Tag Archives: Steve Conte

New Album! Michael Monroe

Holy Crap! This puppy smokes.

If you like glam rock, you already know that singer Michael Monroe has A-list credentials. And when it comes to powering such a band, it doesn’t get much better than a band featuring Sami Yaffa on bass and both Ginger and Steve Conte on guitar. And while even I had to look up a guy called Karl Rockfist – because that’s just too great a last name for a drummer – I soon realized it was actually Karl Rosqvist, skin pounder for The Chelsea Smiles.

So if you think you’d like a band that combines Hanoi Rocks, The Dictators, The Wildhearts, The New York Dolls and The Sex Pistols, this one’s for you. and while the first album, the Jack Douglas produced Sensory Overdrive, isn’t out yet…Another Night In The Sun (Live In Helsinki) is. A combination of old favorites and covers, it kicks ass from the first note and proves that the band is as tight as it is talented. That might mean no Wildhearts or Dolls shows for a while, but I think we’ll survive.

“Me and the guys in the band decided to record a live album – something for the fans to have while they’re waiting for our actual studio album due to be release in the early part of (2011)…”

Video: “Nothin’s Alright”

 

We're coming to your town, we're gonna party it down

 

 

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Blast From The Past: Sylvain Sylvain


Syl Sylvain
is one cool cat.
 

The Keef to David Johansen‘s Mick in the New York Dolls, Syl is the one who makes the engine hum. And as there are but the two sole surviving Dolls, that’s more important in 2010 than it was two decades ago when they first blasted upon the scene. 

I was playing some of his solo work today and flashed back to a review I wrote in November 1998 for Consumable Online; his albums had just been released on CD. At the time I surmised that the Dolls would never reform (I am very happy to have been proven wrong!) and hoped that he would resume his own career since Johansen obviously intended to do the same. 

The live Dolls reunion a few years ago and the subsequent album One Day It Will Please Us To Remember Even This both blew me away with a sound both classic and fresh. I wasn’t a big fan of the next Dolls album Cause I Sez So, and their recent live shows seem to use the same set list that they’ve been doing for a while. But I also believe that when good bands satisfy their outside urges they can bring some great stuff back to the table. 

The always-busy Steve Conte is doing that right now with The Crazy Truth. Syl is doing the same thing in Batusis with Cheetah Chrome of The Dead Boys. Maybe that will make the Dolls stronger. Maybe not. 

But no matter what happens, these Sylvain Sylvain albums rule. 

I'm Dickens, He's Fenster

After leaving the New York Dolls, guitarist Sylvain Sylvain released a couple of very good pop records that somehow got lost in the shuffle. When no third record materialized, it was a disappointment but not a big surprise – after all, post-punk pop was finding no welcome mat in the synth-happy 1980s, and even David Johansen had to whore himself out as Buster Poindexter just to put food on the table. 

Imagine my delight when Fishhead Records not only released some of Sylvain’s previous songs on one CD (Sylvain Sylvain…..In Teenage News), but a brand new collection of twelve songs! Adding to the good news was the announcement that Sylvain was hitting the club circuit again, band in tow. 

He’s still a pop guy with 50’s doo-wop roots glowing through his songs. The title track, an ode to his lost bandmates, is reminiscent of Little Anthony and The Imperials, while “Another Heart Needs Mending” mines the same sock-hop vocal territory. But grit abounds too, thanks to a crack band of backup musicians, among them Frankie Infante and Fuzztones Rudy Protrudi and John Carlucci. “Oh Honey” is pure Bo Diddley, and “I’m Your Man” is a finger-poppin’ rework that jumps out of the speakers. 

Although proud of his Dolls roots, reading Sylvain interviews gives a strong clue that a reunion will never happen, mostly due to a fractured relationship with Johansen. Still, Sylvain has no qualms with the great songs they wrote; three are included here, among them a spirited rendition of “Trash” (a song also recently covered by soulmate Gilby Clarke). And only a former Doll could write a “Sleepwalk” style instrumental and call it “Forgotten Panties”! Hopefully this signals the beginning of the second half of Sylvain Sylvain’s career

Syl’s MySpace site 

A good Creem interview from 2005 

Yet another  from 2006, courtesy Brooklyn Vegan

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NEW ALBUM! New York Dolls

I was a punk before you was a punk

I was a punk before you was a punk

 The news five years ago was simultaneously exciting and daunting – not only were the New York Dolls going to perform at the Meltdown Festival per Morrissey‘s invite, but they would record some new songs together for the first time in over thirty years! Exciting because let’s face it – the Dolls were Too Much Too Soon and had their legs knocked out from under them by bad management, drugs, worse management, more drugs, and the curse of being the dead body that followers could cross over like a bridge. (Oh, and even more drugs.)

Johnny Thunders recorded L.A.M.F. with The Heartbreakers, an almost perfect punk album. David Johansen did what he does best – survive – releasing some solid solo works before being tempted by the (not Walter) lure of Buster Poindexter.  Sylvain Sylvain quietly issued a couple of killer solo albums that really let his knack for catchy pop songs shine. (Syl is the Keith Richards of The Dolls – he runs the band and he keeps the lead singer honest). Listening to all that great music being made separately made one wonder what might have been

And then, in 2006, we sorta knew. One Day It Will Please Us To Remember Even This was a statement album from the remaining members of the band, supported by ace replacements like Sami Yaffa from Hanoi Rocks and a 21st century Thunders in Steve Conte. Somehow the band defied time and captured the irreverance, the girl-group anthems, the humor and the punk swagger and forged it through a modern, literate filter to at once sound current and classic. Even the most skeptical Dolls fan had to be impressed. Combined with the DVD of the Meltdown performance and the poignant documentary on Arthur Kane, the New York Dolls were not only relevant again, but they were great. The album translated well to the stage, where a more polished band delivered the goods old and new night after night after night.

Now, three years and another live album later, we have Cause I Sez So, the new studio album. But as much as I’d love to say it’s a step forward, I can’t…

Read my review in Blurt Magazine.

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