Rock of rock! A field guide to musicians of Staten Island • Brooklyn Paper

Rock of rock! A field guide to musicians of Staten Island

Doll face: New York Dolls’ vocalist David Johansen grew up on the exotic Staten Island, and still honors his heritage with traditional dress such as leopard print and tight denim.
Associated Press / Robert Kenney

A group of local artists from somewhere called Staten Island (sounds familiar, but we just can’t place it) will introduce their local musical traditions to Brooklyn with a show at Prospect Heights bar the Way Station on Oct. 18. You may be surprised to learn that Staten Islanders even have the fine motor skills to tune a guitar, but it turns out this sleepy little burg has birthed a whole litter of big-time acts. Here are some you might even be familiar with.

Christina Aguilera

Miss “Genie in a Bottle” herself was born at Staten Island Hospital. Unfortunately for the borough, her family moved to Texas when she was a kid.

The Wu Tang Clan

This may be the Mystical Land of Shaolin’s greatest claim to fame. RZA, Raekwon the Chef, Inspectah Deck, Ghostface Killah, and Method Man all honed their verbal kung-fu at the temple of the Rock.

Vernon Reid

The genre-bending six-string gunslinger of Living Colour fame was born in London, but Staten Island became his adopted home.

Gene Simmons

The freaky-tongued Kiss frontman went to Richmond College before he started wearing makeup and chowing on packets of fake blood.

David Johansen

The New York Doll might have felt “Stranded in the Jungle” in a wholly different sense growing up on Staten Island’s verdant shores.

Blackie Lawless

Without Staten Island, the world would not have W.A.S.P. — the hair metal footnote was fronted by this Island native (also known as Steven Edward Duren).

Vito Bratta

As the lead guitarist for Danish-American glam rock band White Lion until 1992, Bratta was the pride of Staten Island, where he still lives to this day.

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