Meet Johnny Angel, a veteran of the Boston Punk Scene, he is something of a punk rock renaissance man. Johnny Angel, in addition to fronting the Thrills with Barbara Kitson (later known as City Thrills), The Swinging Erudites, and the Blackjacks, is a radio host and a published author of two fiction novels Looking For Lady Dee and the upcoming In This Darkness, I Disappear.
JAW: So what else ya wanna know?
MM: Can you tell me a little about Merle and G.G. Allin?
JAW: I met them in 1978. They answered an ad to be Thrills’ rhythm section. So, I drove all the way up to Vermont to play with them. They were great. Kevin was a monster drummer.
MM: Right on, so what happened?
JAW: They were Thrills! So, they’d come down every weekend to play. We were getting it together and Kevin got balky. Finally, he declined to join for real. He claimed later that it was because he and I didn’t get on, but we got on fine. The real reason was that his girlfriend wouldn’t live in the city, which doesn’t square with his myth. Merle came down, we finally found a drummer and he was in the band 4 years. When we moved to NYC, he wouldn’t move–he was genuinely pissed off at me.
MM: He didn’t wanna go to NYC?
JAW: No, he hated me! With good reason, in a way.
MM: What happened?
JAW: What else? Same thing that wrecks bands all the time
MM: Was it a chick?
JAW: His ex. We fucked, she told me she wasn’t gonna say anything and she did–of course!
JAW: We reconciled, he and I after a few years. We might talk every few years now. No idea what he thinks of Looking For Lady Dee.
MM: Has he changed a whole lot since Thrills or is that just for show?
JAW: He seems the same to me. I’ve known him nearly 40 years.
MM: I asked about Merle because he seemed a little more intense in this Murder Junkies interview I read
JAW: Well, he’s created a persona that he now must inhabit. My feeling on him is that he’s always been a good-natured, witty dude.
MM: Please tell me a little more about Lady Dee.
JAW: Dee’s name was actually Day. I figured that “Looking For Lady Day”, people would think it was about Billie Holiday. So, I changed her name. She was this skinny, tiny girl from upstate NY. First dated Thrills’ bass player, Jeff (pre-Merle). They didn’t really hit it off. According to Day’s best friend from back then, Day was much keener on a different member of that group. Thrills’ pouty, obnoxious guitar player.
JAW: We were a cute pair–I had a live in girlfriend, though, who I was tiring of as well. One night, the GF was out of town and so Day and I “consummated”. Was very tender–but I was stuck. So, she was with some other rocker types and that fell apart for her so she moved to Manhattan. Her best friend told me long after the fact that my refusal to leave the woman I lived with was the source of much anger for Day.
MM: Understandable, was she kind of a good girl?
JAW: Well–I thought she was. David Minehan, who also saw her, thought of her as this exotic and tough girl. So, I suppose it’s perspective. A little of both. Like many people back then, the lure of heroin and the lifestyle that went with it was intoxicating. Did Barbara in as well–some people can dabble in it, I suppose–but when it’s the one thing that makes life tolerable or manageable, forget it.
MM: Seems like it creeps up on people.
JAW: Yeah. Or they wanna crawl into the needle. Gives them purpose. Is the creation of a new world. Is a fuck you to everything and everyone else.
MM: Dee was using, then?
MM: After she moved to Manhattan?
JAW: Right it was all the rage. She was a rail–had black hair, looked so much different. I still loved her–as I sang in her song, there was nothing she did that made me not love her.
MM: So did she disappear around that time or years later?
JAW: Maybe 82 or so.
MM: Wow, that had to be upsetting!
JAW: Yeah, I went looking for her, left her a note at her digs.
MM: And her friend was the one who had told you about her disappearance?
MM: Did you guys ever find her? Or find out what happened to her?
JAW: We did, read the book!
MM: Yes, of course.