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Monday, December 12, 2005 

Worth Mentioning

This isn’t my post to write, but when has that ever stopped me?

I wanted to expound a bit on the comment I made on John C.’s post, because it is worth talking about…and would maybe spark a comment or two on other mainstream Mormon musicians (Michael McLean does not count).


Long story short, Arthur “Killer” Kane was a member of one of the first bands to be classified as “punk rock”, The New York Dolls, a band that was absolutely influential to later bands and musicians such as The Clash, Iggy Pop, and The Ramones. The New York Dolls wore make-up and huge hair and women’s clothing. Their then rebellious and unusual look would later influence a whole generation of “hair bands”.

The Dolls were into the typical rocker things: music, sex, and drugs. In fact, several of the original and replacement members are dead due to drugs, and only David Johansson, a.k.a. Buster Poindexter, ever had a semblance of a career after the break up of the band.

Some years after the breakup, Arthur, living in LA broke and addicted, saw an add in the TV Guide for a free Book of Mormon and the rest is history…a history documented in a recently released film called “New York Doll” by Greg Whitely, an LA film student who met Arthur through his home teachers.

Arthur agreed to be filmed and to tell his story, which at a glance seems sort of quaint: former punk-band-bass-player turned family-history-center-worker Mormon. Well…the filming coincided with some fairly amazing opportunities for Arthur, which I will not discuss …to entice you to see it for yourself.

The point here is that Arthur, a slightly burned out, middle-aged, humble, loner, is a sincere, believing, practicing Mormon. The film is not too heavy on the Mormony stuff, I think Greg Whitely handled all of that really well, but we get to see something real, and really amazing.


Arthur talking about how it’s a lot harder now to have a relationship these days; while he fully appreciates the good old days of…and I quote… “wham-bam-thank you m’am” he now knows that that is not appropriate behavior.

The little old ladies in the Family History Center at the LA temple where Arthur works giggling like groupies discussing the fact that they can’t imagine Arthur in a rock and roll band.

The moment in rehearsal when the estranged David Johansson arrives late and just picks up the mike and starts singing “He Don’t Come Around Anymore” as if nothing had happened for the last 30 years.

Arthur giving the back stage prayer with the reunited Dolls where he says…and again I quote… “and Heavenly Father, please bless that the New York Dolls play well, and that the audience has a really good time…”

David Johansson singing “Come, Come Ye Saints” and “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief”.

If this film wasn’t released in a theater near you, then seek it out at Net-Flicks or something. Seriously. I heard that a friend of a friend left the screening of the film hosted by the local NPR station saying, “Now THAT’S how I want my religion represented in the media.” And I say “Amen” to that.

Thinking of movie stars versus rock stars: who has the more difficult time? I’m thinking Aaron Eckhart vs. Brandon Flowers. While Brandon (of the “Killers”) admits that he’s a non-practicing Mormon without malice, does an actor have an easier time, or an excuse to justify? Discuss…

Posted by Carrie Ann

Mike Muir of Suicidal Tendancies is a non-practicing member of the church. I used to be in the same ward as his father Gene. It was pretty funny to see him drive around in his beat up old Mercedes with a ST bumper sticker in the back window.

Nice review Carrie Ann... I can't wait to see it.

Just a nitpick: Iggy Pop, through his band The Stooges, predates the Dolls by 4 years and is widely considered much more influential than the Dolls.

I would tend to think that movie-stars have an easier time of it; after all, all that they do is make believe. You don't have to do anything that you don't want to do (ideally). Whereas, with rock stars, all of the wackiness is extra curricular to begin with. You never have to do it or appear to. So if you do, perhaps that means your sincere in your doing it (I don't necessarily think that made sense).

Great review Carrie Ann! I know I'm jumping in here pretty late (maybe no one will read this), but this is a hot topic around our circles because my husband and I act, and my brother's James Valentine of Maroon 5.

I've seen a lot of actors and musicians on the various scales of fame deal with all that comes with it and, basically, I've come to the conclusion that it's difficult no matter what for actors and musicians.

Actors don't get to pick and choose what they want to do (what they're comfortable with or what is artistically interesting), and get really famous. Some actors know it's not real, and some actor's make it real, which has dangers of its own.

Musicians, similarly, have to put in the time, which includes going to the right clubs, blah blah, to get a shot at getting picked up. My brother wrote a song (with another band, Square) called "26," which says if he didn't make it by then, the chance for hitting it big was gone. (He won a Grammy at 26 and didn't end up using that advertising degree).

It's crazy. It's a different world than most people will ever experience because it's not really "a job". I don't claim to really know much about it. But I've noticed that with the fame comes this expectation--everyone wants you to make a statement and take a side when most people feel unsure about a lot of things. I liked what John C. said about "wackiness is extracurricular," but that line of when work begins and ends is fuzzy and you're never NOT "the rockstar". But it's not a real world. So much of promoting your album by meeting the right people is dependent on the lifestyle.

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This Week's Topic:

  • The Sabbath Day

Various Authors

  • Monday:
    Kaycee opted out of Mormondom 4 years ago. She calls herself agnostic.
  • Tuesday:
    Sarah is not your average Gospel Doctrine Teacher.
  • Wednesday:
    Carrie Ann comes from pioneer stock, and lives in Provo, but is open minded and fair.
  • Thursday:
    Ned Flanders hasn't been to church in a while, but maintains an interest in all things Mormon.
  • Friday:
    John C. is an academic with a sense of humor and a testimony.
  • Saturday:
    JP's not going to church and feeling okay about it.

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