The spring of 1975 was a dark one for legendary punk band the New York Dolls. In Florida, on a tour that manager Malcolm McLaren had booked, guitarist Johnny Thunders and drummer Jerry Nolan were dealing with spiraling heroin additions and friction within the group was high.
One night, when staying at a trailer park/motel, owned by Nolan’s mother, Thunders and Nolan announced that they were leaving the band.
As the Dolls went their separate ways from Tampa, bassist Arthur Kane headed to California where he formed the Killer Kane Band with Blackie Lawless (who would later form W.A.S.P.), guitarist Andy Jay and drummer Jimi Image, and set out to conquer the LA club scene with their gritty Alice Cooper-styled proto-punk.
Their sole recording, a three-song EP Mr. Cool was released on fledgling New York label Whiplash Records in 1976.
Kane died from leukemia in 2004, not long after performing a reunion show with the surviving members of the Dolls.
Mr. Cool has recently been re-issued on Chicago label Hozac. Listen to the track and read a short interview with lead guitarist Andy Jay.
Noisey: The band formed after the Dolls imploded during the disastrous Florida 1975 tour. How did you become involved?
Andy Jay: I was living in Detroit at the time. The Motor City Bad Boys had just broken up so I decided to move to Southern California where more opportunities were awaiting. A few days after I arrived, I received a phone call from Arthur "Killer" Kane asking me to meet him in Hollywood for a new band he was forming. He liked my guitar playing and told me I reminded him of Johnny Thunders. I was playing a 1955 Les Paul Jr. and got those trashy killer tones.
We hung out with The New York Dolls in the mid 70s. Jerry Nolan, Sylvain Sylvain and Arthur. David Johanson and Johnny Thunders were never to be reached. I must have seen the New York Dolls live shows at least 10-20 times.
What was Blackie like to work with? I read that at one show he came out of a replica built jail spitting fake blood.
I got along okay with Blackie. We had a few arguments typical of any band. Blackie did spit out fake blood and made a whole mess on stage. We drank a lot and made the basic rounds hanging out at The Rainbow Bar & Grill, The Whiskey etc. At our Starwood show, we were the headliners. Ron Ashton's New Order played with Dennis Thompson from the MC5. The place was packed! I will never forget that night. Many people came backstage; Kim Fowley, Glen Buxton from the Alice Cooper Band, DJ Rodney Bingenheimer. After the show, our roadies found so much trash on stage. A girls bra, broken glass, beer bottles, and girls phone numbers written on napkins.
What was the scene like back then?
The scene back then was happening. There were way too many bands to mention. Hanging out with the Runaways was fun. I went out with Jackie Fox briefly. Joan Jett, Lita Ford, Cherie and Sandy West visited me at my pad in the Valley. I gave Sandy my black leather studded jacket as a gift. She was so happy. This was back in 1975 or so. I was sad when she passed away.
The Killer Kane Band 7” Ep can be pre-ordered from Hozac.