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  1. #1
    Les Paul Forum Member vintage58's Avatar
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    Johnny Thunders's TV Junior(s)

    Does anyone know what year Johnny's TV Junior was from? And, in a larger sense, does anyone know what he used for that kind of guitar sound? What I've heard is that, aside from the various double-cutaway TV Juniors he played, he simply used blackface Twin Reverbs. I've noticed that his Juniors generally had the tuners changed to Grovers and that, on at least one of them, the bridge/tailpiece was replaced with a "compensated" one. But does anyone know what string gauge he used, if the Twin Reverbs were modified, etc.? Any info would be helpful.

  2. #2
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    Thunder's TV Jr.

    Hello,
    The first double cut was a 1960. I know this because I was there when he purchased it from We Buy Guitars., on 48th Street in NYC. I put the Grovers on it. It was mint when he got it. In 1974 Thunders was using a 100 watt Marshall with a Dual Showman bottom with 15" JBL speakers. He later switched to Twins, because he loved Fender Reverb.

    nitebob

  3. #3
    Les Paul Forum Member vintage58's Avatar
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    Thanks!

    Thanks for replying, Nitebob, it was actually a reply from you that I'd been seeking, as I figured you'd likely have the most knowledge of the subject at hand.

    Do you know if Johnny replaced the speakers in his Twin Reverbs? I remember speaking with Walter Lure once, who uses a silverface Twin Reverb, and Walter said that he replaced the speakers in his own Twin with Celestions. I figured it was reasonably possible that he'd gotten the idea to do that from something that perhaps Johnny did with *his* amps. Also, how did Johnny set his amps? Was it basically everything turned up to ten?

    Also, any idea what string gauge Johnny used? Thanks again!

  4. #4
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    I thought it was a 1960 model.Why am I not surprised that Nitebob was around then?
    The New York Dolls were some crazy fuckers at the time.Didn't Dave Johanson become an alter ego of himself as 'Buster Poindexter' later?
    I may be getting myself in trouble now but IMHO that whole UK punk scene paled in comparison to the CBGB late '70's.
    I do recognise that the British people brought that over here but it never really caught on in the US.I hate that some killer UK bands never made an impact here,but they inspired groundbreaking shit in NYC.Man,I was and still am into that.Probably an age thing but Ramones,Blondie,Talking Heads,Patti Smith,Richard Hell and the others of that genre still make me want to kick down a door for no reason!
    Long live Johnny Thunders!Dirty New Yawk street punk.:!

  5. #5
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    Thunder's Twins and TV Gibsons

    Hello,
    Johnny also had a 57 TV Special, that he destroyed in Memphis at an Iggy and the Stooges show. He had hit the switch to the neck pickup, which was always turned off, he thoght the guitar was broken and smashed it and tossed it into the audience. A riot insued. Several Dolls were arrested. When they got back to NYC, we got him a one pickup TV Junior, so he didn't have to deal with a switch and 4 knobs. He used .009s. Most of the twins were rental amps. He used 4 Twins at a Bottom Line gig. Everything eas on 10, even the reverb.

    nitebob

  6. #6
    Les Paul Forum Member vintage58's Avatar
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    As regards British punk music versus its NYC counterpart -- obviously, these days the word "punk" (i.e., as it applies to music) means many different things to many different people. But for me, when I hear that word, I think Blondie, the Ramones, the Heartbreakers, the Dictators, etc. The original New York punk movement had a lot of heart, which subsequent music labeled as such often seems to lack.

  7. #7
    Les Paul Forum Member vintage58's Avatar
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    Thanks, Nitebob!!!

    The info in your second reply is a huge help! Concerning Johnny's preference for one-pickup guitars, your post also goes a long way to explain a photo that appears in the booklet for a live CD of his last concerts in Japan, in which Johnny is shown with a P-90-equipped goldtop, but there's a couple of large pieces of what looks to be black electrical tape over the pickup selector switch. I guess he wanted to avoid another riot (ha!).

    Thanks again, though!

  8. #8
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    Thunders

    Hi All,
    With all due respect to Johnny, and not wishing to disrespect his memory, the Dolls crew referred to him as Blunders. The TV Special was not the only incident. He covered a clear Dan Armstrong with glue and applied small candy, like you would put on an ice cream cone. He once bought an ES-295, he couldn't control the feedbsck, so it went back to We Buy. By the way the TV Junior cost $295, The Special, $325, and the 295 $375. 1973 We Buy Guitars prices.

    nitebob

  9. #9
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    Re: Thunders

    Originally posted by Nitebob
    Hi All,
    With all due respect to Johnny, and not wishing to disrespect his memory, the Dolls crew referred to him as Blunders. The TV Special was not the only incident. He covered a clear Dan Armstrong with glue and applied small candy, like you would put on an ice cream cone. He once bought an ES-295, he couldn't control the feedbsck, so it went back to We Buy. By the way the TV Junior cost $295, The Special, $325, and the 295 $375. 1973 We Buy Guitars prices.

    nitebob
    He was a character wasn't he?I believe everyone knew he wasn't going to get old man.I wish I could have seen his bastardised Armstrong.That sounds cool.
    Those prices are long gone aren't they?

  10. #10
    Les Paul Forum Member vintage58's Avatar
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    $295 for a TV Junior?!?

    Yikes, nowadays that would just barely pay for the brown reissue case!

  11. #11
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    TV Junior

    Hello,
    I bought one from We Buy Guitars in 1976 for $425, with a Cali Girl case.....

    Those were the days!

    nitebob

  12. #12
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    I attended a Gang War show (Thunders and Wayne Kramer,early version with Ron Cooke)at the now gone Star Bar in Ann Arbor,MI.The bar had one of those typical suspended ceilings with the acoustic tiles.At one point Johnny put his guitar through the ceiling and knocked out a tile and proceeded to knock out a few more,then grab the framework and pull down a good portion of the suspended ceiling.

    Thunder's great strength was his songwriting-hard to beat tunes like (You Can't Put Your Arms Around A)Memory.

    Note:If the current rebirth of the seminal Cleveland band,Rocket From the Tombs Redux,plays in your area go!David Thomas,Richard Lloyd,Gene"Cheetah Chrome" O'Connor etc..fine tight versions of tunes associated with the Dead Boys and Pere Ubu that grew out of the RFTT.

  13. #13
    Les Paul Forum Member Wattage's Avatar
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    Oh man I have a TV Special because I wanted the guitar JT used on the cover of Too Much Too Soon, hah I ain't smashing mine though, those days are over.

    nitebob thanks once again for sharing, when is that book coming out?
    Last edited by Wattage; 05-21-04 at 09:16 PM.

  14. #14

    TV? for sale?

    Does anyone know where the 60 TV that belonged to JT is? Is it for sale?

  15. #15
    Les Paul Forum Member John Catto's Avatar
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    According to an anecdote in "Please Kill Me" Dee Dee Ramone smashed it up in an argument with Johnny. Nitebob, is there any truth to this as far as you know?

    Since we've got some Dolls fans present, here they are playing at the Victory Burlesque Theatre in Toronto late '72/early '73. Yes, Johnny is using THAT guitar, check out how clean the back of the neck still is in the second shot. The opening band was Rush!! playing their first gig off the TO high School circuit.









    Last edited by John Catto; 03-21-11 at 07:11 PM.

  16. #16
    All Access/Backstage Pass lpnv59's Avatar
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    When I saw the Dolls at the Cricket Lounge in Ashland MA, JT was using that Marshall stack. I remember those chrome dustshields shining through the grill. He was playing a black refin LP Special and it was very late fall '72 I think it was. I was a freshman in college.
    If there's one thing I've learned from cartoons, it's that ducks are assholes.

  17. #17
    Les Paul Forum Member 585960's Avatar
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    I wonder how hard it is to play in chicks shoes?spin I saw the dolls play the Cinderella Ballroom in Detroit where they blew out the PA , within 2 minutes of being onstage! The audience was a riot. I saw more chicks in garter belts than I see on the spice network!!!2
    Last edited by 585960; 12-09-03 at 07:39 PM.

  18. #18
    Les Paul Forum Member Wattage's Avatar
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    HOLY CRAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    John those pics ROCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    You always come up with these shots, amazing. Between you and nitebob there is always a good history lesson going on here.

  19. #19
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    THUNDERS PHOTOS

    Hi John,
    Great photos! Made me think of installing those Grovers at the rehearsal studio. In more vintage destruction, I installed a third pickup is Syl's cherry red V, in fact, I had to do it twice, as the first V was stolen. Syl also had a 50's P90 Les paul that had a cherry red top, I think it was a refinned goldtop.

    nitebob

  20. #20
    Les Paul Forum Member John Catto's Avatar
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    Cheers guys, just one of the doubtful benefits of being old enough to have been there spin

    Here's a couple more..

    "She went into my head, into my head
    A rock n roll nurse, went into my head
    Into my head, into my head
    While I was lyin' in a hospital bed"



    Nitebob, did you work this one? If so do you remember the strippers runway!


  21. #21
    Les Paul Forum Member daze's Avatar
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    As always Mr Catto pulls the ace out on the photo's:dude

    All you Thunders fan's have of course read this ?? & this???. Though I'd trust nitebob's memory more than these artilcles....did I just say THAT!!! 2
    "If you're going to kick authority in the teeth, you might as well use two feet."
    Keith Richards

  22. #22
    Speaking of reminicing about the old NYC days, does anyone know what Walter Lure is up to these days (assuming he is still alive)?

  23. #23
    Les Paul Forum Member vintage58's Avatar
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    Man, those concert photos have got to be some of the absolute COOLEST photos that I've ever seen on the Les Paul Forum. Thanks for posting 'em!!!

    Also, as far as I know, Walter Lure is still playing with the Waldos, they typically play in NYC every few months or so. Their set is somewhat Heartbreakers-intensive, with other band members generally singing the vocals on songs that Johnny used to sing the lead part on (e.g., "Born To Lose," "I Love You"). By the way, Walter appears to still be using the same tobacco-sunburst 70s Les Paul Deluxe -- at least I *think* that it's a Deluxe -- that he used in the Heartbreakers when Richard Hell was still in the band.

  24. #24
    All Access/Backstage Pass lpnv59's Avatar
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    I saw the Heartbreakers w/ Hell at the Rat in '76. They conned owner Jimmy Harold into an advance of their guarantee to get hotel rooms. Guess what, they went and made Shafts big score and got all fucked up instead. They went on late, walked straight from the dressing room at the back of the club, like zombies, thru the empty chairs and tables, knocking them all over. The place was mostly empty. As you can imagine, the set was very loose! They played Chinese Rock great though. I'll never forget that show.............sorry, I have no pics to share!:dude :dude
    If there's one thing I've learned from cartoons, it's that ducks are assholes.

  25. #25
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    J.Thunders

    Wow brought back memories John. I remember seeing the Dolls and Kiss at Massey Hall, I think later that same year ? Having seen Kiss's return gig at the Victory I saw the posters for that gig you shot(Great), If I'm not mistaken was there a Stooges gig at the Victory, I also think the Victory quit moonlighting around 74' or so.

  26. #26
    Les Paul Forum Member John Catto's Avatar
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    Yeah, I saw the Stooges at the Victory (got pics of that), Silverhead (and that) , Savoy Brown, and maybe a couple more that escape me. That was a great place to see a gig. For those that aren't "getting" this, the Victory Burlesque was exactly what the name sounds like..an real old style still operating Burlesque/Strip Club with the runway and everything that someone started booking Rock gigs into around 72-4. It was at Spadina and Dundas in Toronto and has been a Chinese movie theatre for many many years. When the Stooges played one of the strippers dressed as a nun stripped (or flashed anyway) and did the introductions.

  27. #27
    Les Paul Forum Member Wattage's Avatar
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    John - SILVERHEAD PICS PLEEEEEZEEEEEE!!!!!!!

    Long Legged Lisa all the boys used to tease her
    Now she's grown up nice and tall and she really likes to ball....

    I got to meet Des Barres when he had Chequered Past, I was wrecked and sang that to him, he must of thought I was a freaking loon.

  28. #28
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    J.Thunders

    Not Silverhead, Hello NewYork was as brash as it gets..didn't see De Barres dopng his best Elvis karatae moves till Detective's (ElMo) gig.
    . .John since this is LPF, did you catch the Montrose or Lou Reed Live Massey gigs around this time, those and the Bowie Okeefe gig along with gigs you mentioned, are pretty much the ones that got away, you got me by a yr or 2.

  29. #29
    Les Paul Forum Member John Catto's Avatar
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    Missed Montrose, saw the Lou Reed Massey Hall and Bowie Okeefe (that was later, it was the Diamond Dogs tour with Earl Slick) gigs as well as all at Massey Hall, TRex, Sparks, Mott The Hoople, Todd Rundgren, all around the same time. I'm leaving some out but there was an awful lot going on back then.

  30. #30
    Originally posted by 585960
    I wonder how hard it is to play in chicks shoes?
    You know what? That very issue is how KISS won my heart. I was never really a fan of those guys. I finally went to see 'em, though, at MSG about '78 or so. I watched them doing that, and my mind was made up.

    Ever afterward, if I heard someone slagging KISS, I'd tell 'em, "Listen, son: on the day when you get up on deck live in front of twenty thousand people and play that sort of thing while you're running around in six or eight-inch heels, that'll be the day when you have something to say about it."

    Most people have no earthly idea how sheerly athletic it is to play rock guitar like that, and that was the first time that occurred to me.

    I was enormously impressed.

  31. #31
    Les Paul Forum Member DEVILBAT's Avatar
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    I'm still dead

    Glad to see y'all still talking about me. Gimme some reverb.

  32. #32
    Les Paul Forum Co-Owner TW59's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrjohnnythunders
    Glad to see y'all still talking about me. Gimme some reverb.

    I'll fire up the old 63 Fender Reverb unit, and away you go.
    Pauls to the walls!

    Hüter der Flammen!

    PLEASE SUPPORT www.burstserial.com !!
    Click here: www.burstserial.com

  33. #33
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrjohnnythunders
    Glad to see y'all still talking about me. Gimme some reverb.
    Sell me those yellow thigh high street whore boots you were wearing at that club in Danvers,Mass. 'bout late summer 1975 dood!

  34. #34
    Les Paul Forum Member John Catto's Avatar
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    Since this threads back around, I've stuck my pics back up so if you've missed them this time around recheck the first page. How about this dolls reunion for the morrisey thing eh? All I've gotta work out now is how to get in :(

  35. #35
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Catto
    Since this threads back around, I've stuck my pics back up so if you've missed them this time around recheck the first page. How about this dolls reunion for the morrisey thing eh? All I've gotta work out now is how to get in :(
    Catto!--You were da man and you continue to be da man!!! ;) Too cool Johnny!Fine piece of work dood!:fatty :davepaf

  36. #36
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by lpnv59
    When I saw the Dolls at the Cricket Lounge in Ashland MA, JT was using that Marshall stack. I remember those chrome dustshields shining through the grill. He was playing a black refin LP Special and it was very late fall '72 I think it was. I was a freshman in college.
    Yikes! I live in Ashland now; any idea what the Cricket Lounge is these daze?

    And just let me re-iterate, of all the things I love about the LPF, the wealth of incredible photos people post here really blows me away. Thanks for those Thunder pics; you guys rock

    /rick

  37. #37
    All Access/Backstage Pass lpnv59's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RickC
    Yikes! I live in Ashland now; any idea what the Cricket Lounge is these daze?

    And just let me re-iterate, of all the things I love about the LPF, the wealth of incredible photos people post here really blows me away. Thanks for those Thunder pics; you guys rock

    /rick
    I have no idea! The last time I went to Ashland was in '72 to see the Dolls gig. I'll email someone I know that might know the answer to that.
    If there's one thing I've learned from cartoons, it's that ducks are assholes.

  38. #38
    buffalonickle
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    I saw Johnny Thunders in the late 80's in manchester and it's in my top five gigs ever!

    He played a 58 TV through a Twin with a Marshall all night and sounded amazing, I was blown away.

    At the end of the gig he walked back on stage, spliff in mouth, saddle bags over his shoulder and dragged some guys chick out of the audience and dissapeared back stage.

    I'm sad he's no longer with us.

    One of the last true Rock'n Rollers and one of the reasons why I've always loved late 50's TV's.

    http://community.webshots.com/album/144522221raoFyi

  39. #39
    Les Paul Forum Member MarshallOne's Avatar
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    How about some Sir Lord Baltimore pics. Those guys ROCK. If you want to know where Kiss got some ideas check out Sir Lord Baltimore.
    Now dig up y'all. Now we stoned to the bone and we hot and sweaty, look at us! We're everything your parents ever warned you about. They think we're all junkies, but everybody is some kinda junkie. There's money junkies, booze junkies, dope junkies, sex junkies. And there's one thing they don't understand
    all of us you and I. We're Godz and Godz are rock and roll junkies...... The Godz are Rock and Roll Machines!

  40. #40
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    I did a show with Thunders in London in 1984 and they borrowed all our gear, those photos would confuse some people......Thunders playing through a 150watt carlsbro combo and Billy Rath with my Westone Thunder bass through a carlsbro stingray bass amp and home made cab.

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