The Night I Met the New York Dolls

New York Dolls

The Night I Met the New York Dolls

1974. My friend, Wayne, and I hopped a train from New Haven, CT to NYC to catch the Dolls at the 82 Club. The 82 was a transvestite club in the 1950/1960s – it still had life size posters of some of its famous drag queens hanging in the lobby. A neat club with postage stamp size tables.

The Dolls played two great sets – a mix of songs from both LPs plus a few covers. Arthur sang Ricky Nelson’s “Poor Little Fool” and Johnny played bass on “Shotgun” during the second set.

The first guy I saw after the first set was Jerry Nolan. I had brought a German picture sleeve of “Mystery Girls” to get autographed. He was glad to sign and told Frenchie to bring me back to the dressing room to see “the boys”. Frenchie stopped blowing his whistle, slapped me on the ass, and led me back to the dressing room.

Along the way, I encountered Arthur Kane who was decked out in a green lame suit. Unfortunately, the Killer was a bit out of it. He asked me my name. We went into a smaller room where the excess tables and chairs for the club were stacked. Arthur pointed to his picture on the sleeve and told me that that was him ... of course, it was pretty obvious ... but you had to know Arthur. He kept trying to move a chair but he was having a hard time touching it. He finally signed in very neat handwriting. Arthur was extremely friendly.

Next it was the actual dressing room where David JoHansen, Johnny Thunders, Syl Sylvain, and several girl friends and other beautiful people were hanging out. I asked David if he would sign the sleeve. He looked at it and asked where it was from. I told him it was a German issue. On hearing “German”, Johnny started giving me the Nazi salute and asked if I was German. I guess he was let down to find out I was just another American boy!

David asked me to get him 10 copies. He gave me the Lieber Krebs office address so I could send them. Syl and Johnny wanted a copy each and gave me their addresses. I still have those treasured handwritten items in my file card box.

I’ll never forget John signing the sleeve – he was pressing so hard ... it was like he was engraving his signature.

I managed to get all of the guys copies – including Arthur & Jerry – from my German friend, Gerrit Meijer, who bought all of the copies that were left in the shop. When I next saw them, all had received their sleeves.

I became friendly with the band. I was later allowed to record several practices & live shows by the Dolls (after Johnny & Jerry had left) and the Heartbreakers. The live at Mothers LP is one of my recordings.

I got to know Arthur much better when he returned to NYC after the Killer Kane Band/California thing. I was a good friend of Rick Rivets (founding member of the Dolls) ... Arthur was his best friend since grammar school. And we released the Killer Kane EP and Corpse Grinders single on Whiplash Records.

They were all great guys. Lots of fun. Good ball busters. Thanks for the memories.

Killer Kane and Johnny Thunders
Andy Doback – tMx 25 – 06/06
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