THE HEARTBREAKERS NOT THE HEARTBREAKERS
Circa 1980 Johnny Thunders reunites with his mates Jerry Nolan or Ty Stix (drums) depending on which night, Billy Rath or some other guy on bass depending on which venue, and the ever present WALTER LURE, a story unto himself, to play a few local dates in and around NEW YORK CITY as THE HEARTBREAKERS, a name which they used since 1976.
Having seen them numerous times at MAX’S KANSAS CITY, IRVING PLAZA, The PEP LOUNGE and lesser known venues in the NYC area it came as a shock to see an ad advertising THE HEARTBREAKERS on a Spring 1980 Saturday night at MY FATHER’S PLACE in the quaint Long Island village of Roslyn, New York. Johnny was coming out of the City to visit The Tunnel people, as many Long Islanders were called when they visited clubs in Manhattan.
Recently I had surgery to repair a torn wrist so I wearing a shoulder sling and taking a few pain killing meds. I took an extra one when I arrived at the show, to avoid any pain if I got bumped into. (If you believe that I have a bridge to sell you) Alcohol was also consumed by our group. During one of my trips to the bar area I met Johnny Thunders who was seated at a rear table. He called me over asking about my injury and inquiring if the doctors recommended any meds. Laughing I told him that the pills were already working and I had none to spare.He smiled.
Back at our table, now with waitress service and the place starting to fill up, I noticed a table of about ten folks seated behind us. Young men with Izod golf shirts and young women dressed up a bit. Not the leather and lace attire usually seen at Max’s but hey, we are on Long Island. Due to the close proximity of the seating arrangement I overheard one guy say how much he loved Tom Petty and wonder how good his band would be without him. Bells went off in my head. These folks were expecting to see THE HEARTBREAKERS not THE HEARTBREAKERS. The dilemma is whether or not to slip them a hint that they might be a bit confused when this band of HEARTBREAKERS hit the stage. Not to mince words I told the speaker.
The dude was confused as was those in his crowd. So he posed the question to me: Should they stay or should they go? Laughingly I said I can’t answer that but be advised we are in for a long evening as JT and his HEARTBREAKERS are notoriously late. The guy got up seeking management. In a few moments they all vanished.
Johnny Thunders and his THE HEARTBREAKERS were late, very, very late and mostly, except Walter Lure, quite intoxicated. The set was amazing as always, that is, amazing that it occurred, amazing that Johnny could remain standing and amazing that we all had another great story to tell. God Bless THE HEARTBREAKERS, which ever one you choose.