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New York Dolls more pleased than surprised by longevity

of the Oakland Press

Posted: Tuesday, June 28, 2011

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Just a few years ago, David Johansen could not have guessed his New York Dolls would actually be an active concern when the group’s 40th anniversary rolled around — especially not after the original incarnation of the group flamed out in 1976.

But the group has been back together and thriving since 2004, and this year it released its fifth studio album, and third since the reunion, “Dancing Backward in High Heels.”

“It’s hard to surprise me, but I’ve been pleased,” says Johansen, 61, who played solo and as his alter ego Buster Poindexter during the interim. “Everybody in the band is really bringing it and playing their best, and people out there are really getting into it. The main thing is to be sensible about this and not be hasty. We want to keep having fun with it.”

Johansen and guitarist Sylvain Sylvain, the two remaining members of the Dolls’ founding lineup, recorded “Dancing Backward” in Newcastle, England, with Louis XIV frontman and current Dolls member Jason Hill producing. Hill, Johansen says, “had very definite ideas about the way it should sound,” which the singer was happy about because he and Sylvain came into the sessions with “very few” ideas of their own.

“We’re procrastinators,” Johansen explains. “We showed up with very little stuff. We just started recording before we had any ideas — we had ideas, but we didn’t know where they were going. It was more like we created the whole thing from scratch.

“But we’ve done that before. I think we’ve got it into our skulls that we can assume the producer will make sure the record comes in on the prescribed date — that’s a nice way of saying, ‘Let him worry about it.’ And I think (Hill) did a brilliant job.”

Motley Crue, Poison and the New York Dolls perform at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 29, at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $39.50-$99.50 pavilion, $29.50 lawn. Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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