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 tour resumes in Switzerland (11th & 12th), Spain (17th - 20th), and then they fly out to Japan on the 24th for a ten-day visit. Suzanne accompanies Johnny on this trip.
3rd: They fly back from Japan to Paris. Johnny and Christopher then visit London and visit record companies looking for a deal. Then back in Paris, under Susanne and Christopher's guidance, Johnny attempts to detoxify. Six weeks is the aim, but after three or four weeks he gives up following some violent rages. As well as Johnny, Suzanne and Christopher are bitterly disappointed.
In London at Tin Pan Alley Studios, some demos are recorded together with Keith and T, Henri-Paul, Stiv Bators and Mike Monroe. 'Blame It On Mom' (later added to the 'Que Sera Sera' album) and 'Countdown Love', a Jerry Nolan composition, are recorded.
1st, 2nd and 3rd: Three nights at New York's Irving Plaza - and it's been a while since he last played New York. Guests on stage include David Johansen, Sylvain Sylvain, Arthur Kane and Walter Lure. Not quite the triumphant homecoming - 'I fucked up', he admits. Christopher hasn't been with him, saying he thinks it's time for Johnny to learn to stand alone. It's the end of their partnership, and he's also split from Suzanne. Returning to London, for the first time in many years he's so alone.
Down and out in London, he's been crashing at Stiv Bator's flat, Patti Palladin's flat, etc, for as long as people would put up with him. Teams up clubbing with Mike Monroe and others, and gets into a mess; meets 'Chief' (Peter Judd), a former Damned roadie who offers to help Johnny out with his career. This of course means that Johnny has to move in with him and his girlfriend. A series of sporadic one-off solo gigs ensues: Brighton Escape (5th), Fetcham Riverside (26th), but he's played everywhere and there's no new product to create interest except for the 'Dead Or Alive' and a 'Chinese Rocks' ep both released this month.
8th: The Ad Lib
10th: Johnny returns to Paris for a solo date on the 13th.
18th: Meet with Johnny to discuss new recordings. The first idea is for a mini-LP.
20th: Prepare agreement for Johnny for the 'Que Sera Sera' album. Meet with him and his Finnish sound-man, Hessu. Unfortunately Johnny knows of a drugs supplier near our office whom he likes to visit on his way. Discussing the contract over a pizza, Johnny keeps nodding off, mid-sentence. Hessu and I look at him and each other as his head slowly lowers and lowers; his face almost lands in the pizza.
27th: Croydon Underground with Keith & T.
A short UK tour has been put together from the 1st: Derby, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Manchester, and the London Clarendon on the 5th.
14th: A London Marquee gig.
19th: Meet Johnny and Chief to finalise details for the 'Que Sera Sera' album. "Oh, and also, we need to get a special guitar sent over from Paris..."
21st - 29th: Johnny is in Canada for gigs on 26th, 27th and 28th.
August:1st - 3rd: Rehearsals start at the Brent Black Musician's Co-op, then move to the Depot. 8th: Recording starts at West 3 Studios, Acton.
9th: Recording stops. Johnny has a Fender Gibson, a semi-hollow Gretch, a 12-string Gibson 335, a Telecaster and a Les Paul Jnr., but insists he can't record without the special guitar made by James Trussart in Paris; Chief and the band all back him up. I offer to hire any guitar in London, but they insist. I try to call James, but eventually only get an assistant who says he'll be in the shop later. I decide to go to Paris and pick it up, I should be back by late afternoon. Later, at the 'Guitar Station' shop in Rue Dupere, Paris 9, James isn't there, no-one knows where he is. Outside, I bump into Henri-Paul who offers to put me up. That night he takes me to the Gibus Club, which seems to be a shrine to Johnny, with pictures and posters of him everywhere. 10th: Back at the shop, they now think James has gone to the country to see his kids, and they can't contact him. After frantic hassling and pleading, they might be able to contact someone who might be able to contact James. I pass some time sightseeing with Henri-Paul, go to the Gibus Club again but the novelty is wearing off, even the same band is on. Henri-Paul has been speeding all weekend, I last saw him when the club closed at 3.00 am - they don't seem to notice him crashed out in a corner.
11th: I've got hold of James and get the guitar. Rush back to London, and recording resumes. Predictably, the guitar is hardly used.
12th - 15th: Recording at West 3. Johnny insists that he, Keith and T all play and record live and loud together. This later makes problems with 'overspillage' when mixing.
20th - 23rd: Recording at West 3. On the 22nd, the guests arrive: Mike Monroe, Stiv Bators, John Perry, Nasty Suicide, Dave Tregenna and Patti Palladin. Wilko Johnson joins in on a separate day.
27th - 30th: Mixing at West 3.
31st: Johnny flies to Stockholm to make it up with Suzanne, taking a copy of 'I Only Wrote This Song For You' to her. The mixes aren't finished, but Johnny leaves it in Patti's hands, who tries to cope with the overspill problems.
6th: While Patti mixes, Johnny arrives back in London, to leave for the USA the next day.
13th: The final mix is 'Blame It On Mom' from the Tin Pan Alley sessions, which together with 'Tie Me Up' from Patti's 'Crawfish' b-side makes the album full-length. 'Talk About Me' is left as an outake.
Johnny is back in Stockholm, eager to be on his best behaviour to please Susanne. An American tour is being booked by US agent Dean Brownrout. After most of the dates are booked in, Johnny 'crushes his hands in a car door' and postpones them. Some speculate that the real reason is that he's anxious to stay with Susanne for a while and live a quiet domestic life.
28th: 'Crawfish', the single recorded by Patti and Johnny is released on Jungle. Patti's deal with London has collapsed, so the tapes are sold to us. It gets good reviews and reaches the top 5 of the UK indie charts.
3rd: Johnny is back in London for a few days. Matt Kellett joins the band on guitar.
8th - 11th: Tour of the Netherlands. Dates on the 13th and 14th get cancelled.
25th: 'Que Sera Sera' album is released.
11th - 15th: Tour of Sweden.
17th - 19th: Tour of Finland.