6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
OKAY, OKAY, OKAY .........,
This review is from: Down To Kill [2 CD/1 DVD] (Audio CD)
.......I know that Johnny Thunders stage performances were shambolic beyond belief and punctuated with foul language mainly directed at the paying public, the abysmal quality of his recordings because his reluctance to go into the studio and in many cases issued amateurishly recorded 'live' work, and his almost perpetual state of being 'off-his-head' due to his heroin addiction. However, there is an underlying uniqueness to his work which shines through all of these negatives and puts Johnny high amongst the notable punk rock performers of all time.
Riding through the 'mushiness' of the low quality recordings, comes a nasally slightly monotoned voice that 'punches out' the lyrics in the very best punk rock tradition and his guitar playing provides a resonantly powerful directness that few other other artistes can reproduce. This style comes fiercely through "Can't Keep My Eyes Off You", "Too Much Junkie Business", "Chinese Rocks", "Take A Chance", the instrumental "Get Off The Phone", and one of my all time favourites of any artiste, "Born To Lose". Much of this album was recorded live at The Speakeasy Club in London, a late night haunt of the music industry, managed by Laurie O'Leary, a close associate of the Kray Twins.
Berating the audience was almost an integral part of Johnny's act with such comments as:-
"Hey, if you don't like it go take a pee or somethin"
"Born To Lose? Born To Lose? You wanna hear born to lose, go out to the bathroom and bang your head against the wall for a while, it'll all sound like born to lose."
Audience member "I'm ready to testify."
Johnny: "Yeah, I'll testify, I'll put it up your f...... a..."
His work and life was affected by his use of drugs but he once opined "I'm gonna try to be cured. I've been on heroin 8 years and I want to try a different style of life. It made me split up from my wife. It ruined a lot of things for me." He did try and for a long time relied on methadone obtained either from prescriptions or otherwise. After his death in 1991, the authorities assumed his long-term drug usage was the main cause but an autopsy revealed evidence of advanced leukemia.
Whatever his problems, Johnny Thunders made a major contribution to the rock music scene and is sorely missed. This album "Down To Kill" despite its recording quality flaws is confirmation of his dynamic, if not a little edgy and at times a tad inconsistent, performing persona.