What Morrissey wants, Morrissey gets. The singer, who is serving as creative director for London’s Meltdown Festival, recently contacted former New York Dolls singer David Johansen to ask him to get the group back together for the June event. Morrissey even boasted that he was president of his local New York Dolls fan club as a kid.
“That was the last thing on my mind,” Johansen says of the reunion idea, “but I thought about it for a couple of days and thought, ‘That could be a hoot.'”
Johansen then called around and found surviving members guitarist Sylvain Sylvain and bassist Arthur Kane amenable to “having a hootenanny.” He then enlisted former Guns n’ Roses guitarist Izzy Stradlin to fill in for the infamous, late guitarist Johnny Thunders.
“Izzy’s a sharp guy, and he broke his teeth on our tunes, so I think he’ll do a really good job,” Johansen says. “I don’t want to have to turn this thing into marathon rehearsals for just one show — hopefully everyone will do their homework and we can all just get together and throw it on the stage.”
Since the Dolls’ split in 1977, Johansen has been busy with five different bands (including the occasional resurrection of his alter-ego Buster Poindexter for private parties) as well as a career as a Sirius radio DJ. He says not to expect a full-blown Dolls reunion or any sort of comeback tour . . . yet.
“We’ll just dip in a toe and see how the water is,” he says. “Let’s see if it’s fun.”
Still, Johansen is looking forward to playing with the rest of the guys again. “We grew up on the streets, we didn’t go to college, so it’s like a fraternity, you know? It will be like getting back together with the cats from the skull and bones and seeing what’s cooking,” he says. “When I decided to commit to this, I kind of made a mental snapshot of it, and I think it’s going to be good.”
Any chance that they’ll squeeze back into their old red leather jumpsuits for the reunion?
“Yeah,” says Johansen. “I’m going to be dressed up like a communist broad.”