Watch the New York Dolls Onstage in 1975
Video from a 1975 New York Dolls concert recently surfaced online featuring the band in one of its final appearances with the classic lineup. The show comes from a gig in Columbia, S.C., and it’s awesome, even if the audio and video quality are a bit rough.
By 1975 the band was on its last legs. Attempts to change things up and and recharge the group yielded nothing more than a slight image alteration. Malcolm MacLaren, who’d soon move on to manage the Sex Pistols, had stepped in to try and steer the sinking ship, suggesting that the Dolls adopt a red-patent-leather look, accompanied by a communist flag motif. Red — get it? This, no surprise, failed to raise any eyebrows, let alone any renewed interest in the once-great band.
The actual date of the above video is uncertain, but using our deductive logic, it would probably stem from around February, or possibly early-March, of 1975 since the lineup here features David Johansen on vocals, Arthur Kane on bass, Jerry Nolan on drums and guitarists Sylvain Sylvain and Johnny Thunders. Kane left the band in late March, and both Nolan and Thunders split in April. Johansen and Sylvain would carry on as the Dolls into early 1976 before finally calling it a day.
In the video, the red-patent-leather look is in full swing, as the band tears through raw and raunchy versions of three new songs — ‘Red Patent Leather,’ ‘On Fire’ and ‘Daddy Rollin’ Stone’ — which would later show up on Johnny Thunders’ 1978 debut solo album ‘So Alone.’ So crank up the volume on this one and enjoy.