Tufty joined and recorded on their debut full-length album, Vicious Circle, was released in 1982 with its distinctive bright yellow cover on the local label Nimrod Records. Many punk fans nationwide expressed surprise that a band like the Zero Boys originated in the Midwest; their polished intensity suggested the larger and more established scenes in Los Angeles, Washington DC, New York City and elsewhere. Indeed, their 1982 "Hell Tour" appearance at The Barn in Torrance, CA (with roadies Gary X Indiana and Marvin Goldstein in tow), on a bill with the Dead Kennedys and Minor Threat, demonstrated that the Zero Boys were a Midwestern punk rock force to be reckoned with.
The intelligent, ambitious lyrics of "Vicious Circle" tackled such themes as social stratification, teen angst, and political corruption. Mahern's clear tenor voice emerged like a rapid-fire war cry, well-suited to the message and material. These themes, set into a blazing, sonic buzzsaw with huge choruses and intricate changeups, set an influential stylistic precedent for hardcore punk which still resonates today.
Vicious Circle / Amphetamine Addiction / New Generation / Dirty Alley's Dirty Minds / Civilization's Dying / Livin' In The 80's / Drug Free Youth / High Places / Human Body / Mom's Wallet / Down The Drain / Outta Style / You Can Touch Me / Forced Entry / Hightime / Charlies's Place / Trying Harder / Johnny Better Get / Dingy Bars Suck / Slam and Worm / She Said Goodbye / Toys In The Attic.**~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~**