Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Princess Diana, Stiv Bators, Dave Parsons, Michael Monroe & Me
Punk Rock Royalty: Dave Treganna, Dave Parsons, Jim Carroll and Stiv Bators, 1981, NYC
It was on this date in 1981, July 29 - that Lady Diana Spencer married the world's most eligible bachelor, Prince Charles, to become the Princess Diana. Their wedding was televised. This was a huge gigantic deal in the world theatre - not just for Royals watchers, but Anglophiles and people in general... after all, how often do fairy tales come true? This wedding was such a big deal that you could watch it on airplanes if you were flying at the time of the wedding, for back in 1981, there was that technology.
I know, because I watched the wedding on the television sets in JFK Airport in NY while I waited for a stand-by flight with Dave Parsons, of Sham 69 and The Wanderers. I don't believe Dave caught this wedding. He was snoozing.
Dave Parsons at the airport
July 29 was the day that we departed a sojourn in NYC after a brief US tour with The Wanderers that began in LA with the initial rehearsal session at my apartment at 1140 North Clark St. in West Hollywood. I'd just like to keep stressing that I lived there before Motley Crue moved in and made the address infamous before they themselves became bold face names... and yes, we lived there during the same period of time and YES... Stiv Bators and members of the Wanderers did indeed cross paths with the Crue...
The Wanderers - essentially Sham 69 - minus Jimmy Pursey, plus Stiv Bators
Wanderers rehearsals did move on to a proper rehearsal facility. And from there, we flew to San Francisco, arriving on the date in June of the Gay Pride Parade, where Stiv and I "inadvertently" led the Daves through the parade, making a short cut from where ever we were to our hotel in Union Square.
There was a stop in Cleveland, Ohio - Stiv's former Dead Boys stomping grounds and then on to New York City and gigs with The Ramones and socializing with the likes of Jim Carroll, Johnny Thunders and a hero of ours, Jan Berry of the 1960s surf-themed vocal duo, Jan & Dean
The gig opening for The Ramones at the Palladium was not the final show of the tour... there was one in Trenton, New Jersey a couple days later, but we stayed in the City and made ourselves at home.
After the final gig, most of the band went back home to the UK, but Dave Parsons and I stayed on longer. Checking out of the Gramercy Park Hotel, it was on to crashing at a friend's loft around the corner and when they returned from their honeymoon holiday, Dave decided he wanted a little California sun to see some of his LA friends once more before returning to London, hence the stand-by flight. I think we were probably awake for days on end, and once we knew our chances of getting on a plane were pretty secure, Dave finally rested. Not me...so I watched the wedding of Lady Diana to Prince Charles in the personal television monitors that were attached to chairs at JFK.. kind of a weird set up, but that was my personal royal wedding memory.
Stiv was living in London during the 1980s, and I spent a great deal of time in London as well, working for Island Records, and later reprising my role as Stiv's hall monitor/minder/gal Friday. He had started working with and eventually shared apartments with Hanoi Rocks singer, Michael Monroe.
Hanoi Rocks frontman, Michael Monroe in my room at the Portbello Hotel, London, 1985
We had a running joke, Stiv and I did -- about the Royal Family's love of his music. It was well known that Diana liked pop music, and Prince Charles had the Prince's Trust, which raised money by presenting major pop concerts. While riding home in taxis, we'd always ask to cut through the Park so as to pass by Buckingham Palace and we'd point at Diana's window and joke to one or the other that she was watching for Michael to pass by. On a middle 8 break before Michael's saxophone solo on a song Stiv was recording with him, Stiv interjected the line "Oh Diana" from the 1957 hit by Paul Anka. We took the joke that far! She was, after all, The People's Princess.
A few years later, on July 23, 1986 for Prince Andrew's wedding to Sarah Ferguson, I got to more properly enjoy a fairy tale wedding; my girlfriends and I threw a tea party bridal shower in Sarah's honor, so that we'd have an excuse to make tea sandwiches, cakes and scones and watch TV all day long...like princesses of the Sunset Strip, or something.
In 2007, also around this time of year, I caught up with Dave Parsons in LA. Sham 69 were playing a gig at the House of Blues, and we reminisced about all this silliness. Sad to think that since then, the young Princess died in Paris in the back of her crashed chauffeur-driven car, and Stiv, too died in Paris as the result of a run-in with a motor vehicle. Perhaps Stiv is entertaining Diana now... singing that Paul Anka song...
Dave Parsons, Los Angeles, 2007