Coming on the heels of the latest reissue of Vicious Circle
and History of ...
, Zero Boys: Live at the Pizza Castle -- 1981
is a welcome video document of Indianapolis' seminal punk band in its late toddler stage, after they found their feet with the explosive Livin' in the '80s
EP and just before they gathered strength to record Vicious Circle
At the time of the show, bassist Tufty Clough had just joined the band, but he had already formed a formidable bond with drummer Mark Cutsinger, particularly on songs like "Johnny Better Get" and "Down The Drain." Singer Paul Mahern looks like a little kid, but he already had the swagger and command that made him the finest punk rock frontman this city has ever seen. "Amerika," "She Said Goodbye" and the closing "Indianapolis" stand up as among Mahern's finest moments. But guitarist Terry Hollywood, a manic ball of energy reeling off pick slides and feedback magic tricks, steals the show. His guitar work on a lyric-less version of "Blood's Good" is extraordinary.
The set list is a Zero Boys fan's dream: All of Livin' in the '80s
and nearly all of Vicious Circle
is represented, as are choice tracks that would later show up on History of ...
Sound and picture quality aren't bad, considering that the source material is a 30-year-old videotape. (Certainly it's a vast improvement on the only other DVD of a Zero Boys performance available, a hideous-looking DVD of a Cosmos Pizza show from a couple years back.)