38 Years Ago: THE UNDEAD release 9 Toes Later

Daily Noise - / 2020

38 Years Ago: THE UNDEAD release 9 Toes Later

September, 1981. A hospital in New York City. Bobby Steele - the Misfits' one-time guitar hero and token drugbag fuck up (EVERY punk band NEEDED one of those, back then) and now leader of his own hotshit punk band, the Undead - is lying in a bed listening to doctors debate whether or they should amputate one of his toes. A sore had recently burst open on his left foot, after months of neglect. From the wound poured not only lots of blood, but the remaining bone structure of the toe. If the remaining flesh wasn't removed, he was risking the loss of the foot, possibly the leg.

Steele looks up at the white men in their white coats and white hair, and fixes 'em with a measured, determined gaze.

"Cut it off," he says, evenly. "Just cut it off."

Dawn of the Undead liner notes, 1991

Bobby Steele was guitarist with the MISFITS for just under two years during some of their peak years (Horror Business, Beware, 3 Hits from Hell ...). He was replaced by Jerry's brother Doyle in October 1980 and quickly formed THE UNDEAD.

9 Toes Later (referening the fact Steele had a tow amputated around this time) was recorded at Mix-O-Lydian, New Jersey in August 1981, with financial support from Glenn Danzig, and released by Stiff on this day in 1982.

Glenn helped me out quite a bit, and I started looking back on that. It wasn't until I read an interview with Jerry Only in Jersey Beat in '92 I think it was that I started looking back on it all. I read all the things he was saying, and I was looking back through some old interviews and started looking back on everything. It finally occurred to me and I said, "Wait a minute--if Glenn really hated me so much, then why did he start coming to Undead shows and provided me with the money to put out and support 'Nine Toes Later'?" Then everything started pointing in the other direction, and it really came down to Jerry. I started talking to a lot of people who are close to Jerry, and I saw that it was all Jerry's doing. Glenn never really wanted me out of the band because he depended on Jerry so much financially that he did whatever Jerry wanted him to do at the time, and Jerry went and screwed up the whole thing.

Bobby Steele interview, The Point, 1997

Glenn was at a couple of the sessions, too. He laid out the initial $300 for the session. When I think back to that we were still friends at that point. That's one of the reasons why I think Jerry had a lot more to do with kicking me out than they ever admitted.

Bobby Steele interview, Maximum Rock & Roll, 1992

Steele re-released 9 Toes Later through his own Post Mortem Records in 1983.

I started Post Mortem after Stiff Records went belly-up. There was still a huge demand for Nine Toes Later, and I was hoping to take advantage of it by putting the record out myself. I wound up getting fucked by all the distributors on all the 45s that came out on Post Mortem. I can't really say why the labels keep avoiding me like the plague, but you gotta admit there's something sleazy going on.

Bobby Steele interview, Maximum Rock & Roll, 1992