New York Doll
New York Doll is a film that captures one of those rare occasions where life is not only stranger, but better than fiction. It's a poignant and extraordinary story of Arthur "Killer" Kane – the one time statuesque bassist of 70s gender-bending glam rock pioneers, The New York Dolls.
Director Greg Whiteley captures Arthur's journey from mild-mannered librarian for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saint's Family History Centre to a reunion with the remaining members of the band at Morrissey's 2004 Meltdown Festival in London and the subsequent events that followed.
In the 70s, the Dolls' outrageous antics belied a ferocious sound that presaged punk and influenced a generation of musicians. Establishing the raucous-rocker template, the Dolls' crashed and burned amidst a flurry or drug and alcohol abuse after their aptly titled second LP, Too Much Too Soon. Various members of the band found varying success in the music industry but Arthur faded away into virtual obscurity – battling alcoholism and troubled marriages.
In 1989, his marriage over, Arthur converted to Mormonism and eventually settled into his job at the Family History Centre - all the while dreaming the fool's dream of rekindling his own broken friendships with the only family he felt he had left, The Dolls.
In 2004 his dream was realised when Morrissey asked the band to reform for the 2004 Meltdown festival he was curating. After a reunion with his former bandmates thoughts turned to the performance. No one knew whether it was going to gel or be a total disaster.
Critics however hailed the show "a sensational comeback". It was a triumphant return not only for The New York Dolls, but for Arthur "Killer" Kane. Returning to Los Angeles meant hanging up the "Killer" persona and heading back to his job once again. No one, however, could imagine the twist of fate visited upon Arthur next.
Whiteley managed to pull off a who's who of musical talent – leaping at the opportunity to spread their affection and affinity for, in Morrissey's words, "one of the most raucous and notorious bands in musical history – and Arthur in particular. Those include Sir Bob Geldof, Chrissie Hynde, Mick Jones, Iggy Pop, Don Letts and of course, Morrissey.
New York Doll is Greg Whiteley's feature film debut.
Released April 7th