Johnny Thunders: Man of Taste and Good Sense
William Errickson, Jr. | Raleigh, NC United States | 01/07/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Johnny Thunders: a man of taste, restraint, charm and good sense. "Too Much Junkie Business" contains some of what made Johnny good, some of what made Johnny bad, but little of what made him great. Originally released in 1983, this hodge-podge collection of songs--some live, some studio tracks--is too hit-and-miss and will really only appeal to full-fledged Thunders fans and completists. Even though it was co-produced by Stones' producer Jimmy Miller, it sounds like it was barely produced at all.
The CD starts as Johnny greets all listeners with a personal message, delivered in his hilariously slurred, druggy Noo Yawk twang: "Hey all you kids this ain't none ah that bootleg sh**, this is da real thing" and then blows a sloppy snotty kiss at ya. The opening track, "Who Do Voodoo," is just all right; the vocals are unclear so who can know what the song's really about.
Next up is "In Cold Blood," marginally better, with a tough riff and a low-rent swagger that makes it enjoyable. "Just Another Girl" is all right--which Johnny calls, in a moment of sensitivity, "Just Anudda B****"-but like many of Johnny's songs, it's under-produced with too much bass. Still the guitar-work is inventive which is what you expect when it comes to Johnny.
"Sad Vacation" is a live track from the Peppermint Lounge, a slow, bluesy lament for Sid Vicious (get the title? Johnny, what a cunning linguist) with some really absurd lyrics: "You're singing from your grave/It's so hard to do." What?! Did he say, "Singing from your grave"? What the heck does that mean?! I dunno, but it cracks me up every time I hear it. But Johnny's heart is in the right place, and it shows a real affection for the doomed kid, so I'm going to let him slide.
"Diary of a Lover" is a pretty acoustic tune, although in the midst of it he blurts out "Girls, they f*** up your head." Things pick up with one of the "L.A.M.F." classics, "Get Off the Phone." Then the title track, a live sloppy rave-up with a great riff admittedly stolen from Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley. It's a terrific track.
"King of the Gypsies" is '60s pop, sounds like it was recorded with a portable tape player, and features some kinda lame "gypsy"-like guitar wrangling. Johnny's self-pitying side comes out in "So Alone" and then we see once again what made Johnny good: a live version of "I Love You." The CD wraps up with a couple of the NY Dolls' classics, "Jet Boy" and "Great Big Kiss." In the latter he duly insults both the audience and his female back-up singers.
So like I said, Johnny Thunders: man of refinement and good taste. God love ya, Johnny, wherever you are."
There's better johnny available
Mark Bychowski | houston tx | 05/01/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"for johnny thunders, this is an incredible focused record with good recordings and great performances. for everyone else, its fairly haphazard, with hit or miss songs of varying quality. although jimmy miller gets a great sound out of jt for the first three songs, there's not a whole lot to them (although whodo voodoo is pretty great). out of the other studio tunes, diary of a lover is a nice ballad ruined by inexplicable profanity at the end & king of the gypsies with wayne kramer of MC5 is okay ("for all you chicano boys", as johnny helpfully introduces it). the live tracks are wildly inconsistent, with too much junkie business (great vocal by waldo), sad vacation (best version available), & i love you totally barrelling down everything in its path contrasting with more useless versions of get off the phone & jet boy. give her a great big kiss, however, is worth the price of the cd alone. witness an incoherent jt lecture his band ("you cant even play the [...] thing"), his audience, ("hey, who the [...] was rude to these [women]?"), and his female singers ("okay, you [women] ready?") while a larger than normal backup band careens out of control. when i think of rock and roll as stupid entertainment, THIS is what comes to mind. bottom line: if you like johnny thunders, this is great. if you're not sure, get LAMF instead. because, really, lamf is all the johnny thunders you need-he spend the rest of his career re-recording the same songs over and over."