Okay, let's run down the list, shall we?
Billy Murcia (1951 - November 6, 1972)
Johnny Thunders (July 16, 1952 - April 23, 1991)
Jerry Nolan (May 7, 1946 - January 14, 1992)
Arthur "Killer" Kane (February 3, 1949 - July 13, 2004)
For you young'uns out there bear in mind - those dates signify deaths, not roster changes. For those keeping score at home, two members have yet to shuffle off this mortal coil. That leaves David Johansen on vocals and guitarist Sylvain Sylvain to carry on the legacy of the New York Dolls. To survive drugs, alcohol, STD's, Malcolm McLaren and Buster Poindexter is a feat-and-a-half, let alone deciding to reform with musicians who, lets face it - no one gives a shit about and release a new album 32 years after the last one. It takes balls the size of my ass (trust me, that's big) to do something like this. And the big question that's on everyone's mind is this: did they pull it off? The short answer is, believe it or not, yes.
The spirit of the Dolls is very much alive on this release and I think even the most jaded scum-punk scenester would have to admit it. Yeah, I'm looking at you, spikey. I was jaded too, I'll admit it. Johansen's no fool - he knows the power of the NY Dolls as a brand name; they're group that inspired many a band to start playing music in the first place. He knows the name alone will get people in the door, but it's what those people see and hear once they're in that will decide whether or not they turn right around, laughing their asses off, and listening to a Ramones CD all the way home.
I guess after completing the masterpiece of modern cinema, Car 54, Where Are You and the whole Poindexter thing, Johansen must've figured his career had nothing to lose. And for anyone who's old enough to remember "Hot, Hot, Hot," take my words for it, that's an albatross that stays around your neck until the grave. The album's not perfect, it has its flaws. There's a couple of wince inducing tracks, one of them being the final song "Take a Good Look at my Good Looks" that are easily skipped but aren't bad enough to detract from the album as a whole. When all else is said and done, what have is a stronger album than the group's last studio effort - 1974's Too Much Too Soon, one of the most apt album titles in the history of music.
The strength of the album lies in the lack of pretension that one would think a band of this status would be chock full of. Look no further than the lead-off single, "Dance Like A Monkey" - a criminally catchy tune with the old school woo-woo-train-whistle backing vocals that keeps everything you've ever loved about the Dolls intact, while being (and boy it's nice to use this term for once without it being sarcastic) clever enough to wrangle in some new fans as well. The animated video for the track is all over the Internet, and it's a classic. "Punishing World" is another example of just how fucking badass the band and Johansen is while still qualifying for the early-bird specials at most restaurants.
That means he's old.
Look, none of us have any idea how much longer we have on this earth. For some of us, it'll be less than others. Don't squander what little time you have standing in Tower Records deciding which pop-punk group with a number in their name you should buy next. Just slide on down the aisle, pick this album up (ignore all the pink, you fucking homophobe) and listen to it all the way home. Your ears will thank you.