A brand-new edition of a classic of rock’n’roll literature, revised, updated, and republished to coincide with the 50th anniversary of The New York Dolls’ landmark debut album, and in the week of what would have been Johnny Thunders’ 71st birthday.
Foreword by Mike Scott of The Waterboys
Published July 11 2023
272pp with 16pp photo insert
6 x 8.5 in (150 x 215mm)
£16.95 UK / $24.95 US / $32.95 CAN
‘A cautionary tale about creating a myth and living it out on behalf of others. All the glory and sadness of Johnny Thunders’ short life is in this book. God bless him.’
‘In Cold Blood. The title says it all. Johnny Thunders inspired us in many ways—not all good, as any band member with junkie business at hand can attest—but his carefully attended elegance of dress, the way he commanded the stage, his sensitive songwriting, and most of all his reckless guitar playing (in defiance of his gentle personality) lives on in the heart of every guitar hero and rock fan.’
‘Nina knew Johnny and has observed his life with fandom, understanding, compassion, and detachment. She is more than qualified to capture its dynamics in her welL-chosen words and a series of illuminating interviews.’
MIKE SCOTT, from his foreword to this book
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, granting 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 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. Johnny 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 revised and updated edition adds a new closing chapter, bringing Thunders’ legacy up to date, as well as new photographs and a foreword by Mike Scott of The Waterboys.
NINA ANTONIA is an author and 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 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’.