Drugs ruined a lot of cool shit. They’re part of the story. Johnny wasn’t just about drugs. I do think he’d have become a better player without them though. It was never about him being the best, the fastest, the most precise.
It was about having balls in both pockets and going up there and doing it loud as fuck. Everybody read into it what they wanted. Took what they wanted to get out of it. That didn’t always leave much for Johnny.
Even if you were never a fan, this is a good film. Maybe you’ll become one. I understand why many people weren’t and aren’t fans. It’s almost one of those situations where you had to be there. And even then, it could be great one time….. Absolute garbage the next.
The thing is, youre surrounded by Dolls and Heartbreakers fans at their shows. Everybody was an outcast that had suddenly become cool. It was like a community of people who could nod to each other and know what was up. Everyone was on the same page, more or less…. Except maybe Jerry and Johnny.
For about 5 years, it was really really exciting to be in New York city, hearing all this new music. Sure, there was a lack of professionalism. Some of those bands were horrid live. But, it all felt totally right. Punk rock absolutely changed my life.
A lot of it sounds quaint, where it once sounded dangerous. A lot of it sounds like fucking shite.
The point was, We wanna try it. Let’s see if we can do it by just fucking doing it. So, those kids were brave, if nothing else. And to a person, they were ALL New York Dolls fans. It was absolute sacrilege to not be a fan.
I always thought… Yeah, they were cool and all… But best band ever? Come on now.
Then that’s the other side of it. You could be a classicly trained musician and never be as creative and weird as that first Talking Heads stuff.
The great thing about non-musicians playing music was their approach. They weren’t locked into rules, the mathematics of the whole thing. It was a total deconstruction of the bullshit rockstar schtick.
“Look at how stupid this is!” Ramones? Anyone?
Combine that with Patti Smith’s epic 70s regular old rock and roll with amazing lyrics and aliens have landed emotional content, with the retarded knucklehead snot of the Dead Boys. Or take the guitar noodling, genius, of Television. More rock poetry from Richard Hell. And on top of all that was the freightrain 50s and 60s garage of Johnny and the Heartbreakers. Then there was the dreamy dance pop Blondie. Not to mention the hundreds of bands that imploded or gave up. I remember them. The music business never stopped being a sewer full of vultures. Some folks got eaten.
The birth of punk rock was about D. I. Y.. DO IT YOURSELF. Fuck major labels. We got a good song. We’re putting it out. If nothing else, it stayed the demise of the big labels. It took the internet to finish them off. Good riddance.
They wouldn’t sign Johnny. But, Keith Richards and the dozens of other out of control drug addicts, from Alice Cooper to Bowie, all of the Eagles, etc…. That was different how? You can’t say he couldn’t make hit records. No one tested it. He had several songs that the kids would have geeked out over.
And he was dangerous.
Teenage boys fucking love dangerous. The girls like it even more. Why the hell do you think the Stones were popular? What band was more dangerous?
Tell me All By Myself couldn’t have done well on FM in the 70s.