Dolly Mixtures; Steve Conte Has Backed Some of Music's Top Names, Including Stepping into the Platform Boots of New York Dolls Guitarist Johnny Thunders. Matt Thomas Tracks the New York Musician Down in His Dutch Bolt Hole

South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales), July 29, 2010 | Go to article overview

Dolly Mixtures; Steve Conte Has Backed Some of Music's Top Names, Including Stepping into the Platform Boots of New York Dolls Guitarist Johnny Thunders. Matt Thomas Tracks the New York Musician Down in His Dutch Bolt Hole


Byline: Matt Thomas

IN a list of the places you'd expect to find guitarist Steve Conte, who replaced Johnny Thunders in the New York Dolls, has played with New York singer Willy DeVille and classic chronicler of New York life Paul Simon, Zeeland would not figure highly.

Yet that'swhereConte,whois in Cardiff tonight with his power trio The Crazy Truth, spends a fair chunk of his time these days.

So what brings the raven-haired rocker to the rural edge of the Netherlands? "Well I was touring here with Willylastyear,andImet the girl who very kindly agreed to become my wife, so that kind of necessitated me setting up home over here as well," he explains.

"So nowI havemy home here in Zeeland, down in the south by the sea, withmy wife Hedda and our daughter Zia, and I've got my Dutch band as well, a couple of guys who I met over here who tour with me when I'm in Europe. So yeah, it's all pretty good, it's a nice set up."

The European incarnation of TheCrazyTruth might bemade up of Dutch members but they're producing a pretty all-American sound.

"That's what I'm concentrating on in this band, a sort of straight-ahead power trio sound which you don't hear that often these days," he says.

It's the sort ofmusic that has excited him the most, possessing a degree of virtuosity that he thought set him apart from the trashy proto-punk world of The Dolls.

Despite looking every inch the glam rocker, he still remembers being quietly surprised when lead singer David Johansen approached him to take up the role of guitarist - replacing the deceasedJohnnyThunders -ahead of the their 2004 reunion at Morrisey's Meltdown festival. "I was not that familiar with The Dolls in a way, I mean I always thought of myself as an AC/DC, Rolling Stones sort of guy. I never saw myself as a Johnny Thunders-style guitarist," he says.

"But when word got out that David was reforming the band, a couple of guys said to him 'You know, Steve's themanfor thejob' and we got together and it worked out."

Despite the death of bassist Arthur "Killer" Kane from leukaemia shortly after the reunion shows, Conte remembers the experience as a pleasant one. …

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