For Your Weekend Listening Pleasure: The New York Dolls Trash Gertie's in September 1973

Categories: Music
Long ago, in 1978, this was released as a vinyl boot, Dolls Live: Dallas '74. Over the years the original has become a pricey, much-sought-after artifact -- this, despite the fact it's said to be of "very poor" sound quality. (This attendee didn't even dig it live: "not that great.") Then, in '06, the Dallas set was incorporated into a sprawling illicit anthology culled from dozens of sources featuring myriad versions of David Johansen, Johnny Thunders, Arthur "Killer" Kanel, Sylvain Sylvain and Jerry Nolan songs off the '73 debut. Essential.

Alas, the '74 Dallas show was in 1973 -- four nights in the fall, September 17-20. Says so right here. And it was at Gertie's on Lemmon Avenue, where a guy who worked for my dad played bass in one of the house bands. We used to drive by it on the way to junior high, twice a day for two years. Never knew the Dolls played there till this week, when I stumbled across a page with links to the boxed set From Here to Eternity that contains the Gertie's recordings, which sound much better than alleged.

Since I can't imagine what that was like, I thought I'd ask someone who I figured was there: the great Barry Kooda, who, in two years, would form the Nervebreakers with Mike Haskins, Carl Giesecke, Thom "Tex" Edwards and Pierre Thompson. This is what Barry sends by way of recollection:
I remember I was uncomfortable being stared at by the crowd as I was in a waist-length brown corduroy jacket with no shirt, matching pants, no shoes, red-and-green eye makeup on one eye and a three-concentric-hoop ear ring.(Straight guys didn't wear earrings back then, and if they did, it was a tiny stud.)

I remember feeling the attention shift from me, and someone slugged me in the shoulder and said, "Hey, man..." It was Thom (Tex) Edwards dressed in tight yellow trousers, white silk body shirt with music notes on it. He had cut-out ads from an Esquire magazine that he thought were interesting (I remember a Lowery Organs ad) and written "Blood" or "Dead" on them and pinned them all over his clothes. The Werewolves opened, and I remember them saying to Thom, "I didn't know The Morning News delivered...," and Thom saying, "They don't..." I got drunk after that and barely remember the Dolls at all.
Well, then, Barry, this work-week adios is for you. Should you care to remember the night the Dolls played Gertie's.

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Mike Haskins
Mike Haskins

Re: The NY Dolls in Dallas. This is the way I remember it. The NY Dolls only played Dallas

one time, at Gerties Sept. 16-19, 1973, supporting their first LP, "The New York Dolls."

The Werewolves were the opening act. The two bands alternated sets: Werewolves, Dolls,

Werewolves, then Dolls again. The stage was on the left side of the club (having been

moved from the right side). In 1978, Smiling Ears records released the LP "Dolls Live Dallas '74." This was recorded at

the 1973 gig by Jimmy Carter and David Hill (the album cover credits "thanks to J.C. and

D.H."). The album is incorrectly dated, a fact that was noted at the time (1978), but has

caused some confusion since.Why was it incorrectly dated? Here's my theory. As noted on the LP cover, Peter Jordan

played bass at this gig rather than Killer Kane. However, Kane was present at the gig,

standing on stage with his arm in a cast, while his roadie played bass. Also, the Dolls were

playing some songs that did not appear on record until later ("Human Being," "Give Her a

Great Big Kiss," "Don't Start Me Talkin," etc.). Smiling Ears also chose a cover shot for the album of the Dolls during their 1975 red

leather phase , further confusing the issue.


Yeah, Stooges and New York Dolls were pre-punk and definitely influential.  Throw in some Alice Cooper, Velvet Underground, some 60s garage bands (a lot of the bands on the Pebbles comps, even Texas' own 13th Floor Elevators), Rolling Stones, dirty blues guitarists from Chicago and you're there.  In my opinion, West Coast was birthed from what NY and England were doing by way of Rodney Bingenheimer & Kim Fowley being influential.  I can never get in the debate of who was first NYC or England.  My thinking is that NYC was first based on what was going on in NYC itself, as well as what was and had been going on in the Midwest (MC5/Detroit, Rocket from the Tombs/Cleveland), and all the great 60s garage bands from all over the US.  I think England just got more press with Malcolm McLaren pulling press stunts and with his imaging of the Sex Pistols.  

If you're interested, there's a great book called From the Velvets to the Voidoids.  If this interests you, I highly recommend it!  There's also another one that is based on Post Punk, and although I haven't read it, I've been told that it deals with the history of what led to the Post Punk movement in England so I'm sure it's got to go into what influenced all the great early punk bands in England.


Dolls, Ramones, Lou Reed post VU ... East Coast posers, one and all.

Give me Booker T and the MGs, the Allman Bros, the Elevators Aliens Nervebreakers ... groups that have some rock soul hillbilly roots. And didn't care so much about what costumes they wore.

The quote about the Elevators "They looked like a bunch of squirrel hunters on acid..."

Mitchell Crenshaw
Mitchell Crenshaw

I saw the New York Dolls twice.  First time was at the Michigan Palace theater in Detroit, New Years Eve '74.  The Dolls were big in Detroit and the place went crazy.  Johansen mentions the show as a high point in Nina Antonia's bio "Too Much, Too Soon".  I saw them again later that year at a high school gym in the suburbs.  My brother Marshall's "beach boys" style band opened the show and were ignored.  Marshall told me later that his band had asked a Dolls roadie to move an amp to make a space for them on the stage, the guy refused and said,""Pay your dues, Punks".  I was so close to the stage that I could see that their clothes had been ripped and resewn.  They looked really beat up, but they totally rocked.


Bits and pieces in the fog...You should ask Mike or Thom. They have much more reliable memories than mine.

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