Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Last year, after the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, I posted a list of artists who I thought should be inducted in 2011.  I'm glad that two of them - Alice Cooper and Tom Waits were both inducted this year. My number one choice for the Rock Hall in 2012 is KISS.

Another band I think should be inducted is a band who surely influenced KISS: The New York Dolls

I was a latecomer to this band for sure. One reason: they broke up in 1975, didn't really have any radio hits, and frontman David Johansen got more popular than the Dolls were as a solo artist, first under his own name, and then as Buster Poindexter. Plus, their look reminded me of a lot of hair metal bands, which has never been my thing. 

When did I change my mind?  I can give you a date. August 14, 2004.  That's when a reunited version of the Dolls (albeit, only featuring two original members, Johansen and guitarist Sylvain Sylvain, the rest of the members had passed away by then) performed at Little Steven's Underground Garage Rock Festival at Randall's Island in New York City.  It was the Dolls' first New York performance in a few decades. I was lucky enough to be on the stage (I was covering the event for VH1), and watching Johansen strut onto the stage... it was just cool. The band kicked ass.  I got their self-titled debut from 1973 (really, the only one that you need to have, it's a classic) and became a fan. 

The Dolls' influence is really widespread.  Former NY Dolls fan club president Morrissey was the guy behind their reunion. He curated the UK festival Meltdown, and convinced Johansen, Sylvain and Arthur "Killer" Kane to reunite (Kane passed away soon after, sadly). But the band for the tour was, at one point, supposed to include Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue and former Guns N Roses guitarist Izzy Stradlin'. That kind of tells the story: what other band has influenced The Smiths and The Crue? Other bands influenced by The Dolls include The Clash, The Ramones and R.E.M.

It would have been nice if The Dolls got in this year, their new album (their third since reuniting) Dancing Backward In High Heels, came out today (the day after the induction ceremony). Later this year, they will be opening a tour for the Crue and Poison. On one hand, it's annoying that they have to open for anyone, much less those guys, on the other hand, the Crue and Poison don't need an opening act, so it's cool to give The Dolls the gigs.  I hope some of the fans care. And here's hoping that the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer voters wise up to this very influential band. 

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