Friday, August 12, 2005

The Company We Keep


Me & Clem, 2004, originally uploaded by Theresa K.

This photo, taken by Creem magazine writer, Bill Moriarty is one of my favorites. As a photographer, I just hate being photographed! But in this case, Bill knew that Clem Burke and I have been friends for more than half our lives and he captured that friendship.

Weird to say that its the punk rock that introduced us and kept our friendship going.

Today's photos are a tribute to friendships that have endured all that punk and rock n roll throws their way -

Wayne & Margaret
Wayne and Margaret Kramer

For those who don't know, Margaret Saadi Kramer - Mrs. Wayne Kramer to you - is one of those people we call an angel. If not for her, Jimmy Zero of the Dead Boys might have been lost in the shuffle during those years where people forgot to acknowledge his important contribution to rock n roll.
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Jimmy Zero and me

Margaret also runs the Muscletone Records label, a business she shares with Wayne. They've released records by bands that truly rock, such as Cleveland's Cobra Verde.

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Cobra Verde

Michael & Angela
Michael and Angela Davis

Another MC5 couple. Angela Davis looks after Michael's career as well as that of MC5 drummer, Dennis "Machine Gun" Thompson. She's also a great mother of three sons. Or maybe I should say five... Regardless, someone was on the right track when the name "Angel" came into her parents heads. She's a girl's girl, and between the two of them, Angela and Margaret, they have enabled my all time favorite punk rock anti-heroes, the MC5 to take the world by storm again.

Denise & the Handsome One
Denise Lento and Handsome Dick Manitoba

Handsome Dick Manitoba runs the coolest bar in the East Village. But of course, he is the celebrated mouthpiece of New York City's own seminal punk band, The Dictators. Denise is part of the Underground Garage team. These guys below are Top Ten and Ross the Boss the blazing guitar tag-team of the Dictators. They're like brothers, that band. Brotherly love and sibling issues keep them behaving just like your brothers do, but bonding coast to coast over NY Yankee games on tv and a chance to perform in just about their original line-up last year at the Underground Garage Festival is what made these brothers see fit to play together again. When they're playing together as the Dictators, there is nothing that can beat them.

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Top Ten and Ross the Boss, Dictators

Frank Secich, Stiv, Greg Shaw
Frank Secich, Stiv Bators, Greg Shaw

Stiv Bators kept company with lots of beautiful women, and you've seen them pictured on this site. But ladies man that he was, Stiv's creative soul belonged to his childhood friend, Frank Secich the only man in this photo who is still with us. Greg Shaw was one of the few people who saw and appreciated Stiv's true genius, which is why he let him go to all the trouble and expense of making "Disconnected" with Frank. It was surprise to many people who only knew Stiv because of the Dead Boys.

Melissa & Ben
Melissa and Ben

Even young men have their young ladies. Melissa helps out her man, Ben Blackwell whenever she can travel with the Dirtbombs by doing merch. I've sat with her many times selling t-shirts and CD's. She may be young, but she has her head on straight, and is an expert in the field of vintage fashion. A couple weeks ago, when Ko sliced her finger open onstage, it was Melissa's cel phone call to Ben's mom, Maureen that brought the medical professional and coolest mom in the world to Ko's aid. Maureen felt her cel phone vibrating and put two and two together. Dirtbombs blog has a message and image from Ko regarding the bloody finger incident.

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Jackson Smith and Wendy Case

I feel a kinship with Detroit rocker Wendy Case. We're grown up ladies who spent their lives with the punk rock. We know so many of the same people from way back when as well...share different stories of the same events. Its nice to have another woman's viewpoint. Wendy fronts the Paybacks, a hard-rocking band that recently had a personnel change. Her rhythm section, borrowed from the beginning from the Hentchmen, finally had to resume Hentch duties because of a new album. Joining Wendy on bass is Jackson Smith, formerly of Back in Spades. If his face and name are familiar, they should be. Jackson is the son of Patti and MC5 and Sonic's Rendezvous Band guitar god, Fred Sonic Smith, and that gives him an untouchable pedigree in punk rock. Its in his veins. Wendy has done much to nurture young talent, and in the Paybacks, Jackson plays bass as well as he wails on guitar. I remember seeing him play guitar with his mom's band in maybe 1996 at Irving Plaza in NYC. He played "Smoke on the Water," and he shredded. Can you imagine your first public appearance being with your mom, Lenny Kaye and Tom Verlaine on guitar? Between Wendy, me and his own mom, Jackson has a lot of devotion and love flowing his way.

Dave Alvin & his ladies
Pleasant, Belinda, Dave, Connie

Let's hear it for gal pals. Pleasant, although an "it girl" by anyone's standards might be described by any given woman in the LA Punk Class of '77 as "my best friend." Because she was. We're still in touch all the time...27 years later... or is it 28? Belinda and I went to neighboring high schools and knew each other way back then. Even though she's living large and secluded, celebrity that she is, I know she's still tight with her best friends from back in the day. Dave Alvin has never been a snob, and he continues to make great music. He's on tour with the Knitters these days - his friends, John Doe and Exene from the old days.

Clem & Syl
Clem and Syl

Back to the beginning. I'd have to say that Clem Burke is the greatest friend anyone could be lucky to have. I value our friendship more than I can say. Here he is with Sylvain Sylvain of the New York Dolls. Clem's career has eclipsed that of many of his idols and friends from back home, but he is still the same even-keeled, fun to be around guy. He's ever helpful to the struggling musician and loyal to his life long friends. You can't beat that with a stick. You can't beat Clem as a drummer, either. Simply one of the best - a standard bearer.

1 comment:

DesireXXXXX said...

Is this blog about punk rock or all your boyfriends?