Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers only put out one official record, “L.A.M.F.”. But, damn, what an album!
The album was recorded in London and released in 1977, at a time when bands like the Sex Pistols, The Clash and The Damned were all the mattered. Thunders’ band was comprised of fellow ex-New York Dolls drummer Jerry Nolan and former Television singer/bassist Richard Hell, Billy Rath, and guitarist Walter Lure. The record (title is shorthand for “Like A Motherfucker”), with songs “Born To Lose” and the Thunders and Dee Dee Ramone-penned “Chinese Rock,” would go on to inspire a slew of future punk rockers across the globe.
In 2016, Lure, the only surviving band member, pulled together a Punk Rock/New Wave dream team to help him re-create the album over two nights in New York. MC5’s Wayne Kramer, The Replacements’ Tommy Stinson and Blondie’s Clem Burke filled out the band, but other guests dropped in for various songs (most notably, Jessie Malin, Cheetah Chrome and Liza Colby).
The set, captured brilliantly here, covers the album in its entirety and thankfully, unlike most punk rock momentoes, the video and sound quality here are amazing. The music itself is raucous, raw and a little sloppy, exactly how it should be. There’s also a companion live CD and vinyl that can be bought, including the original album tracks, along with “Can’t Keep My Eyes On You” and the cover, “Do You Love Me.”
Live At The Bowery Electric is a fantastic tribute to one of punk rock’s best, and sadly too often ignored, albums. The DVD and vinyl and CD sets all come at as the L.A.M.F. tour hits the road, with Lure and Burke joined by Sex Pistols’ bassist Glen Matlock and Social Distortion’s Mike Ness on guitar and vocals.