STONES: EN EL 30 ANIVERSARIO DE ‘STEEL WHEELS’

Estándar

La fecha de hoy nos recuerda el 30 aniversario de la edición de Steel Wheels, lanzado el 29 de agosto de 1989. Un disco “de verano” con canciones “de verano” ¿Mucho calor? Porque eso es lo que el grupo se propuso para concluir su tumultuoso paso de mediados a fines de la década del ’80 (y que también sirvió para que Mick y Keith hagan las paces), con un tour a la vista que tal cual lo esperaban resultó un éxito tanto en USA como en Europa (el de Urban Jungle, al año siguiente) Y si para muestra basta un botón, ¿qué mejor indicación de que así fue deliberadamente planificado con una canción como “Mixed Emotions” para promocionarlo?

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Aaah los ’80, la era MTV y todo eso….Un disco de canciones frescas y pegadizas (la mencionada, más Rock and A Hard Place o Terrifying, liderando el estilo), secundadas por algún que otro rock’n’roll de neto corte stoniano (Sad Sad Sad), tres baladas tres: Blinded By Love, Almost Hear You Sigh (que Keith Richards había compuesto durante las sesiones de su primer álbum solista el año anterior) y Slipping Away, más algún que otro relleno (Hold On To Your Hat, Break the Spell), y el broche de oro de volver en el tiempo a mediados de los ’60s y una pieza de world music como Continental Drift (que para la ocasión los llevó a grabarla en Marruecos, y que después se usó como música de fondo para abrir cada uno de los shows de los tours) Y mi favorita del disco, Hearts for Sale, porque así las cosas, y con un gran solo de Ronnie Wood. En definitiva, Steel Wheels y su espíritu “light” a través de todo el álbum terminó cumpliendo el objetivo comercial que se propuso inicialmente (no por nada la banda terminó dejando las tres canciones que más se acercan a su esencia como caras B de los singles: Fancyman Blues, Cook Cook Blues y Wish I’d Never Met You)
Steel Wheels también marcó un punto extramusical en la carrera del grupo: fue el disco que delineó la transición de los Stones de su condición de “anti establishment” a convertirse en figuras centrales del mismísimo establishment, un giro de 180 grados que indicó que ya nada volvería a ser lo mismo.
Y una última confesión: nunca me gustó el sonido general del disco, si bien cumplió con la intención original (para más datos sobre este detalle, pueden leer la entrevista que hice hace unos años con Chris Kimsey, que co-produjo Steel Wheels con Mick y Keith, aquí: https://sonaglioni.wordpress.com/…/con-chris-kimsey-produc…/) 

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GOT TO GET YOU INTO MY LIFE: DYLAN Y LOS BEATLES, HACE 55 AÑOS

Estándar

Para todos aquellos que se preguntan quién fue el responsable de hacer que los Beatles dejen de escribir canciones sobre tomar a chicas de la mano y cartas de amor que no llegan (que encajaban más con el repertorio de El Club del Clan), y pasen a convertirse en letristas intelectualmente interesantes, el responsable es un tal Bob Dylan. Ocurrió en un día como el de hoy, pero hace 55 años, el 28 de agosto de 1964, cuando Dylan, que venía de hacer un show en el estadio de Forest Hills, New York junto a Robbie Robertson, Levon Helm y Cía. (esto es, 2 años antes de que alguien lo convierta en “Judas!!”) pasó a visitar a los Fab Four por su hotel y les hizo fumar marihuana. Lo que lo motivo, según cuenta la historia, fue el haber malinterpretado la letra de  (Dylan creyó escuchar “I get high” en lugar de “I can’t hide”, seguramente fumado, también), pensando que los de Liverpool estaban listos para la experiencia, cuando en verdad terminó resultando todo lo contrario.
John Lennon: “No recuerdo mucho de lo que hablamos ese día. Fumamos, tomamos vino, comportándonos como auténticos rockers y divirtiéndonos, de manera surrealista. Estábamos de fiesta””

NEW YORK SHUFFLE – The Rolling Stones, East Rutherford, NJ, 5 de agosto de 2019

Estándar

The Rolling Stones en el Metlife Stadium – East Rutherford, New Jersey, 5 de agosto

La idea era hacer una crónica del segundo show stoniano en el Metlife Stadium del lunes pasado (“el número 91” de la historia en el área New Jersey-New York, tal como lo anunció Sir Mick durante la velada) , pero luego ocurre que no hay tiempo que resulte suficiente como para hacerlo tan detalladamente, que las noches terminan siendo muy cortas, que surgen actividades todo el día, y que el cansancio general acaba superando la integridad física y mental de uno. En pocas palabras entonces, un resumen ajustado debería indicar que éste fue el show con más sorpresas de lo que va del tour. Todo planeado meticulosamente como para complacer al público local en acaso la ciudad más clásica de USA en lo que a shows stonianos a través de las décadas se refiere. Como empezar con Jumping Jack Flash en lugar de Street Fighting Man, y elegir You Got Me Rocking en el lugar de la segunda de las canciones de la noche. Y agregar Monkey Man, o You Got the Silver (en lugar de Slipping Away, como vino ocurriendo en los shows más recientes) en el setlist. Y la mayor de todas de la mano de Harlem Shuffle (cómo no hacerla en New York City?), que empezó de manera bastante lenta y fue poniéndose mejor a medida que avanzaba, y tocada en vivo por primera vez en 30 años. Por el resto, ya sabemos, los hits de siempre, los que la mayoría del público asistente quiere escuchar, en un estadio inmenso que estuvo prácticamente colmado de cabo a rabo, y que celebró a los Stones en el que hasta el momento fue su último show en la ciudad. Y que posiblemente también sea el último de la historia del grupo por estos lares. Quién lo sabe?. Vuelvo a pedir disculpas por no hacer una crónica más detallada, pueden encontrar muchas otras dando vueltas por ahí. Por mi parte, también fue mi cuarto y último de esta gira después de los de Jacksonville, Philadelphia y el primero en New Jersey (y el número 80 desde aquel 1 de agosto de 1994 en el estadio RFK De Washington DC)

30 AÑOS SIN FEDERICO

Estándar

Los que estamos un poco más grandecitos de lo que estábamos apenas ayer solemos recordar a los ’80 como una década nueva y no tan remota. Habiendo pasado casi 30 años de su cada vez más próximo triple aniversario final, por algún motivo nos sigue sonando tan fresca como si hubiera concluido apenas un tiempo atrás o, quizás engañándonos un poco, lo hacemos inconscientemente para evitar sentirnos tan obsoletos. Entre tantas páginas a revisar por haber sido parte de la adolescencia que nos tenía de protagonistas por entonces, si vivías en Argentina y eras un incondicional adepto a la música, siempre te va a resultar difícil olvidar años como el de 1982 y tu principal aliada a la hora de mantener tus oídos en forma y bien entrenados: la radio. Nada ni nadie, ni siquiera los discos de vinilo o cassettes de los que podías hacerte por ahí podían reemplazar el poder del único medio de difusión que, al igual que ahora sucede con la internet, podía informarte 24 hs. al día. Con la excepción que escuchar música en la radio en 1982 era de manera censurada, acotada. Condenadas a algún capricho ridículo de alguno o varios miembros del gobierno dictatorial que “administraba” el país, y alentados por la Guerra de Malvinas, a lo largo de los casi 2 meses y medio por los que se extendió el conflicto, los interventores de las radios bajaron la orden estricta de no transmitir música extranjera. De un día para el otro, las radios dejaron de pasar música en inglés, reemplazando aquellas canciones de tinte “imperalista” por las de intérpretes nacionales de forma tajante, muchos de los cuales que curiosamente habían sido censurados durante la dictadura. Parte del pueblo se mostraba agradecido. La nueva medida alimentaba la falsa cuota de nacionalismo impuesta por el gobierno militar, que oportunamente hizo usufructo de ese fervor para su propio beneficio. Una idea tan perversa como redonda. Charly, Mercedes Sosa, Pedro y Pablo, Gieco, conseguían más divulgación radial que en épocas pasadas. Las banderas argentinas flameaban como nunca antes en un concierto de rock durante el Festival de la Solidaridad Latinoamericana de aquel 16 de mayo mientras, entre comunicado y comunicado de guerra, un buen número de jóvenes inexpertos defendían la patria en algún rincón remoto del Atlántico Sur mientras meditaban sobre si algún día iban a regresar a sus hogares. Entre tanta locura oficializada, la nueva orden de facto de las radioemisoras trajo aparejado algo bueno. Los nuevos músicos locales, los que recientemente habían atterizado en la escena, tuvieron la chance de hacerse conocer de mejor manera que si hubieran tenido que competir codo a codo con las canciones que llegaban de afuera. Los Abuelos de la Nada, Dulces 16, Zas, Suéter, la movida rosarina encabezada por Baglietto, Los Violadores, Riff…Entre aquellos también se alistaba el de un sexteto oriundo de La Plata y su refrescante propuesta de New Wave, que bajo un nombre apenas conformado por cinco letras, y una imagen que desafiaba el marco de moralidad impuesto por entonces por el gobierno de turno, llegaba para dejar una huella imborrable en el panorama autóctono de manos de su por entonces segundo álbum, “Recrudece”. Los Virus lucían modernos. Muy modernos. Tenían peinados raros, con gel, y un cantante de orejas grandes, en una época en la cual ser homosexual era considerado una salvajada atroz que no le permitía mostrarse como tal. Flaco y de porte cuasi anoréxico, Federico Moura destilaba una imagen andrógina como nunca antes habíamos visto en las filas del rock o el pop local, que tradicionalmente se había mostrado muy homofóbico. Naturalmente elegante y transgresor, aunque reservado en lo respectivo a su vida personal, Federico no tuvo reparos a la hora de proyectar esa ambigüedad que le permitió dejar grandes canciones por al menos cinco años más. Para 1987, en el momento en que recibió la noticia de que era portador de VIH (la enfermedad a la cual prácticamente el mundo entero aún se refería como “sida”, o de manera algo despectiva de buena parte de la prensa, como “peste rosa”), tras cederle el puesto de cantante a su hermano Marcelo, optó por dedicarse a la grabación de un álbum solista que todavía permanece inédito, que con las pocas fuerzas que lograba reunir jamás logró completar. Y batallando por su salud durante 2 años más, hasta el anuncio de su muerte el 21 de diciembre de 1988, cuando después de aquella última madrugada en su hogar en San Telmo una insuficiencia cardiorrespiratoria le dio la estocada final, valiéndole de ahí en más su condecoración definitiva, casi indiscutiblemente, de primera figura de la vanguardia del pop vernáculo.

AN INTERVIEW WITH DARRELL BATH: “BUILD UP THE INTEREST, KEEP IT GOING, AND WAIT TILL IT’S GOOD”

Estándar

This is the story of a South London boy who was born in Croydon…Hold on. Cut to Brighton, 2018. It’s a beautiful sunny June afternoon and I’m sitting at a pub called The Windmill waiting for Darrell Bath, whom I arranged to interview. “He better show up on time”, I say to myself. After all it was a long way from faraway Buenos Aires to the south of England. Add to that, only 4 hours ago I’d jumped on a train from London (Hemel Hempstead  actually, where I was staying), changed it at Clapham Junction, then changed again at Hove, and finally set foot at the Brighton station only 2 hours before I’d meet him. But time was running short. I still had to find the hotel where I had a room booked for the night, which takes you longer than supposed when you go just the opposite way and, errr, it’s not there. To make things worse, it’s called The Brighton Hotel, which means pretty most all of them are. But there should be only one under that very name, or so I thought, and about 20 blocks after I finally reach my second Brighton destination. An hour to interview time now, but somehow time has run faster, and I still have to find the place where we’ll meet which, even when it’s supposed to be not that far from where I am, but nobody seems to know it. And yes, before you wonder, I’m asking the locals. And yes, before you wonder again, I don’t have a cell phone with me and everybody seems to be pretty clueless but the middle-aged lady who directs me to the next street with a pub with The Windmill sign making eyes at me. The wait is finally over, although nothing would have stopped me from meeting one of my music heroes ever -and believe me, I have quite a few- whom I discovered back in 1993, by the time he joined my beloved Dogs D’Amour to record what was should be considered the band’s last great album. 5.30, isn’t it time now? That’s exactly when Darrell enters the scene, two minutes before we order the first round of pints. And there’s many more to come all though the hour and a half or so the interview will run for, as there’s lots to talk about. His last solo album “Roll Up”, released 3 years ago, must be one of the finest albums ever recorded by anybody, you just can’t deny it, but there’s about 32 years prior to that also left to discussion. From 1986 onwards, when he joined Charlie Harper’s UK Subs for the first of many stays, his brief passage through the previously mentioned Dogs, his days with Ian Hunter or The Vibrators or Nikki Sudden and, of course, the amazing and swaggering Crybabys. The story of a South London boy who was born in Croydon, went from playing side drum at school to discover the more rockin’ sounds of the Stones and the Faces and the blues and the glam and the punk guys. ‘Cause if every picture tells a story, here’s Darrell to tell you a few. And yes, please, we’ll have another pint, thank you.

I first heard about you when you joined the Dogs D’Amour for the “More Unchartered Heights of Disgrace” album in 1993. But 7 years before that, you joined the UK Subs, who you did three albums with, and it always seemed to me that somehow you completely changed the sound of the band.
Yeah, “Japan Today”, and two more albums. Yeah, more rock and roll, blues and R&B. Our common ground was garage rock’n’roll blues. Charlie (Harper) is a great harmonica player and he’s into all that.

R-1414372-1459183820-8616.jpegSo would you really say it was you who affected the sound of the band?
Oh yeah. We didn´t really play any of my compositions live, maybe one or two, like “Thunderbird Wine” or “Street Legal”, they were the only new songs we used to play live, the rest were from the previous albums.

More punk style…
Yeah, Ramones-y, or even a bit of hardcore style. I could adapt to that, that was no problem. I wouldn’t say it changed too much, but yeah. I love all good punk albums.

Right after that you joined the Dogs, or was there something in between? The Crybabys? If so, was it your first major personal band?
Yeah, the Crybabys. My first personal original band, yeah, with John (Plain) and Robbie (Rushton)

crybabys

Darrell with the Crybabys (second from left)

How did that ever happen?
Quite easy. I was working with Arturo (Bassick) from The Lurkers. We did one tour supporting Die Toten Hosen, who were very big Lurkers and (The) Boys fans. That went really well, so it came the chance to tour with them a second time, and Arturo rang John Plain. Two guitars, and one bass player singing, so during that tour we thought “let’s do our own thing in the style of the Faces or Mott the Hoople!” And that’s what we did. And John’s great, ‘cause he encouraged me to write my own songs, which wouldn’t have been right for UK Subs or some of the other bands I was with around that time.

And you also did a lot of writing together.
Yeah yeah, lots of them. But The Boys were still popular.

And then you recorded four albums with  the Crybabys.
Yeah. “Where Have All the Good Girls Gone”, “Rock On Sessions”, “Daily Misery” and “What Kind of Rock’n’Roll?”, which was a compilation of our first album, once again, “Where Have…” and what was we thought was gonna be our second album, but it really wasn’t.

R-5878473-1405202965-5076.jpegAny particular favourite of yours?
Yeah, I Like “Rock On Sessions”. It’s a shame it’s such a rare album.

I agree, it’s really impossible to find. Actually somebody copied it for me on a blank CD a long time ago, because I couldn’t find it on eBay, or anywhere.
Yes, it’s impossible to get it anywhere. Only a few copies were done. It was recorded in France, and then they pressed it up. Some 200 copies got sent to New York, and suddenly a phone call comes, “oh the warehouse has burnt down”… And it was like, “oh please!”…

And the album was never re-issued.
No. It was recorded in ’94, and it was eventually released in 2000. And the sound is pretty good, it’s a good performance. I love the band on that. That’s when we had Danny Garcia in the band, the man who made the Johnny Thunders film, he’s the bass player. He sings one song too.

Right, and you had Les Riggs on drums instead of Robbie Rushton.
Robbie is in the first two albums. And it’s Von in “Daily Misery”, who’s now in Die Toten Hosen and, yes, that’s Les Riggs from Cheap and Nasty on “Rock On Sessions”

But the band didn’t do much touring at the time.
We did a bit, mainly in England and France.

13227550_1153636888004162_8955119519994873060_oSorry, it’s just that I couldn’t find much information about the Crybabys…
Yeah, I know, very “cult” (laughs)

OK and then you joined the Dogs D’Amour. How did that happen?
How did that happen? Well we knew each other a bit, but I think that was because they had one more deal, one more record to make with China Records, and the old guitarist Jo (Dog) stayed in America, and they needed a guy in England. And, you know, my flat mate was a music promoter called Fish, and he was gonna book two nights at the Astoria, in Christmas ’92. I just thought I’d meet them for one or two gigs. Cool. But there was an album to do as well.

And for me, that album, “More Unchartered…” somehow marked the end of the good days of the Dogs D’Amour. I mean, I’m not saying that caused the end of the band, but they wouldn’t be that good anymore.
Probably not. But we also did Tyla’s first solo album (“The Life & Times of a Ballad Monger”) which is a good album as well, nice sound on it.

darrell-bath

Darrell during the Dogs D’Amour days, 1993.

And then you toured a bit with the Dogs at the time.
Oh yeah. All over England, and Spain. We were very popular in Spain. Only in those two countries. They were great fun gigs. Just good fun, while it lasted. Nice audiences, especially in the shows in Spain. And it was crazy. They would come to the gigs with 20 bottles of wine with “the Dogs D’Amour” painted on the label.

So you were doing both the Crybabys and the Dogs’ thing at the same time?
Yeah. In fact all band played on the original version of “All the Way to Hell and Back”, on the demo version. But I’ve lost it.

maxresdefaultWhy did the Crybabys stop? Honest John told me last year that he was looking forward to doing at least one more album with the band. In fact you both did a few acoustic shows together.
Well, we didn’t stop, but that would be great. Yeah, we did a little tour in Italy. And we did one more single on an Italian label. That was “Scars” backed with “Tell Me”, the Stones’ song, which was a double A side.

What about Ian Hunter? You worked with him for 6 years. I read somewhere that “you came to be the perfect replacement when writing songs after the death of Mick Ronson”. How much did you write together?
Yeah, we did some writing. He’s a great guy, he encourages you. He looks for the best things in people, and brings them out. I wouldn’t say I’m near Mick Ronson, no. It was more like we were more like a strict rock band in the spirit of Mott the Hoople, rather than a big rock band like Foreigner or Queen.

Did you do a lot of touring together?
We recorded in America, but we didn’t play over there. “Dirty Laundry” was recorded in Abbey Road, and then we did some overdubs in Trondheim, Norway. The second one was done in Vermont, up there in the hills, and then again the overdubs were finished in Trondheim. The whole scene was really “Lilyhammer”. Have you seen the film?

No, I guess I haven’t .
Oh man, you gotta see it…That would remind you of how it was like!

512gM0RqyhL._SX355_All the members of the Crybabys play in “Dirty Laundry”, so in a way it’s like an extra Crybabys album, as a matter of fact it sounds like that.
Oh yeah it does, it´s a classic album. And I love it.

Come 1995, that’s when you worked along Spike of the Quireboys on the “Take Out Some Insurance” album.
Yes we did, me and Spike, but that was unofficial, it was never been properly released. It was only available on cassette, and sold at gigs. That was it. Good album, uh?

Very good album, all blues standards…
Lots of blues, only one or two originals, one or two ‘70s John Mayall songs, a couple of classics, a Mississippi John Hurt one, a Muddy Waters song, you know, just the best we could do.

R-9333444-1478773101-2006.jpegDid you jam at the studio?
No, we were given a task by a publisher. He said “would you do this? Here’s a few ideas”. We did it in a great studio in Chiswick, a lovely studio called Chiswick Reach, all old valuable equipment, some of the original Joe Meek, it was his old equipment, so it was really old stuff.

Well, it sounds like old stuff…
Yeah, it sounds authentic. “Spoonful”… Jimmy Reed´s “Take Out Some Insurance”…

And it’s all timeless. I never pay attention to years, or when albums were released, only for biographical details….And by the way what made you become a musician? Were you a baby at the time? You were born in Croydon, right?
Yeah. It was like a magnet, you know. I loved the radio. My grandmother played the accordion, my grandparents played the piano…things like that.

Do you have any brothers or sisters?
Yeah, a sister, she’s younger than me, and she plays great tenor horn. She’s pretty accomplished as well, she’s a teacher. There was always music around. I could play violin and the guitar. I learnt all the chords, you know, just all the classic things.

But you played guitar since the get-go. Was it your first instrument?
Naaah, early teens, since 13. Before that was the drums, a side drum, I was in a marching band.

That’s how most people start, with the knife and the fork banging pots and things at home.
Yeah, that’s right, that’s how you learnt it! I was fascinated! And all my friends in school, we were all in the same marching band. We’d all practice at the church hall. We loved it, man. And we were really scruffy, really scruffy guys, with the long hair and the bit, you know.
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Do you still remember which was the first album you bought?
I think it was “Rock Around the Clock”, or something like that.

I’d like to know about your collaborations with Honest John in his solo albums.
Oh yeah, the “Honest John Plain and Friends” album. Again, that’s basically a Crybabys album, ‘cause that one has Von and Ronnie on it, both Crybabys’ drummers, and it was recorded in Blaneau Festiniog , that’s in Clywd, Wales.

Oh that was a bit hard to understand, being it Welsh…
Yes, that’s Welsh. My grandmother speaks Welsh, she was used to,  and my mother probably knows a bit of it.  They’re both Welsh. And the language gives them an identity. I’d forgotten how good that album actually is! We’d been there for a couple of weeks, and John had his brand new envelope for 50 pound notes and he would take it into the pub every day. And eventually the locals would be very suspicious (laughs)  I remember this guy at the pub saying to John, “coming out from bloody London with your brand new 50 pound notes, I know what you’re doing, you’re laundering money!” Anyway, great album! Another rare one, there’s not so many of them around. Another “cult” classic. I’m very proud of that album, ‘cause the guitar sound on it is great. My work is done on a ’66 Gibson Firebird on there.

You should do a box-set including the Spike blues album, all those lost songs and gems.
John has the most stuff, has a lot of concerts. He has one particular wild concert from us in a mountain district in Switzerland, me, Robbie and John, when we were just The Gringo Starrs, before the Crybabys. Before we had the name The Crybabys, we were The Gringo Starrs.

Any explanation behind the Amigos or Gringos thing?
Well you know, we like cowboys. We love all that Texas cowboys thing, Spanish, Italian…Mandolins, we love all that.

When I interviewed Honest John last year in Buenos Aires, he told me he wanted to do another Crybabys album. He gave me his word. Now it’s your time you gave me yours.
It’d be wonderful! I’ve got the songs. The glass is quite full, my “song glass” is getting full, you know. I’m not the biggest writer in the world, but we could be ready for an album, easily.

Where did you get your slide guitar style from? Any heroes?
Yeah, Ronnie Wood, but somebody told me “tune your guitar to an open E”, and use a glass bottle”, and I didn’t have a glass bottle, but I had a marker pen, a glass marker pen. So I got a marker pen, took the ink out, took the label off, and it fitted on my finger. Waaawwlll, simple as that.

Oh yes, but in your recording with the Crybabys, that was  a real bottleneck, not the pen.
Not that one, no, I lost the pen. But I liked it when I you just can to use a little bit of brass or something. I have a slide from Ronnie Wood, a brass one, from Ronnie. From ’91, when I met him in Hackney. My friend Ronny Rocka was working as his assistant.

Everybody loves Ronnie, but most of the people were always mostly after Keith Richards.
Course I do! Everybody loves him. He’s the king of the gypsies, he’s a gypsy prince.

Do you think his hair is black after all these years? Some people say he dyes it…
No, his hair is strong. Some people never lose their hair, his is just black.

And you’ve always been this big Faces fan, by the way.
Yeah, big Ronnie Lane fan. Big Steve Marriott fan too.

You also worked with René Berg.
Oh man, I nearly got killed once with René Berg!  He was a very hard drug addict, but a great guy. I was seeing him maybe once a week or something, playing music. We were music friends really, not so much to do with the drugs, but he was playing hard in that world. And one day we were around his house, and two guys turned up. A white guy, and a black guy from South Africa. And we sat there talking.

ddbbbThey sure weren’t delivering pizza or anything…
Yes, it was drugs stuff. One of the guys pulls out the biggest gun I’d ever seen, it was a brand new solid Magnum, of the hi-tech variety. I actually wasn’t scared, for some reason. You know, I don’t like confrontation, but that was a scene. He was a great guy, and one of the last things he said to me was “I’m sorry”. Because he went down. Everything about hard drugs is hard. But we did lots of gigs together around London, and I also sang backup vocals.

And now the Vibrators. You didn’t only record with them, but also toured a lot.
Yeah, I met them through Charlie Harper. When I was in the UK Subs, we did long tours with the Vibrators.

What about Nikki Sudden, who you toured with and recorded with too? Too sad he’s gone now.
It was never more surprise than to me.  I was very surprised, I wasn’t expecting that. Circumstances, you know. Nikki, oh mate, he was a lovely lovely lovely guy. He loved the Crybabys, he loved Honest John, he loved Casino Steel. In the Vibrators there’s four or five people. One guy drives the van and plays the drums. Another guy writes all the songs and plays a bit of guitar. Another guy also plays the guitar, and he does a lot of party. Another guy books the studios and engineers the albums. But Nikki did all of those jobs. And the party. So that may have something to do with it. It was an honour to be in such an elaborate project like “Treasure Island”. I knew Nikki from a friend of mine called Desperate Dave. He was a guy we all knew from going to gigs like Johnny Thunders, Hanoi Rocks and that sort of bands. Again, I was lucky to be involved in a few sessions for “Treasure Island”. He had at least two albums full of material, stuff we did in Berlin for “The Truth Doesn’t Matter”, which also became “Playing with Fire”, so there were two albums worth of material done in sessions in Berlin which often lasted from 10 in the morning to 2 in the next day. We got 6-day studio time, and that was the beginning of “The Truth Doesn’t Matter”. And lot of work involved in “Playing with Fire” as well. The great thing about the “The Truth Doesn´t Matter” sessions is we always stopped in the morning, picked up a case of nicely affordable red wine, and I´d be in charge of knocking out the glühwein on the stove. We got the glühwein going, you know, since it was the middle of winter.

sameTime to talk about your solo records. Would you consider Sabre Jet’s “Same Old Brand New” your first one?
“Same Old Brand New” was the first one. It was a solo album but, when it came down to it, a guy said to me “ok I’ll call it after a group”, but it was basically all my stuff. With Richard Newman, son of Tony Newman, Paul Kirkham on bass…Engineered and produced by Andy Scott from The Sweet. And I loved The Sweet, ‘cause my first love in music was glam rock, from ’72, ’73, ’74 and ’75, ‘round that area, the glam rock days.

Would you then consider “Love and Hurt” your first 51699eDTg9L._SX425_
proper solo album?
Yeah, I guess, I’d say that would be my first actually. It was recorded with the great Dave Goodman, who was the Sex Pistols producer, amongst many other things. Bands like Eater, and many more. And “Love and Hurt” was recorded on 9/11! Yeah. That’s what I remember about it.

And then came a long hiatus till you recorded the “Madame Zodiac EP” in Spain with Los Tupper and also Eddie Edwards from the Inmates, Vibrators, etc. Dave Kusworth did an album with them too…
We were touring Spain with Nikki and Dave. I met those guys and they invited me over to play in their album and eventually I did some of my stuff too.

2015 saw the release of “Roll Up”, which must be one of the finest rock albums ever in history.
I don’t write a lot of songs but I have some in store. I was ready to do them, and I had the money to pay for the studio, ‘cause I´d been working with the Vibrators on the road, and I thought the best thing to do was planning for the future and get some music up there. So I got Robbie Rushton from the Crybabys on the drums and Chris McDougall on the bass, so I just did it with my closest friends.

6_PANEL_DIGI_1_TRAY_RIGHT_DBXXX3XXIt’s one of those albums I just cannot stop playing, it already became a favourite of mine. “It’s in the Music” is one of the most beautiful songs ever. And by the way what’s the history behind “Rat Palace”?
Oh, that´s from when I was living in Hackney. There was an anarchist cafe, and I went up there one day, and I was reading some books about anarchy. So “Rat Palace” is basically inspired by an anarchist book that I read in a cafe. And I liked it, I just liked it. So it’s kind of abstract but, you know, we all live in a rat palace haha, we go drunk from the chalice, you know.

And what does “goombah” mean, by the way? (from the title of the song “Dancin’ with the Devil’s Goombah”)
I got that from The Sopranos, from the gansters. “Goombah” can be a girl-friend or a boy-friend, but it’s not your wife.

Any new recordings you did after “Roll Up”?
Well, I’ve got a couple of new tracks that I’ll be working on in Spain, and I’m also on the last two or three albums by Los Tupper. Yeah, man.

IMG_5129adj

From L. to R.: Darrell, Robbie Rushton and Chris McDougall

So what’s coming up next now?
Little bits and pieces, I just do bits and pieces. Hopefully when the time is right a new album will take shape. I’m a bit like Ronnie Wood in that way, you know, you don’t do an album in five minutes. Build up the interest, keep it going, keep it interesting and wait till it’s good. And it always takes a few years to people to discover it. It always takes time.

01
Once again, it’s such a fine album, it sounds already classic, beautiful sound all over it, and I’m not playing the fan here…

My favourite track is “Slimline Jim”, hahaha, I love “Slimline”.

And then I cannot get enough of “Dirty Rock Road” too.
Yeah, I love that too.

Anything else you want to talk about?
Not yet. But someday I’d love to go to Argentina, say, with Honest John and Dave Kusworth. “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”, hahaha.

 

A 30 AÑOS DE LA EDICIÓN DE ‘TALK IS CHEAP’, DE KEITH RICHARDS

Estándar

Un 3 de octubre como el de hoy, pero hace 30 años, se editaba TALK IS CHEAP, primer álbum solista de Keith Richards, grabado entre los meses de marzo de 1987 y mayo del ’88 en diversos estudios ubicados en New York City, Montreal, Monserrat, Memphis y las Bermudas. Hasta aquel momento sus aventuras en solitario contaban con un único antecedente, más precisamente cuando lanzó el simple RUN RUDOLPH RUN / THE HARDER THEY COME para las navidades de 1978 (con una versión de la canción de Marvin Brodie y Johnny Marks popularizada por Chuck Berry en la cara A, y una de la autoría de Jimmy Cliff ocupando el lado B) Una década más tarde, para 1988, las cosas no andaban nada bien en el seno de los Stones desde hacía hacía ya algunos años.

talk3A decir verdad, se encontraban peor que nunca. Jagger no sólo había firmado contrato con la CBS para lanzar su carrera en solitario (que comenzó con el disco She’s the Boss de 1985), sino que además, a pesar de la manifiesta insistencia de su compañero de ruta, venía negándose continuamente a salir de gira con el grupo, situación que sacó de las casillas a Keith, que inclusó llegó a declarar públicamente respecto a su co-equiper: “Si lo agarro, le corto la garganta”. Todo se tornó aún peor cuando Mick editó su segundo trabajo solista Primitive Cool en 1987, lo que encolerizó más a Richards, que incluso lo llevó a considerar seriamente el final de la banda, y a lo que se referiría ante la prensa como “la tercera Guerra Mundial”. Inactivo y cansado de los caprichos de Jagger, a pesar de haber siempre considerado a los Stones su prioridad, Keith optó por plasmar una mejor idea, para así darle fin a su exasperante ansiedad y mal humor producido por las circunstancias: la de formar su propio proyecto. Para eso convocó a una serie de músicos de vasta experiencia y trayectoria como sesionistas (el guitarrista Waddy Wachtel, el bajista Charley Drayton, el tecladista Ivan Neville y el baterista Steve Jordan) con quienes logró encontrar el sonido que tanto se encontraba buscando, y así consolidar al nacimiento de los X-Pensive Winos, con los que haría dos trabajos más en solitario (el álbum en vivo Live At The Hollywood Palladium, editado en 1991, y Main Offender, que vio la luz al año siguiente) Más tarde se sumarían la recopilación Vintage Vinos de 2010, y el que fuera su hasta ahora último trabajo solista Crosseyed Heart, editado en el 2015. Y hasta aquí llegamos. Por ahora.
LADO A: 1. Big Enough/ 2. Take It So Hard/ 3. Struggle/ 4. I Could Have Stood You Up/ 5. Make No Mistake/ 6. You Don’t Move Me
LADO B: 1. How I Wish/ 2. Rockawhile/ 3. Whip It Up/ 4. Locked Away

talk5

AN INTERVIEW WITH ROBERTA BAYLEY – “THERE WAS NOBODY MORE PUNK THAN LITTLE RICHARD”

Estándar

By Marcelo Sonaglioni and Frank Blumetti

If this article defied its usual style and started by the end of the meeting described here, it should refer to the very minute before the “thanks and goodbye” to the person interviewed, when one of the interwievers took out a book about the New York rock scene in the late ’70s from his bag, of which the interviewee was one of its most distinguished witnesses, and then proceeded to point out the picture he wanted to be autographed. “I know which ones are my pictures, you do not need to tell me!” What could be taken as some real temper is nothing but Roberta Bayley in pure punk attitude, the same that led her to become one of the chosen few who was there to catch the Big Apple punk scene through the lens of her camera close-up some 43-odd years ago and beyond. More than four decades later, at 68, Bayley is in Buenos Aires to host a photo exhibition portraying much of her work. A one-week stay, from Thursday to Thursday,where she was extensively interviewed, and during which she barely had the time to get around the city, which she says reminds her of Paris. Bayley talks a lot, and does it passionately, so much that usually gets ahead of the questions which still need to be asked, even adding something that really seems to make her pleased: not to be inquired “once again” about her famous photo on the cover of the first Ramones album (which, although usually considered her trademark shot, does little justice for the rest of her career) And later on deciding to acknowledge it by refusing to stop when somebody informs her it’s time to wrap up the interview: “No, not yet, I want to keep talking”, and that we interviewers had no choice but to accept.

Capture

Punk rock scene witness: Bayley and her camera in the ’70s

You were born in the West Coast, in Pasadena, California, but what exactly made you move to London afterwards, and then to New York?
Well, I left southern California when I was 4. I asked my mother not to send me, but she said “we’re going”. So we moved to Seattle, and I lived there till I was 7, and then we moved again to Marin County, which is just north of San Francisco, a very nice area. It’s a very wealthy neighborhood now, but it was middle-class at the moment. There was nature and we had a house on the hill, and a view, you know, and horses and pets. Then after I graduated at high school when I was 18, I went to college in San Francisco. Unfortunately my sister had been killed in a car accident in the same year, which was very disturbing. When I was 19, I had a boyfriend who was a musician, and we lived together for about a year. He’s still a very good friend of mine. And after my third year of college, I just quit, with not really much thought. And then I just said, “I’m going to London”. I bought a one-way ticket. The main reason was that I could be far away, and they just spoke my language, even when a funny accent, but they just spoke English there. Oh yeah, I was making a joke about the “funny language” thing… Anyway I’d always been a kind of anglophile, because I was a big Beatles and Rolling Stones fan, and all that, so I had an affinity for London, and I had a friend from San Francisco who was also a photographer, and who had moved there. We weren’t close friends but we knew each other, and he helped me with photography, ‘cause I was trying to learn. That was around 1970 or 1971, I think. Fred was staying in this very large apartment in London for free, and he said “there’s plenty of room, why don’t you come here?” So I just started living there, maybe getting a little job and working. I didn’t have a camera, I wasn’t taking pictures or anything like that. Out of that, I was really in the music scene, you had all these great music papers like the Melody Maker and the New Musical Express, and occasionally I’d go to music concerts. That’s when I saw The Temptations, or Al Green, in 1973. I was a huge fan of him. You know, the whole white suite, and he played at the Rainbow. And then when he came to New York I went to see him at the Apollo, which was completely amazing, as it was a different show. He was really sexy, and dirty, and cool. But back to London, I’d worked briefly with Malcolm McLaren. I lived in his neighborhood, so he and his wife would use to come in the restaurant where I worked as a waitress. Sometimes he needed someone to help him out, but it wasn’t anything to do with music. Although sometimes we’d go see bands together, and there was this band coming up that kinda was getting talked about a little bit called Kilburn and the High-Roads. They were sort of in the pub rock scene, and there was a radio show on Sundays called Honky Tonk with a gentleman called Charlie Gillett, he’s the one who wrote one of the early rock books, “Sound of the City”. I became friends with Charlie, and he started to manage Kilburn and the High-Roads. So one night they were playing in White Chapel. And there I met Ian Dury, we fell madly in love, and we hitchhiked back from White Chapel. But then I was leaving back to San Francisco, as that was already planned. So we had correspondence, and phone calls, he was begging me to go back to London.

Did you go back to London?
Yeah, we loved each other, so I went back. Then we lived together. The band was really struggling, we weren’t making any money. We lived in a squat in Stockwell, that’s close to Brixton. But it was great music. The Kilburns were really a weird band. I mean, they had a black crippled guy in the band, they had a midget, they had this guy Humphrey Ocean…It was his fake name, but he was a painter. He wasn’t really a musician, he sort of danced onstage…But they were really good and the songs were really original. Ian was an incredible performer, and incredibly charismatic. He was crippled himself. He had polio and ended up with a completely fucked-up leg. But he was completely unique. They finally got a record contract and made this record, but it didn’t do well, so he kind of said “I’m too poor, you should go back to America, as this isn’t a good situation”. I think he was also having an affair with his previous girlfriend Denise Roudette, who was also a musician, and a very beautiful woman.

Maybe that was another reason to go back home again. 03
Well I didn’t know that but I suspected it, and I didn’t want to have a boyfriend who was cheating on me. And you know, you have to hate the girlfriend, so she hated me and when I left, she took my fur coat. But she’s a beautifully spirited woman and I have great respect for her. I guess she played for a little bit in the Kilburns. So I left for New York. I didn’t know anyone in New York at all. I had one friend I vaguely remembered that had moved from San Francisco, but I had a list of names that my friends in London gave me, like, you know, “I’m a friend of Ian Dury”, and this woman said “yes, come and stay with me”. She had a big loft on Church Street. This was in 1974. But everybody was very helpful. And then I started working and I made some money. My first job in New York was as a nanny, because you had a place to live, and you had a salary, but it was part-time. But then one of those people from the list my friends had given me, he was in the music business, he worked as a roadie, you know, lighting, sound man, for the Rolling Stones and other big bands. He was really nice, he showed me all around New York and said “so what do you wanna do?” And I said “I wanna see the New York Dolls, because I never saw them”. Because when they played in San Francisco, I was in London. When they played in London, I was in San Francisco, and he said he was their soundman in New York, and then he knew them very well. And next week they were playing in this place called Club 82, which was a club in a place that had been owned by the mafia, and all the entertainment there was female impersonators, what we would now call drag queens. That was the history of the club but, by the time I went there, it was sort of a little disco. It became very popular because David Bowie visited, so everybody would go there because of that. The new bands were playing there, so the New York Dolls would play there. There was a disco in-between, so everybody could dance after the bands. So that was the first band I saw in New York, and afterwards my friend threw a party for the bands in his loft above, and some of the Dolls came, and also the opening band, a band called the Miamis, who were unknown, but they were one of my favourite bands at the time.

02Yes, we did an interview with Gary Lachman (Valentine) two years ago in London and he mentioned the Miamis.
Yeah, they were one of my favourites. They didn’t have the look, they were just Jewish guys with curly hair. It wasn’t a punk look. They were pop more than punk, but they were very good songwriters and very funny guys, and their songs had a lot of humour, but they never achieved success. I met David Johansen at the party, and he was very nice. And the funny thing is, it was Club 82, and the Dolls had never played there, so they said “well we’re playing Club 82, we should wear dresses”. I had heard the rumours of the faggots and all that, so the first time I saw them, David is wearing a strapless evening gown, a ladies’wig, and women’s high heels, so I said “oh these guys are weird”, but that was their thing, it was kind of a joke. I think that Johnny (Thunders) or Jerry (Nolan) said “oh no, I’m not wearing a dress” ‘Cause they were really macho guys, they were so not gay, you know. The music business was kind of afraid of them because of their album cover. They were in drag and people didn’t understand it. You know, homophobia, and all that.

Looks like seeing the Dolls live was a major turning point for everybody who was part of that late ‘70s scene in New York. Everybody went to see the New York Dolls.
Oh yeah, they were huge in New York. Mick Jagger and David Johansen would be at Max’s Kansas City, and people would go to David. They were bigger than anything. They were the coolest band, they had the best girlfriends and they looked the greatest. Later on the Dolls’ success was kind of going on the downhill, but everybody could see they were having a really good time. They were getting all the chicks, they were getting all the drugs, it was fun, and that’s what rock and roll is, so everybody started bands.

04

Bayley, about the New York Dolls: “They were the coolest band, they had the best girlfriends and they looked the greatest

Plus they had some image, it was very striking at the time. 
Yeah. And that’s when Malcolm McLaren came to manage the Dolls, and he put them in red pant leather, with the Communist flag, and all that. But the Dolls were amazing at their shows, I saw them, and they had bands like Television opening for them. The newer bands like Television wanted to distinguish themselves from glitter rock, they wouldn’t gonna wear lipstick. So Richard Hell created very specifically and intentionally this new look with the short hair. Nobody had short hair. In rock’n’roll, you had long hair. And they would have ripped clothes because, you know, their clothes ripped, and then they would fix it with a safety pin. It wasn’t fashion, it was something practical to live.

And then nobody expected that it would turn out to be a fashionable thing.
Well, Richard kind of thought if they wanted to get attention, they had to be different. You know, Richard Hell did the T-shirt for Richard Lloyd that said “please kill me” onstage. Richard Lloyd tried to dye his hair bleach but it turned green…

05

Richard Hell, punk pioneer: “He was very much into the surrealists”

How was living with Richard Hell?
With Richard? Weird. He wouldn’t let me water the plants, because he said “let it die, it’s survival, don’t water the plants” And then we had a mouse at the apartment, and I wanted to get rid of it, and he said “no! The mouse lives”

What do you mean? A mouse living with you? Not in a fish tank or something…
No, he was a loose mouse. But then I killed the mouse, and I threw it away, and he went “oh where’s the mouse?” I never told him I’d killed the mouse. We were just living together, and that’s how we lived. You know, we were poor. It wasn’t mean. He was very much into the surrealists, like Lautreaumont and Baudelaire. You know he’s a writer, and he was a poet.

We tried to contact him recently for an interview.
No, he doesn’t talk about music, he doesn’t want to. It’s almost impossible to get him to talk about music.  And I respect it because, say, I’m doing all these interviews and I’m always being asked the same thing, over and over again. “What was it like in the ‘70s?”, etc. For him it’s extremely boring. He hasn’t done any music since the ‘80s. He’s a writer now. He’s published novels, books, articles…He makes his living as a respected writer. So he doesn’t wanna talk about punk rock. You know, I understand him completely.

That’s easy to understand…
See, just before I left for Buenos Aires, I had somebody to interview me about Sid (Vicious) and Nancy (Spungen), because I knew them both. So the first question was, once again, “What was it like in the ‘70s?” I said to him, “look, I’m not writing your article for you. There’s many books and articles written about that. You go to the library, and in 2 weeks, you phone me back, and then you ask me some serious questions, because I can’t tell you the whole story. That’s your job, you’re the journalist!” That was Richard’s philosophy, and I understand that. Five years ago I probably would have answered that kind of questions, but now it’s like enough already. Go to the library. I mean you don’t even have to go to the library, go to the internet, it’s all right there. So then you can ask me a relevant question that shows you have some knowledge, and you won’t insult me (laughs)

sidney-with-vicious

Bayley and Sid Vicious

Hopefully our questions are interesting… 
Yeah, they are, it sounds like you kind of know my answers a little bit. I enjoy interviews, but sometimes you get tired of hearing “how did you take the Ramones picture?”

Back in time, how you did get the job at the CBGB’s?
Oh, because I was Richard Hell’s girlfriend. Television was the only band that used to play there only on Sunday night. Their manager was Terry Ork, so he said “Roberta you stay at the door and take the money, 2 dollars” So when the people came to go in, I told them they had to pay and convinced them to pay 2 dollars, they were gonna see a good band, and that’s the deal.

Theres a funny story about that concerning Legs McNeil.
Yes, he came to CBGB’s and he said “I’m Legs McNeil”. I’d never seen Punk magazine, nobody had seen it. It was brand new, it just came out, the first issue. And I said “no, it’s 2 dollars, you have to pay me”. And he said, “no, I get in for free”. And then I said, “well ok, give me a copy of the magazine”. And he said, “no, it’s 50 cents, behind the bar, you can buy it”. So I said, “all right, that’s pretty cool, you go in for free”. So I went to the bar, picked 50 cents and bought the magazine. After work, I went home, and I read the magazine, and then I said “man, I gotta work for these guys, this is incredible!” They weren’t sure about me. But we decided to do something like a photonovela. That meant going around to different clubs, and I’d take the pictures. We did all these great pictures and we had this great chemistry and a hilarious time, we had a lot of fun. So they said, “well, do you wanna work for us?”. So from that moment on, I worked for them till the end of the magazine.

So you had been already working as a photographer by then? What took you to becoming a photographer before entering the music scene?
Yeah, that was in 1976, and I’d started at the end of 1975. I had interest in photography since I was a little girl. You know, I had a little toy camera. But then photography was becoming popular among people. But then in high school, when I was 15, I also had a photography class, which was very simplistic. But I learnt how to develop a film, and how to print. I loved photography, and when they graded me, I got more pluses than minuses. My photography teacher liked my pictures very much, and he would give me an assignment, like taking pictures which showed movement. He was a history teacher, but his passion was photography. And then when I was about 19, I bought a Nikon. I wasn’t doing any music pictures at the times, but I did street photography. But at the time photography wasn’t still considered a form of art, it was still the black sheep in the art world. But then when I came to New York, I met everybody in the scene, like I told you…Club 82, and I was working at CBGB’s, everybody was really interesting, so it would have been really stupid not taking pictures.

Any reason in particular why most of the pictures were only in black and white?
Yeah, it was a decision, because I had no money. But I shot a lot of colour, anytime I could afford it, or else I was shooting both. And specially when I became involved with Blondie. But colour is more expensive. I was also extremely lucky that soon after I bought my camera, I had this friend, and he said “oh I have this dark room that somebody left in my apartment, I’ll let you use it for 6 months”. The entire darkroom, which was very large, with everything.

07

Pretty baby: Debbie Harry through the lens of Roberta Bayley

You did a lot of work with Blondie, and they were a very colourful band anyway. It would have been such a loss to shoot Debbie Harry only in black and white…
Yeah, and it was the same with the New York Dolls. And I think about it, because I’m always saying to people part of the reason the Ramones cover made such an impression is because it’s black and white, but there’s also a New York Dolls first cover that was b&w. It was unusual for rock bands. Folk music did a lot of b&w, Bob Dylan too. But rock bands usually used colour. Elvis’ was black and white, his first album for RCA, the one that The Clash copied. I’d do both, I had two cameras, so I could shoot colour and black and white. But the Ramones picture was black and white, as it was for Punk magazine.  We couldn’t afford printing in colour. Printing was so primitive, you couldn’t mix colour and b&w in the same page, which now is very common. So all we shot for Punk magazine was black and white. Stupidily, Bob Gruen was there the same day, so he has the pictures of Debbie in colour because, he was rich, and he could afford it (laughs) I mean, he wasn’t rich, but he was richer than me.

1

The Ramones on the cover of their debut album

Who would you say were the easiest and the hardest bands or musicians to work with? I know you loved shooting Iggy Pop, in fact you once said you wish you had photographed him more.
Oh yes. That’s right. But then I retired. I can call him on the phone (laughs) There’s a very fantastic interview of him and Anthony Bourdain, you can sure find it on YouTube. Iggy’s just the coolest person, and his conversation with Anthony is done at at Iggy’s house in Florida.

Back to the punk scene, a tricky question, which one do you think influenced the 08other one? Was it that the New York scene influenced the British one, or was it the other way round?
Now you’re showing me you’re ignorant! Sorry.

It’s ok.
The New York scene started in 1974. London’s scene started in 1976. So who influenced who? It’s New York! London took all the ideas from New York. The safety pins, the ripped clothing, and all that. But locally the British guys were very talented. You know, Glen Matlock, Steve Jones, Paul Cook

I actually didn’t mean to be serious. I was playing games with you.
But you wouldn’t believe, when I talk to stupid journalists, I always say “go out, just do your history!” We started it.

The right question then would be, is there a link between both scenes?
Of course! Malcolm McLaren! You know, Blondie became big in England first, before anywhere else, because Debbie (Harry) was very beautiful, and they played in Top of The Pops…Blondie had many hits in London. But then when they came back to New York, they knew that Johnny Rotten had copied Richard Hell, that it was the version of him. Johnny Rotten copied him off.

Somehow most of the people always thought that the whole punk thing started with the Sex Pistols.
You don’t explain to me, I’ll explain it to you, ok? This is how it works.

09

The Pistols caught onstage by Bayley: “The Sex Pistols were never big in the USA”

All right.
The Sex Pistols became huge in London because they said “fuck” on TV. You know, their record was banned. You couldn’t even advertise it, but you could sell it. And so, you know, they were huge in the press. At that time nobody knew about any of the New York bands, except in a small area. The Ramones were still obscure, but when they went to London on the 4th of July of 1976 and played at the Roundhouse, there in the audience was The Clash, the Sex Pistols, etc. They couldn’t even afford tickets, and Johnny Ramone went to the window and let them come in. They were just kids, but the Ramones were aware of the fans and the kids, and that they were the future next music. I don’t think the Ramones felt threatened, but I think they were very pissed off when the Sex Pistols sort of became more famous than them more quickly. But not really in the United States. The Sex Pistols were never big in the United States. But England’s a very small country, with three music papers. It was a completely different environment.

And then it just happened the other way round when the Pistols did their last tour in the USA. How was the experience?
That was really insane. They were just fed up, and Sid was detoxing from heroin. As a drug addict, he felt terrible. We had an idea of playing these weird cities, obscure cities in the south like Memphis, Baton Rouge, San Antonio…But that was all intentional.

I wouldn’t say risky, but definitely tough places. Like people throwing bottles at them…
Well, we were punks, we would take it… (laughs) But that was part of what was frustrating for the band because the band was really good. I missed the first two shows of the tour. My first one was San Antonio, with many people throwing things at them, insulting the band, “fuck you!” and all that. They were treating them like freaks. But there were still people that liked them, although a minority. You know, when you go to the south, Tulsa, Oklahoma…there are people who are Jesus freaks, like protesting, the devil’s music, and all that shit. So they were just frustrated and fed up with the whole thing, and Johnny said, “enough”, that’s in San Francisco.

Why do you think there’s so much interest in punk after all these years?
It’s the last underground music. There’s no way now to stay underground, you’re discovered immediately. You’re discovered before anything, even before you go to the studio and play. That’s my opinion. I don’t follow music anymore. It was like the ‘50s, which was true punk music, like Little Richard. Nobody more punk. Elvis Presley, nobody more punk. People say, “oh punk was the most revolutionary music”. Oh no, ‘50s rock’n’roll, and even more, black music. You know, and then the mid-‘60s and psychedelic bands, which was a different kind of music.

Just to think of Little Richard…He was black, gay, he used lipstick, he shook his ass at the piano. And that’s in the ‘50s! IMG_3310
Yeah, and that was David Bowie’s biggest influence, and his first as well. I heard Little Richard as my sister was 7 years older than me so, even as that little, I heard ‘Tutti Frutti’. I loved Little Richard. And Jerry Lee Lewis, another punk.

What about New York’s culture? Do you think of any change involved in the last years?
You know, New York will always be a center of culture. Today, it’s very hard for artists to live there because of the high cost of living. In the ’70s you could get a loft, a huge loft, for $200 a month. Now that would be $10,000 a month. For young people now, coming to the city, I don’t know how they do it.

I guess it’s the same with many bohemian areas in the main cities. Like Chelsea, in London. It used to be like that in the ‘60s, and affordable, and suddenly big companies or big clothing stores arrive and they turn into expensive and fashionable places.
Oh yeah, it’s the same with Soho in New York. Because at the time it was dead. Tribecca was also dead. Any neighborhood you name. Only the Bronx is still probably rough. My neighborhood is too crowded now. It used to be more serene. But I never go out at night, so I don’t give a shit.
10How long have you’ve been living in the same place?
Almost 45 years, since 1975. It’s a tiny apartment, 400 square feet.  7 floors, no elevator. So I go 7 floors up and down. I have no choice. Or I could sleep on the floor. It means nothing to me, I’ve been doing it a long time. It’s quite healthy. And the other thing, it’s actually illegal in New York to have seven, so all the buildings around have six. So I have an incredible view, and beautiful light. Because there are no buildings next to me. This is what I say to myself when I’m on the stairs, “you have good light!” (laughs)

Regarding your exhibition, do you feel like an artist showing her works, or more of a witness of an era? Did you visit Buenos Aires around already?
Oh, both. I haven’t really seen anything except the gallery, the gallery, the hotel, the gallery…But I will. I long to come back.

Doesn’t it feel a bit strange coming down here to show your works?
I feel wonderful! I don’t feel strange. It’s a fantastic feeling, I’m very pleased and it’s really exciting. I get a little bit in New York. I also got quite a little bit when I went to Tokyo. You know, they’re also big fans of the Ramones and Punk Rock. I was like a mini-celebrity there, but still not as big as here. I don’t want to do it every day of my life, I‘d lose my mind.

So this is your first time in Argentina, but is it also your first time in South America? Not even in Brazil?
Yes. Not even in Brazil. First time down the equator.

What would be punk’s biggest legacy to the world?
It’s the idea of “do it yourself”. Don’t wait to be an expert. Give it a try, make a mistake, it’s ok. You know, if you feel like doing something, you don’t have to sit in your room practicing the guitar for 5 years, just go out with three chords. That’s all you need. Do it. Because that’s why we did. I didn’t know how to do photography.

One last question, considering lately we saw you in many pictures with your dog. So looks like suddenly you changed from pictures with “punks” to pictures with “pugs”.
Yeah, dogs and musicians are not different.