Bad Sneakers video
In concert, 1982
Wilmington, Del.
» 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

    Sneak Attack/Can't Stop

    Bowersox shows off "Sneak Attack." He joined shopping channel QVC in 1986, hosting "In the Kitchen With Bob" through 2008.

  • Dual guitar leads were a Bad Sneakers trademark in this era. "Someone should shoot one of those guitar players," a critic says.

  • Bad Sneakers performed this song an estimated 1,000 kerjillion times between 1980 and 1986.

  • "They say crime never pays – but some people have to find out for themselves."

  • "A cross between the band's commercial rock sound and some quirky New Wavishness that manages to grow on you," one review says.

  • The band roars into the home stretch, sliding into a reprise of the album's title track.

In concert, 1983
Wilmington, Del.
» This June 5 performance at the city's eighth annual Outdoor Cabaret was televised nationally by NBC's USA Network. The show features highlights from "Sneak Attack" and unveils songs to appear on next year's "Beat the Meter."

  • USA Hot Spots intro

    USA Hot Spots intro

    Host Elizabeth Rollins promises "a wild rock 'n' roll block party featuring Bad Sneakers" and a 125-foot bar.

  • Now in its third year of disdainful get-bentitude, and still going strong. A complete revamp surfaces on the band's final album in 1986.

  • This early guitar-crunch version went synthy for 1984's "Beat the Meter." But in this era, let he who is without synth cast the first stone.

  • The only recorded version of this unreleased gem. "Run to You" may have gotten lost in a burst of new songs, but that's unfortunate.

  • "They got faces on the radio and voices on the screen. They got Muzak in the elevators – it's a part of the machine."

  • Bad Sneakers trivia: The title of this song was in fact inspired by a film shown in seventh-grade health class.

  • This song is more '80s than parachute pants. And wait 'til you see next year's version.

  • Shane and Marc tell Rollins the band will revamp its act to focus on electronica. And that's exactly what happens.


Newark, Del.
» 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.

  • All I Want to Know

    All I Want to Know

    Shimmering vocals float over a trio of chiming keyboards, as Bad Sneakers shows its New Romantic side.

  • "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
Wilmington, Del.
» 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."

  • Blue Light

    Blue Light

    "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.

  • The sordid tale of lust-crazed teens now has an opening narrative: "Suddenly there were lights in the driveway – and you got caught."

  • "The anti-nuke song 'Ground Zero' is a paranoid look at nuclear holocaust," one writer explains helpfully.

  • Get that synth cranked up, and it just starts playing itself. Then the thunder of electronic drums begins.

  • From scary to goofy and back in just under five minutes.

  • This song may be all you need to know about 1980s synth-pop dance music.

  • 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

1980
  • I Don't Need a Reason

    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 Want You Right Now

    Gorgeous models straight out of fashion magazines, choreography, props and Handicam shots, all a year and a half before MTV.

1984
  • This episode of Philadelphia TV show "Dancin' on Air" had teens bopping to one of the band's signature songs.

  • 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.

1985
  • 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.

Copyright © 1979-2008, Dale Dallabrida, Neal Tillotson and Bad Sneakers. All rights reserved.