Has Johnny Thunders really been gone for 24 years?
When Johnny Thunder’s died in 1991 (could it
really be 24 years ago last month?) there was a memorial concert at The Marquee
Club in NYC. A bunch of bands played, I don’t remember who, except Walter Lure
fronting the Heartbreakers. What was interesting was that Johnny’s family was
there. Johnny had an ex wife and a bunch of kids which seemed so at odds with
his public persona, which was so very feral, so undomestic. The dichotomy
reminded me of the character in Dog Day Afternoon, aside from Johnny looking
like Pacino. Of course, his family were there, he just seemed so familyless, so
alone, as he would say.
The other interesting thing was that David
Johansen sang a couple of Dolls songs with some of those guys, something he had
not done in a very long time, intentionally I believe, due to personal reasons.
I was hanging out in the balcony, liking some guy who wound up being a real
drag. Anyway, the band starts playing a Dolls song, Personality Crisis, and
David Johansen opened his mouth and it was just shocking to hear that sound
come out, so iconic and strong. He sounded like no one else can. He sounded
like the records. It was really emotional given all the circumstances.
It always bugged me that sometimes the only
thing that brings us back together with the people who were so important in our
lives but we just can’t find peace with while they are alive, is death. I wish
there was a way around that but sometimes there just isn’t.