Updated: Jun 1, 2018
I wore the music out of the grooves of L.A.M.F. by The Heartbreakers, Johnny Thunders' post New York Dolls band. I remember the first time I heard the rock-and-roll face-inducing opening riff of "Born to Lose," the world-weary Keith Richards whininess of "It's Not Enough" and the jolt of delighted energy I felt when I heard the opening chords and drums of "I Wanna Be Loved": Dunh, dunh, dunh, dunh, Boom bah dumpuh dah!
You can't help but make the facial expression demonstrated above if you listen below:
In high school I spent many hours in my rocking chair listening to and grooving to Johnny's solo album, "So Alone." It introduced me to the Shangri-lahs, surf music, and brought the spirit of the 50's R&B, the Stones, the Small Faces, and Thin Lizzy together in "Daddy Rollin' Stone." (Johnny had good taste in covers.)
Johnny Thunders was one of my biggest inspirations when I decided to actually play music after years and years of listening and listening and listening.
Despite a prolonged adolescence, my worn out jeans (I EARNED those holes!), and a brief, passionate relationship with Brylcream, I realized several things (Some came more gradually than others.):
I didn't want to be Johnny.
I didn't want to think like Johnny
I didn't want to to what Johnny did.
I didn't even want to sound like Johnny!
I feel the same about other early faves: the Dolls, The Sex Pistols, Sid Vicious, Iggy, The Ramones, The Clash.
So where's the inspiration?!
It's hard to describe. My own music is different, but I can't forget the excitement, the energy, the delight, the musical epiphanies I felt as I discovered this music. Some people might say that punks and punk rock were puerile, insulting, tasteless, and inept, and they're right on one level. But it started me (and many others, I'm sure) on a long, joyous journey.
Johnny, had we met, we probably wouldn't have had much to say, but if I could talk with you now, I would say one thing for sure: Thank you!