Synopsis by Mark Deming
The New York Dolls were a rock band who titled their second studio album Too Much Too Soon, and it summed up the band's career all too well. Playing hard, swaggering rock & roll that anticipated the aural chaos of punk five years before the Sex Pistols became a cause célèbre, and boasting an androgynous fashion statement that made David Bowie look timid, the Dolls made headlines and earned a loyal cult following between 1971 and 1976, but their look and sound were too extreme for the mass audience at the time, and the fact that several members of the band had serious drug and alcohol problems hardly helped matters. After the New York Dolls finally fell apart in 1977, singer David Johansen went on to a successful solo career (scoring hit records under the alter ego Buster Poindexter), lead guitarist Johnny Thunders and drummer Jerry Nolan kept the band's sound alive in the Heartbreakers, and guitarist Syl Sylvain cut a few solo albums and occasionally worked with Johansen. But bassist Arthur Kane struggled for years to get his musical career back on track while battling alcoholism, with little success on either front. In 1989, after a stay in the hospital, a clean and sober Kane embraced the Mormon faith, and through his contacts in the church he got a job working in a Mormon genealogy library in Los Angeles. Despite his quiet new life, Kane's greatest dream was to someday play a reunion show with the New York Dolls, and in 2004 his wish unexpectedly became a reality when British pop icon Morrissey invited the surviving members of the band to appear at a prestigious music festival he was curating. Filmmaker Greg Whiteley knew Kane as a fellow Mormon, and New York Doll is a documentary about the ups and downs of Kane's life in music, how his faith came into his life, and his unexpected return to the rock & roll stage at the age of 55.
band [music group], Mormon, musician, recovery [health], religious-conversion, reunion, rock-music