Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Last Unsung Hero

Arthur 'Killer' Kane was the bass guitar player for The New York Dolls, one of the most influential yet unsung bands of the early 70s, who shook up the prog rock scene by dressing in women's clothing yet delivering a tough sound that was to set the prescedent for the Punk Rock explosion that followed. Hard partying and the death of drummer Billy Murcia from an overdose lead to the band's split in 1975, and Arthur forged several unsuccessful side projects with fellow Dolls Johnny Thunders and Jerry Nolan and Blackie Lawless of W.A.S.P. Arthur relocated to L.A, and aside from a few 80s B-movie roles, faded into obscurity and depression; jumping from his apartment window during an alcohol binge, and being beaten up and left for dead during the Rodney King riots. He pawned his guitars, joined the Church of the Latter Day Saints, lived on disability and volunteered at the local library. In 2004, he got a call from Morrissey urging him to reform The New York Dolls with surviving members David Johansen and Sylvan Sylvain. What followed was the resurrection of Arthur's dream. He flew to London and The Dolls played better than ever to much fanfare, with Gary Powell of The Libertines on drums. 22 days after Arthur returned to L.A, he checked himself into hospital with what he thought was a case of London flu. He was diagnosed with Leukemia and died 2 hours later. A beautiful portrait of Arthur Killer Kane can be seen in the documentary "New York Doll".

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