i always wanted to ask Patrick Mathe (who doesn't allow tagging) what he remembers about Stiv's tragic demise? Was he on New Rose at the time? Was he recording anything? Does anything exist? What happened exactly? Merci in advance, Mssr. Mathe.
I'll trade you for all the details of JT's OD? around the corner from my apt., and what Willie Mink DeVille - Spanish Stroll told me he saw when the cops let him look at his room, and the sleazy drug dealers who sold Johnny Thunders: You Can't Put Your Arms Around a Memory - on Dailymotionthe bad dope.
Willie lived right next door to the hotel and had no idea that his old friend was there until it was too late.
a friend of mine gave me JT's shoes which he got from one of the clerks who worked at the Burgundy Inn.
Only the French Quarter could deal out such a squalid end to a street smart junkie and musical icon.
DeathMany rumors surround Thunders' death at the St. Peter House in New Orleans, Louisiana on April 23, 1991. He apparently died of drug-related causes, but it has been speculated that it was the result of foul play. According to his autobiography Lobotomy: Surviving The Ramones, Dee Dee Ramone took a call in New York City the next day from Stevie Klasson, Johnny's rhythm guitar player. Ramone said, "They told me that Johnny had gotten mixed up with some bastards... who ripped him off for his methadone supply. They had given him LSD and then murdered him. He had gotten a pretty large supply of methadone in England, so he could travel and stay away from those creeps – the drug dealers, Thunders imitators, and losers like that."
Singer Willy DeVille, who lived next door to the hotel in which Thunders died, described his death this way:
I don't know how the word got out that I lived next door, but all of a sudden the phone started ringing and ringing. Rolling Stone was calling, the Village Voice called, his family called, and then his guitar player called. I felt bad for all of them. It was a tragic end, and I mean, he went out in a blaze of glory, ha ha ha, so I thought I might as well make it look real good, you know, out of respect, so I just told everybody that when Johnny died he was laying down on the floor with his guitar in his hands. I made that up. When he came out of the St. Peter Guest House, rigor mortis had set in to such an extent that his body was in a U shape. When you're laying on the floor in a fetal position, doubled over – well, when the body bag came out, it was in a U. It was pretty awful.An autopsy was conducted by the New Orleans coroner, but served only to compound the mysteries. According to Thunders' biographer Nina Antonia as posted on the Jungle Records web site, the level of drugs found in his system was not fatal. According to the book Rock Bottom: Dark Moments in Music Babylon by Pamela Des Barres, who interviewed Thunders' sister, Mariann Bracken, the autopsy confirmed evidence of advanced leukemia, which would explain the decline in Thunders' appearance in the final year of his life. This also sheds light on the interview in Lech Kowalski's documentary Born To Lose: The Last Rock and Roll Movie, where Thunders' brother-in-law says, "Only Johnny knew how sick he really was."
In a 1994 Melody Maker interview Thunders' manager Mick Webster described the family's efforts to get New Orleans police to investigate the matter further: "We keep asking the New Orleans police to re-investigate, but they haven’t been particularly friendly. They seemed to think that this was just another junkie who had wandered into town and died. They simply weren’t interested."
Thunders was survived by his ex-wife Julie and four children: sons John, Vito, and Dino, and daughter Jamie Genzale by Susanne Blomqvist.