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New York Dolls
United States

Years: 1971 – 1976; 2004 – present
Styles: Glam Rock, Proto punk, Punk Rock


Rick Rivets - Guitar (in band: 1971)
Billy Murcia - Drums (in band: 1971 - 1972)
Johnny Thunders - Guitar, Vocals (in band: 1971 - 1975)
Arthur Kane - Bass Guitar (in band: 1971 – 1975; 2004)
David Johansen - Gong , Harmonica, Vocals (in band: 1971 – 1976; 2004 – 2011)


Sylvain Sylvain - Acoustic guitar , Bass Guitar, Farfisa organ, Guitar, Organ, Piano, Vocals, Vox Continental Organ (in band: 1971 – 1976; 2004 – 2011)
Jerry Nolan - Drums, Percussion (in band: 1972 – 1975)
Blackie Lawless - Guitar (in band: 1975)
Chris Robison - Keyboards (in band: 1975)
Tony Machine - Drums (in band: 1975 - 1976)
Peter Jordan - Bass Guitar (in band: 1975 – 1976)
Bobby Blaine - Keyboards (in band: 1976)
John Conte - Bass Guitar (in band: 2004)
Gary Powell - Drums (in band: 2004)
Steve Conte - Guitar, Vocals (in band: 2004 - 2010)
Brian Koonin - Keyboards (in band: 2005 - 2006)
Brian Delaney - Drums (in band: 2005 - 2011; 2011 - present)
Sam Yaffa - Bass Guitar (in band: 2005 – 2010)
Aaron Lee Tasjan - Guitar (in band: 2009)
Jason Hill - Acoustic guitar , Bass Guitar, Piano, Vocals (in band: 2010 - 2011)
Frank Infante - Guitar (in band: 2010 -2011)
Jason Sutter - Drums (in band: 2011)
Kenny Aaronson - Bass Guitar (in band: 2011 - 2014)
Earl Slick - Guitar (in band: 2011 - 2014)
Claton Pitcher - Guitar (in band: 2014 - present)

Biography Picture   The New York Dolls created punk rock before there was a term for it. Building on the Rolling Stones' dirty rock & roll, Mick Jagger's androgyny, girl group pop, the Stooges' anarchic noise, and the glam rock of David Bowie and T. Rex, the New York Dolls created a new form of hard rock that presaged both punk rock and heavy metal.[1]

     Their drug-fueled, shambolic performances influenced a generation of musicians in New York and London, who all went on to form punk bands. And although they self-destructed quickly, the band's first two albums remain among the most popular cult records in rock & roll history.[1]

     The New York Dolls were an American hard rock band formed in New York City in 1971. Along with the Velvet Underground and the Stooges, they were one of the first bands of the early punk rock scenes. Although their original line-up fell apart quickly, the band's first two albums—"New York Dolls" (1973) and "Too Much Too Soon" (1974)—became among the most popular cultrecords in rock. The line-up at this time comprised vocalist David Johansen, guitarist Johnny Thunders, bassist Arthur Kane, guitarist and pianist Sylvain Sylvain, and drummer Jerry Nolan; the latter two had replaced Rick Rivets and Billy Murcia, respectively, in 1972.[2]

     Once back in New York, the Dolls auditioned drummers, including Marc Bell (who was to go on to play with Richard Hell, and with the Ramones under the stage name "Marky Ramone") and Jerry Nolan, a friend of the band. They selected Nolan, and after US Mercury Records' A&R man Paul Nelson signed them, they began sessions for their debut album. In 1972, the band took on Marty Thau as manager.[2]

     "New York Dolls" was produced by singer-songwriter, musician and solo artist, Todd Rundgren. In an interview in Creem magazine, Rundgren says he barely touched the recording; everybody was debating how to do the mix. Sales were sluggish, especially in middle US, and a Stereo Review magazine reviewer in 1973 compared the Dolls' guitar playing to the sound of lawnmowers. America's mass rock audience's reaction to the Dolls was mixed. In a Creem magazine poll, they were elected both best and worst new group of 1973. The Dolls also toured Europe, and, while appearing on UK television, host Bob Harris of the BBC's Old Grey Whistle Test derided the group as "mock rock," comparing them unfavorably to the Rolling Stones.[2]

      For their next album, "Too Much Too Soon", the quintet hired producer George "Shadow" Morton, whose productions for the Shangri-Las and other girl-groups in the mid-1960s had been among the band's favorites. Mercury dropped the Dolls not long after the second album.[2]

     After the clatter of their first album failed to bring them a wide audience, the New York Dolls hired producer Shadow Morton to work on the follow-up, "Too Much Picture Soon". The differences are apparent right from the start of the ferocious opener, "Babylon." Not only are the guitars cleaner, but the mix is dominated by waves of studio sound effects and female backing vocals. Ironically, instead of making the Dolls sound safer, all the added frills emphasize their gleeful sleaziness and reckless sound.[1]

     The Dolls sound on the verge of falling apart throughout the album, as Johnny Thunders and Syl Sylvain relentlessly trade buzz-saw riffs while David Johansen sings, shouts, and sashays on top of the racket. Band originals -- including the bluesy raver "It's Too Late," the noisy girl-group pop of "Puss N' Boots," and the Thunders showcase "Chatterbox" -- are rounded out by obscure R&B and rock & roll covers tailor-made for the group. Johansen vamps throughout "Bad Detective,Archie Bell's "(There's Gonna Be A) Showdown,the Cadets "Stranded in the Jungle," and Sonny Boy Williamson's "Don't Start Me Talkin'," yet it's with grit and affection -- he really means it, man! [1]

     The whole record collapses with the scathing "Human Being," on which a bunch of cross-dressing misfits defiantly declare that it's OK that they want too many things, 'cause they're human beings, just like you and me. Three years later, the Sex Pistols failed to come up with anything as musically visceral and dangerous. Perhaps that's why the Dolls never found their audience in the early '70s: Not only were they punk rock before punk rock was cool, but they remained weirder and more idiosyncratic than any of the bands that followed. And they rocked harder, too.[1]

     In 1975, floundering in drug abuse and interpersonal conflicts, the band split up. During their last weeks together Malcolm McLaren helped with management. He got the band red leather outfits to wear on stage and a communist flag as backdrop. The Dolls did a 5-concert tour of New York's five boroughs, supported by Television, which included Tom Verlaine and Richard Hell. Their last show in New York State was at The Shoram, in Quogue, New York, with Spider on drums.[2]

     Thunders and Nolan left under acrimonious circumstances in 1975 while on tour in FloridaBlackie Lawless replaced Thunders for the remainder of the Florida tour; however, he and Kane soon departed to form Killer Kane in Los Angeles, leading Jordan to join the band in earnest. The period immediately following this was documented on the album "Tokyo Dolls Live" (Fan Club/New Rose); taken from a show in Japan in August 1975 in which Johansen, Sylvain and Jordan were joined by former Elephant's Memory keyboardist Chris Robison and drummer Tony Machine, this reconstituted configuration would largely endure for the next two years. The material is similar to that on Red Patent Leather, but notable for a radically re-arranged "Frankenstein" and a cover of Big Joe Turner's "Flip Flop Fly." The album is undated and has no production credit, but was issued circa 1986.[2]

     Morrissey, having been a longtime fan of the band and head of their 1970s UK fan club, organized a reunion of the three surviving members of the band's classic line-up (Johansen, Sylvain and Kane) for the Meltdown Festival in London in 2004. The reunion led to a live LP and DVD on Morrissey's Attack label, and a film, "New York Doll. However", future plans for the Dolls were affected when the news came of Arthur Kane's death on July 13, 2004, from leukemia. They played several festivals in the UK during 2004.[2] Picture

     In July 2005, the two surviving members announced a tour and a new album, titled "One Day It Will Please Us to Remember Even This". Released on July 25, 2006, the album featured guitarist Steve Conte, bassist Sami Yaffa (ex-Hanoi Rocks), drummer Brian Delaney and keyboardist Brian Koonin, formerly a member of David Johansen and the Harry Smiths. On July 20, 2006, the New York Dolls appeared on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, followed by a live performance in Philadelphia at the WXPN All About The Music Festival.[2]

     On March 1, 2011, it was announced the New York Dolls would be the opening act for a summer tour featuring Mötley Crüe and Poison. They announced a new lineup for the tour, featuring guitarist Earl Slick, who held previous stints with David Bowie and John Lennon, Bassist Kenny Aaronson, who toured with Bob Dylan in 1988. Formerly of Dust and since the early 1990s and on hiatis, The John Eddie Band ... drummer Jason Sutter .[2]

     In a 2016 interview with Getintothis, Earl Slick confirmed the band was over. "Oh, yeah, it’s long gone. There was no point in doing it anymore and it was kinda spent. You know, David really does enjoy the Buster thing. He’s so good at it. I’ve seen him do it a couple of times this last year, and man! He’s got it down, you know."[2]

1. All Music Guide to Rock. The Definitive Guide to Rock, Pop and Soul. 3rd Edition 2002. Edited by Vladimir Bogdanov, Chris Woodstra, Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Published by Backbeat Books, page 794 - Thomas Erlewine
2. Source:


New York Dolls (Jul 27, 1973)
Too Much Too Soon (Mar 10, 1974)
One Day It Will Please Us To Remember Even This (2006)
Cause I Sez So (May 5, 2009)
Dancing Backward in High Heels (Mar 15, 2011)

Singles & EPs

Trash (Aug, 1973)
Jet Boy (1973)
Puss 'N' Boots (1974)
Stranded In The Jungle (Apr, 1974)
Fool For You Baby (Dom Dom Dippy) (Apr 18, 2011)

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