Sunday, October 15, 2006

CBGB's: Patti, Ramones, Blondie, Television et a

The Patti I knew, but haven't heard since 1976, was on Sirius, live from CBGB's -- their last live show in NY. I'm finishing a huge stack of photos for a book submission, and coincidentally working on shots of her from LA's Roxy, November 11, 1976. Tonight she covered Television, Blondie, Dead Boys and when taking a bathroom break, the boys covered da brudders. Cos of all the bands CBGBs spawned, who is more influential and universally beloved than the Ramones?

Patti put on one helluva show. Amazing. Wonder what Danny Fields was feeling/thinking? He is one of my all time fave people. I just wish I had some idea who he was when I knew him. I can’t wait to hear back from friends in the audience. But the drag is: how do you put a night like this into words? And how can those words ever replace not being there?

Last night I walked to an art opening down the street. The first comment when I pulled out a flyer w/my pix was, "so you shot at CBGB's, NY." I steadfastly shot down any and all suggestions I show my photos at CBGB's gallery the past couple of years. I felt it would be dishonest -- I've never even flown over NY, let alone set foot there. I'm a LA gal, and those bands played here, you know?

Anyway, you know how so many people talk about how much the Ramones changed their life, whether seeing them or hearing them? For me, it was Patti. "Horses," November, 1975 on my turntable. January, 1976, live at the Roxy. I can't begin to explain how I felt standing in line, waiting that cold winter eve, then seeing people come in when the doors finally opened. I swore to myself I'd figure out a way to be first in line. I can't sing, manage, or write songs, but I just knew this was my life. I planted the seeds to become a rock photographer, although even when I shot the Ramones the following August -- because I loved Dee Dee Ramones' cheekbones -- I still didn't have a clue I'd take some of the most iconic and beloved punk shots. I never imagined being published, let alone working on Patti photos 30 years later.

Back to Patti -- by the time I found a seat at the Roxy that cold January night, the club was packed (I realize later lots of people stayed over from the first show) so that I couldn't even see her perform. But her presence, her voice -- so memorable. Truly life changing.

She's talking about Lenny. Oh Lenny, talk about an icon! I was so shy and naive I had NO idea Lenny's writing/music background. The last time I saw them, August, 2001, the Roxy yet again, he hugged and kissed me. Patti hugged me outside during sound check. I remain stunned.

“Redondo Beach” dedicated to Jane Friedman. I often wonder where is she? I have some lovely backstage shots of Jane. Jane was one of the sweetest, kindest persons I met in rock. Lovely to hear her name.

I last saw Patti at the Troubadour, October 15th last year. Those last two times were disappointing -- hard to hear her lyrics. Tonight the mix is the way I like it: her voice up front and clear, the musicians in the background. Like Barbra Streisand. Some singers are stars on their own and music drowns them out. No offense Flea, Jackson, Jesse and others. I just wanna hear Patti and tonight, it's magic.

Oops, missed the last hour, thank goodness for DVR, cos I’m taping it via my Dish. Had to see “Desperate Housewives” live and it was better tonight than it’s been in ages. Poor Susan, does she have bad luck or what? How is she gonna convince Mike after Edie’s brainwashed him? Edie can be so convincing and Susan sounds like she’s lying when she’s telling the truth. Poor thang. Gabby is outta her mind. She and Carlos were perfect for each. What’s the deal with Bree’s husband Orson and Mike? Will Tom be able to run a pizza parlor? Will Lynette ever say what she really feels?

Back to work. I've been in a funk. Last night I kept dreaming about Dee Dee. I tried to contact him after his first painting show in LA. I didn't try hard enough and I still feel so guilty about it. I think he would have loved seeing those early photos. Maybe some would have inspired him w/his paintings.

It's awful, awful to have nightmares like that. I kept tossing and turning, trying to get those images/feelings out of my dreams. The guilt of not showing him photos, not finding him. I was in such a bad place in my life until recently. And the darkness always surrounds me, threatening to take over my life again. But the photos are the light that keep me going. I know I'm depressed cos my scanner died. Gotta finish these photos and pray I license enough to get my desperately needed scanner.

Although Patti is singing about a Gitmo prisoner born the same year as her son, so many of us have invisible chains. Now she's talking about satellite radio and operas.

One last thank you to CBGB’s and those early bands. What a different world we’d inhabit if there had been no CBGB’s and the bands who congregated there. Everyone in a band or thinking of being in a band has a lot to live up to. Between the Ramones legacy and Patti’s still amazing live shows, punk is certainly not dead! They may close doors, tear down venues, but the music and musicians live on. Rock on!

And yes, I’m one of the lucky few to have seen those bands early on. Memories, stories and photos to share with the rest of the world. It’s a heavy burden, and I struggle every day to do my part.

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