Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Late Great Herb Wrede


Herb Wrede was one of the people taking pictures in the LA punk scene early on. He lived in Ontario, California - out in the Inland Empire, and he would drive into Hollywood on a regular basis with his friend and fellow photographer, Diane Grove. They were loyal fans of the Screamers. They published a Screamers newsletter that served as a fan club zine and it gives me great comfort to know that Trudie Arguelles, Mrs. KK Barrett to some of you, is the keeper of the Herb Wrede photo archive and flame.

Recently during a correspondence, Trudie mentioned that she had Herb's photos and I asked her to send me a copy of the photo she mentioned seeing - one of Pleasant and me with Mumps front man, Lance Loud in the studio recording the "Muscle Boys" single. That's the picture you see here, circa 1978. (I'm in the black shirt)

Herb was incredibly dedicated to his photographic craft as well as to his favorite bands. That drive from Ontario to Hollywood is at least an hour, and he'd do it several times a week. Often Herb and Diane would park near the Famous Lobotomy Apartment (and would kindly bring me a candy bar...one of Herb's many gallant attributes) and do a little pre-gig hanging and partying with Pleasant and me before going to whatever shows we were going to see.

Herb is also the one who took a photo of me and David Johansen backstage at the Whisky that ended up on Creem Magazine's notorious "Backstage" page... the caption read, "David Johansen relaxes with the Mrs...." I spent the following summer in New York City, and you can believe I never paid to get into a club or bought any of my own drinks because of that photo! But that's only part of the deal... Herb and I would look out for photo opportunities for each other. One of us would engage a photographic subject in conversation while the other of us would then walk by and get the photographer's attention - not the subject's. The result was always a cool, unrehearsed candid portrait. When I go up and visit Santa Barbara in a couple weeks, I'll have to dig up those portraits Herb took of David Johansen...in between his New York Dolls and Buster Poindexter personas, he was just David Jo.

Sadly, Herb Wrede is no longer with us. His photos live on, and thanks to Trudie, eventually, people will be able to see his extraordinary body of work.

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