I have been reading a great book by Chuck Eddy (Rock and Roll Always Forgets), a journalist that who has written about music for many years for many publications. It is a collection of his writing, divided into genres. He seems to hate most music, which makes it a hilarious read! His first section is about punk music, and on page 35, he professes his love for the Ramones. He was writing this in 1990, after seeing the “Escape From New York” tour, one of my favorite experiences of my career. The concept was simple: Put three legendary New York bands together (or at least parts of them) and send them on the road. The lineup was:
1st up: The Ramones
2nd up: Debbie Harry and Chris Stein of Blondie
To wrap it up: Tom Tom Club, with Jerry Harrison, basically the Talking Heads without David Byrne.
I asked for a photo pass, and was told I could shoot the first three songs of each set. Oh well, better than nothing, I thought. Then they called me back and asked me if I could get something from the tour into Playboy, my biggest client at the time. No problem. The Ramones were cool, Debbie was better. After the three songs, I sat on the side by the backstage door to watch the rest of her set. As the set end, the stage got pretty dark, she grabbed her shirt and took it off, stood in the middle of the stage for about 10 seconds, and the stage went dark. WOW- perfect Playboy shot- too bad I couldn’t shoot it!
Depressed, I walked backstage and ran into Debbie. She said “I did that for you- did you get it?” I explained why I didn’t, and she shook her head, exclaiming “That’s pretty stupid’, and walked away. She came back five minutes later and said, “What are you doing tomorrow? Want to come to Milwaukee?”
So the next morning I called the publicist and asked for 5 minutes with each band after sound check in Milwaukee. Done, and I packed to head up to cheese country, 90 miles away. After sound check, I did three photo shoots in about 10 minutes, and Debbie told me to be ready at the end of their set later that night. I was!!