Saturday, June 10, 2006

Surf Icon Jan Berry Meets Punk Kings


It was the Summer of 1981...Stiv Bators had already gone solo, found "New Romanticism" and now was cranking his conspiracy theory thing extra large by combining it with the punk rock fury of Sham 69 and creating The Wanderers, a one-album, one-US-tour band consisting of ex-Sham 69 members Dave Parsons, Dave Tregunna and Rick Rock Goldstein, and added a keyboard twist with Dean Klevatt, an American like Stiv and Rick, and who was earning his living as a musician in London playing with the likes of Joan Armatrading.

Dave Tregunna aka "Kermit" would follow Stiv into the Lords of the New Church which featured another punk rock hero, ex-Damned guitarist, Brian James.

But here, in the Summer of 1981, in the hallways of the Gramercy Park Hotel we met 60s surf music idol, Jan Berry, the member of Jan & Dean who met his own Dead Man's Curve and lived to tell.

I don't really think that Jan Berry knew who Stiv or Dave Parsons were. But he sure was friendly. Stiv was a great fan of harmonies and 60's rock n roll, despite his bad boy bands and his trademark punk snarl. After all, it was Stiv who spotted Jan from a distance. He was great at star spotting, but he also knew his pop music inside out. His knowledge was not only complete, it was surprising to many people, most of all his fans.

It was on this particular tour with Stiv that I learned the best of my tour manager tricks....I learned to make sure I had the key to everyone's room. You never know when you have to pack someone's bag for them. I learned how to pick locks between adjoinding "suite" rooms (thank you Gramercy Park Hotel, you always treated bands very well). I learned how to subdue drunks, how to help people sober up instantly and that in order to appear to "make the scene," you must make a splashy entrance and always quietly slink out a back or side door.

Stiv and I learned that from Jim Carroll, who at the time was signed to Rolling Stones Records. He made appearances everywhere seemingly every night and was photographed every where. But he only really stayed long enough to say hello to everyone, let a photographer or two capture his face, and then he left quietly, only to repeat it elsewhere. Stiv and I followed suit.

But let's get back to the music.

The Wanderers had a story they were telling. They were singing songs based on the audio letters of one Peter Beter and created a piece of work so dark and foreboding that one might think Stiv could have ghost-written the scripts for "Godfather 3," Oliver Stone's "JFK," and "The Da Vinci Code" all before he died.

I always think that I was alone in this knowledge of Stiv, The Wanderers, Peter Beter and other things related to punk rock. It never fails to catch me by surprise when people not only know who and what I'm talking about... but are fans. I guess my ridiculous life is interesting to someone....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Surfaris aka WIPEOUT ,POINT PANIC... Is early Punk and metal..