Saturday, February 17, 2007
Two years ago today, I wrote the first Punk Turns 30 blog entry. A couple days later, I posted this very same photo of Dee Dee Ramone and Stiv Bators backstage at the Whisky A Go Go. Data tells me that this image is the thing that regularly brings new viewers here.
I only started counting visitors after the blog had been up for a few months... and to date, over 120,000 unqiue visitors have checked out the vintage punk rock photos.
Here are some of the images that kept people coming back:
In addition to the image of Dee Dee and Stiv backstage, this in-concert photo of Debbie Harry from 1978 gets more ganders than anything.
Dee Dee and Stiv win again in viewer popularity.
This live action Sex Pistols, Winterland 1978 seems to be a favorite. After all, its not punk rock without a dead guy and the Sex Pistols might still be the only band unanimously considered "punk rock."
The Cramps have always been a popular sight here.
Penelope Avenger is another draw...
But no one seems to be able to get enough looks at Stiv Bators.
This particular photo was included in the inner sleeve (and subsequent CD booklet) of the only solo album he recorded, "Disconnected." Since his death, compilations have been released. This photo also represents Stiv - literally larger than life (and suspended above the stage) on those rare occasions the remaining Dead Boys reunite. I couldn't be more proud!
So, now that Punk Turns 30 is in the terrible twos, what can you expect? More photo exhibitions - including the trusty DIY indie record store/music festival appearances, the long-awaited Dia De Los Muertes Halloween show (only dead people) and catalogs corresponding to this blog and other niches within this punk rock niche.
Punk Turns 30 had to come out of the gate sprinting, showing my renowned images first and foremost, as well as delivering punk rock anti heroes.
But as other photographers know, sometimes your own favorite images are the ones that aren't obvious. They resonate for a whole lot of other reasons.
The Dils, fronted by musician brothers Chip and Tony Kinman, represent to me what punk rock is and should be all about. There's the socialist politics, the total DIY approach, the minimal line-up (3 players are all you really need) that made enough noise for twice their number, and the energetic and chaotic live show - guitarists jumping straight up in the air, a packed crowd alternately staring up in awe and then moshing and pumping fists in the air. And these guys have never stopped doing music.
As a native Californian and one born in Los Angeles, my home-grown, hometown pride cuts a lot of slack for and gives huge props to bands like The Germs, Bags, X, The Eyes, Dickies, and The Last. Each of these bands represents a different essential element about Los Angeles. Any one of these bands is also cultural short-hand for Los Angeles punk rock, and some of them have developed mythical auras.
To me, the photo below of Paul Beahm before he was even Bobby Pyn just about sums up the birth of punk rock in LA. Paul seems to be completely incidental in this tableau of amps and Terri Ryan's pre-Lorna Doom legs. Yet, the legend, "the germs" is clearly marked on the front of a small amp. Thirty years later, you know what this is: The Germs, forming.
When I took the photo, I was just being a fly on the wall. I captured Paul the way I knew him... and this is his introspective, solipsistic side.
Every day, I hear from people I knew from the 70s, and from people my age whom I did not know, but have recently met - and we all share the same amazement: one that is only understood and shared if you were there when this LA punk rock thing was born...we can't believe how much our mis-spent youth has been lionized and mythologized. Its weird. I mean.... we loved it as it was happening (and most of us love it still)... and on the other hand... it was our life, and one that our parents, teachers, professors and classmates often looked askance on. Well....we're infamous (now). Get used to it!