“Ask me no questions, and I’ll tell you no lies. Ask me no questions, I’ll be yours tonight.”
There’s always one band that you remember the first time you heard them, and it stays with you for life. Or maybe there is one musician who just made you feel so alive by the way he/she played their chosen instrument. Something about them made you feel so alive, and those that called you out as a “freak” are nothing to you. Let it mean nothing. Let the right one in, and when it becomes clear it is wrong- well then you will have learnt for next time. But will there be a next time. I think too much. I’m thinking too much. About an event and a person I can do nothing about, that’s when you know the person owns a part of you no one in this universe can ever claim. But you should’ve given it away to them about 3 or 4 years ago. It’s not a mistake, it’s repeatedly kicking yourself because you realised to late. What part of you is bruised? This means nothing to you, the person reading this. So skip this and read to where I make my point. What is my point? JOHNNY.THUNDERS. The original. The one and ONLY. The man who won your heart over with the opening to Jet Boy, and since then- he owned it. Boy did he own you something good.
60 years ago today Johnny was born. I remember when he died. I remember my mum and uncle being in shock about it all. The passing of a musician has the power to break so many hearts. I’ve cried over the passing of a number of musicians. When your hero dies, it is like part of you dies with them. Yet part of them lives on in you. The bad and the good, what a clash of worlds it truly is. What a terrible thing is it. But, you pull through and cling onto the music. That’s all you can ever do. Let go of the person, hold onto their art. This isn’t just musicians that you do not know you can apply this to. I’m not going to give you a life lesson, you’re not stupid. You know how it is.
New York Dolls are a band that have been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember. I used to be fascinated by the artwork of their debut record. Their made-up faces and killer heels, it was a world I wanted in on. I was so young, I didn’t know the power it would have over me. As I got older and listened to their music (15 onwards) I realised that this was the music that was meant for me. This was a genre of music I just needed to have surrounding me at all times. I didn’t want anything else. Their gang mentality and their true to life lyrics resonated with me. Every single part of me was in love with this band.
Music without the Dolls just wouldn’t have ever been the same. They made their mark in a way no other band ever has, or ever will. They caused their own scene. Made their own movement. They were everything and much more. Johnny Thunders was THE most charismatic guitar player of all time. I will always stand by him being the greatest guitarist of all time. This is just my personal view, and that means I am probably wrong. Being right is far too hyped up. Most things are. Follow your heart kid, and don’t bite your tongue. What good comes from holding back? I know, I truly know. I leave it too late. New York Dolls make you want to roam the streets and kick empty cans out of frustration towards your own life, and your surroundings. They tell you to make a change, but you try. You try real hard, but no one wants to give you the chance. The Dolls were and always will be my get-out card. The go to when I need to feel something no other band can give me. A sense of freedom, and the capability to do it my own way. I don’t know where I am going, or what I am doing- but the Dolls are providing the soundtrack.
Subway Train is my life. A constant reminder of missing out, being thrown about and trying to get out. There is so much romanticism (I’m too romantic and I’m starting to think it’s a bad thing.) But for me, this song oozes so much from nostalgia to accepting someone else has won. You try to win them, but there’s something greater than you that holds their attention. Force quit on your affections. I just love the song a lot. Then you have Trash, Personality Crisis, Looking For A Kiss..the whole debut record is probably one of the best things ever. If you can’t see this, then maybe you haven’t listened to it. As it would’ve been Johnny’s 60th birthday today, you should probably go listen to it. Paint up your face, put on your favourite outfit and play it loud. You’ll feel good from the inside out. You’ll feel alive.
We must never forget the impact and the role Johnny played within the music industry. His rebellious stance and gifted guitar skills made him stand-out from those before, during and after. In my heart, he will always be the greatest. The true meaning of a New York Doll.
Happy Birthday Johnny xx