Last year, in celebration of the classic L.A.M.F. album by Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers, four legends took to the stage at the Bowery Electric in New York City. Legends is a term that’s banded about at free will these days, but here we are talking real, bonafide legends of the punk rock ‘n’ roll world.
Sole Heartbreaker survivor Walter Lure was joined by Blondie’s Clem Burke, Tommy Stinson of The Replacements and the MC5’s Wayne Kramer to rejoice in the mucky splendour of that 1977 LP. Depending on which way you look at it, L.A.M.F. was either an album plagued with mixing and production problems, or, like me, you can simply look past that and value it as a rip-roaring blast of great punk rock tunes played with sloppy passion.
Here, all the L.A.M.F. tracks are present from opener Born To Lose to the closing cover of The Contours’ Do You Love Me? Live albums are always dodgy affairs with the captured rawness on the night often making way for overdubs galore. Thankfully, there’s little of that nonsense here. The band are held together by Clem’s forever amazing work on the pots and pans, but there’s not too much tightness and the authentic feel of the times is not lost. It’s rough, ready, in your face and it’s beautifully ugly.
Jesse Malin takes to the stage for It’s Not Enough and returns with the Dead Boys’ Cheetah Chrome for a run through of Pirate Love. Tommy Stinson welcomes Liza Colby to join the “old, angry and full of piss and vinegar” band for I Love You.
No overanalysing is needed as this album serves as a latter day homage to the energy Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers produced on stage at a certain point in time. The only thing that needs to be said is that the ensemble do the memory of Thunders, Jerry Nolan and Billy Rath more than proud.
At time of writing, Walter Lure and Clem Burke are about to do it all over again for a 40th anniversary celebration in NYC, this time with Glen Matlock from the Sex Pistols and Social Distortion’s Mike Ness. Now, how awesome would it be if L.A.M.F. returned to these UK shores for a live airing? Make it happen, boys! I’ll be waiting like a motherfucker. Ginge Knievil.