Music DVDs

Music DVDs

Looking for Johnny: The Legend of Johnny Thunders

(Jungle/MVD Visual)

"Johnny was the best songwriter that ever lived," declares New York Dolls guitarist Syl Sylvain of his former bandmate two minutes into director Danny Garcia's (The Rise & Fall of the Clash) superb documentary of the glam guitarist and punk icon. NYC cultural maven Lenny Kaye then dubs him "the essence of rock & roll." No mere hype for a fallen comrade, either: For every thrilling tale told by friends, colleagues, and fans of the cell-altering Dolls or Thunders' Heartbreakers and later solo work – for all the praise his gutter-Keef guitar work generates – there's as many woeful gasps at his junkiedom. Garcia actualizes neither gloss nor a sleaze trawl, his Thunders portrait sympathetic, affectionate, and balancing the artistry with the not-always-great decisions heroin addiction inspires. There's ample archival footage and photographs, much raw, glorious rock & roll, and lots of testifying. Sylvain even notes Bob Dylan expressing envy of Johnny Thunders' having written "You Can't Put Your Arms Round a Memory."

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