Steel Tips

  • Steel Tips
  • Steel Tips EP (Red) 1981 

Universally ignored and/or abhorred during their existence, Steel Tips were one of the few punk bands in the late ’70s to wallow in and lionize actual street-level violence, as opposed to costumes and makeup. At a time when sado shock was an easily marketable commodity, this New York group trafficked in genuine physical assault, attacking their jaded tuff punk audiences. Spiralling away from the 1978 debut 45, “Krazy Baby” b/w “96 Tears” (featuring soon-to-be-infamous art and battery confrontational geek Joe Coleman on his sole recorded vocal with the group; he was generally relegated to support antagonist behind prime antagonist Tom O’Leary), the group dropped the goofy quirk of that 45 and by the ’81 EP (which included a bonus 45) was playing a thicker, superficially meaner and more accomplished new wave thrum. Frontman O’Leary, a sociopathic biker with little but contempt for the thrill-seeking crowds, played the clubs like Godzilla played Tokyo; unfortunately neither he nor his band had the slightest inkling how to translate their stomp and slash into musical terms, and left behind a musical legacy no more enduring than Tuff Darts or the Shirts.

[Art Black]