RIFFS / Steve McDonald of Red Kross

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The Independent Online
'THIS song has made it on to every compilation tape I've ever made - usually Track 2, the one which sets the tone. It's the perfect two-and-a- half minute song, and one of the sluttiest ever encapsulated in that format. Johnny Thunders is singing, not the usual lead singer David Johanson, and he's too high, way out of his range. He does this really slutty count in, 'One, two, three . . .', but the rest of the words aren't very clear.

'It's a trashy song, bashing on gossipy, a lot like 'Stupid Girl' by the Rolling Stones, but the New York Dolls definitely took things a step further. It's recorded with strong stereo separation - there are two loud guitars, Johnny Thunders on one side playing through an amp that's so compressed it sounds like a mosquito, and Sylvain playing a clean, Eddie Cochrane sound on a big old hollow body guitar. The producer was Shadow Morton, who produced the Shangri Las. This song laid the foundations for punk rock, mixing the sassiness of the Sixties girl group movement with the teenage punk element of the Stones, and added Lower East Side trash junkie culture.

'It's two guitars, bass and drums, and, though the musicianship is very primitive, the production is very pure. Johnny Thunders goes out wailing, double-tracked, so he sounds like early Dave Davies. Growing up in California, I pictured England through the Kinks' songs and the opening of A Hard Day's Night. Morton was just like George Martin with the Beatles, he had a classical ear which he applied to recording what were essentially a bunch of street musicians. David Johanson is still around, incidentally. He plays Fifties style cocktail music under the name Buster Poindexter. It's ironic.'

'Chatterbox' is on Too Much Too Soon (Mercury 6463064)

(Photograph omitted)