Dr. Detroit's Reviews > Johnny Thunders: In Cold Blood

Johnny Thunders by Nina Antonia
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Nov 09, 09


The Johnny Thunders ethos is among rock and roll’s most powerful and romanticized necrophilic myths, the former and now very-dead New York Doll constructing a template for tonsorial, sartorial, and sonic splendor with the practiced dress-to-kill-or-be-killed pose of a punk/gunslinger/junkie who’s just turned the corner from skid row where he’s developed a taste for drinking Vitalis, blazing, bastardized licks heisted from Chuck Berry via Keith Richards, diabolical, droning string bends, and snotty vocals promising a hustle, a fix, loaves, fishes, or a subway ride to nowhere. He was a guy who never worried about which fork was for the salad.

Many passed him off as a crude, death-trip clown, a gone-to-seed Tony Manero doomed to fly until his fuel ran out and then plummet to a fiery death in a nightmarish vortex of chemical dependency, surrounded by cartoonish street gangs like those in the Walter Hill film “The Warriors,” worshipping sychophants hoping to touch the hem of his garment, or smack dealers in the Chelsea Hotel. A 1978 “Village Voice” piece actually measured him for a coffin, but had to wait another 13 years for a corpse to fill it.

Fortunately for Nina Antonia, the corpse came gift wrapped and she does an incredible job of swatting away the flies and filing an autopsy report that probably won't shock many in this desensitized age, but will leave you feeling unclean for having read it anyway.

In other words, your life is incomplete without it.
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