Back in 2004, I was given a wonderful opportunity to show a bunch of my photos of Stiv Bators and the Dead Boys at the first of their sporadic reunion shows. The first Dead Boys reunion at the Beachland Ballroom in Cleveland was an amazing event - sold out - the band played so well - Stiv's folks were there, as well as all the extended families of the living Dead Boys, and the 25th Anniversary re-issue of Stiv's solo album, "Disconnected" was unveiled at the show.
I wasn't expecting it, but Stiv was represented on stage by three larger than life photos taken by me!
Gregg Kostelich of the Cynics, and who runs the cool Get Hip label told me, and honestly, I had NEVER heard this before in connection with any photo I had taken - that the Stiv shots were iconic, and that he'd even had one of them hanging on his wall when he was in college. Of course, since all but one of the photos on the "Disconnected" album were mine, I figured he just put up the album art, the way we all do. After all, I framed the four 8x10 glossies of the Beatles that came inside the White Album (and for the record, George Harrison is my fave Beatle)and hung them up in my room. Between Gregg Kostelich and my friend Ding Dong DJ, Hugh Haggerty, I was inspired to do more with the archive of punk rock photos I had amassed over the course of my life.
A few months after the Dead Boys reunion, which by the way, was organized by Jim Lanza, no slouch with a camera himself (and the one who shot that photo of me with the giant Stiv blow-up), I started looking for more opportunities to show photos in public.
The 2005 Horizontal Action Blackout was in planning stages, and so many of my favorite bands were playing - bands who carried on the punk spirit. So, I harrassed Todd Killings until he responded. Luckily for me, he totally "gets it." Punk Turns 30 had its official touring debut at the 2005 Blackout. I'm going to the Blackout again this year, but just for the music, not to show or sell. The Oblivians are playing. I may take pictures, but I might opt to just completely indulge myself and fight for a good vantage point in what is sure to be a madly appreciative crowd at the front of the stage.
Since the Blackout, Punk Turns 30 has been online and has hung up its 40 favorite images in cool indie record stores and rock venues all over the Eastern half of the USA. We've been to Nashville, where the local weekly gave us a glowing review, and where the Reigning Sound and The Clutters entertained the night of my opening. Grimey's New and PreLoved Music was our host. We also helped CBGB by donating some punk portraits to their art gallery benefit, and that exhibit gave us an opportunity to show with some of NYC's legendary punk photographers. Fall and winter was so busy...we were at Goner Fest in Memphis, Vinyl Fever in their two stores in Florida, and at shows in Milwaukee at Feral Gallery and in Cleveland at Bela Dubby. My favorite NYC records store NYCD displayed a bunch of photos until they closed their doors at Christmas time (they are an online store and mailorder business now - click their link, PLEASE).
Over the years, people kept telling me "you've got to do a book," and that escalated during my tour. So, I give in! I'm doing it! It will be a collection of photos taken BACKSTAGE during the punk years. There are so many great live photos of bands that I don't want to add to that. I thought you all might like to see what happens on the other side of the stage. So that's why I'm not stepping up the touring exhibit until Summer. I'm at home going through the archives, printing more pictures and writing all the dish surrounding how those photos happened. I can't wait til the day I get to post that the book is on the shelves.
There are a lot of books about punk out there. I think there's room for more. Some interesting people have yet to tell their stories! Like Dead Boy Jimmy Zero, for one.
Finally - I have updated my Online Store so if you have a hankering to hang a photo of Stiv on your wall, you most certainly can.