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Johnny Thunders

"Have Faith" CD (Mutiny)

After all the shit I've had to wade through for this issue, this album is the payoff. This is the jackpot, the gold at the end of the rainbow, the proverbial fucking winning lottery ticket. Johnny Thunders is dead, may he rest in whatever peace he found, but this live concert, taped in Tokyo in 1988, bears witness to the pure, unadorned form of rock he played. He wouldn't have sounded out of place on the same stage as Chuck Berry, Little Richard or Fats Domino. He probably would have sounded (and felt) right at home. See, this isn't, as some might argue, punk. This is just rock 'n' roll, and by no means is that an insult in any way. See, this is Rock as Religion, testifying to the Glory and the Power and the Hosannas from On High. This is the Chorus, raising its collective voice in song to the Heavens and bringing down new Commandments. Thunders tears through quite a few years of rock on this album, providing a history lesson and a primer for the kids. See, this is how punk could be, and at one point in time was, done. Nearly 10 years after the show in question, it doesn't sound dated at all. Considering the songs are about 20 years old now, it's surprising that they still resonate with the same power, fury and passion they carried when they were first cut into wax. I had lost some of my faith - I always do when I'm putting one of these things together. As I wade through what passes for rock, it never fails to depress me that bands manage to release the same third-rate shit over and over, and over again once more for good measure. This album wipes the slate clean though. It makes one thing perfectly clear - it's okay to have faith in rock 'n' roll. Sometimes, it may not be warranted and sometimes doubting it is the most intelligent course of action anyone can undertake, but, like a wandering preacher who comes in from the desert like a dried up tumbleweed, an album like this can suddenly make everything seem worthy of faith and hope and trust, all over again. Thanks Johnny.

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Last modified on Wednesday, March 26, 2008