(February 3rd 1949 - July 13th 2004)
Birth Name: Arthur Harold Kane, Jr.
Born: February 3, 1949 - New York, New York
Died: July 13, 2004 - Los Angeles, California
Cause Of Death: Complications From Leukemia
1973 New York Dolls - New York Dolls
1974 New York Dolls - Too Much Too Soon
1981 New York Dolls - Lipstick Killers: The Mercer Street Sessions 1972
1984 New York Dolls - Live In NYC - 1975: Red Patent Leather
1994 New York Dolls - Rock 'N Roll
1995 David Johansen - From Pumps To Pompadour: The David Johansen Story
1997 Sid Vicious - Never Mind The Reunion Here's Sid Vicious
1999 New York Dolls - The Glorious Life Live
2000 New York Dolls - Actress: Birth Of The New York Dolls
2000 Johnny Thunders - In The Flesh
2000 Johnny Thunders - Panic On Sunset Strip
2004 Johnny Thunders - Eve Of Destruction
Arthur Harold Kane Jr, was born in The Bronx, New York to Erna and Harold Kane. His mother died when he was a young man and his difficult relationship with his father went downhill. He graduated from Martin Van Buren High School in Queens, New York. He first played bass in the band Actress along the other original New York Dolls: Johnny Thunders, Rick Rivets and Billy Murcia, but not David Johansen.
At a time when many rock performers sought notoriety through their on-stage antics, Kane gained fame for his motionless performances, with some calling him "the only living statue in rock-and-roll."
After the Dolls broke up, Kane collaborated with Blackie Lawless from W.A.S.P. on a project dubbed Killer Kane, which resulted in the single "Mr. Cool". "Lawless" was an old friend from the Bronx and had replaced Johnny Thunders during the ill fated Florida tour in 1975. He also took part in such short-lived efforts as The Idols (with Jerry Nolan) and The Corpse Grinders (with Rick Rivets). He backed Johnny Thunders on a few tours in the 80's. One by one, these projects failed, and Kane began to feel that there was no longer any place in the music business for him, and that what little material success he had achieved with the Dolls was to be the high water mark of his career. He saw himself living in poverty and obscurity for the rest of his life. As this bitter realization gripped him, band after band directly inspired by the Dolls catapulted to stardom, and the other members of the Dolls continued their careers unabated. Lead singer of the Dolls, David Johansen, who Kane viewed as a rival, found success as "Buster Poindexter".
As a result, Kane grew frustrated with music (although he continued playing and in fact learned harmonica during this period). He relocated from New York City to Los Angeles, but he could not escape his regrets. His envy and creative block, coupled with alcoholism and the breakdown of his marriage, led to a deepening depression. Although urban legend frames Kane as a drug addict, this was not the case; his true downfall was alcohol. After seeing David Johansen in a film role, Arthur, in his depression, got drunk and jumped out a second story window. Luckily a door cover broke his fall, but the impact caused slight neural damage and affected his speech.
Kane surprised all who knew him when, in 1989, he joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He continued to do volunteer work as a librarian in the Family History Center (genealogy library) at the Los Angeles Temple.
In the early 2000s, Kane met filmmaker Greg Whiteley through his work with the Latter-day Saints, and the two became friends. Whiteley had the idea of chronicling Kane's life in a documentary, and, in 2004, Morrissey gave the project impetus when he offered Kane an opportunity to perform a reunion show with the surviving Dolls (David Johansen and Sylvain Sylvain) in London as part of his Meltdown Festival. Whiteley filmed Kane's experiences preparing for the performance, which was for Kane the culmination of a nearly 30 year dream. In the process of preparing for the concert, Kane bought his guitar back from a pawn shop with money borrowed from fellow Mormons, reconciled with Johansen, and put together a stage outfit befitting Joseph Smith, Jr. Whiteley's footage resulted in the 2005 Sundance featured documentary entitled New York Doll. Arthur's sudden death in 2004 ended any hopes for a reunion tour.
On July 13, 2004, just 22 days after the reunion concert, Kane thought he had caught the flu in London, and checked himself in to a Los Angeles emergency room, complaining of fatigue. He was quickly diagnosed with leukemia, and died within two hours. David Johansen wrote of Kane's death: "It's good to know that he went out on a high point in his musical life but he will be sorely missed." Annual tributes to Kane's lasting memory and influence were held at the Continental in New York City until its closing in 2006.