This Day In Music Books | There’s No Bones in Ice Cream: Sylvain Sylvain

There’s No Bones in Ice Cream: Sylvain Sylvain



‘Don’t live life worrying about it, just T. Rex the shit out of it.’ – Sylvain Sylvain

‘In any great band it’s often The Quiet One who has the best stories. There’s No Bones in Ice Cream would be a superb book even if Sylvain worked in a bank. As it is it’s one of the best rock biographies ever. Ten out of ten.’  Classic Rock

The New York Dolls were called many things; glam, proto-punk, hard rock, but are probably best understood as a ‘dirty rock & roll’ band. Combining an aggressively androgynous style with street smart New York attitude and campy humour, the New York Dolls ushered in the era of CBGBs, heroin chic, loud guitars and referential lyrics which gave rise to Patti Smith, The Ramones, Television and many more.

Fans of the band range from Guns N’ Roses to Morrissey, who organised the reformation of the band when he curated Meltdown festival in 2004. Sylvain Sylvain was there from the start, and this is his story. Taking in his early life in New York, the rise, fall and rise again of the New York Dolls, and all his misadventures between, There’s No Bones in Ice Cream is the true story of one of rock’s greatest, told in his own authentic voice.

288 pages

£16.99  $19.99

About the author

Sylvain Mizrahi, known as Sylvain Sylvain, is an American rock guitarist, fashion designer, solo artist, and lead guitarist for the New York Dolls. Dave Thompson is the author of over 150 books, including co-written memoirs with New York Doll Sylvain Sylvain, Motown legends Brian and Eddie Holland (forthcoming), Hawkwind’s Nik Turner, the Yardbirds Jim McCarty, Fairport Convention s Judy Dyble and more. A columnist for Goldmine magazine, his work has also appeared in Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Mojo, Record Collector and many other major publications. He has contributed to music documentaries produced by VH-1, A&E, the BBC and others. Born in the UK, Thompson is now a resident of Delaware, USA.

Additional information

Weight 0.649 kg
Dimensions 23.4 × 15.6 × 1.7 cm


I've read a lot of music biogs and this is one of the best I've ever read. What an interesting life! The Dolls were awesome and this sheds some light on why. Recomended. 5 Stars.
-Amazon Review
A fantastically informative and well-written biog of Sylvain and the wonderful New York Dolls. 5 Stars.
-Amazon Review
Beautifully written first person account of Sylvain "Sylvain" Mizrahi's life from his birth in Cairo in 1951 up until the dissolution of the New York Dolls in 1975. If you've already read Nina Antonia's Too Much Too Soon, Kris Needs' Trash or Curt Weiss' excellent Stranded In The Jungle, then the New York Dolls portion of Sylvain's tale won't enlighten you too much beyond filling in certain specific details as far as dates and locations. Surprisingly, the Dolls don't come into the picture until the last third of the narrative. What makes a more vivid and lasting impression is the account of Syl's formative years, his childhood in Cairo, through the forced migration of his family to France following the Suez Canal Crisis of 1956, thence to the United States in the early 60's (first to Buffalo, then Brooklyn and finally Queens). This is the story of a serendipitous young life in thrall to fashion and music during a time of great societal change. While Syl doesn't gloss over the darker aspects of being a teenager in New York in the 60's (gangs, racism, bullying, indiscriminate violence, heavy-handed police), he nevertheless paints a picture of a colourful, energetic metropolis awash in great music and a sense of optimism and change in the air, followed by a sharp downturn in the city's fortunes at the outset of the 70's, which coincides with the formation of the New York Dolls. Syl's childhood friend Billy Murcia is brought to life in these pages, and given due recognition as an influential member in the development of the Dolls' look and sound. Ironically, it's only when things start to happen for the New York Dolls that Sylvain's charmed life begins to fade, starting with the tragic and utterly preventable death of Murcia on the band's inaugural trip to London (a city that Syl had previously spent much time in hawking his fashion creations). Thereafter, the Dolls signed to an unsympathetic American record label, burned bright before a largely uncomprehending American public (Europe got hip much quicker), then crashed under the collective weight of spiralling drug problems (Johnny Thunders, Jerry Nolan), alcoholism (Arthur Kane, David Johansen) and out of control egos (Johansen & Thunders), inspiring both the nascent Bowery and London punk scenes along the way. Hard not to feel sympathy for Syl as he was clearly the one left holding the bag having tried to keep things together through his energy and enthusiasm. He doesn't get into the subsequent decades of toil and hardship and merely mentions the passing of his erstwhile bandmates as a footnote. Curiously Syl makes only scant mention of Dolls' manager Marty Thau and no mention at all of their booking agents Steve Leber and David Krebs, who would hit big later in the decade with Aerosmith and AC/DC. He devotes a lot more of the story to the salutatory, if culturally more significant involvement of Malcolm McLaren, whose cack-handed attempts at rescussitating the Dolls' career in 1975 all but guaranteed their demise, setting the stage for the Sex Pistols to fill the void. Recommended reading for anyone with an interest in rock'n'roll or New York City back when it was bankrupt, decaying, dangerous, affordable and exciting. 5 Stars
-Amazon Review