The New York Dolls
by Morrissey

This is the text of Morrissey's 1981 book published by Babylon Books.  
 
Thanks to Chris (ifftay@echo-on.net) and Stefan (ellas@algonet.se) for scans & pics

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Read a NY Dolls article by Moz that appeared in The Next Big Thing fanzine 1978.

"The New York Dolls contract expired on the 8th of August, 1975. We had a two LP deal with them and it was decided at that time not to renew their contract. The reality is that neither of their LP's sold very well. Not only that, but they were costing us huge amounts of because of their tendency to destroy hotel property. I truly believe that the company tried to be fair and patient with the Dolls but as talented as they were they were a continued source of aggravation for us".
-DONNA L. HALPER, East Coast A&R Director.
Phonogram, N.Y., October 7th, 1975.

 
The New York Dolls were the first real sign that the Sixties were over. Their unmatched vulgarity dichotomised feelings of extravagant devotion or vile detestation. It was impossible to look upon the Dolls as adequately midstream, just as it was impossible to ignore them. Enough was written about the group to fill a library. They were the 'cause celebre' of New York's avant garde. They served as a stark contrast to the tempo of the times with their "crude musicality". They were transsexual junkies. They were downed out highschool toughs posing as bisexual psychopaths. They were this, they were that. Their music was unfaltering gall faced garbage. The music industry hated them. Their record company hated them. The Dolls' teen slop would slip under after 3 years of moving a lot and getting nowhere. "We like to look bored to the bottom of our bowels," claimed lead singer David Johansen, which, in 1973, was hardly 'en regale' as most people thronged in awe and religious homage to the synthetic energy of theatrical rock spawned lazily by David Bowie and Alice Cooper beneath the guise of creativity (that's creativity with a capital £), and supported steadfastly by the mighty crutch of several merchant banks who gave birth to the bore of the decade, technology in rock. Rock music became an expensive business which thrived upon de-personalisation. It was controlled by corporates who had a knack of being oblivious to anything until it had been and gone. The New York Dolls could not possibly have been less attractive and how dare they! Those...semi-schizoid...mutli-sexual...doped-up denizens who announced:  
   "We're saying something that Teen Earth is interested in."  
And it was true.  

The Dolls became a derelict monument to devastated teenage America. New York's last rock 'clique' housed The Lovin' Spoonful and The Rascals, safe radicals who foresaw impending doom and switched off in protest. 'What a day for a daydream' could be heard only above the murmuring hum of lethargic meditation. The Velvet Underground peddled in uncharted territory, but their tepid frissons seemed positively prehistoric when the Dolls arrived.  

Forming in 1972, the Dolls cancelled out all preceeding efforts at establishing New York City as a musical haven.

Lou Reed half-heartedly whinged 'we're coming out, out of our closets' which served as a mild amusement to those already enthralled or appalled by David Bowie's indeterminable gender. And it was all harmless fun, being eagerly adopted by a considerably larger number of groups and cherry red lipstick became as symbolic of the early '70s as goatees and leather sandals to the late '60s. But the New York Dolls, to many people, just weren't very funny. Theirs was a sinister sense of transvestitism. 'High camp' for Roxy Music, 'poovery' for Marc Bolan, and even less for 'lovable norms' Slade and Sweet - such terms would never be accurate if aimed at the Dolls. The Dolls were just a little too real. It was a style beyond femininity; a gotesque collaboration of court shoes, bouffant hair, black lipstick, nail polish, exagerrated posturing .... and it all looked so perfect and natural. And suddenly Bowie's pompadour posing dwindled into insignificance, Alice Copper's fishnet tights were greeted with the laughter they deserved, and Roxy Music moved on to Hollywood gloss.  
"Do you think I dress in absurd drag? Of course I do. I just reflect life."  
DAVID JOHANSEN
Sadly, the appearance of the Dolls would far too often overshadow their music. Wereas preceeding "realists" in rock music cerimoniously accepted Woodstock as their most accurate period piece, the Dolls abhorred the apathy of that generation. Instead, the Dolls offered audience interplay, humour in misfortune, and drew energy from desperation. The Dolls had been unemployable second-class citizens. They never had money, or even a proper job. By channelling all their energies into the group they were out to have fun, and make lots of money. They wanted as much as they could get and they wanted it NOW. But technically, the Dolls couldn't really play very well.  
"It doesn't bother us when people say we can't play. When we met we actually couldn't" - JOHANSEN
 To 'stay loose and be crazy' was the Dolls' doctrine, and eventually, that they looked like haggard hookers from a 50's B-movie became immaterial. 
Nothing could detract from that music.
 

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