We got off on the wrong foot, John Lurie and I. One Sunday afternoon in the early 2000s, we found ourselves sitting next to each other, sharing free tickets for expensive seats at Madison Square Garden, close to the “action” (if you could call it that) at a New York Knicks game. After my wife spilled beer on his dark overcoat, Lurie and I argued for four quarters about the merit of one of my favorite players at the time, Jalen Rose. Lurie was at turns funny and charming, then cutting and dyspeptic. None of it changed my opinion of the man. I’d seen him in “Stranger Than Paradise” and “Down By Law” more times than I’d care to admit and was a proud owner of the Lounge Lizards record, “Voice of Chunk.” To my mind, John Lurie could do no wrong.
Fast forward a decade – I was (and currently am) working as a freelance producer on WNYC’s Leonard Lopate Show. John was the guest on one of my segments, booked to discuss a showing of his mid-1990s cult classic TV program, “Fishing With John,” as well as his renewed interest in painting, which came partly as a result of the advanced Lyme Disease Lurie had contracted, which robbed him of the energy needed to act and play music. Time and illness had tempered his bravado, which while still existent, mixed well with a certain vulnerability. I liked him even more.
Editor’s note: In the Human Factor, we profile survivors who have overcome the odds. Confronting a life obstacle — injury, illness or other hardship — they tapped their inner strength and found resilience they didn’t know they possessed. This week we meet one of the pioneers of psychedelic rock: Roky Erickson.
“It’s ten o’clock…Do you know where your children are?” Yeah – they’re just sneaking out of the house to hear some rock n’ roll! I despised that TV message introducing New York’s Ten O’ Clock News – because it would trigger mom’s thoughts about my possible whereabouts. I was either in my room listening to the same song or album over and over in ecstasy, or illicitly out at a rock concert in New York City!
When I should have been playing with dolls, I was rockin’ out with the New York Dolls! It was a rare privilege to see the New York Dolls in their glory days – in February 1974. An older neighbor offered to baby-sit a friend and myself, and took us to the show. His name was Michael, and he was very cool. He had long hair, was into Lou Reed and Alice Cooper, and he had a car! Continue reading →
Story and drawings by Legs McNeil.
Originally published in the Nov 78 issue of Hit Parader
Hit Parader Issue #172. November 1978
“Ah, summer in New York,” I sighed, swatting giant flies that were dive bombing my head as I sat sipping my first beer of the day at Manny’s pool hall. It was a scorcher of a day, temperatures rising to about 102 and it was so humid you had to cut the air with a chain saw in order to get a hunk to breathe. It was so hot, Manny, owner and proprietor of the dive pool hall across from my private detective office, a big black Jamaican, had a block of ice perched on his fat stomach. He grunted. It was an explanatory grunt. He explained that he keeps the ice on his stomach to keep the case or so of beer he’d already consumed this morning cold in his stomach while he was waiting to digest it.
I opened another beer thinking what a primitive genius Manny was, when just then a short male, Caucasian, about 30 or 35, bursts into the pool hall exposing piercing sunlight into the dimly lit bar. The intruder sort of resembled a rat and talked just as fast. “Where’s Leg’s McNeil? Is he in here, huh? Come on, I don’t got all day, what uh?” the mystery man shot out with a cockney accent. I tried to answer but he wouldn’t let me get a word in edgewise.
INSPIRED BY PUNK, angered by Thatcher and in love with ’60s culture, the UK indie scene produced some of the greatest and oddest pop records of all time.It all began on December 28, 1976 at Indigo Studios on Gartside Street in Manchester. The Buzzcocks had just recorded and mixed four songs destined for the Spiral Scratch EP. A month later the EP would be released on the band’s own New Hormones label, in the process spawning a scene of musicians, songwriters and labels hell-bent on doing it for themselves. Forged in the political turmoil of the late ’70s and early ’80s, labels such as Postcard, Creation, Factory, Zoo and Rough Trade emerged as maverick flag-bearers of a new eclectic indie aesthetic. The DIY revolution had begun and British pop would never be the same again.From Aztec Camera to Arctic Monkeys, Felt to Franz Ferdinand, Swell Maps to The Smiths, here are MOJO’s 50 essential albums, EPs and singles of homegrown genius.
It’s certainly not music for a sunny day at the beach! It’s neither for dancing, nor partying – but for driving on a rainy night alone in your car, it’s the perfect soundtrack. For someone contemplating suicide, it might be dangerous. It was on the turntable of Joy Division’s Ian Curtis when he voluntarily checked out.
The Idiot is pure genius. How Iggy Pop and David Bowie arrived at this glorious sonic abomination in 1977 at the height of the Punk vs. Disco era is one of the great anomalies of musical history. What instruments did they use to make it? Guitars, sax, keyboards and one of the earliest synthesizers – on loan from Brian Eno (also used on Bowie’s Low sessions,) – the EMS AKS briefcase model. Eno himself gave the album an ‘oblique’ complement, “It’s an experience akin to being encased in concrete.”
The recordings were found in an apartment in Greenwich Village, and are being hailed as a “major discovery”
Earlier this year an incredible piece of music history was discovered in Greenwich Village. Tucked away in a closet at 124 West Houston were 149 unknown acetate records, made and used by Bob Dylan.
Dylan, who lived only blocks away at 94 McDougal Street, used the ground floor of 124 W. Houston as a studio in the ’60s and ’70s, according to a post on Recordmecca.com by Jeff Gold. Buzzfeed reported that the space was used by Dylan from 1969 to 1972.