By: Amy Haben
This documentary from the mid-nineties showcases the important NYC bands that came out of the 70’s: NY Dolls, Blondie, Jayne County, The Ramones, Patti Smith, Television, and others.
Coming from Southern California, I was always curious of the NYC punk scene. The closest I could get to the grimy streets of the Bowery as a 14 year old misfit was listening to The Rodney On The Roq show on the KROQ radio station at midnight. I remember thinking that Debbie Harry was the most sophisticated, confident, badass front woman i had ever heard. An in studio interview with The Buzzcocks from the 70’s portrayed immature, bumbling, idiot boys laughing while telling her that she missed a spot with her hair dye. Speaking of her infamous black and platinum blonde do. Debbie toughly answers, “It’s supposed to be that way”, and you could feel her steely gaze piercing the English lads through the radio. The in studio tension was as thick as molasses. Right then she became my heroine.
Love the scene in the first portion of this British series where David Johansen is talking about The NY Dolls playing at a dyke bar where the lesbian bartender named “Butch” who had a tracheotomy voice box, is yelling at him. He asked her what she had said after the song was over and as he leaned closer she mutters, “you’re a faggot.”
Richard Hell voices that when you get famous, you are horrified by the type of people who identify with you and says, “God, is that who I am?” He also gripes about having to trail The Clash in their large bus, while on tour in England, cramped in a mini car. He says it was offensive since they learned everything they knew from them. Getting spit on profusely and having an album that wasn’t released in England until after the tour was over solidified The Voidoids downfall along with Hell’s controlling nature.
I was surprised there was so much old footage that I hadn’t seen before along with interesting band gossip. Like where Lenny Kaye shares that Patti Smith would never let anyone repeat themselves even when he mastered a far out guitar solo.
This New York punk documentary is worth watching. Check it out below…..