Thursday, February 07, 2008
We Are The Champions, Glam and Darby Crash
Unless you have your head buried deeply under the sand, there's no way you missed that the New York Giants are the Super Bowl victors. On Super Tuesday / Mardi Gras and the eve of Chinese Lunar New Year (which actually begins today), there was a Victory Parade complete with ticker tape and all the fanfare in the Canyon of Heroes in Manhattan's downtown financial district... quite a LOT of whoop-di-doo for a single day...
Today, as she was describing the mood downtown when she got out of the subway yesterday, my friend and NY trip hostess with the mostest, Jahna Rain, singer/musician for The Demands and also for Mr Badger observed that it was a pretty cool thing and quite an accomplishment for the openly gay and fantastic singer, performer and songwriter, Freddie Mercury of Queen that his song "We Are The Champions" became the de facto victory song for every major sporting event... and is sung by sports fans the world over, including the ones who are raging homophobes. Ironic, fantastic, and well-deserved.
I've explained on this blog a few times that quite a lot of my punk rock friendships began while camping out at the box office of various Los Angeles venues to buy tickets for shows before the scalpers got them all. In 1976/1977, the glam bands/artists my generation loved so much were all breaking and making the step up from playing clubs to playing on bigger stages from the Santa Monica Civic (3,000 seats) on up to the Los Angeles Forum (18,000 seats)
David Bowie was one such artist whom we had all seen move up the seating capacity and music chart ladder... moving from an acquired taste (ie: ours) to international pop superstardom via radio hits and the rewards of constant touring.
Queen was also moving in the same direction. Both bands were firmly anchored in our very own pre-punk rock glam roots... the same glam roots that informed the playlist at Rodney's English Disco, the club that nearly every Los Angeles punk rocker spent their leisure time in in the days before punk rock happened and places like The Masque were born.
Rodney backstage at the Starwood with Debbie Harry and Nick Gilder
Darby Crash was one of the people with whom I became friendly as a result of these camp-outs for tickets to glam shows... both Bowie and Queen, in his case. Other people I met on these camping trips included Charlotte Caffey, which was not exactly a camping trip, but a lining up outside a general admission venue in order to be right up front in front of the stage for.... The Ramones.
Both Marcy Blaustein and Brian Tristan, the future Kid Congo Powers were already fast friends and befriended me during the nascent days of punk rock when our favorite bands, The Ramones and Patti Smith were playing tiny clubs in our home town, and we were all clustered at the edge of the stage.
I don't know how common this knowledge is, but before he was the mighty Kid Congo Powers of the Cramps, Brian Tristan was the President of the local Ramones Fan Club! His Gun Club band mate and the friend who encouraged him to pick up the guitar, Jeffrey Lee Pierce was the President of the Blondie Fan Club... it is a complete circle.
So, whenever I hear "We Are the Champions," and these days, it is always during the evening news, once I've forgotten to change the channel during the sports coverage... I am reminded not so much of Queen, but of Darby Crash and those quiet moments just before punk rock exploded.
In recognition of Darby, this week's big special deals in the punkrockgiftshop.com will be one of those hot hot hot 3 prints for $50 specials. But hurry... the window of time for this offer is limited!