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Miserable in Manchester: Amusing letters and music reviews from a young Morrissey

Morrissey, the writer
A young Steven Morrissey contemplating the state of punk rock
 
Recently, I spent some time collecting for you my dear Dangerous Minds readers, numerous amusing pieces of personal correspondence (adorable typos and all) from a young, pre-Smiths Morrissey. Even back then, Morrissey was busy cultivating the melancholy persona that we all know and love today.
 
The home address of a teenage Morrissey
The home address of a teenage Morrissey
 
A page of a letter from Morrissey to his pen pal, Robert Mackie
Part of a letter from a young Morrissey to his pen pal, Robert Mackie, October 22nd, 1980
 
In addition to excerpts from many of his pen pal letters to Robert Mackie, I’ve included a few of Morrissey’s letters to various magazines and several of his reviews of bands like Depeche Mode and The Cramps that appeared in the weekly British newspaper, the Record Mirror from 1980.

I’m especially fond of the then teenaged Morrissey’s review of a live gig in April of 1980 by The Cramps at Manchester Polytechnic (which you can read below) that he wrote for Record Mirror in which he muses “Is it true that guitarist Ivy Rorschach sets fires to orphanages when she’s bored?” If only. What follows makes for some fantastic reading, enjoy!
 
A review of a live Cramps gig at Manchester Polytechnic that appeared in Record Mirror on April 4th, 1980
A review of a live show of The Cramps at Manchester Polytechnic that appeared in the Record Mirror, April 4th, 1980 written by a 21-year-old Morrissey
 
More Morrissey, after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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01.27.2016
09:16 am
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Ramones and the New York Dolls cookies
05.26.2015
09:21 am
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New York Dolls cookies
New York Dolls cookie set
 
I don’t know about you, but I’m not ashamed to admit that I don’t think I’ve ever met a cookie I didn’t like. And thanks to punk rock cookie purveyor American Cookie Craft, I’ve now met cookies I love so much I don’t think I could ever consume them. Irony, thy name is Joey Ramone covered in sugary icing.
 
The Ramones cookies
The Ramones cookie set
 
Both sets of these punk rock cookies are modeled after the cover art for each of the band’s eponymous debut records. In addition to the confectionery versions of Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee and Tommy, the Ramones set also comes with two extra cookies with the band’s name on it. I’m especially fond of the extra cookie that comes with the Dolls’ set that is beautifully decorated with their iconic pink lipstick logo. The cookies come in Vanilla Bean, Victorian Lavender or Chocolate, and may be customized to your liking. Keep in mind that the price of punk has gone up significantly since the 70’s. Both sets of six cookies will run you $24.99.  They’ve also got other sweet treats that culture vultures will debate eating or displaying of the Grateful Dead, Frida Kahlo, Yellow Submarine, Young Frankenstein and Vlad the Impaler.
 
Joey Ramone cookie
 
More cookies after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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05.26.2015
09:21 am
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David Johansen and Johnny Thunders talk Sex Pistols and Tom Petty in front of CBGB’s, 1976
11.04.2014
10:41 am
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Johnny Thunders and David Johansen
 
The New York Dolls essentially came to an end while touring Florida in 1975. A few months prior, the band was on their last legs when future Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren stepped into the picture. McLaren had some insane ideas, such as re-imagining the androgynous Dolls as tongue-in-check Maoists. Drummer Jerry Nolan later recalled McLaren’s vision of “dressing us up in matching red leather suits and playing in front of a giant communist flag. It was so stupid!”
 

New York Dolls: Better red than dead? (photo by Bob Gruen)
 
Nolan and guitarist Johnny Thunders quit the band and headed back to New York, forming the Heartbreakers. Their earliest gigs, with original bassist Richard Hell, were at the club that would eventually be known as the ground zero of punk: CBGB’s. As for the Dolls, vocalist David Johansen and guitarist Sylvain Sylvain recruited various musicians over the next couple of years, soldiering on until 1977 when they finally called it a day.
 
CBGB's
 
In the footage featured here, Johansen is seen conducting a mock-interview of sorts with Thunders in front of CBGB’s. Likely recorded in the fall of 1976, the two cover a lot of ground in the brief clip. Johansen asks about the Heartbreakers upcoming overseas tour, which turns out to be the ill-fated “Anarchy in the U.K.” tour with the Sex Pistols.
 
Anarchy tour poster
 
At the time, Thunders has no idea of the ultimate fate of the outing, in which nineteen shows are scheduled, though all but three are cancelled due to a backlash after the Pistols infamous appearance on Bill Grundy’s television program. Malcolm McLaren organized the tour, and when his name comes up the two have a few sardonic yucks aimed at their former manager (Thunders says he’s “the neatest”). They also talk about how the Heartbreakers might have to change their name, as there’s a new band making the rounds with a similar moniker: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
 
The Heartbreakers
The Heartbreakers, with Richard Hell, at CBGB’s, 1975 (photo by Chris Stein)
 
The former band-mates are seen smoking and joking like the old friends they already were at that point. To be honest, I had no idea the pair were even on speaking terms during this period, so it’s nice to see them getting along so well (it’s worth noting that the reconstituted New York Dolls is one subject they don’t broach).

The encounter was shot with photographer Bob Gruen’s video camera and included on the New York Dolls DVD of Gruen footage, Lookin’ Fine On Television.
 
New York Dolls
 

Posted by Bart Bealmear
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11.04.2014
10:41 am
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Ridonkulous ‘Beat Club’ showcase featuring Captain Beefheart, MC5, Alice Cooper, NY Dolls and more!


 
Beat Club was the German TV show dedicated to rock performance that later became Musikladen (Music Store), a show we’ve featured here at DM many times. I don’t know exactly what kind of acid they put into the performers’ (or the producers’) drinks, but this compilation, known as “The Crazy World” (and originally released on a Laserdisc) is totally out-o-sight and generally kicks ass. Enhancing all the rockin’ are a lot of groove-tastic green screen effects. The visuals on this show were almost as mind-bending as the audio.
 

The Three Faces of Vliet
 
The music is tuneful and heavy, all around. I’d scarcely heard any Flo & Eddie, but they hang right in there with the rest of them. I was prepared not to dig the Slade number much, but it rocked. Everything on this compilation rocks, even the otherwise sprightly number by the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band.

They really don’t show music like this on TV anymore, like ever. I’m not sure people can even make music like this any more, maybe the iPhones are slowly sucking it out of us. Hmmm. I’m open to hypotheses.
 

Track listing:
Alice Cooper: “I’m Eighteen”
Alice Cooper: “Public Animal #9”
Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band: “I’m Gonna Booglarize You Baby”
Phlorescent Leech and Eddie: “Feel Older Now”
MC5: “Kick Out The Jams”
The Crazy World of Arthur Brown: “Fire”
Slade: “Goz I Luv You”
New York Dolls: “Lookin’ For A Kiss”
Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band: “I’m The Urban Spaceman”

 

Posted by Martin Schneider
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10.23.2014
01:41 pm
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Classic album covers minus deceased band members


 
Over the weekend, when the sad news spread about the passing of Tommy Ramone, a really touching image circulated online, showing the Ramones debut LP, then the same cover with Joey, Johnny, and Dee Dee Photoshopped out, and then, at last, Tommy removed as well. Dangerous Minds even shared it on our Facebook page.
 

 
The middle image, of Tommy standing alone in front of that iconic brick wall, seems to have come from a Tumblr called “Live! (I See Dead People),” which is devoted entirely to skillfully removing deceased musicians from their LP covers—sort of like “Garfield Minus Garfield,” but with a more serious intent. The subjects range from cult figures like Nick Drake to canonical rock stars like Nirvana and The Doors, and the results are often quite poignant. The blog hasn’t been updated in almost three years, so it seems unlikely the artists behind this project, Jean-Marie Delbes and Hatim El Hihi, will re-do that Ramones cover. Indeed, their Morrison Hotel still features Ray Manzarek, who passed on a little over a year ago.
 

New York Dolls, s/t
 

Ol Dirty Bastard, Return to the 36 Chambers
 

Nick Drake, Bryter Layter
 

The Who, Odds & Sods
 

Johnny Thunders, So Alone
 

George Harrison, All Things Must Pass
 

Nirvana, “Smells Like Teen Spirit
 

Jeff Buckley, Grace
 

The Doors, Morrison Hotel
 

John Lennon & Yoko Ono, Double Fantasy
 

The Clash, s/t
 

Elvis Presley, s/t
 

 
Hat-tip to Derf for this find.

Posted by Ron Kretsch
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07.15.2014
09:21 am
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Videos from the Glen Matlock/Sylvain Sylvain tour are popping up, and now I’m sad that I skipped it
03.20.2014
01:02 pm
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Sex Pistol Glen Matlock and New York Doll Sylvain Sylvain have been on an acoustic tour of the USA together this month. While the idea of an acoustic tour by two punk pioneers, famous for much more cacophonous music than acoustic guitars are generally associated with, might prompt a smirk or two in some circles, they’ve done this together before, and reviews have generally been quite enthusiastic, with much praise for the casual intimacy of the shows, and for Sylvain and Matlock’s easy humor and engaging storytelling. It would seem that with the tour being such a hit, and given the ease of recording such a stripped-down setup, a live album would be in the offing, but Matlock kiboshed the idea in a recent piece in the Michigan entertainment magazine Revue:

When asked whether or not they would be recording any of the shows for sale later, Matlock was more or less pretty sure that wouldn’t be happening.

“We’re just doing it for fun,” Matlock said. “If you want to hear it, you’ve got to come to the show.”

“Well, CRAP,” said this writer, having totally missed the tour’s stop in his city. But the fan videos being posted online tend to shore up the positive consensus. Check out Sylvain at Detroit’s Magic Bag, performing “Teenage News,” a never-recorded Dolls track that he made the lead-off song on his first solo album, posted by rawdetroit:
 

 
Plenty more after the jump…

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Posted by Ron Kretsch
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03.20.2014
01:02 pm
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The New York Dolls performing in drag, 1974
03.29.2012
07:52 pm
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Illustration by Kristian Hoffman

Club 82, at 82 East 4th Street in New York’s East Village, was a well-known “high class” drag club of the 50s and 60s where the likes of Walter Winchell, Elizabeth Taylor and Errol Flynn could be seen. Down on its luck in the 70s, the space was transformed into a glam-rock club and later a disco.

In this clip, the New York Dolls, in drag (save for Johnny Thunders), perform “Pills” at Club 82 on April 17, 1974. I’m presuming this was shot by Bob Gruen, but I’m not sure.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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03.29.2012
07:52 pm
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Pop Stars in Drag

image
 
A selection of pop’s bold in beautiful in drag.
 
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Robert Plant and Roy Harper.
 
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Annie Lennox in “Who’s That Girl?”
 
 
Previously on Dangerous Minds

Film footage of The Rolling Stones in drag from 1966


 
More beautiful people after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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01.03.2012
07:16 pm
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‘Who Are the Mystery Girls?’: New York Dolls, live 70s video
07.19.2011
01:11 pm
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A classic 70s Dolls performance caught by ace rock photographer Bob Gruen. Here the lipstick killers do “Who Are the Mystery Girls?’’ at The Matrix in San Francisco.

Thank the gods Gruen had his video camera trained on the New York Dolls in their prime. Because of him, moments like this exist for posterity. Video cameras were rare at that time and this video was no doubt shot on the ancient half-inch open reel format. Compared to today’s HD cameras, lugging something like that around would be like strapping a vacuum cleaner to your back. Very unwieldy beasties they were.
 

 
Thank you Douglas Hovey!

Posted by Richard Metzger
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07.19.2011
01:11 pm
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‘Ism Ism’: Manuel De Landa’s deviant art meets the New York Dolls


 
Once thought lost, but recently found and restored by Anthology Film Archives, artist/philosopher Manuel De Landa’s Super 8 Ism Ism captures his truly inspired collage mutations of New York City subway ads during the mid-to-late 70s. Slicing and dicing the perfect faces of models into deviant ghouls, Ism Ism turns the homogenate into the ripening rot of nightmares.

“Bad Girl” and “Subway Train” by the New York Dolls is the perfect soundtrack to De Landa’s animated subterranean monstrosities.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell
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06.19.2011
02:46 am
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New York Doll Parts: Trash, Human Being
06.08.2010
06:29 pm
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image
 
Some early, surprisingly crisp New York Dolls clips just popped up on WatchLiveShows’ YouTube channel, and, for your pleasure, here’s a pair of ‘em.  Being in black-and-white, they definitely pack a certain grittiness absent from those glammier, Old Grey Whistle Test clips floating around online. 

An alarmingly lanky David Johansen‘s comment from the Max’s Kansas City stage that Trash just came out on 45 dates clip one to ‘73ish (but they weren’t, to my great sadness, ever on Wonderama).

In clip two, the Dolls shred through Human Being, the mighty closing track from their second studio album, Too Much Too Soon.  What these clips lack in sound quality is more than made up for in conviction!  See if you agree:

 

Posted by Bradley Novicoff
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06.08.2010
06:29 pm
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