuts in lieu of the 5 songs i consider to be part ‘n’ parcel of the Stiv experience. Of course, as with the last reissue, the five songs are available—padded out with even more irrelevant bonus material on a second album, meaning that you, tragic figure, have to buy 2 albums, then play the first 9 songs off the first one and the first 5 songs off the second one in order to replicate the effects of The One True Stiv Thing, The Lord and the New Creatures. Might i suggest you riot? BEST SONG: “Evil Boy” BEST SONG TITLE: “Evil Boy” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: The live version of the Syndicate of Sound’s “Hey Little Girl” on this reissue is a different live version of the Syndicate of Sound’s “Hey Little Girl” than the one that appeared on the Disconnected reissue from the ‘90s—and, of course, both are totally different than the live version of the Syndicate of Sound’s “Hey Little Girl” that was on the first Dead Boys album. Whoopee ding.
–norb (Bomp!; www.bomp.com)