The New York Dolls - Suburban Kid

The New York Dolls - Suburban Kid

The New York Dolls, what a great name for a band eh? With the release of Digital Video Discs and Compact Discs of the group recently, with more to come, it seems slightly odd to be viewing such a ramshackle garage band in 5.1 THX surround sound - but for us middle-age ‘time fighters’ - it’s a chance to peek through the digital window, into our maverick heroes’ world of some three decades ago.

The Dolls were genuine white trash: sleazy, poor kids, looking for a kick (kiss). These five urchins weren’t “in the gutter looking at the stars” - they truly believed they were the stars. They dressed like Hollywood starlets - and acted the part, too.

Their music blended well-cut lines of white-man blues, rock ‘n’ roll and pure New York Street. Their performances captured the imagination of like-minded renegades who needed a hit of rock & roll junk. They blurred the line between cross-dressing, fetish and all-out cock rock swagger.

Dave (Jagger) Johanson totally pulled off the look; his fellow compatriots, maybe, not so good. But, as a group, it shocked, and the rest of America missed the point. They just couldn’t, or didn’t want to see, that this was America now; post Vietnam. The sandals and flower face painting had to go, ‘71 was for stepping into stacked patent leather boots and adorning midnight-blue eye shadow. Here were the lipstick killers and they were shooting-up everything in their sights! This was the birth of a ‘new cool’, a swagger, a fashion, a sound, a movement? Certainly within a very short period after the Dolls debut, all the right people were listening, following and forming their own bands. I think we all know the story from here on in.

Let’s fast-forward to the 21st Century. The reformation of the remaining Dolls was a joy to behold, for me and countless others, who were gathered at the various shows that came to pass mid-2005. It was right, it made sense, it was a celebration of the music, absent friends and for the faithful who had kept the flame aloft for the ‘boys of Manhattan’ for all those years.

With the recent passing of the Killer Kane, how will the two remaining Dolls manage their future together? Well, with the release of the first New York Dolls studio album in over some thirty-four years, we are about to find out. As I look back at their world, now long gone, can the Dolls really be accepted again? It was tough enough in 1970s New York. Have we come full circle - or is it Too Little Too Late?

Suburban Kid – tMx 25 – 06/06
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