Todd Rundgren with David Johansen at New York City punk mecca, Max’s Kansas City, by Bob Gruen, via dietcokeandsympathy.
Todd on producing the Doll’s eponymous debut album in 1973:
The New York Dolls weren’t presented to me – they were just part of the milieu I was involved in at the time. I was still living in New York in an apartment that was walking distance from Max’s Kansas City which is where everything was happening. There was no CBGB yet.
For the most part I went through David. I used him as a translator to get to the rest of the band. The challenge of making the record was that the control room was a freaking circus; everyone wanted to know what was going on with The New York Dolls – the critics’ favourite band.
I was pretty sober throughout the entire thing, my only working drug was pot. While these guys would smoke pot they would also do everything else. The sessions involved politics, psychology and crowd control. And at a certain point I had to surrender to the process and accept that the surrounding insanity was going to be a part of the character of the record.
More on New York Dolls and other Todd productions in a gloriously wide-ranging interview at Louder Sound.
The section on recording that album at Wikipedia is also unusually entertaining. Famously fastidious in the studio, Todd is reported to have yelled at one point, “Get the glitter out of your asses and play!”, but it’s overall very clear that the chaos was part of the appeal for Todd in working with them, and at the heart of what he was trying to capture on the record. A highly underrated album and collaboration, imo, very much worth another spin.