Tuesday, April 24, 2007
The Jimmy Zero Connection
Jimmy Zero! Oh, how I do regret that he was not at the studio the day I shot portraits of the Disconnected band for the album. Like all of them, he was such an adorable young man.
I can't begin to explain just how much I love this man.
First, let's consider the music of Jimmy Zero. Its no secret he's got a pop streak. He contributed the chimey Beatle thing to the Dead Boys sound...softening Cheetah's nasty punk edge, and that gave the band that certain extra je ne sais quoi thing that made you listen just one more time. He delivers a killer harmony and can shout and scream as well as the rest of them punks. Between Jimmy Zero and Cheetah Chrome, they covered the vocals during the Dead Boys reunion. They weren't Stiv, but they delivered the goods.
Here's Jimmy during the last stand of the latter day Dead Boys, at a show in Los Angeles at the Whisky A Go Go. Stiv and crew had already opted for the black and red striped jackets, hearkening back to the 60s garage and pop band stage clothes... I'm not talking about the costumes that bands wore (Paul Revere and the Raiders, for example)....remember the Kinks red hunting jackets? The Beatles khaki Pierre Cardin collarless jackets during their last tour? Real fashion plates, our rock n roll boys. And Stiv was a student of such things.
Of all the hot shot punk rock guest stars that have ever shared a stage with Stiv, from our beloved Dee Dee Ramone and Joan Jett, I was always just as excited when after the Dead Boys demise, Jimmy would be playing on stage with Stiv. It made me feel that things were alright in the punk rock world.
You may remember this shot of Dee Dee holding Stiv's head, as it was in Creem complete with hysterical caption. Stiv's dear friend Joan Jett joined the Dead Boys on stage at the Whisky on this January night. I think John Belushi was in the house as well. Here's our Joan, at the left side of the frame - I highlighted her for you... alas, I framed Jimmy badly here... you only see his leather-clad legs.
And here's Jimmy playing with the Disconnected band.
This was the last I saw of Mr. Zero until February 2004. Seriously. He went back to Cleveland, laid low and kept playing music, helping out young, local bands and made a record under the band name, Lesbian Maker. In February 2004, I was shooting a rock show in Cleveland at the Beachland Ballroom and Jimmy was in the house. It was so exciting to see him after 25 years. I was all nervous and, "do you remember me?" HA!
The main thing about Jimmy Zero is - you could not see him for 25 years, and then pick up right where you left off. You could even be living in the same city as him - as I did for four months in Cleveland in 2005, and see him occasionally, or never...but then on the flipside, you'd make a casual phone call to one another and be on the phone til your battery died... and then you'd switch to your landline to complete the call. The bottom line is: Jimmy Zero is a true friend.
If not for Jimmy Zero and Dave Swanson, a Cleveland rock n roller whose band Rainy Day Saints you should definitely hear... I would not have known about the Disconnected Reunion until it was too late. More about that later this week.