Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Dolls Come out to Play Again; an Explosive London Reunion Kickstarted the New York Dolls' Second Career - Now They're Back to Do It All Again

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Dolls Come out to Play Again; an Explosive London Reunion Kickstarted the New York Dolls' Second Career - Now They're Back to Do It All Again

Article excerpt

Byline: OFF THE RECORD DAVID SMYTH www.standard.co.uk/davidsmyth

IN THE early Seventies, the New York Dolls formed because of their appreciation of each other's outfits, recorded two filthy, farout albums and promptly imploded in a flurry of feather boas and smeared lipstick.

Now, 38 years later, the band's belated second phase is about to equal that tally. 'Cause I Sez So, released through Atco on Monday, follows on from their 2006 comeback record, and confirms the current quintet as a rare group who won't embarrass us in their old age.

Then again, David Johansen, 59, who along with guitarist Sylvain Sylvain is one of just two original Dolls still breathing, is way too cool for dad-atthe-disco status. He speaks with a low, insouciant drawl and still possesses the kind of pouting, Jagger-esque face that means it's rock 'n' roll singer or nothing for him. "Why call it quits when we're young?" he says. "I always dug the old cats, like Muddy Waters."

His band already had a credibility surplus when they agreed to reform for one night only as a personal favour to Morrissey, the former president of their UK fan club and curator of 2004's Meltdown festival on the South Bank.

Like The Velvet Underground and the MC5, they burned bright and briefly, so ahead of their time that they only found a really enthusiastic audience after they had fallen apart. With a scuzzy, angry rock sound that would only really make sense when punk arrived a few years later, and a look that an inexpensive prostitute might judge a touch low-rent, they made a virtue of not fitting in.

"The way we were would be much more acceptable today, but then people were so distracted by certain aspects that they didn't really hear how musical we were," says Johansen. Two albums, a self-titled debut (1973) and Too Much Too Soon (1974) didn't sell enough to make an impact and the band collapsed into influential but penniless status. "We didn't have any guidance, we were doing it on our own and it got to a point where we had no money and there was dope involved and it didn't work. …

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