All photos by Amy Haben (Sshh Liguz and Clem Burke)
Glen Matlock of the Sex Pistols on bass, Blondie’s Clem Burke on drums, The Who’s Zak Starkey (Ringo’s son – who traded the drums in for guitar), and, uh oh… Sshh Liguz on vocals? This attractive, blonde waif (who also happens to be Zak’s other half) looks the part but I haven’t heard her before. Is this gonna suck?
It’s just another Tuesday night in the Tribeca area of New York City. As I enter The Roxy Hotel’s toasty Django Bar, I see a room full of familiar faces. Littered across the intimate space were a gaggle of elite rockers known to swim in the same circles as the uninhibited downtown crowd. Rock photographers Bob Gruen and Mick Rock, Andy Rourke of The Smiths, Bob Bert of Lydia Lunch’s Retrovirus, David Johansen, Chris Franz of the Talking Heads, among other notables.
We are gathered here for a great cause. The October 18th gig was a benefit for the Teenage Cancer Trust and donations were taken at the door. DJ sets from Marky Ramone, Kristen Kontrol of Dum Dum Girls, Matt Romano of The Best Fest, and Spiky Phil of Soho Grand entertained the crowd throughout the evening.
I ran into DJ and photographer Kristin Gallegos who happened to be the resident flashbulb of the night. We exchanged hugs and stood by the stage while my friend Amanda flailed her arms around trying to get Marky’s attention while he spun some groovy 60’s tune up in the booth.
Sshh took the microphone and paged absent host Mick Rock to the “stage,” which was just a roped off square in the bar. The hilarious and very British photographer pushed his way through the crowded room to the mic minutes later, muttering in his thick native dialect something charming yet brief to introduce the band.
(Mick Rock and Clem Burke)
Sshh started singing, “Your private life drama baby leave me out…” breaking into The Pretenders song in perfect tone. Instantly, I was grateful I was in front of the packed room. Sshh stretched her svelte thighs as she traversed the stage. Demanding the attention of the wide-eyed crowd, she proved an adept front woman even with the combined one hundred plus years of star power behind her.
They killed Blondie’s stalker ballad, “One Way Or Another,” with a nod to Clem. The Stooges, “Down On The Street,” was their next track, a rarely heard cover from the Michigan marauders. Followed by Primal Scream’s “Shoot Speed Kill Light” and The Sex Pistols “Stepping Stone” and “Problems,” with a nice finale of “All The Young Dudes,” by David Bowie. A perfect ending which included the crowd swaying back and forth and singing along in honor of the lost icon.
(Sshh Liguz, Clem Burke, and Zak Starkey)
Sweaty from pogoing, I turned around to find Daang and Ray Goodman who own Trash and Vaudeville. I thanked Daang for keeping the spirit of rock & roll alive through her clothing. I sold her brand Tripp in the ’90s at a punk rock store called Electric Chair in California. She gave me a big hug and smiled so wide you wouldn’t believe she had ever received a compliment before.
I received a wet hug from Clem and took a few photos with him before joining some friends outside to smoke cigarettes and recount the show like a bunch of teenagers.
My pal Wes, who made The Damned and Lemmy documentaries, introduced me to Glen Matlock outside. They were reminiscing on Glen being the baby of the Sex Pistols – he was 19 when he joined the band. Ironically, Clem Burke was also the baby of Blondie at 19 when he began, Debbie Harry being ten years his senior.
I made a crack about The Damned’s juvenile behavior when they were on Rodney Bingenheimer’s radio show in 1977 with Debbie Harry. They were being goofballs and laughing while telling Debbie she missed a spot on her hair (referring to her skunk-like platinum area on her jet black do.) She dryly responded, “It’s supposed to be that way,” shutting up the British punks. We all chuckled and parted ways.
SSHH has a powerful new album called Issues which was originally pitched as a radio series for Scott Greenstein at Sirius XM. It’s a covers collection which features Paul Cook, Glen Matlock, Clem Burke, Darrin Mooney, Mick Ralphs, Martin Chambers, Twiggy Ramirez, Kenney Jones, Gem Archer, and many more. Check it out!