They released their first EP, 9 Toes Later, in 1982. A few months later, Natz and Blanck left the band, replaced by Brian "Payne" Aliano on bass and Bobby Savage on drums. This lineup released the Verbal Abuse single in 1983. Steve Zing (of Mourning Noise and later Samhain) then took over as drummer. Between 1983 and 1986, Aliano and Zing performed with the band intermittently, while many other musicians played in The Undead for short periods. Aliano and Zing finally quit the band in December 1986. Since then, the band has not had a steady lineup. One-time bassist Inger Lorre went on to front The Nymphs.

The Undead have released numerous singles and EPs, but only three full-length studio albums: Act Your Rage (1989), Til Death (1998) and Dawn of the Undead (1991, 2006). The group went on hiatus from live performance between late 2002 and early 2006.

2006 saw a return of The Undead to the music scene with a lineup of Steele on guitar and vocals, Joel Gausten on drums and Joff Wilson on bass. They played CBGB on Saint Patrick's Day (also Steele's 50th birthday) as well as a free show at Tompkins Square Park in June of that year. September 2006 saw the remastered rerelease of Dawn of the Undead. Band profits were used to fund Steele's lawsuit against his landlord who allegedly ignored his demands to fix weather-related water damage to Steele's apartment. Wilson left the band in July 2007, and Gausten in September 2008 (the latter became involved in the experimental project Effectionhate).

The Undead recorded their own version of the infamous "lost" Misfits album, 12 Hits from Hell, and made the full recording available as a stream on the band's website on October 31, 2007. This release was quickly followed by a new single, a cover of the Misfits' "Halloween," on Germany's No Balls Records.

Former drummer Blanck (who later played in the bands Damage, Virus and The Blacksnakes) died on January 2, 2001 in a diving accident in the Dominican Republic. Ex-bassists Roxy Michaels and Olga de Volga died in 2005 and 2008, respectively. Original bassist Natz later played in Virus, The Blacksnakes and Cop Shoot Cop.

Steele released a solo album called Bobby in 2009. He reformed The Undead again in late 2012 with Paul Mauled (bass) and Serial Bill Gotta (drums) (of The Bad Whoremoans).

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