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New York Dolls and Raspberries, 1974


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Back in 1974, Circus, a now-defunct rock music magazine, had writer/musician Lance Loud (now deceased) cover Raspberries for the magazine. Since I've seen several posts about the New York Dolls recently here, this article might be of interest if you haven't seen it before.

It also has the best descriptions of Eric and Wally performing on stage that I've ever read, and shows that some writers truly did understand what Raspberries are all about:

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Raspberries were dressed up straight in matching suits. This was not just apparel they wore to board transcontinental jets - this was their customary rock garb, with hair slightly coiffed like The Small Faces would have worn it in Mod London '65. Raspberries were on their way to mad Manhattan, some while back riding high on the success of their string of Pop singles, all bearing the trademark of sharp-edged, English-styled rockers.

Suddenly into the boarding area of the terminal came a different breed. A motley crew at best, pop rock pirates wearing an odd collection of kinky clothes, most probably swiped from girls the night before. They flaunted, they flapped, they slouched and went camping about... those New York Dolls were waiting to board the same plane.

"When our old drummer first saw the Dolls and realized we were going to board the same plane, he wanted to have a punch-out with them right then and there," recalls Eric Carmen, head central of the newly picked and rapidly blooming Raspberries. "I told him, 'Look, cool out, let's get to know them first before you make any rash action.'" By the end of the flight, David (Johansen) and Eric were sitting side-by-side chatting. "David is really a nice, funny, very smart person; only when the stewardess came with drinks did he clown around a little."

Eric Carmen is smart. He knows that what the Dolls are to the Pop-Raunch style of early sixties rebel-rebel Rolling Stones, the Raspberries are to the rhythmic Rockers of English Pop, such Mod Men as The Who, the Beatles, and the Small Faces. Today, the Dolls can do a smacking version of The Shangra-las "Give Him A Great Big Kiss," while Raspberries fling out a better-than-original version of Free's "All Right Now." They both have swinging sixties roots, but the seeds of inspiration are slightly different.

The new Raspberries are not too much different from the old; they still have founding members Eric Carmen and Wally Bryson, but the bassist and drummer have been replaced by Scott McCarl and Mike McBride. This new batch o' berries has been together for 10 months now, and in that time has mixed non-stop touring with the recording of one incredible new LP, Starting Over on Capitol. They are not cutesy, they are no bubblegum brains - they simply aspire to be a conglomeration of all the best aspects of all their favorite Pop Era bands. Their key to Imminent Success is that they learn from their mistakes. "We wore matching suits when we first started out," explains Eric, "because we wanted to be a bit different, and also because it was so very much like the Beatles used to do in England."

Now, without the suits, they are stronger than ever before. At a recent date in a small suburb outside of Chicago, they performed a set that could have made Carnaby Street and its whole era come alive and be proud again. Lead guitarist Wally Bryson is not only charming, but is an American incarnation of an English Pop Pluckster, his fretwork both gutsy and neat, civil yet savage.

The band was proud of their first set. Eric, dressed in purple velvet pants and matching open top, ala Robert Plant, had performed like a bonofide Rock Star, prancing and posing, lifting the microphone stand and setting teen hearts a-flutter. Wally was equally dynamic, charging into each song with a fresh vibrant quality. This wasn't the 82 Club he was playing, this was pure Rock & Roll.

As Raspberries drove back to their hotel that night after the gig, they were pleased. They have proven that they have a hold on a sound that will lead them to ultra-fame. "I gave the gold record that I got for 'Go All The Way' to my mother," Eric said on his way up to his room to get a hard day's night of well-earned sleep, "because she told me that I would never make it in Rock & Roll."

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Don smile

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I loved seeing this article when it was first published. Lance Loud was a very cool individual (with a very screwed up family, but what's new there?!). While the two bands had different influences (and perhaps a few similar ones), they both had a certain attitude/swagger (although I'm sure Wally was a much 'safer' bet to bring home to meet your parents than, say, Johnny Thunders). Lance Loud really 'got it' with this piece. (If I'm not mistaken, I recall seeing David Johanson at one of the Raspberries' Bottom Line shows in Dec '74, although maybe I conjured that up in my mind!)

PS - By the way, the Dolls' new song 'Take a Good Look at My Good Looks' is beautiful. That sucker will be filling my ears all summer! (Note to Tony Cartwheel: David Jo's vocals may be an acquired taste.)

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They were quite an "eyefull" in their chiffon dresses, lipstick and women's pumps. Truly the most hideous bunch of "girls" I've ever seen. I seem to recall David was wearing a Mickey Mouse t-shirt, black "capri" pants and black 3" heels. When that big hoarse scary laugh came out of him it was hysterical! He really played it to the hilt! ec haha

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I remember this article when it first came out, too. I don't recall that it was written by "that" Lance Loud--the one who made his name by "coming out" on PBS's "An American Family," one of the earliest "reality TV" shows ever made. But isn't it funny...

Yes, I remember many years later thinking, when David Johansen started doing his "Buster Poindexter" thing, how times had changed!

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Hey! A mention of Eric's "purple velvet pants and matching open top, ala Robert Plant..." Weren't we just talking about that on another thread? Lemme check. Hold on....

Here it is: The all-purple get-up appeared among these great photos from the 1974-75 tour (bottom row).

http://www.ericcarmen.com/pictures_727374.htm

(Wouldn't it be great to have an entire show from that era on DVD?)

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Thanks, Don, for reminding me about that article. It was one of the articles I decoupaged on wood and hung on the part of my apartment wall my then-boyfriend called "The Shrine."

I chuckle every time I think about that article. It was cool. I have "The Shrine" upstairs somewhere. Thanks for a foray into those days!

smile --Darlene

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Is there anything to my hazy recollection of the Raspberries sharing the 8th floor of the Hollywood Holiday Inn with the Dolls?

You know, they tore the hotel down to build the Kodak Theater -- not quite a fair substitution, sacrificing so much rock history for an uninspiring hulk.

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