“New York City’s Such A Whore!” (-Electric Frankenstein)
ATTN CITIZENS: Speaking as someone who got chased out of public schools for dressing alot like Karen O, at her splashiest, way back in the mid-eighties, I can tell ya, not just anyone can rock the Raggedy Andy look, and “Make It Work”, like Sylvain Sylvain. He’s the only guy I ever saw wearing the “one armed bandit” style, half-sleeveless, leather jacket, and with the personality to carry it off! Not to mention the umbrella hat, or all those kooky jump-suits with lemon piping and eight-inch platform heels he wore before Kiss. When me, and Gunfire Dance, and the Throbs, and Mister Ratboy all started wearing those velvet newsboy caps, in the flash metal era, who but SYLVAIN had already integrated the Little Rascals look into rock’n’roll? Even THE OSMONDS used to copy Sylvain’s crazy looks.
In addition, to cutting quite a dash throughout the decades, and introducing so many styles, and sounds, inventing the fads, and setting the trends, SYLVAIN SYLVAIN has been at the heart of every significant “movement” of the real rock’n’roll era. Heck, the notorious Sex Pistols manager even swindled their best guitar offa, who else, but Sylvain. The NY Dolls have meant so much, to so many. From Morrissey, and the punks, to the drag queens, to the Hair-metallers. Their fans are like a big dysfunctional family-true bohemians, poseurs, junkies, aristocracy, gutter bums, and socialites. The Dolls and their fans are obviously, the “OUR GANG” of rock’n’roll.
I was only two, or three, when the Dolls were getting together, but as a pre-teen, in the early eighties, they made such a big impression on me. Vividly, I recall being just captivated by Alice Cooper in his Wonder Woman t-shirt and silver sequined trousers in the “I’m Eighteen” video, Iggy’s platinum panther “Raw Power” look, Bowie, and all those Dolls album sleeves. Yeah, they only had two studio l.p.’s, but by the time, my rock dreams started blossoming, there were loads of repackaged, reissues, and bootlegs, etc. It was a good decade before I got a hold of Nina’s first Thunders book, so it was mostly old ROCK SCENES and CREEMS, we’d find at garage sales and flea markets. Even the record stores just had stacks of ’em, in boxes, for like a quarter each-there was no internet, and the record store owners weren’t as obnoxiously greedy, back then. I didn’t have no videos of ’em, for years, until someone finally started circulating that dodgy “Live In A Dolls House” VHS tape, so I just stared and stared at the album covers, and waited for my chance to split for Manhattan. I remember when I was young, people wanted to kill me for being a Dolls fan, and that tended to really bond me to my fellow travelers, the other true believers, misfits, jetboys, and rock’n’rollers, who were few and far between, out here in rural, fly-over country….so when I moved to the city, and I initially encountered some less-than-kind people who were flyin’ the Dolls colors, I was really actually shocked for a long while. All the Dolls people I’d ever known, previously, were soul brothers, you understand. It STILL gets in my crawl, sometimes, to see one of those vapid, mainstream, television bimbos, wearing a Dolls t-shirt. Sylvain was one of the few people I confided in, when one of my most beloved family members died, and I was absolutely shattered by it. He innately understood. He’s probably the friendliest rockstar who ever lived. Totally a fan, at heart. Humble, generous, genuine, with a hit wit. Everything you’d want him to be.
After delivering two near-perfect comeback platters with a reconstituted NY DOLLS, Steve Conte and Sam Yaffa have joined the Dolls influenced Michael Monroe, to continue their against the wind campaign to bring back true rock’n’roll without permission, David Johansen’s been doing some bluesy solo gigs, and Saint Sylvain’s joined forced with the kamikaze guitar punk, Cheetah Chrome, and various members of “Electric”-era The Cult and the Blackhearts, wowing life-long fans, currently touring all over the nation as THE BATUSIS.
Cheetah Chrome is the embodiment of wildass rock’n’roll, like Lemmy, or Keef. There’s only one Cheetah Chrome, y’know? It’s hard for me to even discuss what Cheetah and Stiv meant to this Catholic School expulsion, it’s like trying to soundbite the book that first captured your imagination and made you leave home, to seek out a freer existence, unhindered by witch-hunting, tv-watching, hate-radio programmed, flag waving, Wal-Mart shopping, video-game playing, McDonald’s worshipping, suburban nazis and smalltown hard-on authoritarians. It’s like talking about your kids or grandparents-no frivolous matter, something we only talk about as dawn approaches with our tightest amigos.
The Hat Brothers 45 of “Still Wanna Die”. “Here Comes Trouble”. That Ghetto Dogs e.p. on swirly colored vinyl directly resulted in at least one of my own junkyard drunk bands.
“USED TO BE FUN” just SLAYS me: “Kids don’t hang out on the corners no more-they’ve all gone inside…” It’s like Stiv’s “King Of The Brats”, Tom Wait’s “Hold On”, Lazy Cowgirls “Somewhere Down The Line”, Steve Earle’s “Livin’ In The Motherfuckin’ U.S.A.”, or Dee Dee Ramone’s “Poison Heart”. One of those songs that just said EVERYTHING to me.
Cos it used to be FUN. The BATUSIS e.p. sounds exactly like you think it should. If you are too stuck on Johnny Thunders to buy the New New York Dolls records, there’s a good chance you ain’t heard nothin’ this primo since the Waldos “Rent Party”, or the Humpers “Positively Sick On Fourth Street”. Remember how ON FIRE Electric Frankenstein were, in the early days, with Steve Miller? “It’s All Moving Faster”, or the Bobby No More-inspired, “Demolition Joyride”? The Batusis got that same crunchy, ferocious, effortlessly badass, streetpunk down to a science, this is Cheetan and Syl, it just emanates from their core, they have to try really hard to NOT ROCK, so, instantly, you think of how so few groups can do this type of music, authoritatively, anymore…There’s Silver from Norway…that first Stereo Junks e.p. from Finland was pretty good….but mostly, all ya ever hear is that trendy, third-rate, Strokes/Bomb Turks/Hives/Stripes wanna-be, middle-class, poseur, gutless shit that rarely comes within 100 miles of the Batusis’ soul and truth.
It’s funny that they open with “Blue’s Theme” from the “Wild Angels” soundtrack, cos the dangerous biker Vietnam Vet that adopted me and my childhood guitarist, as kids, and who is responsible for all of my unforgivable, G.G. Allin style tattoos, just loves dat tune.
Second song reminds you of Keith Richards, with the slasher riffs, and Johnny Johnson/Ian McLagan/Greg Kuehn style piano pounding, courtesy of Monsieur Mizrahi.
“What You Lack In Brains” reminds me of this baffled blonde I used to know, who had me, the singer of Buck Cherry, J.C. from N’Synch, and a violent Weiland clone with no money and a bad temper, all on her speed dial, and just couldn’t decide…Funny, cool, reminds me of Syl’s solo albums.
“Bury You Alive” is Cheetah protest punk, shades of Stiv. Three chords and a grudge, two fingers in the air, a pox upon the oil barons, torture mongers, secret police, media-monopolizing, murderous, fortunate son, global elite, false flag, prison building, propaganda pimping, Constitution shredding, taser-wielding, thug-financing, austerity bringing, police state shysters who contentedly enslave kids in Wal-Mart swet-shops, contaminate the food supply with G.M.O.’s, pollute the skies with geo-engineering experiments, destroy the Gulf, bust unions, stir-up phony racial divisions, and occupy poor people all over the planet for Fun and Profit. It’s about how nationalism is just power-hunger, tempered by self-deception. ‘Makes you wanna watch “Democracy Now”. Bator would be very proud.
“Big Cat Stomp” is one of those sleazy instrumentals only oldschool motherfuckers like these BATUSIS can successfully bring to life. Right The Fuck On. Come On, Commissioner Gordon! To the Bat Signal!(-Anguish Young)