Back on Track. Hurt me with Johnny Thunders

So…yeah…what happens when you put traumatized me in a room with someone who spent a long time as a worker in the penal system, and is shouting and exerting their dominance over a room of traumatized homeless people in a shelter, making sure his respect is insured and understood, instead of realizing this is a whole other kettle of issues. Someone who is seeing us all as a homogenous whole, who seeks to TELL not to UNDERSTAND. Yeah, it’s not good. I’m still shaking, and no, this is not fragility, this is my fragility, my trauma and a huge guy shouting for almost an hour about things I don’t do, that aren’t me, telling me he knows how it is when he knows shit about being a woman in this situation…Fact is, Ladies and Gentleman, I can’t win. I just can’t. I can’t because they don’t listen, they don’t understand I cannot, I just cannot keep on trying to explain how it is for me. Nor do they care.

It would appear I’m doomed, people. Doomed. I knew getting through this with my son and my freedom was unlikely. I knew it. But fuck…really…does it have to be so cruel?

There is nothing for it, but to take a few deep breaths, and put someone on the stereo that feels right. Johnny Thunders!

No hear me out, this is not his usual New York Dolls fare, not noise and punk with a weird cool sissy edge, this is Hurt Me. His acoustic album from 1983, just Johnny and his guitar and some really cool covers, of both himself and others. It’s one of the coolest things that came out of the ’80s.

It shouldn’t work. It really shouldn’t. Johnny acoustic more shocking than when Dylan went electric. Johnny is electric. Johnny is noise. Johnny is offensive. It’s his schtick, it’s his stock response, it is what he does, what he made his name on, but this fabulous whining, falsetto acoustic collection is worth a listen.

The covers include a sped up Joey Joey, by Dylan, a fine Eve of Destruction, by PF Sloan. A gloriously camp “I’d Rather be with the Boys Than with Girls like You, a Keith Richards track. But where Johnny really shines is in reworking his own songs for the guitar, people this is Unplugged before MTV was even a thing. He lifts his own work up, and you start to see the vulnerable Thunders, without his armor, without his machine gun guitar and his mega amp, and it is a beautiful thing. The gentle longing of You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory is a real standout, I wish we could, Johnny. I miss this generation of little weirdos and freaks. These are my people. I can’t believe they all went and left me here alone!

In every junkie, (and Thunders tried very hard to be the ultimate junkie, and paid the usual price for it) there is a vulnerable hurting human being, and we are privileged to be let in to meet what lies under the noise.

Ladies and Gentleman, Johnny Thunders

6 Comments

  1. Ruth

    Didn’t expect to ever be persuaded into listening to JT but you just managed it with your silver-tongue and persuasive enthusiasm! Glad I did. Sorry about the shouting. Hope your day improves…

  2. leendadll

    Sorry.

    NIN shouldn’t lull me to sleep but it does. And in the depths of my worst depression, the anger of Henry Rollins’ books was the only thing reminding me I wasn’t alone.

    I hope better things are in store for you soon!!

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