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Tuesday, June 07, 2005

NY Dolls Aftermath

David & Syl

David Johansen and Sylvain Sylvain are "Funky But Chic" here in 1978. The NY Dolls had called it a day and David was on his own. Sylvain joined him on his eponymous solo album and on the tours that supported it. The band that played on David's solo albums included New York rockers Thomas Trask, Johnny Rao, and the late Frankie LaRocka. They played a fair share of Dolls material live, and carried the torch that kept the punk flame burning.

I trace punk's roots directly to the New York Dolls and their execution of rock n roll. It was a little bit glam and a lot garage with bad-ass attitude and a clear love of the seminal bad-asses who came before.... like Bo Diddley. The NY Dolls version of his "Pills" combines the best white boy trash with the already iconic trash version of rock that Bo had been brewing up ever since he picked up that square guitar. Outlaws and misfits all.... I think you can draw the line from guys like Bo Diddley through the NY Dolls directly to the Sex Pistols, who Malcolm McLaren has admitted were his second attempt at some kind of music world take-over that he started to do, and failed with the Dolls. Regardless of all the history and analysis, you gotta admit that just about every punk outside of New York City was hugely influenced by Johnny Thunders. He was our generation's Keith Richards.

Johansen, whose love of the blues and traditional genres led him to his alter-ego Buster Poindexter, was not the only former NY Doll to make some solo hay. A little closer to the punk scene was Thunders. I remember bumping into him in Paris one winter while I was "holidaying" there with Stiv. "Hey, don't I know you from NYC? Can I borrow $50?" That was Johnny. I didn't want to give him $50 but I did buy his swell pink leather jacket off him for $50.... The first time I met Johnny was on his 30th birthday in NYC. I came to town with Stiv, who was touring with The Wanderers. It was the first social thing I ever did in NYC as an adult. Johnny's mom gave him socks and underware. Stuff he could really use and not trade or hock. Anyway... in about 1985, when Stiv was recording with Hanoi Rocks singer Michael Monroe, Johnny and Patti Paladin dropped in to contribute to Michael's session, and Stiv and Michael contributed to Johnny and Patti's. It was like... you can take the rock out of NYC but NYC rock was never out of reach.

Its so sad to me that all but two NY Dolls and Frankie are gone. And Michael Monroe's wife, Jude Wilder, as well, and Stiv.

But I'm happy to see that David Johansen and Syl Sylvain are keeping the spirit of the New York Dolls alive. As fate would have it, another former Hanoi Rocker is on board....Sami Yaffa is playing with the Dolls, and wouldn't you know it - his first gig with them at Randall's Island in August 2004 was also his wedding day!

More pictures of these people soon - Johnny Thunders and Sami Yaffa - but not til I finish making prints for my next photo installation.

On June 24, I'll unveil some more Vintage Punk photos and poster prints at Grimey's New and Preloved Music, one of the best record shops in Nashville. Then at night, in The Basement, live music from The Reigning Sound. I'm installing some cool poster prints in The Basement too. It will be a fun day of sound and vision for all. Keep checking here and Grimey's and The Basement's sites for updates. And thank you, Grimey's Newsletter readers, for all your nice comments about the pix!

My Online Store can be found by clicking on the Link to BUY PHOTOS over on the right. The images available in the online store are the ones that are available at fan and consumer prices. I have a lot of images that are still connected with galleries, and if you want a print of those, you're certainly welcome... but caveat emptor - they're at gallery prices. Of course, collectors are most welcome to inquire.

See ya in Nashville, and online.

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