Superb documentary on legendary rocker
For some, Johnny Thunders was a rock legend — never quite making a dent in the mainstream, but inspiring countless garage and punk guitarists through the years. His work with the seminal glam/punk band the New York Dolls, as well as his later work with the Heartbreakers and beyond influenced everyone from the Sex Pistols to Guns ’N Roses. Found dead of mysterious causes in New Orleans in 1991, at a young 38 years of age, Thunders’ legacy exists with the numerous recordings he left behind. Speculation of possible foul play are persistent, but with Thunders’ serious drug addictions (and his vaguely hidden advanced leukemia), the police in New Orleans are seemingly content to let the case cool.
Garcia’s documentary took him 18 months to assemble, and his efforts don’t go unrewarded. Most of Thunders’ former bandmates, family members, friends, and associates are all featured here, as well as tons of live and behind the scenes footage. It’s probably about as complete and comprehensive a documentary as can be done on the subject, and will easily stand as the hallmark of Thunders biographies. Not being all that familiar with Thunders’ work, this proved to be a great intro and a completely respectable look at the man who was plagued by several (likely fatal) vices, yet stood tall as a rock icon. A wonderful rock bio, and a fine film detailing a tragic rock star’s rise and fall.