The Zero Boys

Paul Mahern, Mark Cutsinger, Tufty Clough, Vess Ruhtenberg, Terry Hollywood

It came out of nowhere in 1982, this punk rock/hardcore fireball with the bright yellow sleeve. In one sense, The Zero Boys’ Vicious Circle was yet another example of how U.S. punk seemed to peak coast to coast that year.


The young Midwest quartet was surprisingly tight, with a precision rarely associated with the new American hardcore: leaner, faster, meaner, more riotous, and eight times more explosive than on their previous, respected "Livin' in the '80s" 7" EP. And the recording quality was impeccable, zooming past like an amplified dragster. "Civilization's Dying" (with its insightful tie-in on the then-recent shootings of the otherwise completely-unrelated trio of John Lennon, president Ronald Reagan, and Pope John Paul II!), "Dirty Alleys/Dirty Minds," and "Hightime" all zipped by so fast and hard, yet crystal clear, whole others such as "New Generation" and a re-recorded, suped-up "Livin' in the '80s" were Who-like "My Generation" calls to arms for the new, exciting scene. Singer Paul Mahern ("Paul-Z" on the sleeve) was like an uncaged rabbit, singing so quickly yet so clearly, you didn't need a lyric sheet. Behind him, lightning-quick, adroit guitarist Terry Hollywood and punishing drummer Mark Cutsinger had their hands full keeping up with the fastest bassist in U.S. underground history this side of The Minutemen's Mike Watt, the truly outstanding David "Tufty" Clough.


Vicious Circle was reissued in 1988 on the better known Toxic Shock label,with six bonus cuts (three from the Zero Boys' contributions to the 1983 compilation LP, Master Tape, Vol. I). Inspired, three of the four Zero Boys, with new guitarist Vess Ruhtenberg in place of Terry Hollywood. The refreshed band went on to record and release two more LPs, 1991's Make it Stop on Germany's Bitzcore, and 1993's The Heimlich Maneuver on Skyclad.



by Jack Rabid, The Big Takeover

additional notes:

John Mitchell - Bass - 1980 (Livin' In The 80's 7" & the track on Red Snerts)

Tim Crist - Bass - 1983/84 - I believe he plays on some of the tracks on History Of...  (the songs that aren't on anything else)  and he was definitely the bassist at that 1983 show at Ricky's..  which makes this recording even more of a rarity...  plus there are a couple of songs from this show that were never recorded..  pretty much all of the songs that they played during this period were songs originally intended to be the Zero Boys' second album.. 

In early 1984, Terry freaked out and moved to Florida (where his mom lived..  and eventually where he lived the second half of his life)..  By mid 84 when he moved back, Toxic Reasons had left San Francisco and moved to Indianapolis, making it possible for Tufty to play in both bands, so Tim was out


Live at the Vogue July 22nd 2005 for MMS

2 songs

1 Vicious Circle Side One
2 Vicious Circle Side Two

Live at Ricky's Cantina December 1983

4 songs