Joan Jett Was Once Considered For New York Dolls, Steve Conte Recalls

Forming a band might seem easy but finding the right bandmates might be challenging. The New York Dolls‘ former guitarist Steve Conte recalled how he was recruited to the cult band while talking to VWMusic, and disclosed why Joan Jett was considered to be recruited but eventually wasn’t the right fit.

Conte’s run with the New York Dolls was short, as the guitarist only played with the band for six years. The rocker discussed his time with the act and mentioned how he had met frontman David Johansen. Conte also disclosed that there were no auditions when he was recruited to the band.

“There was no audition,” answered the guitarist while recalling his recruitment. “Basically, David Johansen had asked around in respected NYC musician circles for a guitar player recommendation, and everyone he asked said the same thing: ‘Call Conte!’

“They told him not to bother with anyone else,” disclosed Conte. “I had the right guitars and amps, the right hair, and a big nose. [Laughs]. He called me up, we met for lunch, talked, and at the end, he handed me an envelope with CDs, sheet music, and lyrics and said, ‘So what do you think? Do you wanna do this?” And that was it.’ “The next thing I knew,” he continued. “I was in a rehearsal room with Arthur Kane and Sylvain Sylvain working up.”

The guitarist was then asked if there were any other candidates David considered recruiting. Conte remarked that he had heard Joan Jett’s name for the band’s ‘Meltdown’ reunion, but the band knew that Joan wouldn’t be a long-term member.

“The only other person who I heard mentioned for the Meltdown reunion show was Joan Jett,” remarked Conte and discussed why Jett wasn’t recruited. “Johansen knew she would never be a long-term member if he ever needed one. And anyway, Joan’s a great performer, but she’s not really a lead guitarist.”

Conte disclosed how Joan was considered to join the New York Dolls. However, Jett had her plans, and David knew that her commitment to the band wouldn’t last long if she were to be recruited. Conte also discussed that even though she was a great performer, Jett wasn’t much of a lead guitarist.