Sunday, April 21, 2019

Various Artists - "Copy Cats, The Originals" (WAIL TAPE 03)

Johnny was a very cool person. Even as a kid. He knew his shit about how to get dressed to kill and of course he knew where's a cool song when he heard one. From the New York Dolls days to the Heartbreakers and the later solo period, his mind about music was always on the right track, chemistry couldn't kill this. A steady diet of Rhythm and Blues, Rock & Roll (even Surf) was always there. That's why Johnny was such a cool motherfucker throughout his sort passage on this world. He wasn't a cool cat, he was born a real cool cat.
The "COPY CATS" LP with long time friend, Patti Palladin was perhaps the last cool thing he'd done. A set of "oldies" toons (hahaha, I hate the term, fuck it, this is the devil's music man), when most of them were totally forgotten and "uncool". He was a revivalist in its purest term. Not unlike what the Chesterfield Kings did back then or the Tell Tale Hearts, but instead for the Nuggets comps and the USA garage teens' 45s, Johnny and Patti look on the basis of rock & roll music (OK, they have gone for Sky Saxon and The Seeds but no "Pushing Too Hard" here, sorry folks). They picked on Elvis for instance, but they were so ahead of their time to chose not a Sun Records song or a hit but a forgotten piece of motherfuckerness from a movie, man!!! I mean, who else did that except maybe for the Cramps? They chose the King of the New Yawk streets, Dion. They could have chose a well known Little Richard or a Chuck Berry hit or even a more smart ass one but fuck no, they went for Screaming Jay Hawkins' voodoo shit or The Chamber Brothers!!! Anyway, I guess you get what I'm trying to say, right? So here's the easy way to hear them originals all gathered up for you listening pleasure.

Till next time, faithfully yours

Mihaleez


Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Johnny Thunders’ Guitars:










Johnny achieved his unmistakable tone from playing vintage guitars very loud and clean.

The natural speaker distortion of an overdriven amplifier and his R 'n' R attitude provided more than enough beef. On top of other addictions Mr. Genzale will always be known as a late 50's Gibson Les Paul T.V. junkie, not to be confused with the more common Les Paul junior of the same period. From the middle days of the New York Dolls to the final gigs before his untimely death in 1991, it is believed that he played just two main Les Paul T.V.s.  

His first Les Paul T.V. which he first acquired while playing in the New York Dolls was stolen in late 1979 early 1980 while he was touring with Gang War. Another one was purchased towards the end of 1980 in New York to replace his original. The "T.V." denoted the color of the guitar (a beautiful honey yellow) which was assumed to show up better on black and white television sets. Both guitars were the double cutaway versions which means they were produced between mid 1958 and 1960.

It is my opinion that these guitars were 1958's due to the more squared off horns on each cutaway (the later 59's and 60's horns were a bit smaller and more rounded). The production totals of the Les Paul T.V. were 429 in 1958, 543 in 1959, and 419 in 1960. Gibson electric guitar aficionados will classify these years as the golden years of guitar making. These are now considered rare and collectible guitars. On top of it all, Johnny's guitars had the rarer tortoise shell pick-guard instead of the more common black pick-guard. His only modification he did to the guitar was to put on modern Grover tuners (good idea). It is funny to hear people talking about Johnny always playing slightly out of tune. The "primitive" bridge set up of these guitars made it impossible to intonate perfectly. The imperfect tone was more a function of the guitar and his heavy handed playing. One of Johnny's T.V. guitars hangs proudly in the New York Hard Rock Cafe. It is a miracle that it was recovered after his death.

By RAMBLIN’ MATT