By Gary Coleman
After quitting the New York Dolls in 1975 Johnny Thunders (guitar / vocals) and Jerry Nolan (drums) teamed up with Richard Hell to form the Heartbreakers, a second guitarist, Walter Lure, was added shortly after. Early 1976 saw Hell depart the band and the arrival of new bassist Billy Rath.
The Heartbreakers were invited to the UK to be part of the Sex Pistols ill fated Anarchy Tour (the band actually arrived in the UK the day of the Pistols infamous TV. interview with Bill Grundy). Realising that Punk was gaining momentum in Britain the Heartbreakers decided to stay on and built a solid following for their exciting live shows and landed a recording contract with Track Records.
The bands drug use was both notorious and prolific and they were widely rumoured to have introduced heroin into the UK punk scene.
Their one and only studio album L.A.M.F. (Like A Mother Fucker) suffered from poor sound and this led to the band splitting in 1978 after Jerry Nolan walked out.
There would be sporadic reunions throughout the next decade featuring all or most of the band until the mysterious death of Johnny Thunders in a New Orleans hotel room in 1991 and then Jerry Nolan died in hospital after suffering a stroke in 1992.
Walter Lure rather bizarrely became a stock broker on Wall Street and Billy Rath totally disappeared only to return in 2010 with his new band The Street Pirates. Rath died in 2014 leaving Lure as the last Heartbreaker standing.
Walter had begun playing again with his band The Waldos which he continues to do to this day and in fact released a new album, ‘Wacka Lacka Loom Bop A Loom Bam Boo’, last year.
Despite the poor sound (attributed to the mastering process) L.A.M.F. had become recognised as a classic album due to the quality of the songs. Over the years there has been attempts to remix the album culminating in Jungle Records release of L.A.M.F. Definitive Edition in 2012.
To celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the album’s release Lure embarked on a series of L.A.M.F. concerts (playing the whole album) with various ‘all star’ bands the latest version of which rolls into Glasgow tonight. We have Mark Laff (Generation X) on drums, Mick Rossi (Slaughter & The Dogs) guitar and Nigel Mead (The Duellists) on bass.
There is quite a reasonable crowd at the venue tonight which I am glad to see as Walter is definitely a punk rock legend. Lots of Johnny Thunders t shirts in evidence tonight, this is going to be an appreciative audience.
The band are on and it’s straight into ‘One track Mind’, Walter is wearing his trademark hat and tie over t shirt , some splendid red converse and looks like he is enjoying himself as they rattle off ‘All By Myself’ and ‘I Wanna Be Loved’. The audience respond accordingly, this is what we have come for. The band is tight as you would expect for all their experience and the songs sound great.
Next up a Slaughter And The Dogs tune ‘Situations’. Ok, but not what I’ve come for then a couple of Waldo’s tunes ‘Crazy Kids’ and ‘Busted’ and then another Mike Rossi song ‘Stranded’.
‘Pirate Love’ ’kicks off a run of Heartbreakers songs that have the crowd jumping and singing along to ‘London Boys’, the Heartbreakers riposte to the Pistols ‘New York, ‘Get Off The Phone’, the sublime ‘Born To Lose’ and ‘Chinese Rocks’ and what could have been the Heartbreakers theme tune ‘Too Much Junkie Business’. Walter could probably play these songs in his sleep but each one is a stone cold classic and sounds as fresh and vibrant as the day they were written.
It’s encore time and the band kick off with ‘Let Go’ which is closely followed by ‘Waiting For The Man’ another nod towards Mike Rossi’s Slaughter and the Dogs and the night is brought to an end with a raucous version of the old Contours tune ‘Do You Love Me’ which brings the house down.
It had been a really great night my only grumble being the inclusion of the Mike Rossi songs and that the whole of the L.A.M.F. album had not been played. A couple more of the Waldos tunes would also have been good and padded out the rather short set. All content © Silence Is The Enemy. Not to be reproduced in part or in whole without the express written permission of Silence Is The Enemy.