Category: quote

Todd Rundgren with David Johansen at New York …

Todd Rundgren with David Johansen at New York City punk mecca, Max’s Kansas City, by Bob Gruen, via dietcokeandsympathy.

Todd on producing the Doll’s eponymous debut album in 1973: 

The New York Dolls weren’t presented to me – they were just part of the milieu I was involved in at the time. I was still living in New York in an apartment that was walking distance from Max’s Kansas City which is where everything was happening. There was no CBGB yet.

For the most part I went through David. I used him as a translator to get to the rest of the band. The challenge of making the record was that the control room was a freaking circus; everyone wanted to know what was going on with The New York Dolls – the critics’ favourite band. 

I was pretty sober throughout the entire thing, my only working drug was pot. While these guys would smoke pot they would also do everything else. The sessions involved politics, psychology and crowd control. And at a certain point I had to surrender to the process and accept that the surrounding insanity was going to be a part of the character of the record. 

More on New York Dolls and other Todd productions in a gloriously wide-ranging interview at Louder Sound.

The section on recording that album at Wikipedia is also unusually entertaining. Famously fastidious in the studio, Todd is reported to have yelled at one point, “Get the glitter out of your asses and play!”, but it’s overall very clear that the chaos was part of the appeal for Todd in working with them, and at the heart of what he was trying to capture on the record. A highly underrated album and collaboration, imo, very much worth another spin.

“Listen my darlings, listen to me. I’m t…

“Listen my darlings, listen to me. I’m talking to you, motherfuckers!” Freddie Mercury in New York, November 11, 1977. 

This was the show where someone got the bright idea to have naked women riding bicycles onstage during “Fat Bottomed Girls”. Freddie’s quote above came when he was having a hard time calming the audience down for “Somebody to Love.” Picture and story (with much more of both) via

Elton John & Freddie Mercury solemnly swea…

Elton John & Freddie Mercury solemnly swear that they are up to no good, 1977, via crfashionbook. “Freddie could out-party me, which is saying something,” says Elton. “We’d be up for nights, sitting there at 11 in the morning, still flying high.“

Jimmy Page, 1975, by Neal Preston, via america…

Jimmy Page, 1975, by Neal Preston, via americanphotographer.

“In 1975 I was working as Led Zeppelin’s tour photographer. The band’s publicist asked me to shoot some photos of Jimmy Page for People magazine. It was new; I’d only seen one or two issues. … The closer was a candid shot of Jimmy during rehearsal, sitting on Bonzo’s drum riser, and his pant leg had risen up over his ankle so you could see his bare leg. I thought it was pretty cheeseball, but that was exactly what the magazine wanted. I was mortified when it came out.” ~Neal Preston

Linda McCartney Remembers Jim Morrison


“I first photographed The Doors at a small New York club, close to the 59th Street Bridge, called Ondine’s, which was a favorite place for out of town bands to come and play residencies.

It was the winter of 1966 and I was down there with some friends to see a Los Angeles band that Elektra Records had recently signed. I had my camera with me and started taking pictures of them as they played.

No one in New York had heard of The Doors. They had never performed outside of Los Angeles and hadn’t released any records. Because they were unknown and the club was so intimate I had the unique opportunity of being able to get up really close as they played.

It wasn’t Jim Morrison’s looks that struck me first about him. It was the poetry of his songs and the way he would get completely lost in the music. He had this habit of cupping his hand behind his ear so the he could hear his vocals the way the traditional folk singers did. I thought the whole band was great; Ray Manzarek, Robby Krieger and John Densmore were all very creative musicans.

Word about the band soon spread, I even remember one night Paul Newman came down to the Scene Club. I learned later that he was checking Jim out for a film role. He sat there watching everything he did with a really intense look. I never found out what film I was, but it obviously didn’t materialize.

They returned to Ondine’s in March 1967 by which time their debut album The Doors and their first single “Break On Through” had been released, and they were getting national attention. In May they played their last residency in New York – three weeks at Steve Paul’s Scene Club.

Because they were from out of town I spent a lot of time just hanging out with them. We’d maybe go down to Chinatown to eat, we’d look around bookstores or they would simply come back to my apartment.

I got to know Jim Morrison particularly well during this time. He had been at the UCLA film school with the keyboard player Ray Manzarek, so we shared a common love of visual images.

The Doors had made some short experimental promotional film for their singles. One I remember showed Jim on the beach tied to a stake with flames dancing around him. Even though they were primitive they were very effective. Jim was a very thoughtful person and we became very deep friends. A lot of that was due to the photography connection.

The image of Jim as a Christ-figure that is now being handed down to us is pathetic, I find it unbelievable. Jim would have hated it. You can tell that by the way he deliberately allowed himself to grow fat and grow a beard toward the end of his life. He wanted to be respected as a poet and a musician, and he believed that this image of him as a sex god was interfering with people’s perception of him as a true artist.

It really all came about through a great looking picture that Joel Brodsky took of him where he was stripped to the waist and wearing black leather jeans. That brought him a lot of attention. I think Jim was encouraged by it at first. He started to read what people were saying about and then tried to live up to what was being said. There were certain aspects of success that he really enjoyed.

But at the same time he resented it. I can remember him coming to me one day in a very disturbed state. He told me all about his background as the son of a Rear Admiral in the US Navy and how much he hated everything that it represented. He also told me that he’d grown up as a fat kid that no one wanted to know and that this had caused him a lot of emotional pain.

Then he explained what had brought it all to the surface. Apparently he had been walking around Greenwich Village that morning and a girl who he knew as a child had spotted him and started going crazy over him. That bothered him because he sensed the hypocrisy of it all. When he was a fat military brat these people had rejected and ignored him but now, because of his new public image, they were fawning over him.

Jim was essentially a shy person. He never thought of himself as resembling the glamorous image that made him appear so confident. Like most of us, he had hang-ups. May be felt deprived of real meaningful love.

Some performers experience rejection in their childhood and they perform to win the love they feel they’ve been denied. But what kind of love is it that you get in this way? Who really wants the love of strangers who you neither respect nor admire? It’s a vicious circle. Many then reject this admiration as shallow and hypocritical and , with Jim, that’s where the drugs and drink began to take over.

When I was taking pictures of Jim with The Doors I never thought I was photographing a rock idol. To me he was an unknown singer with an interesting mind who shared my love of the visual arts. In return I think he saw me as someone who could capture him as he really was, rather than a showbiz person who would add to the glamour surrounding him.

In a funny way this frightened him too. Jim wanted to bare himself in his art and he wanted to be real, but he was unsure as the whether people would love what he revealed. Maybe people would reject his deepest feelings as expressed in his poetry just as they had rejected his overweight body as a boy.

When he first came to my apartment he looked through all my work and he told me to take pictures of him because he could see that I really captured the characters in my subjects.

My approach was to take personal, casual shots. I never intruded. I would never set up false situations. I was just there recording what happened. I became like a band member shoes chosen instrument was the camera.

The last pictures I took of Jim were in March 1968 when The Doors played the Fillmore East. Life magazine was planning a front cover story and wanted me to take color shots of him. I took him to the Cloister, a monastery outside New York, which was a place I liked to hang out in when I felt pressured by Manhattan. It was pouring rain and so we stayed inside, and Jim sat in a window and the light from the courtyard lit his face. The pictures were beautifully poignant.

Martin Luther King was killed two weeks later so Jim never made the front cover.


Some of my favorite photos of Jim by Linda:



Grace Slick & Janis Joplin, San Francisco 1967, by Jim Marshall.

“This shot of Grace Slick and Janis was taken in 1967 for Teen Set magazine for an article on the two Queen Bees of San Francisco Rock. That morning I went over to Grace’s house and then had to pick up Janis. Janis wasn’t in the mood to do any pictures that day, but I begged her and she came along. Everyone always thought there was a huge rivalry between Janis and Grace, but they were dear friends. This is the only time they were photographed together, and by the end of the session, we were all getting pretty silly and clowning around.” ~ Jim Marshall in Not Fade Away

Iggy Pop at New York’s Electric Circus, May 14…

Iggy Pop at New York’s Electric Circus, May 14, 1971, by Lisa Gottlieb. (Sources here and here.)

You’ll see references to these pics as from October 1970 (including the second source above), when the Stooges had indeed played Electric Circus, but nope, it was the May 14 show. This was the second of 2 nights, which the New York Times described as “triumphant” after a ragged first night. (Dig the Gerard Malanga pix as further documentation!)


Paul Trynka’s remarkable Iggy bio Iggy Pop: Open Up And Bleed adds some additional stories from legendary photographer, scenester denizen and Warhol/Bowie associate Leee Black Childers  (p. 119). “Leee savored the infamous performance at New York’s Electric Circus in May 1971, where Iggy looked particularly psychotic covered in baby oil and glitter. Gerry Miller, onetime topless dancer and star of several Warhol movies, shouted, ‘Let’s see you puke!’ at Iggy, in her squeaky, Mickey Mouse voice. ‘So he did!’ laughs Lee. ‘Right on her!’

btw, the source of that NYT clipping above is a YouTube post of a recording from that night. The vocals are nearly inaudible, but you can definitely get the gist of the more-melodic direction that The Stooges were taking that the Times described.“More melodic” for The Stooges is a relative term of course. This is still pretty damn hard core…

…so the next time you hear anyone talk about ANYTHING important about punk starting in 1977, you can laugh and laugh as you recall this wild night of stage-diving and puking on the crowd from 1971. 

I ain’t even saying anything important about punk started in 1971. Of course not. Punk was well underway by this point, and merely presented here in its full 1971 flowering for your glitter-soaked delectation.

wonderstevie-blog: The synthesizers allowed me…


The synthesizers allowed me to do a lot of things I wanted to do for a long time, but which were just not possible until it came along. It adds a whole new dimension to music.Stevie Wonder

This is Stevie with the first editon of the ARP 2600 synthesizer, released in 1971. Stevie got one of the first ones manufactured, and as you might guess from the photo, did indeed have it outfitted with Braille labels.

He spent the latter half of 1971 working with it as part of a configuration known as TONTO, “The Original New Timbral Orchestra”, owned by Bob Margouleff and Malcolm Cecil, which Moog modules, two ARP 2600 and four Oberheim SEM synths. 

Unless you hopped on the hella obscure Tonto’s Exploding Head Band 1971 LP Zero Time (which Stevie definitely did), you likely first heard it on Music Of My Mind, which was recorded in 1971 and released on March 2, 1972. From there, the ARP 2600 and TONTO was very much at the heart of Stevie’s classic era arsenal throughout the 70s.

Stevie had definitely hopped on to Zero Time back in 1971, and added his praises to its 1996 re-release as TONTO Rides Again: “How great it is at a time when technology and the science of music is at its highest point of evolution…It can be said of this work that it parallels with good wine. As it ages it only gets better with time. A toast to greatness… a toast to Zero Time… forever.” (More about all this here.)

Above is definitely the earliest photo I’ve seen of him with it (very likely 1971), but my favorite picture of Stevie and the ARP 2600 has Grover leaning on it, from his legendary 1974 appearance on Sesame Street, which you definitely need to check out here, featuring perhaps the definitive performance of the definitive ARP-based track, “Superstition.”


“If I’d had my way, the Strat would have been …

“If I’d had my way, the Strat would have been my first guitar. I’ve still got some of my books from when I was about thirteen, and there’s drawings of guitars and different scratch plates. Always trying to draw Fender Stratocasters.“ ~ George Harrison

therealmickrock: “I’m very playful, very open-…


“I’m very playful, very open-minded, very aware of the way people move, the way the look, their expressions or angles. After a while it’s almost as if the pictures take themselves. That’s when the magic starts to happen. It’s not complicated.”

Freddie Mercury – London, 1974 

Maybe not complicated, but magic nonetheless.