Excerpt: 'Love Goes to Buildings on Fire: Five Years in New York that Changed Music Forever' by Will Hermes


New York Dolls, 1973

From Rolling Stone:

Tom Miller was tripping his balls off on LSD in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware. The next thing he knew, a week later, he was in New York City, crashing in a crappy East Village apartment with his old friend Richard Meyers. They were both 19 years old.

They’d met at Sanford, a boarding school for ne’er-do-wells and other types near Wilmington. Meyers was raised in Lexington, Kentucky, a town shadowed by the Lexington Narcotics Farm rehab facility, where William Burroughs and Sonny Rollins, among many others, had taken the cure. At 15, Meyers stole and wrecked a car; he was suspended from school and wound up at Sanford, but didn’t last long there. By late ’66, he headed to New York City. He was besotted with Dylan Thomas, and intent on being a poet.

Miller stayed in touch and eventually followed. “Will be coming up Friday for good,” Miller wrote to him in the summer of ’68, scrawling on loose leaf paper in ballpoint ink. “Had first acid trip on last Friday. Fucked me up and I know I found out some shit about everything.” In the center of the page is a smiling cartoon figure caught in a whirlpool. Miller added that he’d probably be broke, and hoped Meyers and his girlfriend wouldn’t mind him being around. He signed the missive, “Love, Tommy Poop.”

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Read another excerpt of Love Goes to Buildings on Fire here