Johnny Thunders' 20-year career -
a chronological timeline of his life.
From the New York Dolls, to The Heartbreakers in NY and London. Then 'So Alone', 'Gang War', 'Que Sera Sera', 'Copy Cats', etc; reunions and gypsy times in Paris, Stockholm, London & L.A. Compiled from various sources including Nina Antonia's biography 'Johnny Thunders- In Cold Blood' and my own recollections working with Johnny 82-91.
Please add dates, correct mistakes and leave comments.
The postponed USA tour has been rescheduled to start at Philadelphia on the 13th. Johnny flies out early, and meets Sylvain, and persuades him to join the band for the tour. The night before Matt flies out, Chief tells me to tell him that he's not now needed.... after the New York dates, Sylvain changes his mind, so they proceed as a three-piece.
In London, an American has visited our office offering to make videos for unrefusable rates. Johnny wants a video made, so I arrange for the band to be filmed at the soundcheck at the Irving Plaza. I fly out to New York for two dates on the 14th & 15th. Chief has made all the prior arrangements for the tour, booking vans and equipment, etc. However, Johnny has hooked up with Steve .........., (boyfriend of Alison Gordy) and starts introducing him to people as 'his business manager', which irks Chief.
14th and 15th: The camera crew are set up in the Irving Plaza, but Johnny has partied well past dawn, and won't get up. He can't get up, can't possibly be filmed today. Hosts of friends, fans and hangers-on are in his room protecting him from such intrusions as soundchecks or filming. The next day it's the same, appearing at 7.00 pm, no soundcheck, no video. The crew pack up and go home. However, the two nights at the Irving Plaza go down well; as well as Sylvain, Johnny is joined on stage by James Brown's horn section, it sounds so good he wants them on the whole tour. "I'm back - Bruce Springsteen, look out!" he crows at the end of the gig.
16th: Cambridge, Boston. Typically, the bus leaves late and they get there too late for a soundcheck. Johnny is booked into the Bradford Hotel with his new best friend Steve, whilst Chief, the band and crew sleep in the huge Winnebago bus. After the gig, Chief is frantically wound up about Johnny's put-downs, and starts talking about quitting the tour. Everyone tells him to shut up and go to sleep, but he's incensed and cracking up. At six in the morning, those half-awake realise that he really has packed his bag and is now walking down the road, on his way back to London. Later we find he was holding the cash, which he takes towards his flights and what he considers his due for his work.
17th: Steve is elevated to tour manager; but he hasn't been outside of New York for eight years. The tour takes in the whole of America, and has another seven weeks to go…
The US tour continues on it's way.
At the Chelsea Hotel at the end of the tour, Keith and T have not been paid, and they're angry. They reckon Johnny and Steve have had lots of money, so they quit, but not before throwing Johnny's belongings out the window of the Chelsea, adding yet another incident to that establishment's history. Johnny is very freaked and afraid by their threats. He returns to Stockholm around the 21st.
26th: 'Short Lives' is remixed by Patti and Ken Thomas. It's scheduled as a single (JUNG 27) but not released, only appearing as extra tracks on the CD of 'Que Sera Sera'.
Johnny is in London from the 2nd - 15th.
13th: At a gig at Dingwalls, London, Johnny presents his new line-up: Jerry Nolan, former Pistols' bassist Glen Matlock, who've been playing together in the London Cowboys, and Matt Kellett on guitar. Johnny and Jerry strike up what is planned to be a new 50/50 partnership. Jerry's wife Charlotte is to take care of business.
28th: A gig at the Stockholm Hard Rock Cafe.
5th: Johnny and band arrive in Tokyo for four dates 7th - 11th. Afterwards, they go to Bangkok for a week where Johnny and Jerry buy numerous hand-made fitted silk suits.
21st: Back in London, both Johnny and Jerry have to visit their doctor who's currently in Kent, for their methadone prescriptions. Jerry is on a much bigger dose than Johnny. I take them by car, the drive, through London, the suburbs and well into the country, takes the best part of the day.
10th: A two-week Australian tour. The tour promoter, Peter Noble is also driving them, and rolls the tour bus. Everyone's shaken and shocked, Jerry breaks his collar-bone but carries on drumming, using just his wrist.
6th - 14th: In Spain for seven dates. Johnny is hurting, he says it's his teeth and that he wants to see a dentist. It becomes obvious that he really just wants to demand more valium and pain-killers, promoter Robert Mills and everyone ignores his requests. He phones the Spanish record company, myself in London, and anyone else who'll listen, pleading that he can't go on without more downers from a dentist. Meanwhile, Glen is having problems with alcohol, and Jerry is on a high methadone dose; Barry's maybe on something else - none can communicate as they're all on different chemicals. The tour is messy.