TV Party - N

NEW YORK DOLLS - Lookin’ Fine On Television {MVD} Any visual documentation of the NEW YORK DOLLS is, for me, essential viewing, even in the grainy black and white form that is on this DVD. The band was the very embodiment of the oxymoron of glammed up but down in the gutter Rock ‘n’ Roll, given a confidence and sneering edge that, in the early 70s, had never been seen. What is slightly bemusing about this DVD is the fact that a lot of the footage has already been released on the excellent ‘All Dolled Up’ DVD. Interview footage is, it seems, all from the band’s trip to Los Angeles. There is the interview from ‘All Dolled Up’ set in, what is I believe, the Hollywood Hills featuring the whole band. The other interview is with David Johansen sat around a pool again in LA. While he comes across as the embodiment of a rock star, what he has to say is both interesting and funny. He talks at length about a gig at Zeros with original drummer Billy Murcia and several other anecdotes about gigs, women and getting wasted.
Musically, most of the songs have footage collated from a number of shows played over a single live recording. There is certainly footage of one of the LA shows with Arthur Kane standing behind the band with his arm in plaster after his girlfriend, Connie (later, a 'love' of Dee Dee Ramone's), tried to cut off his thumb as she didn’t want him to go. Looks to be footage from NYC’s Mercer Arts Centre and also the infamous Halloween Party at the Waldorf Astoria. Of the songs, ‘Bad Detective’ includes a few snippets from the St Valentine’s Day Massacre Lipstick Killers promo. ‘Chatterbox’ is stunningly raw with Johnny Thunders in iconic form with shredding guitar leads and power chords. Thunders is particularly excellent throughout with ‘Jet Boy’ being particularly destructive. ‘Human Being’ is from the Halloween Party and, among the related snippets, we get news coverage and Johansen giving the viewer a personal invite.
The extras are just the songs played in succession without the surrounding interviews and incidental footage. They’re still the collated versions however. The big bonus though is an interview from 1976 outside CBGB’s which, initially, Johansen is hosting as he interviews Lisa Robinson of Rock Scene. RICHARD HELL gets mentioned a great deal and it quickly deteriorates - especially with the arrival of a now-in-THE-HEARTBREAKERS, Johnny Thunders. This is just pre-Anarchy tour as Thunders states he is going to the UK for this tour with the SEX PISTOLS and The DAMNED, both of which he terms as ‘real cute’! He also mentions Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers using the Heartbreakers name and suggests he will change the band’s name to, "The Headbreakers and go give them a visit."
Watching this in my mid-40s, it reminded me of the heady days of youth. Sure, I never had such a hedonistic youth as THE DOLLS (and not many did), but the confidence, exuberance, simplicity and ‘to-hell-with-tomorrow’ attitude all brought back memories. This is very much a ‘fans only’ release and while the colour performance photo on the back of the sleeve is a little misleading, any fan of THE DOLLS is going to get a lot of pleasure out of the lipstick, gutter guitar, sequins and rock ‘n’ roll exhilaration on display here. (25.05.14)

Hit HERE for material reviewed prior to 2012 including: