David Johansen

Monday, November 5, 2012 7:30PM

David Johansen
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Best known for his tenure fronting the hugely influential New York Dolls, David Johansen was a true chameleon; throughout the course of a career which saw him transform from a lipstick-smeared proto-punk hero into an urbane blue-eyed soul man and finally into a tuxedo-clad lounge lizard, he remained a rock & roll original, an unpredictable iconoclast and a true cultural innovator.

Johansen launched a solo career in 1978, recording for Blue Sky Records. Less flamboyant than the New York Dolls' records, this was a solid rock effort stressing Johansen's lyrical acumen. He released three other rock/R&B-orientated solo albums for Blue Sky and one for Passport Records before shifting career directions once again.

In 1983 Johansen began booking small cabaret concert dates under the name Buster Poindexter, performing a slick, tightly arranged set of vintage R&B numbers, show tunes, and jump blues. Dressing in a formal tuxedo and playing the lounge lizard, Buster Poindexter built a following of his own, until Johansen the rocker literally ceased to exist; he completely gave up his rock act to pursue the new image full-time. He recorded albums as Buster Poindexter, including Buster Poindexter (1987) and Buster Goes Berserk (1989), the first yielding a chart and club hit in a cover version of Arrow's 1984 soca dance tune, "Hot Hot Hot".

He was still popular as Poindexter in the 90s, touring with a 10-piece band and packing clubs, his repertoire now including Caribbean-flavoured music, salsa (1997"s Spanish Rocket Ship) torch songs and blues, as well as early R&Born He also launched an acting career in the late 80s, appearing in movies including Scrooged and Married To The MoBorn Johansen's venture into blues also bore fruit with his band the Harry Smiths, releasing two fine albums in the new millennium.