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