David Johansson remembers fellow New York dollhouse partner Sylvain Sylvain

Sylvain Sylvain and David Johansen of the New York Dolls (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage)

The New York guitarist Dales Sylvain Silvan dies After a long battle with Cancer I mean that front man David Johansen He is now the last surviving member of the lead proto-punk band. He’s spent the past 24 hours since the news broke while reflecting on his five-decade relationship with Sylvain and reading fan greetings to him on social media. “It’s a pity that this flow of love didn’t happen while he was alive,” Johanssen says. “People should say, ‘I’m going to die next week, so please tell me how you feel now. “

Contact the singer Rolling rock To share his love with Sylvain, and to look back at his memories of his life with this wonderful guitar.

Tell me your first memories of ever seeing Silvan.
I remember her with beautiful clarity. We’d go out with the group and do the rehearsal several times. The man who was playing the guitar did not appear. Suddenly, Seale came into the room with a carpet bag and a guitar. He had just disembarked after being deported, I believe, from Amsterdam. [Laughs] He looked cool, but then he started playing and I thought, “Oh my God. We must have this guy. He’s cool.”

Little did I know, he and some of the other players in the squad had been together before he was in Europe. They were talking about forming a band. he knows [drummer] Bailey [Murcia] And the [guitarist] John [Johnny Thunders]. I don’t know if he knows Arthur [Kane] or not. But I didn’t know that. I just knew, “This guy is awesome,” and he was.

What role did he play in creating a New York Dolls a look?
I don’t know. I have read a few things about it being very effective at this. I think it was. I know we were all what we considered “trendy” at the time. But he was friends with [fashion designer] Betsey Johnson compiled the photo shoot for his first album cover. I don’t think he was wearing our clothes because I can tell by looking at the photo that it was all clothes we had.

But it came from a long line of tailors. He was dressed and was a regular shopper when we were on the road.

He was born in Egypt and lived a little in France. How do you think this looks like?
His family moved to New York. The organization that sponsored them said, “You can live in any of these places.” The only place in New York was Buffalo. [Laughs] They had relatives in Brooklyn. I think his dad said, “Buffalo? This is New York. This is near Brooklyn.” They went to Buffalo. He said his mother had been crying the whole time they were there. I don’t know how long they’ve been there, but they’ve finally moved to New York.

When I first met him, we were all New Yorkers. He was an amazing man, but I didn’t know much about his past. When we started going to Europe, I could see that he was very confident in himself.

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When you think about the days of the Mercer Art Center, what images of Sylvain pop up in your head?
He was just a great kid at the time. He was such an emotional performer. He was very positive the whole time. He was very important to that group and its success. You know what I mean by “success”. Not a lot of charts and all that nonsense. This was what we were making. It was an integral part of that.

Can you put on that?
If it wasn’t for him, the band would have looked bad. He knew what he was doing and could play guitar. He came up with really cool beats. He was very brilliant. He was a born player. He liked to play.

The voice he got when playing Johnny was an essential part of the doll’s voice.
at all. It will only fit there. He knew what to do, especially in the beginning. Thinking of the early days. We have a long history. We wrote songs together, but when we got back together, we wrote a lot of songs.

New York was unimaginably different at the time.
The city wasn’t really ready for bands as it is now. There were not many places to exercise or play. We are used to convincing people or pioneers or whatever you want to contact them, that we can bring in a crowd. They weren’t really prepared for music, so to speak. It’s the same when we got used to walking down the road. We used to cut down trees, build theater, and put up posters all over town. [Laughs]

The band faced a lot of setbacks in the early days. Matt Bailey and the albums were never sold. However, Seale seems to have always believed in the band’s potential.
at all. He did not lose his faith. I don’t think any of us, speaking of myself, really had any expectations of world domination. We were just doing what we were doing and you can take it or leave it, basically. John was very ambitious in those days. Someone would say, “We have to train! We have to train!” I would say, “Can’t we practice on stage? What’s the difference?” [Laughs]

I liked the torrent. We got used to the room together when we were on the road. There were days when we had to double up with two people in each room and the fifth guy had to share a room with the road manager. Ciel and I would be in a room and when we first went to Europe and we were going to a restaurant, he knew all the waiters and they treated him like a prince. That was the kind of thing.

The squad finally reaches you and is near the end of the original race.
We tried it, the two of us. We’ve done a lot of cool things in that period after the original band disbanded. In those days, we didn’t have anyone to take care of our careers or anything else. In an ideal world, there would have been someone who everyone would trust to some degree, someone who said, “Why don’t you take six months off?”

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But we were very similar in those days. We always thought, “If we don’t do this party, we’re not going to make the rent.”

The group is so in love now, it’s easy to forget you were really struggling at the time.
Life is a struggle. If not, it would probably be very boring.

She continued working with Sale after the breakup.
We played together for years after the group broke up. When I landed a record deal with Steve Ball, he was in the band for the first two albums I made. It was several years, longer than the dolls together. Look, I liked the guy. We used to write great songs together. The things that would come out of his musical creativity, I just loved it.

Did it surprise him that the band met in 2004? I’m sure it surprised you even though you made it happen.
When we first decided that we would do this, I was a little hesitant. Then I thought, “We’re going to England and stay in a nice hotel in London. It’ll be a nice break.” I was doing a lot of singing at the time with Hubert Sumlin and I was doing Harry Smith things. I thought it’d be nice to have something a little spirited. I thought it’d be cool to see Seal and Arthur.

We were only going to show one. It was sold out, so they did another show. Then we started getting a lot of offers to go to these European festival shows. It was late spring when we made that show. I was like, “If we’re ready to go, let’s go do this and see what happens.” Then we kept doing it because I don’t know for how long.

I think it was seven years.
Yeah. At first, Arthur died completely unexpectedly. He thought he had the flu and turned out to have leukemia. That was a kind of devastation. I also liked it. Each one of the dolls was very different and interesting. Anyway, we persisted and got [bassist] Alone [Yaffa] In the band I continued to advance.

How deepened your friendship with Cel in this time period?
When you have been with someone for a long time, you go through different types of stages. We were laughing a lot and had a lot of fun. We both already dug on stage and put it there. I was just looking at pictures of us on those tours. We always had a laugh.

I love those new records. They have to be fun to make.
Was great. After we’ve been playing for a while, we just thought, “We have ammo, but it’s out of date. Let’s update it.” We’ve been creating songs that really work.

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Why did it end in 2011?
It’s just kind of … we were exhausted. We’ve been on the road for eight years. Never was a point of “that’s all forever.” We’ve cooled it for a while and it kind of lasted.

Have you spoken to him a lot in the past decade?
Yeah. We talked from time to time.

How was he doing? I knew the past three years had been tough with his fight against cancer.
He really thought he was going to defeat her. He was a tough little bastard. I thought he’d run it too. But it was clearly much sharper and in more parts of his body than I really knew.

The getting news has got to be devastating.
I can’t say it was a shock, but … I don’t know how to explain it, but physically there was a heavy weight on my chest. I’m still kind of treating it. I am sure I will remain that way for the rest of my life, fixing it.

How do you feel being the last one now?
I’m next.

do not say that. This is very dark.
[Laughs] OK. I’m so dark. you know? I didn’t think about it much. It is a lot to think about.

I’ve seen people call The Dolls “the luckiest band in rock history.”
Morrissey says so. That Morrissey is like … I don’t want to say … [Laughs]

It can be very dark as well.
But he also knows how to spin yarn as well as the best ones.

He had no point. There have been many tragedies.
Yes, there certainly is. They are like those old gangs.

When you think of Syl now, what are the images that cross your mind? What are happy thoughts?
It just makes me smile because we did so many things and had fun together. this is what I feel. This is mostly about me. As much as he is and regardless of the position he’s in in the past two years, he’s been busy fighting what he’s got. I feel so pressured to find anything other than the joy we shared and created together.

It is a pity that you are not in the Hall of Fame yet. He would have liked it.
He wanted that, yeah. My feelings about it were somewhat different from him, but I felt I had a responsibility if at any point I would have to support him in it.

If you enter now, you will only be on the platform.
I do not wish. Maybe I can send a representative. I could send a prostitute on 42nd Street to give my acceptance speech.

The group is now clearly out forever, right? Wouldn’t you do it alone?
I have no intention of doing this, no. It would be crazy.

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