'Looking For Johnny - the legend of Johnny Thunders'

CHIP BAKER films in association with JUNGLE RECORDS presents a DANNY GARCIA FILM:
a documentary on the life of the late New York Dolls and Heartbreakers guitarist

Johnny Thunders was the legendary hard-living rock’n’roll guitarist who inspired glam-metal, punk and the music scene in general.  
‘Looking For Johnny’ is a 90-minute film that documents Thunders' career from his beginnings to his tragic death in 1991.

When Johnny Thunders died in New Orleans on April 23rd 1991, he left behind a mystery. Though MTV and international broadsheets reported the guitarist’s demise, for many in the mainstream, Thunders was perceived as an enigmatic outlaw. He was adored by a legion of devotees and cited as an influence by at least three successive generations of musicians. Thunders refused to play the corporate game and was both elevated and damned for it.

‘Looking for Johnny’ is the creation of the documentary maker, Danny Garcia (‘The Rise & Fall of The Clash’). The young Spanish filmmaker was seized by a question that wouldn’t let go – "just who was Johnny Thunders?"  He spent 18 months travelling across the USA and Europe, filming interviews with fifty of the people who were closest to Johnny, building a compelling narrative drawn from first hand testimonies.

The film examines Johnny Thunders’ career from the early 70's as a founding member of the influential New York Dolls, the birth of the punk scene with The Heartbreakers in both New York City and London, and later incarnations including Gang War and The Oddballs. It also explores Johnny’s unique musical style, his personal battle with drugs and theories on the circumstances of his death in a New Orleans hotel in 1991 at age 38.

Interviewees include Sylvain Sylvain, Lenny Kaye, Walter Lure, Billy Rath, Bob Gruen, Terry Chimes, Alan Vega, Peter Perrett, Sami Yaffa, three of his managers, who've sadly now all passed on: Marty Thau, Leee Black Childers and Malcolm McLaren, and many others.

The film includes forty songs with historic film of Johnny with live performances from all periods, including unseen New York Dolls and Heartbreakers footage and photos. Cult filmmakers Bob Gruen, Don Letts, Patrick Grandperret, Rachael Amadeo and others contribute classic archive footage, helping illustrate the charisma, chaos and heartbreak inherent to the guitarist.

Premiere showings are booked for May and June 2014 across USA and Europe, including New York City, London, Los Angeles, Chicago, Stockholm, New Orleans, Dallas, Toronto, Boston, Washington DC, Gloucester MA, San Francisco, Athens Greece tbc, Madrid, Barcelona and elsewhere, with more events to follow. 
(See below for details and Facebook and websites for updates.)

The film will later be issued on DVD, Blue-Ray and digital services. 

Live screenings booked worldwide:

MAY 3 – CHICAGO  CIMM Festival 
MAY 5 – NEW YORK CITY  Anthology + New York Junk (live)

MAY 9 – TORONTO  Canadian Music Week

MAY 11 – BOSTON  Regent Theatre +The Daughters (live) 
MAY 15 – GLOUCESTER, MA  Cape Ann Cinema 
MAY 17 – WASHINGTON DC  Gala Theatre 
MAY 22 – NEW ORLEANS  Zeitgeist 
MAY 23 – DALLAS  Texas Theatre 
MAY 24 – LOS ANGELES Downtown Independent 
MAY 28 – SAN FRANCISCO  Roxie Theatre

JUNE 5 – LONDON  Prince Charles Cinema


JUNE 27 – MADRID  Transmissions Festival 
JULY 5 – BARCELONA  Transmissions Festival

with more to be announced.

Back to blog