Rick Visits . . . David Johansen Page 4

"That reminds me of recently, when I heard one of the Dolls records on CD, and I said, 'What is this?' It sounded just completely different from the way it always sounded on LP."

"Yeah, especially Johnny's guitar, that rrowrr, rrowrr, rrowrr. It loses the depth of the thing."

"It always had this real mushed-together, murky vibe to it. The CD sounds so clean, it sounds completely different. It sounds like..."

"It sounds almost acceptable! [laughs] It's funny, because last week or something in Rolling Stone they reviewed the Dolls record in the Hall of Fame, and it got four stars. Oh, and I'm thinking, 'Wow, where were you guys in 1973?' When they said, 'My God, what the hell is this?' "

"You didn't get rich from it?"

"No. Apparently, though, it was groundbreaking. [laughs] I'll listen to the Dolls record once every two years, maybe three, whatever. I'll just be painting or something, and I'll see it in the pile and I'll go, 'Let me hear this.' And to me there's something, I don't know, precious about it. Like a little jewel or something. It's lasting. But you got to have some kind of psychology to get into it. It's not for everybody. If you came up the right way or whatever for that, it coalesces something. It's cool."

"It gives you a great feel for that certain time in New York. You know, I find it curious that you seem so sensitive to the difference in the way things sound, to analog vs digital, to making a nice-sounding recording like a Chesky recording, and that kind of stuff. And yet, with the turntable with the records stacked on, and the ancient stylus and everything, it also seems like you don't care so much about sound."

"Yeah, well, for me something's just got a vibe to it or it doesn't. It talks to me or it doesn't. There's a lot of nice classical music that sounds obviously better on a high-end system, of course. I guess it becomes a matter of what you're used to."

"Is the way a recording sounds more important than the way the playback equipment sounds?"

"What do you mean?"

"Well, like you said, something's either got a vibe or it doesn't, regardless of what you play it on, apparently."

"For me, yeah. A lot of things sound beautiful, but if there's no soul there, I don't want to spend my time on listening to it. It's a metaphysical kind of thing. Like, I hear a guitar player on a record and think, 'That cat knows.' Even if he's not articulating it or he can't articulate it, you know he knows. That's what it's all about."