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Sylvain Sylvain (1951–2021), New York Dolls guitarist

by Kirk Fox

Sylvain Sylvain was a co-founding member and rhythm gutiarist for the influential glam punk band the New York Dolls.

  • Died: Wednesday, January 13, 2021. (Who else died on January 13?)
  • Details of death: Died at the age of 69 from cancer.
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Influential guitarist

Sylvain Sylvain was born Sylvain Mizrahi in Cairo, Egypt. His family came to the United States, settling in Queens, New York, after a brief stop in Buffalo. Sylvain co-founded the New York Dolls and the original line-up played their first gig in 1971. The band’s highly influential debut album “New York Dolls,” was produced by the legendary pop rocker Todd Rundgren and released in 1973. The band’s glam punk pop sound with Sylvain on rhythm guitar, David Johansen as lead singer, and Johnny Thunders on lead guitar influenced many bands including the Ramones, the Replacements, and Kiss. A popular cult band, they never achieved mainstream success and broke up in 1977 after releasing two albums. They reformed in 2004 with help from Morrissey and toured and released 3 new albums.

Sylvain on starting a rock band

“A group is made up of people who start out there in some basement.” “They’re bored of what life is, and then all of a sudden, someone says, ‘Let’s have a show!’ ‘What are we going to do for a stage curtain?’ ‘I’ll use my mother’s bedsheet.’ ‘What are we going to do for makeup?’ ‘I’ll get that from my girlfriend’s bag.’ I think it comes down to performance. Performance is what all these musicians are about.” – The Quietus in 2018


Tributes to Sylvain Sylvain

Full Obituary: Rolling Stone

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