"Gang War" didn't last long. The Wayne Kramer/Johnny Thunders led band, after rehearsals, played a handful of shows and recorded some demo's but never really jelled.
Wayne Kramer moved to New York, continued to play ultimately ending up on the West coast. He recently released a solo album and runs the charity "Jail Guitar Doors" that provides guitars to prisoners.
Johnny Thunders moved around a lot, sporadically recorded and continued to take Heroin. In 1991 Johnny Thunders died alone in a New Orleans rooming house. All of his belongings, including the clothes he was wearing, were stolen. Did he OD, the police thought so, or was he murdered as his family believes to this day. We'll never know as he is listed as passing under mysterious circumstances.
Below is a song/video about Heroin starring Johnny Thunders.
Wayne Kramer, along with his band THE MC5, were on their to rock stardom. After three albums and a number of national and international tours his plans,and the bands, had been shattered.
I first met Wayne at an after show party, there was always a party, in a mutual friends house. Wayne had recently completed a two+ year sentence in federal prison. I was introduced as a "writer". This wasn't specifically true. I did write commercials but that was it. Wayne said "hey, you can write the notes on the album I'm gonna do". While I knew this wasn't true I was flattered none the less. In the short time I knew him I found him to be charming and quite the raconteur. MR. Kramer had his detractors but I always found him interesting. I later heard he was forming a band with former New York Doll/Heartbreaker Johnny Thunders. They ended up calling the band "Gang War"
Johnny Thunders was on his way. The teased haired guitarist was lead player for the hottest band in rock & roll "The New York Dolls". The bands second album was given a oddly prophetic title "Too Much to Soon"
After the break up of the "Dolls" and the formation and dissolution of a band called "The Heartbreak's" Johnny, now a heroin addict, moved to Detroit from New York.
One night while standing at the bar of a place called the Old Miami, located just off the campus of Wayne State University in Detroit I saw Thunders walking by. He was wearing a head scarf, a jacket that had once been fashionable but now was just shabby and a permanent scowl. He bumped in to me, turned snarled and stalked off. His eyes were dead and his face drawn and pock marked. It was the last time I would see Johnny.
To be continued
Vertical asked me to join his blog as a guest expert on "Nuggets" era music... Psychedelic, Garage and Fuzz. Are there others more qualified? You bet, but they weren't asked. He's also letting me write about anything I want… We'll see.
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