Foreword by Mike Scott of The Waterboys
272pp with 16pp photo insert
6 x 8.5 in (150 x 215mm)
£16.95 UK / $24.95 US / $32.95 CAN
Johnny Thunders: In Cold Blood is the definitive portrait of the condemned man of rock’n’roll, from the baptism of fire and tragedy that was The New York Dolls, through the junkie punk years of The Heartbreakers, to his sudden and mysterious death in 1991. It is an unflinching account of a unique guitarist whose drug problems often overshadowed his considerable style and talent, but whose unquestionable influence on glam, punk, and more still resonates today.
Nina Antonia discovered Johnny Thunders and The New York Dolls as a teenager and spent her formative years as a dedicated fan before starting work on this book in her twenties. Then, when Johnny and his manager read her early drafts, they decided she should make it an authorised biography and granted her unique access to Johnny’s life. As such, it begins by painting a historical portrait of Thunders and his early life and work before shifting into the present tense as Nina vividly describes her own experiences with the real-life Johnny and his associates.
First published in 1987, Johnny Thunders: In Cold Blood has been kept alive over the years by an audience that isn’t always catered for. While The New York Dolls are now rightly acknowledged as having been as pivotal as The Velvet Underground, and you might catch the odd fashionista sporting a Dolls T-shirt, Johnny’s dark flame burns for those who have known adversity. He is the voice of the disenfranchised; he is every gifted son or daughter who went off the rails. Like Jesse James or James Dean, he couldn’t come in from the badlands of rock’n’roll; he wouldn’t appease or kowtow to the establishment.
This new edition adds a new closing chapter, bringing Thunders’ legacy up to date, new photographs, and a foreword by Mike Scott of The Waterboys.
Nina Antonia is a former music journalist who has contributed to Uncut, Mojo, Classic Rock, and Record Collector. Since Johnny Thunders: In Cold Blood was first published in 1987, she has written biographies of The New York Dolls and Peter Perrett of The Only Ones and has edited the diaries of The Libertines’ Pete Doherty. She has appeared on BBC Radio One and 6 Music, performed at spoken-word events, held a retrospective at the Barbican, and lectured on glam at the Tate Liverpool. She has also featured in various documentaries, including Danny Garcia’s poignant film Looking For Johnny. Johnny himself called her ‘the smartest chick I ever met’.