Who was the man behind this persona?
Whatever happened to singer and actor Buster Poindexter?
—John Y., Iowa
The tuxedo-clad lounge singer known as Buster Poindexter is gone, though as any wedding singer leading a conga line while singing the Poindexter hit Hot Hot Hot will tell you, he’s not forgotten. Poindexter was, in fact, the alter ego of David Johansen, a native New Yorker who first came to fame in the 1970s as lead singer of the groundbreaking pre-punk band The New York Dolls. When they broke up in 1975, Johansen went out on his own, and had some success with his first album, but saw it dwindle with succeeding records. He created Poindexter in 1984, at an open mike night at a New York City club. “It was a lot of blowsy ’80s fun,” he told one interviewer, “a way to escape being David Johansen.” Poindexter’s good-time persona even led to a few acting roles for Johansen. He starred opposite Bill Murray in Scrooged and had a top role in Car 54, Where Are You? The Poindexter character survived for 10 years before the man behind him decided to move on musically. Johansen, 53, now sings hardcore old-time blues with his band, the Harry Smiths. Their latest album is called Shaker.
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