Johnny Thunders From The HeartMonday, January 08, 2007
In 1981 I had the scary fortune of being able to be in the back room of Gary Taylor's Rock Room with Johnny Thunders ex guitarist (then) of the New York Dolls. His concerts began late and would sometimes finish early, when he would pass out on stage. I think that the people who went to see Thunders were divided into two groups. One group was there to see if the combination of Courvoisier and heroin would finally kill the man then and there. Others like my friend Les Wiseman and I were there to hear him play the guitar. In a 30 minute set there might be 5 or 10 minutes of passionate and virtuoso guitar that had no equal anywhere. Taking shots of Thunders put me in a spot as I had always tried to make people look as good as I could. He looked hopeless. While doing my shots, Thunders told me it was only fair that he take my picture. This he did.
A couple of years later Les Wiseman and I went to New York and we had the good fortune of seeing Thunders again. He was carried off stage when he passed out. We patiently waited almost an hour. He came back and gave us what so few musicians seem to be able to do now. He gave us music from the heart. As did our very own Art Bergmann, but that's another story.