In concert, 1982
» Bad Sneakers launched the band’s vinyl debut “Sneak Attack” at the Tally-Ho, then one of Delaware’s premier rock venues. Videotaped for “Focus Delaware on Location,” hosted by music journalist Bob Bowersox, co-founder of arts and entertainment monthly Fine Times.
Sneak Attack / Can’t Stop (Camp/Faber): The opening and title tracks of Bad Sneakers’ 1982 debut aimed squarely at the pop-rock mainstream.
Every Little Secret (Tillotson): Dual guitar leads were a Bad Sneakers trademark in this era. “Someone should shoot one of those guitar players,” a critic says.
Get Up and Go (Dallabrida): “A cross between the band’s commercial rock sound and some quirky New Wavishness that manages to grow on you,” one review says.
Diamonds in the Dark (Dallabrida): “They say crime never pays – but some people have to find out for themselves.”
I Don’t Need a Reason (Faber): Now in its third year of disdainful get-bentitude, and still going strong.
Boy Becomes a Man (Moss): The band roars into the home stretch, sliding into a reprise of the album’s title track.
In concert, 1983
» This June 5 performance at the city’s eighth annual Outdoor Cabaret was televised nationally by NBC’s USA Network. Host Elizabeth Rollins promises “a wild rock ‘n’ roll block party featuring Bad Sneakers” and a 125-foot bar. In the interview segment, Shane and Marc tell Rollins the band will revamp its act to focus on electronica. And that’s exactly what happens.
Bad Sneakers trivia: The title of Marc’s song “Boy Becomes a Man” was in fact inspired by a film shown in seventh-grade health class.
» Two months after the Outdoor Cabaret, this performance at the landmark Stone Balloon shows a band in transition. Trimmed to four members, clad in black and armed with new synths, Bad Sneakers is on the verge of discovering eyeliner – as well as delivering much of its strongest music.
Down to It (Faber): Get that synth cranked up, and it just starts playing itself.
Pictures of You (Tillotson): This song is more ’80s than parachute pants. It may be all you need to know about 1980s synth-pop dance music.
All I Want to Know (Faber): Shimmering vocals float over a trio of chiming keyboards, as Bad Sneakers shows its New Romantic side.
Get Up and Go (Dallabrida): “There’s a God up in heaven. There’s a heaven in the sky. And it’s something they invented just to keep you occupied.”
In concert, 1984
» Shot live at the Tally-Ho, then one of Delaware’s premier rock venues, this video captures Bad Sneakers at the top of its game. Features selections from the band’s 1984 release, “Beat the Meter.”
Caught in the Act (Moss): The sordid tale of lust-crazed teens now has an opening narrative: “Suddenly there were lights in the driveway – and you got caught.”
Blue Light (Dallabrida): “An ethereal tune that’s easy to imagine coming from a jukebox in a 21st Century bar on the moon,” one review says. Cool guitar work, too.
Invisible Man (Dallabrida/Mascitti): From scary to goofy and back in just under five minutes.
Ground Zero (Dallabrida): “The anti-nuke song ‘Ground Zero’ is a paranoid look at nuclear holocaust,” one writer explains helpfully.
Anesthesia (Dallabrida): This band isn’t afraid to stoop for a laugh: Lead singer: “Call me a doctor!” Group: “Hey, you’re a doctor!”
In the studio
The five-piece band’s first performance was not for a live audience but for cameras at the University of Delaware’s video studio.
I Don’t Need a Reason (Faber): Bad Sneakers performed this song an estimated 1,000 kerjillion times between 1980 and 1986.
I Want You (Faber): Gorgeous models straight out of fashion magazines, choreography, props and Handicam shots, all a year and a half before MTV.
Caught in the Act
This episode of Philadelphia TV show “Dancin’ on Air” had teens bopping to one of the band’s signature songs.
Monday Night Music
Freed from the need to sing, play instruments or maintain professional standards, Bad Sneakers finds true creative expression as guests on a leased-access cable TV program.
Caught in the Act
Awful things happen when artists give up creative control to the guys with the money. The motel sign in the opening shot says it all. Clearly the beginning of the end.
Hark! The Hairy Angels Sing!
The Bad Sneakers holiday TV special
» Written and produced entirely without adult supervision, “Hark!” aired live in December 1983. The special featured early versions of songs that would appear on “Beat the Meter” and a few genuinely funny moments, as well as painful sketches that are best forgotten.