Truly impatient after the news there would be a film documentary about Johnny Thunders life, to us a true songwriter either with the New York Dolls, The Heartbreakers and solo, he continued to prove one of the few ‘own brand’ guitarists to come out of those times, mind you Jerry Nolan on drums helped, forming a healthy musical marriage to enhance his many talents. The fact that the director that brought everyone ‘The Rise & Fall of The Clash’ bodes well, as I open the dvd.
One thing Danny Garcia has successfully re-employed to ‘Looking For Johnny’ was his attention to detail, aided by a whole host of clipped concert , tv footage and radio recordings to talking head testimonies from most that were there and knew Johnny Thunders in the many stages of Johnny’s short life.
“When Johnny Thunders died in New Orleans on April 23rd 1991, he left behind a mystery. Though MTV and international broadsheets reported the guitarist’s demise, for many in the mainstream, Thunders was perceived as an enigmatic outlaw. He was adored by a legion of devotees and cited as an influence by at least three successive generations of musicians. Thunders refused to play the corporate game and was both elevated and damned for it.”
Helping joining the musical dots are many, good to find ‘In Cold Blood’ biographer Nina Antonio, there’s also interviews with New York Dolls’ Sylvain Sylvain, Heartbreakers bandmates Walter Lure and Billy Rath – in a final appearance prior to his tragic death, as well as notably interviews with Lenny Kaye, Bob Gruen, Terry Chimes, Alan Vega, Peter Perrett, Sami Yaffa, and three of Johnny’s late managers: Marty Thau, Leee Black Childers and Malcolm McLaren.
The film trailer:
The film features 40 songs including ‘Born To Lose’ and ‘You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory’, and historic film of Johnny with live performances from all periods, with unseen New York Dolls and Heartbreakers footage and photos. Filmmakers Bob Gruen, Don Letts, Patrick Grandperret, Rachael Amadeo and others contribute classic archive footage, along with rarely seen clips from Johnny’s French film roles, helping illustrate the charisma, chaos and heartbreak inherent to the guitarist.
Outside of the many releases, Johnny was prolific, this 90 minute plus documentary, complete with a host of extras, holds even at times an uncomfortable attention throughout, ‘Looking For Johnny’ is a highly recomended watch. 9/10