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“Being a downtown guy, I used to hang out at Max’s a lot. I knew the whole scene – the people, the music. Todd Rundgren was producing the Dolls record, but he’s an uptown guy. He liked the big harmonies and the big production.
“This was a different kind of record. Nobody had never even heard this kind of music before. There was no category called ‘punk’ yet. There wasn’t even glam. The Dolls were cutting edge. They couldn’t play, but it was about their attitude and songwriting. They were pretty fucked-up on drugs. It was a different scene from what Todd was used to.
“One day, David Johansen was doing a vocal. He came into the control room after doing the tracking, and Todd said to him, ‘That’s going to sound good after we put lots of harmony on.’ David just looked at him and said, ‘Harmony? Are you accusing me of having melody?’
“Right then, it became clear that this was not going to be a good combination. So Todd didn’t come in a whole lot, but we managed to get the record done. It became a classic. The payoff for me was that Bob Ezrin convinced me that I should try producing, because I was actively working with the Dolls. And the second thing that happened was, the management company for the band, Lieber & Krebs, said that they had a baby band I might want to produce.
“That baby band turned out to be Aerosmith.”