The New York Dolls: Too Much, Too Soon


TooMuchTooSoon.jpg
Omnibus Press, (1998), (2003) & (2005)

Sex, Sex & More Sex
Drugs, Drugs & More Drugs
& Rock ‘N’ Roll

“It’s torture, yet compulsive.” – Kerrang!

“…the full works.” – Mojo

Too Much Too Soon is the definitive story of the most outrageous glam rock band of them all – The New York Dolls.

The Dolls, peddling trans-gender posturing and incendiary rock ‘n’ roll, were dumped by the record business after making just two albums. But their influence lived on when Malcom McLaren injected the last of the Doll’s life blood into The Sex Pistols and changed pop forever. From punk to grunge, practically every new sensation in the contemporary rock scene has been a delayed reaction to The New York Dolls.

Too Much Too Soon celebrates all the glorious sleaze and excess of the Doll’s brief auto-destruct career through interviews with the survivors, including band members, managers, roadies, groupies and hangers-on. The result is the ultimate saga of unrepentant rock ‘n’ roll debauchery.


Up and Down in Paris and London: The New York Dolls trash Europe

Nina AntoniaOmnibus Books, 1998

An extract from Too Much Too Soon: The New York Dolls by Nina Antonia, first published by Omnibus Press in 1998. (208pp, currently available in softback at £9.95)

“The New York Dolls were the Bowery butterflies that irrevocably altered the course of rock’n’roll,” writes Nina in her introduction to a biography that evokes the tragedy of the Dolls but at the same time celebrates their hilariously laissez-faire attitude to life and the rock biz. “Their actual moment, 1971-1975, was brief but their influence, whether acknowledged or not, spans two decades… The Dolls’ nonchalant acts of artistic vandalism and liberation have long outlived them but their monument, if there was one, would surely stand on unhallowed ground, for they came in the end to represent all that is considered debauched in rock culture.”

In this extract we pick up the Dolls’ story as they arrive for their second visit to the UK in November, 1973. Their first visit ended in heartbreak with the death of original drummer Billy Murcia, but within weeks they had regrouped with Jerry Nolan on drums to record their debut album, which was much favoured by critics but largely ignored by the public.

*

INEXTRICABLY ALTERED by time and experience, The New York Dolls returned to England on November 20th, 1973. They even looked different from the feisty fledglings whose first UK tour had ended in tragedy. The once flirtatious bunch of second hand roses in their thrift shop finery had been around the block and metamorphosed into hardened rock sluts with a penchant for satin and studs.

At the start of the band’s itinerary, two possible television slots were pencilled in – a spot on The Russell Harty Show, a regional chat show, and an appearance on the cult-comedy show Monty Python’s Flying Circus which regularly featured a bit of cross-dressing. The first confirmed sighting of the band, however, was at Warwick University on November 22. Two other university gigs followed at York and Leeds, where only 600 of the 2,000 tickets had been sold. The Dolls were hardly cut out to entertain students in drab union halls at which decadence was measured by the amount of beer consumed, but they managed to break a little ice along the way. The tour coincided with the release of ‘Jet Boy’/’Vietnamese Baby’ and as the first album had only just been released in England, Mercury were hoping the visit would further bump up sales figures.

If The New York Dolls had seemed strange to their student audiences, then they were incomprehensible to Bob Harris, the mild-mannered television host of The Old Grey Whistle Test. Considered by its viewers to be a serious rock programme, the Dolls’ inclusion on the show was a glorious deviation. Bob Harris smugly set himself up as a future figure of ignominy when he openly mocked the Dolls’ performance of ‘Jet Boy’ and ‘Looking For A Kiss’.

For many a disenchanted youth, bored by the prevailing music scene, the band’s appearance on the Whistle Test was a decisive moment. Up in Manchester Steven Morrissey, who would later collate the Dolls’ press cuttings in an underground publication, wrote: “I was 13 and it was my first real emotional experience”. The Dolls were also crucial to the development of the early Sex Pistols. Paul Cook told Fred and Judy Vermorel: “I saw them (the Dolls ) on the telly and I was fucking really knocked out by them. It was mainly their attitude I think. It was this really conventional BBC – you know The Old Grey Whistle Test. I couldn’t believe it, they was just all falling about all over the place, all their hair down, all knocking into each other. Had these great big platform boots on. Tripping over. They was really funny. And they just didn’t give a shit, you know. And Bob Harris at the end of it went: “Tut, tut, tut, mock rock… just cast it off in two words. I thought it was great, though.”

The frenetic pace continued as the Dolls made their way through London, where they had reservations in South Kensington at the splendid Blake’s Hotel, which David Jo described as “kinda deco and renovated looking”. Further renovations would have to be carried out in the wake of the band’s visit. Gathered in the hotel lobby to greet the Dolls was a welcoming party that included Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood who introduced the band to Ian Dury. A couple of members of Roxy Music mingled with a group of American girls who were keen to offer the Dolls some home grown fun. One of them, a tall chick with aspirations to be a musician called Chrissie Hynde, would pair off with Arthur.

The Dolls had a particularly busy schedule in front of them, starting with a soundcheck in the late afternoon at the Rainbow Room, a huge Art Deco lounge and bar on the sixth floor of Biba’s department store in Kensington High Street. After the soundcheck, they were to return to Blake’s for a press conference before getting ready for the Biba gig. The band drifted upstairs, where Frenchy began running a bath for Arthur.

Sylvain: “We started hanging out with these American girls, and the bath was still running. We went to do the soundcheck, then me and Arthur went down to the department store. Arthur tried on a black jacket with a leopard collar which was priced at £40. Now although we were being treated like royalty we still didn’t have any money, so Arthur switched the price tag on it for a £12 one. He wasn’t shoplifting, switching tags was something Arthur and Billy had always done but the shop assistant figured it out and called for security. He was arrested and it made the local news that night.”

Barbara Hulanicki, the creator of Biba, an opulent palace of purchases, had booked The Dolls for two nights. Indeed, they had the honour of being the first live band ever to strut their stuff in the Rainbow Room. Ms Hulanicki was most perturbed by the shoplifting incident, which she recounted in her biography From – A – To Biba: “The day they were due to appear we were watching their roadies setting up the equipment when the head of our security arrived, gripping two bedraggled looking creatures who had been caught shoplifting dresses and who claimed to work for us. They were part of the group and reluctantly we had to let them off. The Dolls did not go down very well with our audience either.”

The chastened Dolls returned to Blakes, only to find that the hotel had been flooded by the bath that Frenchy had started running for Arthur which no one had bothered to turn off until soapy water started lapping around the shoes of surprised hotel guests. The press conference was delayed while the hotel management and the band’s management held a screaming match in the foyer. David Jo went for Arthur when he found out who was responsible for the damage, and the press went for the band because they were tired of waiting.

The opening line of questioning was none too respectful but well fielded by Johansen…

“How much hose-pipe do you push down your trousers?”

“None. It’s all me.”

“Why are you trying to play down the outrage when before you played it up?”

“We never played it up, the Press did.”

“Are any of you married, apart from to each other?”

“None of us are married.”

“What kind of people do you expect to come and see you here, if anyone?”

“Decadents of all ages.”

“Why are you playing Biba’s?”

“Because we like playing in a cabaretish situation.”

Every time the rest of the Dolls attempted to interject, Johansen hissed at them like an irate alley cat, until they sulkily retreated into simmering resentment. It had been a black day for Arthur but like the jacket with the leopard skin collar he’d eventually managed to smuggle out of Biba’s, it had a silver lining.

The Dolls’ two consecutive shows at Biba’s were a must-see for anyone who considered themselves movers in the rock, art or fashion world. Even Paul McCartney showed up. London tried to out-decadent New York but the lounge lizards and their sultry sirens were quite astonished at just how wild the Dolls were as they flailed about on stage in a maelstrom of raucous rock’n’ roll. Sylvain: “They were expecting us to be the most incredible, major band. They weren’t expecting dirty rootsiness from five little punky kids who had turned music upside down and started all over again.”

The audience hadn’t expected their ear drums to explode either. The band had borrowed the Rolling Stones’ PA system via an associate of pianist Ian Stewart and while the system was perfect for a stadium, it sounded somewhat boomy in the confines of the Rainbow Room. Malcolm McLaren was utterly enraptured: “It was fantastic. They were like the worst striptease rock act you can imagine. I loved their awkward, trashy vibe. We became a part of their entourage and like groupies we followed them to Paris.”

On November 28th, The New York Dolls travelled to France. It could have been turbulence or it might have been a champagne hangover from the forty bottles of bubbly that the band insisted Biba provide, but Thunders and Nolan felt so sick on the journey that for once neither of them were particularly into booze that day. Being a Doll wasn’t a healthy option at the best of times but Johnny and Jerry’s symptoms were a little different from the usual morning-after-the-night-before nausea.

Peter Jordan: “I noticed that Johnny and Jerry were acting a little funny. That was the first time I became aware of their abuse of narcotics. When Jerry joined the Dolls he didn’t even smoke cigarettes, he didn’t do any kind of drugs, he didn’t drink. If he did go out and have something to drink, it’d be something really corny like whiskey and soda. It was a surprise to me that either of them had gotten into heroin. Johnny was a hip guy and he’d been around the block, even though he was very young. Frankly, there was enough aggravation already going on, so the last thing I expected anyone to do was get strung out on heroin.”

The Dolls’ arrival at Orly Airport became infamous, with Thunders taking over the late Billy Murcia’s unfortunate predilection for public vomiting. Waiting alongside the gathering pack of press photographers at the airport was Patrick Taton, a dour French employee of Mercury Records who was supposed to look after the band during their visit but in private kept a damning dossier which he later submitted to the record company. Paul Nelson managed to liberate the confidential file that begins at Orly. “Thunders got sick right on the airport floor and had to leave the scene for a minute to pull himself together and make a decent comeback,” wrote Taton.

Splattered with vomit, the photographers and reporters wiped themselves down and returned to their news desks to write realms of salacious prose and develop their pictures. Sylvain: “It was all over the press, The Dolls arrive in France and they are degenerate, drug addicted faggots.”

Only NME‘s Nick Kent, no stranger to decadence having studied chemical abuse in the court of The Rolling Stones, was able to inject a little humour into the scenario: “Johnny Thunders throws up. Bl-a-a-a-a-a-g-g-h! God knows how many photographers are there: Paris MatchStern magazine – all the European rock press and the nationals. The record company folks have arranged a special little welcome. Bl-a-a-a-a-g-g-h-h! The members of the band look stone-faced and wasted, wondering if he’s maybe going to fall into his own vomit…”

The Dolls eventually made it to their hotel, tailed by Taton, who noted: “The band gave us a hint as to their drinking capacities, which we had to discover at our own expense. In the afternoon, Thunders got sick again and had to be replaced by one of the road managers for photo purposes.” When the Dolls played in Lyons that night, Patrick Taton did not share in the audience’s enthusiasm, nor did he the following evening in Lille. Instead he waited for the band’s Paris début, poison pen at the ready.

Les Poupees Du New York enjoyed a riotous first night in the French capitol. Their entourage now included Malcolm McLaren and his couturier friend Jean-Charles Castellbajac, who was celebrating his birthday. They all sat down to dinner at La Coupole, a chic brasserie in Montparnasse. Before the dessert arrived, the band’s management wisely bailed out and returned to the hotel, conveniently assuming that McLaren would foot the bill.

Malcolm McLaren: “I suppose their managers thought that us Europhiles had money to burn, being foolish entrepreneurial shopkeepers who were running around after the Dolls, but of course I couldn’t pay the bill. It was a banquet for twenty people, including all these various hangers-on and because it was Jean-Charles’ birthday, I’d ordered a huge cake. We had to run for it and these two young French journos got collared by the staff and slung back into the restaurant, where they had to find a way to pay the bill. We finally got back to the Ambassador Hotel, where the Dolls were staying and collapsed, exhausted from running all the way. I suppose that was my first real affair with the Dolls, my initiation into their lifestyle and I was attracted enough to continue.”

The following day, at 12 o’clock sharp, Patrick Taton sat down in the bar of the Ambassador Hotel to takes notes on the Dolls’ press conference. Unsurprisingly, at that early hour, the band were nowhere to be seen. Marty Thau had been attempting to corral his unruly charges since nine o’clock that morning but had only managed to locate three of them. Meanwhile, the bar area was spilling over with reporters from Spain, Italy, Holland, Germany and France. To stave off any ill-feeling about the band’s tardiness, Thau threw open the bar.

Marty: “It was like a United Nations gathering of rock’n’roll writers. I knew the press conference was never going to take place at 12, so I told the writers to have a drink and wait for the band. By four o’clock there was an $8,000 bar tab which Mercury had to pay for and they weren’t too happy about it. I got yelled at for it but we certainly got a lot more than $8,000 worth of press out of it.”

By late afternoon all of The Dolls had assembled in the bar and the interviews got underway. As usual, David Johansen nursed a bottle of Remy Martin, his favourite accessory, as he entertained the gentlemen of the press. If Arthur was a withdrawn drunk, who could on occasion barely negotiate his way on stage, David Jo was a loud lush, capable of being either extremely witty or a mean-mouthed bitch, depending on circumstances. Sylvain: “Arthur and I used to call him Tu Tu Fly – he used to be like a drunk Bette Davis.”

David handed out more scoops to the journalists than an inebriated waitress in an ice-cream parlour. “I’ve checked out all this ‘Paris-is-the-city-of-romance’ thing. It’s just because all the chicks have to get it at least five times a day or else they go crazy,” was among his more piquant observations.

The liquor loosened talk turned to the subject of the Dolls’ projected second album, tentatively entitled Too Much Too Soon, and some of their newer compositions, which gave Thunders – not the most verbally forthcoming of characters – a chance to talk about what he liked best, the music: “Well there’s ‘Mystery Girls’ and, uh, one that I wrote called ‘Jailbreak Opera’. It’s short y’know – no longer than five minutes. I just like to grab everything ya can, throw it all in and get out, y’know.”

Johansen jumped right in where the guitarist paused: “Also there’s ‘Puss’N’Boots’, which is quiet sensational. It’s about shoe fetishism or as Arthur observed, it’s about ‘the woofers in relationship to the woofee’. And then we have this ballad which isn’t quite finalised yet, but it’s the most beautiful song since The Drifters’ ‘On Broadway’.”

As the journalists began to depart, Sylvain gave them all a parting shot with his toy cap-gun. Marty Thau was left to face the music with Patrick Taton, who had written more in his Dolls’ dossier than most of the press had scribbled into their notebooks all afternoon. Taton: “When the interviews were over, I picked up the bill, which was incredibly high for so short a time. When I told Thau about it, he replied, with utmost contempt, ‘Peanuts for a band like that’ and continued with some of the most insulting remarks I’ve ever heard about a record company and its executives.”

The next entry in Patrick Taton’s confidential Mercury report was made only a couple of hours after the press conference: “Next was a live concert at Radio Luxembourg. Although they had been requested for rehearsals at 17.30, the group were not ready before 19.00 and went to the studio in a frightening state of drunkenness – one of the most nerve-shattering experiences of my ‘business’ life.” The Radio Luxembourg show, which is now available on CD as either Paris Burning or Paris Le Trash, is a lewdly reeling affair with only Jerry’s solidly anchored drumming keeping the band in shape. Sylvain: “If you listen to that recording you can hear what condition David was in. He was a drunken mess. His ego had gone completely overboard and he couldn’t do no wrong in his own eyes. He was trying to talk in French and he was so out of it.”

On December 2nd, The New York Dolls played a matinee show at the prestigious Olympia Theatre, where the likes of Edith Piaf, Charles Aznavour and James Brown had previously graced the stage. Much to Patrick Taton’s surprise, the band managed to haul their asses out of bed reasonably early, a triumph for Frenchy, their persistent tour manager. It was left to their valet to rouse the band whenever there was something of particular importance on their agenda. Reliving his days as an army sergeant in a training camp, Frenchy would go into the Dolls’ rooms blowing a police whistle in a military style wake up and get moving exercise. Frenchy would also blow his piercing whistle when procuring girls for the band from the audience. ‘”Okay. You! And You! And You!” he’d yell as the eager conscripts formed an orderly queue.

Not only had they risen early but the Dolls had gone down to the capacious theatre and soundchecked without a hitch. The band took a liquid lunch, which had repercussions when they went on stage in front of a full house at 3.30 pm. Sylvain: “We looked absolutely beautiful. We’d just come from London where we’d raided Vivienne’s shop and got the loveliest things which we were trading back and forth between us. We’re on stage in the mid-afternoon and Arthur was wearing these big white aviator boots that kind of glowed in the dark and this kid in the front row put some LSD on the front of his boots. The whole band had been drinking a lot, and basically Johnny didn’t go to the john before the show so we’re on the third or fourth song, and he had to go. He said something to David and walked right off. That really pissed David off. How could anybody walk off when he was about to sing? I filled in and played some blues… ‘Lone Star Queen’, and the kids started clapping along, Jerry got into it, swinging on a beat and David started blowing the harp, so it wasn’t that bad. Johnny came back, he’d taken a leak behind an amp but the gig ended with a spat between David and Johnny.” In between the encores, Johansen and Thunders sniped back and forth at each other, bickering through their moment of triumph.

After the gig, the French representatives of Mercury Records, including the ever-present Patrick Taton, took the Dolls out to dinner. Naturally Taton, who had appointed himself as some kind of moral watchdog, found plenty to write about: “The band were then taken to a top restaurant. They invited their friends – over 50 people altogether – all of them lavishly drinking champagne and Cognac, making an incredible show of themselves, enraging patrons, and leaving us with a very nice bill.”

*

THE NEW YORK DOLLS had become their own fictional image of how they dreamed life in a rock band would be, but they didn’t understand that they were now part of an industry with its own rules and regulations. Arthur Kane: “We had a lot of fun and got to live the fantasy of what a teenager would imagine it would be like to be a young rock star. We lived that, we were that. We were fans that came of age and had their dream come true and that’s what in the end made it so disastrous for us.” As Paul Nelson later explained: “If the Dolls were difficult to work with at times, it was because they understood nothing of the music business and recording, seemed naive or unable to learn about either, and were rarely encouraged to exhibit any kind of self-control regarding the bankbook or the clock.”

December 3 dawned in a state of crisis and closed in calamity. The day began with the news that Marty Thau and Steve Leber had returned to New York, leaving the group without any funds. The Dolls asked for and received an advance to bail them out but then scurried back into their rooms with their Parisienne playmates when they should have been preparing for an appearance on French TV. For over three hours Patrick Taton handled a barrage of calls from an irate television producer, who eventually threatened to cancel the show and swore he would never again work with any of Mercury’s acts.

Once The Dolls emerged, it transpired that the road crew had been dawdling in their duties and were five hours behind schedule in setting up the equipment at the television studio. Finally the show was taped and the Dolls left in a stretch Mercedes for their next engagement, a gig at The Bataclan on the Rue Voltaire. At the gymnasium like venue there waited a French film maker who was shooting the Dolls for a short documentary that also featured The Who. She very much hoped the band would live up to their reputation, as did the hyped up audience who snaked around the block waiting for the Bataclan to open. The Dolls entered the venue through the back door and were taken upstairs to the dressing room area.

Sylvain: “Johnny called me over to look out of the window. He goes ‘Look, The Beatles are here’. We looked down and there was a fucking pool of people, it looked like something out of A Hard Day’s Night. Johnny loved that, it was really cool to see him enjoying that. Of course, I loved it too.”

When The Dolls came to do their set, however, the stage was crawling with people. On Sylvain’s side, there was a gathering of Dolls’ fans, but where Thunders usually stood, most of the space was taken up with aggressive street punks. Peter Jordan: “For some reason all the bouncers in the Bataclan were either Samoan or Haitian and the whole audience was male. The audience started doing this thing were they all linked arms and began doing this kind of runaround dance, it was like an early form of moshing. They were all running around in circles, knocking each other over and yelling ‘Fuck you. Fuck you’. Although it was edited out in the film, the bouncers started bopping the guys in the audience on the head with sticks. I didn’t see exactly what happened from where I was but somehow Johnny gets involved in it and somebody got smacked in the head. It was a typical punk rock show.”

From Jordan’s vantage point he was unable to see the mounting tension in Thunder’s corner but Sylvain was casually monitoring the situation. Sylvain: “A couple of the guys in front of Johnny started to spit at him. Johnny, of course, spat right back, then it escalated from spitting to kicking and then they threw something at him, so he picked up the microphone stand, you know how they have a heavy round base, like a weight, and he threw it right in their faces. After that, this guy and all his buddies went for us and we had to run off. Of course everyone remembers that as ‘Wow, the Dolls start a riot’ but it was bad. Somebody could have got killed. If they’d have caught up with Johnny, who was the first one to put down his guitar and split, I don’t think they would have let him go.”

The fifteen minutes worth of Bataclan footage shot by the documentary maker has since become the unholy grail of Dolls’ ephemera, but the lady responsible for the filming held on to the reel for over twenty years, periodically offering it for sale at a ludicrous price. In 1995, the US underground film maker Lech Kowalski claimed to have done a deal for the footage, which is to be included in a future documentary about Johnny Thunders.

On December 4, the Dolls packed their vanity cases and bade farewell to France. Imitating Napoleon, so he wouldn’t have to shake hands with the band, Patrick Taton hurried the Dolls out of the Ambassador and off to the airport, where they had to catch a flight to Germany. Taton’s relief was brief when he discovered that the band had landed him with room service charges of over $3,500, mainly for drinks and long distance phone calls.

After writing a check to the Ambassador, Taton filed his last report on The Dolls: “If I may offer a personal opinion, The New York Dolls are one of the worst examples of untogetherness I have ever seen. Johansen is a very intelligent guy, Sylvain is really clever and nice, the others are quite kind in their own way; but put them together, add their managers (each of them doing his own thing), mix with alcohol, and shake, and you’ve got a careless, selfish, vicious and totally disorganised gang of New York hooligans – and I’m really sorry to say so. Despite all this, I believe we have managed to do good business.” Mercury shot the messenger once he’d delivered the dossier, and Taton was never heard of again in the music business.

The Dolls’ flying visit to Germany was ostensibly a press and pose exercise. They played ‘Looking For A Kiss’ live on Musikladen, one of Germany’s leading rock programmes, which was filmed in Bremen in front of a studio audience. Sylvain: “It was a good performance. Even though things weren’t all that chummy-chummy, we still performed well. That trip to Europe was probably the last time we really did all work together as one. Doing television is as boring as hell, especially when you’ve got to do a take over and over. It drives everybody crazy and you’ve got to look like ‘Wow, this is exciting ‘ It’s a trick to master but the Dolls got really good at that because we did so much television, whether it was lip-syncing or performing live.”

The following day the Dolls performed exclusively for the German press and Mercury executives in Salambo’s Boudoir, the former premises of the Star club, in Hamburg. The legendary club where The Beatles had cut their teeth now specialised in live sex shows. Being rock’n’roll fans, The Dolls were thrilled at the prospect of treading the same stage as The Beatles, despite history having erased their traces with a parade of writhing bodies. The majority of the German journalists who attended the gig were too uptight to appreciate the band or even the club’s pretty Vietnamese waitresses. A photograph of the Dolls taken in the entrance of Salambo’s Boudoir was eventually used for the back cover of their second album. Leaning between the rough plastered walls of a hallway illuminated with red lighting and haloed by blood red velvet drapes, the Dolls look like hostesses at the gateway to hell, as if something has died in their souls. Sylvain does a cheesy little bump’n’grind, Arthur looks weary and washed out, Jerry, hands on hips, appears ready to roll someone, and Johnny Thunders looks pinched, with shadows for eyes. Only Johansen, staring unflinchingly at the camera, shows any real signs of life.

The next stop on the Dolls’ European itinerary was The Netherlands, where the band was booked to play ‘Jet Boy’ on Avro’s Top Pop, a mainstream rock programme, Roxy Music were featured on the same show. A great b&w performance shot of the Dolls on the surreal set, with Johnny playing a white Vox Teardrop guitar that Arthur picked up in a Leeds pawn shop for £20, would soon grace a limited edition inner sleeve of Too Much Too Soon, which for reasons unexplained was available only in the USA and France. This was followed by a gig at an Amsterdam university, at which the Dolls ran into trouble with a politically militant group called The Provos.

Peter Jordan: “This was another of those shows where I pretended I had nothing to do with the band. The Dolls had never been politically inclined and we’d never been manipulated into taking a political stance like the MC5. We were pretty apolitical and asexual. There was a tremendous contingent of these militant, extremely left wing Provos at the gig, and they started disrupting the show. I figured that because they had long hair, they were going to be into rock’n’roll but no, these pricks wanted to engage the band in some kind of dialogue. First off we were American, that was bad enough. They also took offence because we might be homosexual and they thought that the Dolls were taking the Mickey out of the hippie movement. The Provos got rowdy but nobody got hit or hurt. I mean they were a bunch of tubby wimps but after the show, they started rocking the tour bus.”

On December 10th, the Dolls made a fleeting trip to Brussels for yet another television appearance before returning to the States. Though relations between the band members were fraying, and Marty Thau and Steve Leber didn’t always see eye to eye on certain issues anymore, and Mercury had begun to have serious misgivings about the band, at least this time none of the Dolls had to be sent back from Europe in a metal casket.

© Nina Antonia, 1998