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The Tralf Music Hall - Buffalo, NY - February 19, 2008

Three decades ago, The New York Dolls set the Rock world on fire, influencing almost every band that came after them.
They are almost single-handedly responsible for the entire New York punk scene. And they STILL Rock today!

My youngest brother, Tim, came over one day to help me haul away some stuff and to hang out for a while. While we worked, he told me that the New York Dolls were coming to The Tralf Music Hall in Buffalo, NY and I nearly flipped. He even gave me a clipping of the ad from the paper.
When I got home that day, I looked up the band's PR people and requested an interview and photo pass for the February 19th show. The next day I got a response. It was yes. I was very excited. This was after all, the New York Dolls! As one of the key progenitors of Punk, the New York Dolls created in their brief existence a sloppy, sleazy, glorious rock-&-roll sound that has rarely been equaled.
The days seemed really long until the show date, but it finally arrived.
Dawn and I left Syracuse under clear skies for the two and a half hour drive.
The drive up was pleasant and passed quickly.
When we got to Buffalo, the skies clouded right up and the snow began. At points, we couldn't see more than a few feet in front of the car. Whipping winds drove the blowing snow into whiteout conditions. Luckily we were already in the city or we would have been bummed.
We drove around slowly looking for a place to park and finally ended up parking in the lot right next to The Tralf. We paid the attendant, grabbed the gear and headed inside.
Dawn and I arrived at The Tralf just as the band and crew were getting ready to do sound check. We let ourselves in and found a table that was out of the way and started getting ready.
I plugged in my new HP Photosmart portable printer and got it charged up. I received the printer from my wonderful Aunt Marsha as a Christmas gift. Funny part is, she didn't really know what it was when she gave it to me. But it turned out to be the best gift I could have gotten. It prints cool 4 x 6 inch photos in less than a minute. It was my very first time trying it out. It came in very handy.

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New York Dolls


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As we sat there at our table, a guy came up to the door behind us and knocked. It was the videographer for We Are The Fury, the opening band for the night's festivities. With him was another guy that came in and just hung out. I assumed he was with We Are The Fury as well.
Soon, members of the Dolls came out and tested the sound and tuned their instruments. David Johansen joined them and they ran through a few tunes.

I stepped up to the front and snapped a few photos during sound check and was headed back to my table when the tour manager approached me.
He asked who I was and I told him. He was ok with me being there but asked that I didn't take any more photos during rehearsal. I agreed not to and all was fine.
After a few songs and tweaking the sound, the Dolls left the stage. David headed into the back and guitarist Sylvain Sylvain was walking around the club.
Dawn and I approached him and asked if we could get a photo with him and he said no problem. We grabbed the guitar player from We Are The Fury and asked him to take the photo, and he agreed to do it.
Sylvain, being not very tall, took one look at Dawn and I, (who are both at least six feet tall), grabbed a chair, and stood on it, causing us all to laugh.
Syl stood between us, put his arms around us, and we got the photo. We thanked him and talked for a few moments until he had to get into the back to prepare.
Dawn and I rushed over to the printer and immediately printed out the photo. It was lovely. Great color, sharpness, and contrast; this was a GREAT gift!
Soon, David Johansen came out and we got some photos with him as well. Dawn and I were both really excited, and again rushed back to the printer after David left and printed those photos out as well. They also came out great!
With the photos we wanted printed out of the way, I packed up the printer and put it away.
We Are The Fury came to the stage to set up and do their sound check. I was not familiar with them, but Dawn was due to her time working at Sound Garden, Syracuse's only indie record shop.
I was impressed by what I saw at their rehearsal and couldn't wait for the live show.
There was a short break after We Are The Fury finished and Dawn and I took that time to grab a table right in the front so we would have a great view.
About that time, the doors opened up and the crowd began to file in.

The couple next to us saw our photos and we talked with them for a while. It turns out they used to live in Syracuse and know quite a few of Syracuse's finest rockers. We all talked about what a small world it was… They also bought a TATW button from me.
The other couple sitting next to us observed this whole conversation. They liked what I do and got a button as well.
A few moments later, the guy that had come in earlier joined us and began talking with us. He was really friendly and well versed on the history of the Dolls.
It turned out that he was not with the opening band as I had thought.
His name was Don. He is an art teacher from New Paltz, NY that is down by New York City. He was in Buffalo for business and was just out to see the Dolls. He used to hang out with the Dolls back in the day. Don was very excited to be seeing them again.
As we sat at our table near the stage, Dawn looked up, hit my arm and said, "Isn't that Andy, from Syracuse… the drummer for No Followers?"
I looked up and, sure enough, it was Andy! (Check out No Followers Page on MySpace.com Tell them I sent you!)
I immediately walked over and said hello. He was with his girlfriend Allie. They were as surprised to see us, as we were to see them!
They joined us at our table and we talked and hung out until the lights went down for the opening band.

We Are The Fury

We Are The Fury

We Are The Fury is from Toledo, OH, and was formed in 1999.
Vocalist Jeremy Lublin, guitarist Chris Hatfield, and bassist Alan Hoffar got together while still in high school and formed a band called Hearsay, later changing the name to Hearsay TAO.
The group added Lublin's younger brother Stephan on drums, and gigged around for a year.
Shortly before their album Where Vision Ends was recorded, keyboardist Todd Wehrle joined the band. Hearsay TAO became one of the biggest drawing acts in the Toledo area.
In 2002, Hearsay TAO released the EP By Land, by Air, by Sleep.
Around that time, he guys felt a name change was needed and they became The Fury, putting out a five-song, self-titled EP in 2005.
Along with the name change came a style change (presumably because of it), the guys traded in their emo post-hardcore ways for a stylish post-punk attack influenced by Bowie, the Rolling Stones, Queen, and the Cure.
The band was forced to change name in the fall of 2005 to avoid legal problems, and became known as We Are the Fury.
After a move to Los Angeles, We Are The Fury caught the attention of East West Records. The label reissued their 2005 EP, re-titled Infinite Jest, in late January 2006.
During 2006, the quintet toured nationwide, hitting up the year's SXSW and CMJ music festivals, all while readying the debut full-length Venus, which was finally released in early 2007.
The band's ability to take the Glam influenced rock of the past and make it sound new made them a great choice to be on tour with the legendary New York Dolls.
Jeremy Lublin's vocals are well handled and reminiscent of Freddy Mercury on many songs. The musicianship of the band is excellent and exciting. The crowd liked what they did and so did I.
After their set, the members of We Are The Fury were hanging out by the merchandise booth and I got a quick photo with Jeremy Lublin. He was a really nice guy. I complimented him on his terrific performance, and then gave him a button andtold him about my site. He said he would check it out! I hope he does!

After that Dawn, Andy, Allie, and I stepped outside for a bit of fresh air and a cigarette. The wind was still whipping and it was bitter cold. We smoked quickly to go back inside and get warm. I got a couple of drinks to warm us as well.
It wasn't too long of a wait before the lights dimmed again and it was time for the headline act!
The New York Dolls created punk rock before there was a term for it. Building on the Rolling Stones' dirty rock & roll, Mick Jagger's androgyny, girl group pop, the glam rock of David Bowie and T. Rex, and the Stooges' anarchic noise, the New York Dolls created a new form of hard rock that presaged both punk rock and heavy metal. Their drug-fueled, chaotic shows influenced a generation of musicians in New York and London, who all went on to form punk bands. And although they self-destructed quickly, the band's two original albums remain two of the most popular cult records in rock & roll history.

Tom: Frannie Spiopta of Syracuse wants to know: Have the New York Dolls been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?
Sylvain: Have they?
Tom: Yeah.
Sylvain: No, no.
Tom: You guys think you belong there?
Sylvain: I really don't know. I know they have some things of mine in the way of a display. To me, that's not really the trophy that I'm looking for. I'm looking for that trophy where the banker calls me up and says: "Hey, Sylvain, you're making a lot of money. Go spend it"
All of the members of the New York Dolls played in New York bands before they formed in late 1971. Vocalist David Johansen joined guitarists Johnny Thunders and Rick Rivets, bassist Arthur Kane, and drummer Billy Murcia. Early in 1972, Syl Sylvain replaced Rivets and the group began playing regularly in lower Manhattan, particularly at the Mercer Arts Center. Within a few months, they had earned a dedicated cult following, but record companies were afraid of signing the band because of their cross-dressing and blatant vulgarity.
Tom: Gene Simmons of Kiss once said that he wished the New York Dolls had made it huge because it would have been a big shock to a country that thinks Miss America is still a virgin. But in a way, the Dolls did make it huge. You guys were the epitome of Glam and influenced almost every band that came after you. How does it feel looking back and seeing all these bands that have taken the idea that the Dolls started and ran with it to such an extreme?
Sylvain: Well, first of all, I don't know if I'm going to answer your question, but anyway... The thing that was in front of everybody in, um… back when we started…. Which was this invisible wall that you had to be as big as the Beatles or the Rolling Stones to even get a record contract or to even think about even getting on stage.

This was the age of what they call "Stadium Rock." And where songs had lost their sex appeal and they were epics and they were operas. There was no more cool, little three cord progressions, man, that you get your rocks off on, you know.
Tom: Right…

Sylvain: And hence the reason why we started to play, and we thought it would last about 2 weeks, you know. And then we opened up that door; we broke down that big wall that was in front of everybody. And then who came after us? Patti Smith, probably the most talented of the whole lot. Then came the Talking Heads, and Blondie, and the Ramones, and that's only in NYC. The ones that I am mentioning are true rock and rollers. And I think that's really what happened. And that's only in New York! Now in England we were on television, so over there, you had the Morrissey's checking us out, you had Joe Strummer, and all the next generation over there, you know. And then, that's what opened up the door. That's what opened up the door to everybody. I once read someplace where Bono mentioned that one of his influences was the Ramones. And if it weren't for the New York Dolls there would have never been a Ramones.

Tom: Right…

Sylvain: Now, the band that you mentioned,
[KISS] they were… to me… They had nothing to do with rock and roll. They were a novelty band. They were a novelty act. It took them to have blood, fire and all kinds of stuff. You know, I don't think it was in the songs. Maybe they said something about rock and roll, but they had nothing to do with the revolution.
Tom: Now, having influenced so many the question begs; who were some of your early influences?

Sylvain: Eddie Cochran, All the blues guys, girl groups like the Shangri Las, and the Ronnettes especially, Marc Boland, T-Rex, the early bands, the early English guys, the early Who. Later on when they went into Tommy and all that other stuff, I could give a damn. That didn't turn me on at all. A matter a fact, that's why I fell like the next generation, had to rebel against that. They didn't want opera, they wanted three chord progressions, you know, based on the blues, just like the New York Dolls. And we had improvised solos, no two of our solos have ever been the same, so uhm… Everybody else I think they were more controlled, especially, you know, the late 60's and they were all put together by industries, not because they wanted to get chicks when they were like four cool guys that didn't know anything about anything. We had to learn it.
And I think that's really, that's the true art. The ones that are put together and are really by the industry, for the industry, when they disappear, they've got the next guy. I think the true art is when the artist themselves have to do it. They can't help but do it. Especially when they make it famous, but they don't make any money. Like in my case.

Tom: Right…

Sylvain: What would keep you going if you didn't make any money, if you were famous?

Tom: The love of music.

Sylvain: Well, yeah of course, the love of music. That's exactly it. Because everything else is falling apart around you, and the ones that are making it, aren't really talking about you, but that's all right.
Late in 1972, the New York Dolls embarked on their first tour of England. During the tour, drummer Murcia died after mixing drugs and alcohol. Jerry Nolan replaced him. After Nolan joined the band, the Dolls finally secured a record contract with Mercury Records. Todd Rundgren - whose sophisticated pop seemed at odds with the band's crash-and-burn rock & roll - produced the band's eponymous debut, which appeared in the summer of 1973. The record received overwhelmingly positive reviews, but it didn't stir the interest of the general public; the album peaked at number 116 on the U.S. charts. The legendary girl group producer George "Shadow" Morton produced the band's follow-up, Too Much Too Soon. Although the sound of the record was relatively streamlined, the album was another commercial failure, only reaching number 167 upon its early summer 1974 release.
Tom: You guys have been plagued by drugs and death, all through your career, from Billy Murcia in 1972 to Johnny in '91, Jerry in '92 and then, Arthur in 2003. Do you ever feel that the Dolls might be cursed?
Sylvain: No, I think the world is cursed, not the Dolls. The Dolls are a pure, beautiful think, ya know. And what happens in life is what happens in life. You might put your kid in that school bus, and then on the way there, who knows what happens, and you could get a call and that kid is no longer around. That's how life is.
Tom: Having lost friends to drugs, close personal friends, what do you think of these newer musicians coming up that are getting into heroin?
Sylvain: I think I lost more friends to AIDS because our country didn't want to help them. They totally ignored them. I think that's the real crime. When your society… in the richest nation in the world, can't even provide…you know, whatever…. Just because your different they discriminate against you for your sexual preference… on just that, and that alone.I think what happens to the Dolls is uh… You know what? If I had the choice to do it all over again, I wouldn't change one note.
Tom: Cool! Now, speaking of Johnny Thunders, did it ever bother you that he was acclaimed for his guitar playing when you taught him how to play?
Sylvain: Yeah, but that's the way Johnny was, you know. At first, when we put him in the band, he said the guitar had too many strings so he was gonna take up the bass. And two weeks after that he said, "Sylvain, I'm the lead guitar player, now you're the rhythm guitar player." That's the way Johnny was, he was very uhhh…uhhh…his self esteem was low, lets put it that way. And that's how it manifested. But that's ok, ya know…that's what gets you the beautiful stuff like Personality Crisis, the chords to Babylon, and on and on, ya know. If I could say one thing, the only I did teach him was the Blues really. I would say this to anybody. If you are thinking about playing music, you should start by playing the Blues if you're gonna play Rock and Roll. Anyways, if you want to play jazz you better play the blues. You could play anything. Blues is something that could be interpreted for thousands of years.

Tom: Well, that's great advice.

Sylvain: That should be the basis for everybody. Most bands after they make it or whatever then they decide, "Now I'm now going to do a blues album." But I guess then it's too late. I think you should start, like, the way we did or if I could mention anybody else it was the Rolling Stones. Start with the blues man, that's the great base.

Following the disappointing sales of their two albums, Mercury Records dropped the New York Dolls. No other record labels were interested in the band, so they decided to hire a new manager, the British Malcolm McLaren, who would soon become famous for managing the Sex Pistols. With the Dolls, McLaren began developing his skill for turning shock into invaluable publicity. Although he made it work for the Pistols just a year later, all of his strategies backfired for the Dolls. McLaren made the band dress completely in red leather and perform in front of the USSR's flag, all of which meant to symbolize the Dolls' alleged communist allegiance. The new approach only made record labels more reluctant to sign the band and members soon began leaving the group.
Tom: Near the end of the Dolls first run you guys were managed, and some would say mismanaged, by none other than the infamous Malcolm McLaren. What was it like working with him?
Sylvain: Well, you know, I introduced Malcolm and Vivian Westwood to the New York Dolls at a clothing trade show back in 1971. I had a company called Truth in Full Sweaters, which was like, ya know, back then if you weren't in the grind of it you just went into the schmatza business in New York. We had this trade show at one of the hotels in NY and I was in one room, and down the hall there was this company that came from England called Let It Rock. And Let It Rock was Vivian Westwood and Malcolm McLaren. And the last day of the show I invited Johnny Thunders and David Johansen.
I said hey, because that's the day the designers, they don't want to go home with their samples, so they sell them or trade them or whatever. And we went up to their room, and you know, I introduced them and Vivian Westwood and Malcolm McLaren, they fell in love with the Dolls. We took them to our show the next evening or whatever. That was it. That was the marriage within that whole thing. Now, if I could fast forward to 1975… Just before we broke up we weren't getting along with our managers, they lied to us, and there was no reason to be with them. Malcolm was hanging around in NY, he was selling his goods, and he came to see us, and he found out what all the deal was. I asked him to help us and he rented us a loft, we got all that new show together, which was called red patent leather…
Tom: What did you think of the idea of the whole red patent leather and the whole communist…?

Sylvain: Well no, it wasn't communist. Me and David wrote a song, it was called Red Patent Leather, and it was 'red, you're the judge, red you're the executioner, red you're the jury,' after the famous judge, jury, executioner. And it started off with just one pair of red shoes. And the next guy down said…."Oh yeah, I'll get red shoes." And then everybody got red clothes for some reason, and it was Vivian Westwood who was making the clothes, so why wouldn't you wanna wear it, ya know? And then, of course, which I think, David Johansen and Malcolm McLaren, who really never had two words to say to each other, at one point or another they came up with "Hh…well now they were all red with the song and everything, why don't we just put up the communist flag?"
That was interpreted, by others, to be whatever it came to be. But really, to get back to the deal there, when we broke up in 1975 after the red patent leather show there, we were supposed to come back to NY and play the Beacon Theatre and all that stuff… It was supposed to be our comeback. But the boys, they all broke up, everybody got in fights, and we were five individuals, and we could all go on our own.
Ya know, we all got record contracts. But after our breakup we all got solo record deals, basically except for Arthur Kane, ya know. It wasn't just like, the Dolls and were weren't going to make any more records but we all started our own careers and solo projects, and they were quite successful.
But that's what it was, when we were breaking up Malcolm McLaren started helping us. After the red patent leather show didn't work out everybody went their own ways. I was with Malcolm and he was going to fix me up with the guys in England, hence he wrote me this 6 or 7 page letter that is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by the way, it's displayed there, and he goes on for like 7 pages about how he doesn't trust this one and he doesn't trust that one. And then he sent me these little quarter booth photos, we're thinking about calling this guy Johnny Rotten. He can't sing, but he can definitely sing better than Johansen. He goes on and on about how the Sex Pistols are gonna be my band, and come to England… So, I gave him my white Les Paul and I gave him my Fender Rose piano and stuff, in trade to get a plane ticket to go to England. Well, guess what, I'm still waiting for that damn plane ticket.
Tom: Yeah, cause I asked how come you didn't do it?
Sylvain: I wasn't about to do it anyways, ya know. I was getting my own solo deals at that time. And then I signed with RCA. To me, I love Malcolm and everything, but I didn't see that to be his real art. I thought he should be making records. And I always thought the reason why the Sex Pistols… I think their most important member was Malcolm McLaren, but that's my own feelings. But if you listen to the band… They had one or two songs that I dug, and that was really about it.
Tom: You ever talk to Malcolm any more?
Sylvain: He wrote about us when we came up in the paper, The Guardian.
Tom: For the reunion, yeah…
Sylvain: In England yeah, when we did the Morrissey thing. You know, him and David never really got along.
Tom: At some point I want to sit down and do and interview with Malcolm, I would love to talk to that guy.
Sylvain: Yeah, if you can find him.
Tom: Yeah, right, that's what I hear. At one point you said you gave the guitar to Malcolm there, and he gave it to Steve Jones, who still has it…
Sylvain: No, he doesn't have it. He has been buying and making a pretty good little living on buying those things, putting the same decals on that I had on there, the girl on the record… and he has been buying them and selling them, and actually I did his radio show in Los Angeles and he talked about that.

Tom: How did it make you feel when you guys heard the song New York from the Sex Pistols and it was pretty much slamming the band.

Sylvain: Ah, who cares? It's a bunch of crap.

Tom: Right…

Sylvain: You know, I think that was more of they were trying to talk to Johnny Thunders. That doesn't really matter to me. It never meant anything. It came and it went and you're the only one I ever heard talkin' about it.

Tom: Oh really? Sorry.
Sylvain: No, It's ok, I don't think it's that important. It's probably part of some kind of history to someone, but, you know…

By the middle of 1975, Thunders and Nolan left the Dolls. The remaining members, Johansen and Sylvain, fired McLaren and assembled a new lineup of the band.
For the next two years, the duo led a variety of different incarnations of the band, to no success. In 1977, Johansen and Sylvain decided to break up the band permanently.
Over the next two decades, various outtakes collections, live albums, and compilations were released by a variety of labels and the New York Dolls' two original studio albums never went out of print.
Upon the Dolls' break up, David Johansen began a solo career that would eventually metamorphose into his lounge-singing alter ego Buster Poindexter in the mid-'80s and had a hit with the song "Hot Hot Hot"
Syl Sylvain played with Johansen for two years before he left to pursue his own solo career. Johnny Thunders formed the Heartbreakers with Jerry Nolan after they left the group in 1975. Over the next decade, the Heartbreakers would perform sporadically and Thunders would record an occasional solo album. On April 23, 1991, Thunders - who was one of the more notorious drug abusers in rock & roll history - died of a heroin overdose. Nolan performed at a tribute concert for Thunders later in 1991; a few months later, he died of a stroke at the age of 40.
Tom: After the Dolls you said you did the solo albums, you did the Criminals and the Tear Drops. But I also read somewhere that you were a cab driver for a while. How the hell did that happen?
Sylvain: Well, you know, everything falls apart… you got to feed yourself. What comes first is you and your family. You cant just like come home stinking drunk every night and they're all telling you how big you are.
Tom: Right…
Sylvain: …and then that's the end of that. I went back to making clothes again and I was knitting sweaters and making hats, and I tried to start up Truth and Soul up again, you know. I'll tell you one thing, driving the cab. When they lost me, they lost the biggest NY diplomat that they ever had. I was still around when the kids would come in, and parents with their kids. I would show them where Ghostbusters was filmed, and all the movies, and this one stood there, and that one did that here, and, you know, Bob Dylan once played at the Folk City. I was a walking, talking NYC encyclopedia.
Tom: Cool.
Sylvain: Sometimes I would drive kids, and they would go, "This dude is famous! Can I have your autograph?"
In 2004, former Smiths vocalist Morrissey, who was once the president of a British New York Dolls fan club, invited the surviving members of the New York Dolls to perform at the 2004 Meltown Festival, a music and cultural festival that was being put on that year by the singer. To the surprise of many, David Johansen, Syl Sylvain, and Arthur Kane agreed to the gig, with Steve Conte (from Johansen's solo band) standing in for Thunders and Gary Powell from the Libertines sitting in on drums. The group's set was well received by critics and fans (and was recorded for release on DVD and compact disc), which led to offers for other festival appearances, but only a few weeks after the Meltdown show, Kane checked himself into a Los Angeles hospital with what he though was a severe case of the flu. Kane's ailment was soon diagnosed as leukemia, and he died only a few hours later, on July 13, 2004, at age 55.
Tom: Now, uh, we're going to fast-forward to 2003 here again when Morrissey asked you guys to reunite to play the Meltdown Festival. What was your initial reaction to that?
Sylvain: Mine? Uh, I could have done it like, uh, you know, 1975. Post the New York Dolls first break up. Me and Arthur Kane would have done it at the drop of a hat. But thank God for Morrissey, and he deserves the biggest kiss in the world. He convinced David Johansen. David just was not interested, and he had been very, very different as compared to that music.

Tom: Right. He seems pretty into it now though!
Sylvain: Once you get up there and something happens, you might think this way or that way, but the audience is the ones that vote you in or out, not particularly you. At one point the band becomes the world. It's owned by the world, by the people. Not any longer for, yeah, they know when their going to go on tour or whatever, but they got their gig. The most important thing for a band is their next gig. And uh, but that's it. It's a tightrope of a juggle…
Tom: After years of waiting for a reunion, especially Arthur can who was dying to have a reunion, and he passed away just 2 weeks after you guys reformed for the 2003 Meltdown Festival, how did that affect the idea of continuing?

Sylvain: Well, you know, It's always like you know, uh, you start talking to your friends, just like when any tragedy happens. In fact, I emailed a few of my friends, some people came up just like in the very first one, we lost Billy Murcia before we got Jerry Nolan in the band. I mean, I had friends that told me 'Hey, you should quit right now.' And if we listened to them we wouldn't have had a New York Dolls album, with Jerry or without. So you know there is always good and there is always bad. You gotta suss it out. And of course you know, like I said, the most important thing to a musician is the next gig. In some cases, yeah, you know, maybe they're sitting behind a swimming pool, something like that, maybe they're saying, "Naw, the Dolls shouldn't be together anymore." In other cases they're struggling in some little factory, crappy job and this music really talks to them. They say, "Hey, yeah man, keep on going." See, that's the difference.
With Sam Yaffa (of Hanoi Rocks) on bass, the remaining Dolls played a hometown tribute to their fallen brothers at Little Steven's International Underground Garage Festival in New York City on August 14, 2004, reuniting again in 2006 for the all-new CD/DVD One Day It Will Please Us to Remember Even This. The line-up for the recordings included David Johansen, Sylvain Sylvain, Steve Conte, Sami Yaffa, Brian Delaney, and Brian Koonin. The album featured appearances by Iggy Pop and Michael Stipe of R.E.M.
Tom: Speaking of keeping on going, what was it like waiting 32 years to release the third Dolls studio record? And how is it different from other Dolls records?
Sylvain: Well, it was a struggle because at first it was like, ya know, everyone was throwing in a lot of things and some of them were so far away from being New York Dolls. There was confusion on whether we should go this way or that way. To me, even when we broke up in 1975, I always felt like the Dolls left me. I never left the Dolls. If you follow my solo career you, you are going to find New York Dolls songs all over the place. The latest thing that I did, my latest album, is called Sweet Baby Doll, I put it out in 1997.
Tom: Yep, the Fish Head there, yeah.
Sylvain: Fish Head records, right, and you could trace on that. I mean, even the show today, when we do the segue from You Can't Put Your Arms Around a Memory to uh, Lonely Planet Boy… That's what I was playing live, Pills, just exactly the way we were playing it today, I was playing it live since the late 80's if not before…. in my show. And Trash of course, actually, Trash is on my Sweet Baby Doll album.
Tom: Speaking of Pills, I gotta tell ya…
Sylvain: I don't know, to me I never really change; it's basically the same. I did have a show at one point called the Tear Drops, some people thought it was Latin, but it wasn't really. You just mess with music just to see how far you can go, and how far it will take you. That's the art of it all.
Tom: Yeah, if you don't do that you don't find anything new and we all just listen to the same thing over and over and over again.
Sylvain: Exactly, and music should be an evolution of where you started. And you should always keep on learning, if not then you're bored of it and you say, "Well, you know what, I'd rather do something else."
Tom: Right, Now I want to ask you this… A lot of purists say the new line up is not really the New York Dolls. What do you have to say to them?
Sylvain: You know what, you gotta give 'em all a chance, you know. I haven't heard of anybody who came to our show live that's gone home disappointed, you know. Cause our show is probably the only rock and roll show that there is in the world. I'll give you an example… The other day we were playing, I don't know where, I think we were in Boston or something you know, and David plays his harmonicas. And our tech guy is helping him out cause David can't see too good. He needs glasses. So they put the right key next to the song. If it's an A he knows that he's gotta play an A harp or whatever. So we were starting our, I forget what song it was, it was our opener, and someone stuck the wrong key harmonica in David's harp…. So we kick off the song and stuff and it's like Bam! …wait a minute something is really, really wrong here. And he pulls like a Jimmy Durante. He's like "Stop the music! Stop the music!" It was so funny. It just broke the whole ice between us and the audience. Now, they were just like beginning to get naked over the whole thing, and let their problems out side the door, you know, and then it was so loose and everyone had a smile from ear to ear after that, and we had such a great rock and roll show. No one, no one would ever do that.
Tom: I gotta tell you man, we saw you guys in Buffalo. You'll remember me cause I had printed out the photos there.
Sylvain: Oh yeah, that was you!
Tom: Yeah, yeah, that's me. And Syl... dude, I gotta tell ya, that was one of the best freaking shows I ever saw in my life. I loved it! It was stunning, I mean. And I gotta tell you, you were one of the nicest guys I ever met. You were so friendly to everybody. That definitely holds up to anything you guys ever did in the past and I gotta tell ya, anyone who says anything else is crazy, because it blew me away.
Sylvain: Ahh, that's beautiful. On that note I'm going to have to say this is the end because I know its almost 1:30 and I have another one at 1:30.
Tom: Oh, ok.
Sylvain: I wanna tell you this though, don't forget. No matter how big Kiss got they're still and forever will be a novelty act.
Tom: Oh, I understand that.
Sylvain: And a novelty act is not really a rock and roll show, you know, they might have something here and there, but I swear the only comparison to Kiss, first of all, they've already borrowed from our song, Looking for a Kiss, that's how they got their title. And they used to rehearse right next to us, and they had this kind of cowboy western kind of band, called Phoenix I think they were. And out of the success of the Dolls… they first saw the Dolls, and when we weren't successful in the beginning they didn't do anything, you know. But once we started having our shows and when all the chicks came out that's when everybody else wanted to come out. Once they saw that that's when they went into their blood and fire and everything else. Let me tell you something, it took them to have blood and fire a complete face cover, and it only took the New York Dolls as we say in French their "rouge à lèvres", or their lipstick, and their high heels, and their sexiness. You know, we didn't do anything else.
Tom: Amen.

Sylvain: We didn't have to fire-breathe, we didn't have to spit blood on you, whatever it was. That's a shock. That's more like, what's the other guys name, Manson. He's a shock. There's no real art in it. And they come in and they go, and in the case of Kiss, I swear to God, if I'm six years old and I dig them, that's cool. But anybody past the age of six years old, that still digs that band, I got a problem with them.
Tom: Right...
Sylvain: I hate to tell them that. I'll ask you to quote me on that ok?
Tom: I will. I will quote you on that. I've got to ask you one more, quick, question. It's a yes or no.
Sylvain: What?
Tom: Do you guys plan on recording any other new album anytime soon?
Sylvain: Yes, but I hope it's not going to be another 30 years.
Tom: All right. Well, thank you very much Syl. I appreciate you taking the time. Keep rocking! Knock them dead tonight.
Sylvain: No Problem. You stay cool and I'll see you next time in Buffalo.
Tom: Anywhere I can get within a six-hour drive, I'll be there.
Sylvain: All right…
Tom, All right brother, take care.
Sylvain: Thanks.
After the New York Dolls finished playing, Dawn and I grabbed the set lists from the stage as the band left. Much of the crowd dispersed and made their way home in the vicious storm that was raging outside. A few moments later, the band came out and signed autographs and posed for photos with the remainder of the crowd.

Dawn and I thanked Sylvain, David, and the rest of the band for a phenominal show. We got our copies of the set lists and our photos signed before heading out to the car. The drive home was no small feat. It took us over two hours to go the first twenty miles or so. But finally around Rochester, NY it cleared up and we made it home in one piece. The day had been great!
The New York Dolls were, are, and always will be one of the greatest bands in Rock & Roll! The Dolls will continue their touring later this summer. If you get the chance, catch the show and be amazed. And remember to tell them TomAroundTheWorld sent you!
mp3 Interview
with SylVain Sylvain

RT Click/Save Target
New York Dolls
Tralf Music Hall
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