The words innovative and iconic are muchly overused when describing bands in the twenty first century. Both are very much words that apply to New York Dolls. A band that championed excess and trashiness in every sense, they ushered in a sleazy style that joined The Stooges in laying the groundwork for punk, but also providing a core influence for the likes of Motley Crue and the LA glam metal scene that dominated MTV during a decade long after the Dolls first burst of stardom had burnt out.
Just take a look at the well circulated clip of the band on the UK’s Old Grey Whistle Test and it’s easy to see and hear how and why the band’s abrasive style had an impact. David Johansen’s brilliantly ugly drawl and Sylvain Sylvain’s garage rock guitar work sounded very little like anything else at that time – the Stooges were on their last legs and, despite what they’d like to think, the Alice Cooper band was far more disciplined and melodic.
Just as good is this lesser seen footager of prime Dolls on European music show Musikladen. It’s time to crank the volume and revel in brilliantly sleazy performances of ‘Jet Boy’, ‘Lookin’ For A Kiss’, ‘Trash’ and more.
If that’s not enough, the below video also revisits the OGWT footage to create half an hour of timeless nostalgia.
In memory of Sylvain Sylvain (1951-2021)