November 2017


Stranded In The Jungle
By: Curt Weiss
Book Review By: Jimi LaLumia

"Stranded In The Jungle" is a new book written by Curt Weiss, and it serves as a biography of the late Jerry Nolan,who played drums for The New York Dolls and The Heartbreakers( Johnny Thunders version, not Tom Petty..) The book also serves as a pin point view of the NYC music scene, starting in the hippie trippy 1960's when a young, 'take no prisoners' Jerry Nolan thrust himself, with style and talent, right into the midst of the rock and roll wonderland that NY was back then, 'the Village', Saint Mark's, the Fillmore East and all the clubs, Mr. Nolan found his way into everything, including the jazz world of his idol,the legendary Gene Krupa, who he came to know and learn from.

The story really comes to life (for me) when Jerry finds The Mercer Arts Center, and then Max's Kansas City; Nolan was the drummer for Jayne( at that time Wayne) County's band Queen Elizabeth for a period of time before hooking up with The New York Dolls, stepping in after the death of original Dolls drummer Billy Murcia, and then the rocket ride truly takes off. I avidly followed all of this as it was happening, and the author spoke to me about the good old days, I am quoted in the book regarding the Johnny Thunders Memorial, but that comes after the Dolls implode, The Heartbreakers become the ultimate punk era band in the UK (with the Sex Pistols watching and learning), and then also break up, as Nolan and his long time pal Thunders mutate into numerous various versions of the same band,over and over with dire sad results: the lesson learned? Don't do drugs,kids!

"Stranded In The Jungle" is a must read if you really want to know about the scene and the people who truly were the foundation of punk rock,and with all due respect to Curt Weiss, I would like to clarify two things; The Heartbreakers very first gig was indeed as a support act for Wayne County at the Club 82, the ad is still visible and accessible on the internet, and the Thunders 'Heartbreakers' were using the name by 1975, while Tom Petty played CBGB in 1976, still using the name MudCrutch, and it was at CBGB that Petty saw the name Heartbreakers,as Thunders' band were already headline stars there; now get a copy of this book, and read it with "New York Dolls", "Too Much Too Soon" and "LAMF" playing in the background, as I did; great read,Curt Weiss.

In closing, I must add that the new nominations for the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame were recently unveiled, and once again, The new York Dolls are nowhere to be found;this is a disgraceful joke, and, some feel, grudge work on the part of some of the key , behind the scenes 'movers' at the Hall; the Hall remains a tedious joke to many of us while this situation continues year after year; The Dolls started it all, as far as punk is concerned; The Pistols and The Ramones have said so themselves, and they are in the Hall, but The Dolls are not. It's a shame, and a sham.