A Rockapaedia Obituary
Band: New York Dolls
Sylvain Sylvain died aged sixty-nine from Cancer on thirteenth of January 2021 at his home in Nashville, Tenessee, United States of America.
Sylvain was born in Cairo, Egypt, to a Jewish family, but his family fled in the 1950s, first to France and later to New York, USA. As a child. Sylvain had dyslexia, however, he did attend Newtown High School in Queens and Quintano's School for Young Professionals in Manhattan. He had one brother, Leon (deceased), and one sister, Brigitte.
Prior to joining the New York Dolls, Sylvain and future New York Doll bandmate Billy Murcia ran a clothing company called "Truth and Soul," which helped define his fashion sense and later played a role in the band's ground-breaking look. Before joining the New York Dolls in 1971, Sylvain was a member of the band Actress, which also featured Arthur Kane, Johnny Thunders and former fashion partner, Billy Murcia. He played rhythm guitar for the Dolls from 1971 until the group's final dissolution in 1977 and Sylvain plus singer David Johansen were the last remaining members at the time the group broke up. After the dissolution of the Dolls, Sylvain frequently played with Johansen on some of his solo records and he started his own band, The Criminals, with another ex-Doll, Tony Machine, and continued to play the New York club scene. Sylvain landed a solo recording contract with RCA, and released one album with Lee Crystal on drums and Johnny Ráo on guitar.
Sylvain moved to Los Angeles in the early 1990s and recorded one record, Sleep Baby Doll, for Fishhead Records. His band mates on this record were: Brian Keats, drums, John Carlucci, bass, and Olivier LeBaron' on lead guitar, with guest appearances by Frank Infante of Blondie and Derwood Andrews of Generation X. In the late 90s he teamed up with the LA punk band The Streetwalkin' Cheetahs for some touring and they recorded a live radio broadcast on KXLU that remains unreleased. The tour ended with an Atlanta show at the Navarre annual conference co-headlining with John Entwistle. In 2004 he reunited with the surviving members of the New York Dolls and they released three records.
In March, 2010, at the South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas, Sylvain and Cheetah Chrome of The Dead Boys and Rocket from the Tombs debuted their new band, The Batusis. Their EP is on Smog Veil Records. In November 2012, Sylvain posted a video for his new single, "Leaving New York," on the Internet, and it is available on iTunes. In 2013 and 2014 Sylvain joined with Glen Matlock as the Sex Doll Tour.
In 2015, Sylvain emerged with a new band called Sylvain Sylvain and the Sylvains from Austin, Texas, consisting of Chris Alaniz on drums, Jason "Ginchy" Kottwitz on guitar and Gabriel Von Asher playing bass).
In 2018, Sylvain joined forces with Steve Conte, Sami Yaffa, and Robert Eriksson for two one-off dates in Tokyo as "The Dolls." They played at Shinjuku Marz on February 11, and Shimokitazawa Garden on February 12.