Looking For Johnny - the legend of Johnny Thunders
CHIP BAKER films in association with JUNGLE RECORDS presents a DANNY GARCIA FILM:
a documentary on the life of the late New York Dolls and Heartbreakers guitarist
Johnny Thunders was the legendary hard-living rock’n’roll guitarist who inspired glam-metal, punk and the music scene in general.
‘Looking For Johnny’ is a 90-minute film that documents Thunders' career from his beginnings to his tragic death in 1991.
When Johnny Thunders died in New Orleans on April 23rd 1991, he left behind a mystery. Though MTV and international broadsheets reported the guitarist’s demise, for many in the mainstream, Thunders was perceived as an enigmatic outlaw. He was adored by a legion of devotees and cited as an influence by at least three successive generations of musicians. Thunders refused to play the corporate game and was both elevated and damned for it.
‘Looking for Johnny’ is the creation of the documentary maker, Danny Garcia (‘The Rise & Fall of The Clash’). The young Spanish filmmaker was seized by a question that wouldn’t let go – "just who was Johnny Thunders?" He spent 18 months travelling across the USA and Europe, filming interviews with fifty of the people who were closest to Johnny, building a compelling narrative drawn from first hand testimonies.
The film examines Johnny Thunders’ career from the early 70's as a founding member of the influential New York Dolls, the birth of the punk scene with The Heartbreakers in both New York City and London, and later incarnations including Gang War and The Oddballs. It also explores Johnny’s unique musical style, his personal battle with drugs and theories on the circumstances of his death in a New Orleans hotel in 1991 at age 38.
Interviewees include Sylvain Sylvain, Lenny Kaye, Walter Lure, Billy Rath, Bob Gruen, Terry Chimes, Alan Vega, Peter Perrett, Sami Yaffa, four of his managers: Marty Thau, Leee Black Childers, BP Fallon and Malcolm McLaren, and many others.
The film includes forty songs with historic film of Johnny with live performances from all periods, including unseen New York Dolls and Heartbreakers footage and photos. Cult filmmakers Bob Gruen, Don Letts, Patrick Grandperret, Rachael Amadeo and others contribute classic archive footage, helping illustrate the charisma, chaos and heartbreak inherent to the guitarist.
Premiere showings took place in May and June 2014 across USA and Europe, including New York City, London, Los Angeles, Chicago, Stockholm, New Orleans, Dallas, Toronto, Boston, Washington DC, Gloucester MA, San Francisco, Madrid, Barcelona and elsewhere, with more events to follow.
Now a second leg of screenings is being arranged. See below for details and Facebook and websites for updates.
The film will be issued in October 2014 on DVD and digital services.
The second leg of screenings:
SEPT 6 - HASTINGS Trash Cannes Festival, with Vic Godard and the New York Dollies. www.trashcannesfestival.co.uk
SEPT 13 - LONDON W11 Portobello Film Festival www.portobellofilmfestival.com
SEPT 26-28 - LONDON E8 Doc'n'Roll Film Festival, Hackney Picturehouse www.docnrollfestival.com
TBC - L'Etrange Film Festival, tbc.
The earlier first leg of live screenings worldwide:
MAY 9 – TORONTO Canadian Music Week www.cmw.net/film/
MAY 11 – BOSTON Regent Theatre +The Daughters (live) www.regenttheatre.com
MAY 15 – GLOUCESTER, MA Cape Ann Cinema www.capeanncinema.com
MAY 16 - PHILADELPHIA, PA PhilaMOCA www.brownpapertickets.com
MAY 17 – WASHINGTON DC Gala Theatre www.galatheatre.org
MAY 22 – NEW ORLEANS Zeitgeist www.zeitgeistinc.net
MAY 23 – DALLAS Texas Theatre www.thetexastheatre.com
MAY 24 – LOS ANGELES Downtown Independent www.downtownindependent.com Tickets: www.lethalamounts.com
MAY 27 – SAN FRANCISCO Roxie Theatre www.roxie.com
MAY 28 - OAKLAND Uptown Nightclub www.uptownnightclub.com
JUNE 5 – LONDON Prince Charles Cinema www.princecharlescinema.com
JUNE 21 - ATHENS Mikrokosmos Theatre www.mikrokosmos.gr (Nina Antonia will be in Athens for what is now a book reading event.)
JUNE 27 – MADRID Transmissions Festival www.transmissionsfestival.com
JUNE 28 - OSLO Vanguard Oslo www.tigernet.no
JULY 5 – BARCELONA Transmissions Festival www.transmissionsfestival.com
with more to be announced.
***Here below are director Danny Garcia and Jungle's Alan Hauser interviewed by Simone Marie (Primal Scream etc) on her 'Naked Lunch' show for the brand new and very cool Soho Radio, broadcasting live from Piccadilly.
Recorded on 4th June 2014 just before the London LFJ premiere, it's a 2-hour Johnny Thunders special; the guests arrive just after the first hour.