Friday, March 8, 2013

The New York Dolls "Pills" and "Trash" (Bonus Video Friday)

I've said it many times in the past, I'll say it again here: If it weren't for The New York Dolls, right at this moment I would have a long grey ponytail halfway down my back and be listening incessantly to The Grateful Dead's Dick's Picks series and old Jefferson Airplane retrospectives.  I'd probably also be sporting those little round hippie eyeglasses.

The New York Dolls came into my life in 1973 courtesy of Creem magazine, my rock & roll Bible at the time.  (By the way, for those of you scoring at home, the 12 issues of Creem magazine in calendar year 1973 were, and are, the epitome of rock & roll journalism now and for all time.)  (Come to think of it, a blog entry on the sorry state of rock & roll journalism in calendar year 2013 would not be a bad idea.  Watch for it on these pages.)

In 1973 I was still middling away through college, Dave Blackburn had moved to Boston, I was playing in some fucked-up little hippie band whose other main member idolized Pearls Before Swine.  (Don't ask, look 'em up on YouTube.)  Then that guy, Andy Boller by name, broke up the band by moving to Ann Arbor, Michigan to become a macrobiotic cook.  (No joke, although it sounds like a punchline.)

There are very few bands and individuals who have actually changed the way I view the world.  The New York Dolls are one of them.  (Again, for those of you scoring at home; Elliott Murphy and Jonathan Richman of The Modern Lovers are two of the others, both of whom I also discovered in 1973 courtesy of Creem.)  I can't say I ever adopted their fashion sense -you COULD NOT get away with this shit on the mean streets of the West Side of Columbus, Ohio, in 1973 or possibly any other year, before or since - but man did I learn a thing or two about writing a rock & roll song with full forward propulsion from these boys.

In this clip the guitars are out of tune in spots, the vocals are at times off-key, bassist Arthur Kane is sporting perhaps the WORST OUTFIT in the annals of rock & roll fashion, and still they're one of the five greatest bands I've ever heard or seen.  David Jo, Johnny, Sylvain, Arthur, Jerry; thank you, from the bottom of my pacemaker-driven heart.

inspirational verse; "A little pill for my leg, but that didn't ache /
Got the pills for my heart, but a little too late / Got some pills for my love, to get me at ease /
That's when the rock & roll nurse took me down on my knees!" - Bo Diddley, 1958

Rick Cacchione, pre-New York Dolls

Ricki C., post-New York Dolls

© 2013 Ricki C.

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