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Thursday, June 01, 2006

Backstage and Other Unguarded Moments

Blondie, B-Girls, Bingenheimer Backstage

For years, people have been telling me "You have to do a book." I listened. Currently, I'm putting together a collection of photos taken backstage, as well as those taken of various unguarded moments - primarily of punk rock people.

The photo here of Debbie Harry, B-Girls, Sabel Starr, Nigel Harrison, and Rodney Bingenheimer was taken backstage at the Whisky A Go Go when the B Girls headlined a show there. Earlier, Stiv Bators had brought then-girlfriend, B-Girl bass player Cynthia Ross to LA where he introduced her to everyone and provided some great photo opportunities.

Stiv Bators & Cynthia Ross

Stiv & Cynthia at Rodney's Apartment

And as usual, Stiv was providing photo opportunities for other cute blondes...

Stiv & Sabel Starr

Yes, the B Girls boasted a who's who in punk rock at that show - and as a result of absolutely loving their performance and them being in town, Debbie Harry invited the Girls to Ocean Way Recording Studio, where they recorded the backing vocals to "The Tide is High" during the recording sessions for "AutoAmerican." Yeah - I know a couple regular readers of this blog say that Blondie sold out by then... with their "disco song," but I'm taking Debbie Harry's position.... that by virtue of a fluke commercially successful single, Blondie opened the door for some underground bands to get a little overground light. Also - as far as I know and remember, "Rapture" on the "AutoAmerican" album was likely the first instance of "white artists" tipping their hat to rap (before Malcolm McLaren and his "Buffalo Girls/Do Ya Like Scratchin" tracks) and name-checking the likes of Fab Five Freddie on a mainstream album.

Anyhow - my book is going to be short on opinion, long on memories and chock-full of photos.

The most renown of my memories/photos from the B Girls Los Angeles debut is that Jeffrey Lee Pierce attended - and as a famously acknowledged big fan of Blondie, did hang around backstage for his own audience with Debbie.

Here he is, fresh-faced, pre-Gun Club

Jeffrey Lee Pierce, 1980

Finally, a word that this year's Punk Turns 30 touring exhibits will highlight PORTRAITS and will have a section paying tribute to our departed punk friends such as Jeffrey Lee Pierce, Ramones, Stiv, Black Randy, Bryan Gregory and others. We are going to concentrate on the West later this summer and fall. See you then and there!

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