The First Time I Heard Johnny...

I'm pretty sure it was in the fall of 1972. some friends and i had gone to see the Steve Miller Band and Commander Cody at New Paltz college, a small college about 90 miles upstate from nyc. during that show they were announcing about an outside show they were having the next day featuring Spooky Tooth and the new york dolls. i had just read an article in cream magazine comparing the dolls and aerosmith and how both lead singers looked like mick jagger and both lead guitarists had a keith richards kinda thing goin on. being a stones fanatic at that time i made note of those facts, so when i heard they were playing i figured i'd check it out and if they sucked maybe Spooky tooth would be cool.

Like i said it was an all day outside show in a big field and of course it had to rain. after watching a couple bands that i dont remember at all a band named the Dillards came out and played. they supposedly wrote dueling banjos and had a washboard player and played real bluegrass music. the hippies were jamming and dancing with their moonshine jugs and i was thinking, uh oh, can this get any worse. then we heard Spooky Tooth had cancelled so the dolls were the only thing to look foward to.

It had stopped raining a while ago but there was mud everyplace. we could see some people starting to approach the stage from the side, all dressed up in high heels and trying to walk through the mud without falling. you couldnt tell who was the band and who were the groupies but they were definitely not the dillards. when they hit the stage it was like holy shit, look at these guys. they starting playing and it was like nothing else i had heard, and it changed my life right then and there. even though they dressed almost drag, i knew they were fuckin all the finest chicks.

At the end of that first song, i dont even know for sure what it was, although i think it might have been trash, i started clapping thinking everybody else would too. its no exaggeration to say me and about three other people were the only ones clapping. a couple songs into the set johnny started threatening a couple people for throwing mud at them, and johansen told them "we may look like fags but we all have black belts in karate and we'll kick your ass", or something to that effect.

I went home thinking this must have been what it was like to see the stones when they first started out and they would be my generations stonesand become huge. the next day in school as i'm telling some friends about how great their show was, one guy said he was there and they were the guys throwing the mud at them. when i asked him why he said it was because they were trying to copy Alice Cooper.

I tied to spread the gospel but most people were satisfied with what radio was pushing down their throats. the dolls never got played on the radio, needless to say. saw them a couple times after that as well as the "tokyo dolls",the heartbreakers, and johnny's other bands and was never disappointed. been collecting dolls and thunders and anything related ever since.

Gary


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