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By Jolly Prochnik
I REMEMBER... Arriving at the run-through several days before the show. I still had on my "good clothes" since it was the Jewish holidays. A couple of The Dictators were standing on the sidewalk and they saw me, and said, "Well, lookee here what we got! HAW, HAW!" It was very funny, to them.
I REMEMBER... Going into the luxurious, fabulous, legendary Club Hollywood for the first time. Mirrored Tables. Velvet Drapes. Da Woiks. John thought it was seedy but I thought it was Ultra Class.
I REMEMBER... Selling the famous pink tickets (with the ship going down on 'em drawn by B. Carleton & the phrase "A Titanic Evening" written on 'em. Even the tickets were cool!) Me and my two friends who also worked at PUNK, Lawrence and David, were selling tickets to all the stores on St. Mark's MANIC PANIC (which is still out there in Web land as MANIC PANIC DOT COM) and a place called Revenge which ain't anywhere at all.
As soon as we walked in Revenge there was a problem: EVERYBODY WHO WORKED IN THE STORE WORE PINK HAIR, CASHMERE SWEATERS AND DOG COLLARS! It was a real expensive type of place selling the finest quality ripped clothing. Put it like this: if Johnny Rotten was a British bulldog with rabies and Johnny Thunders was a pit bull with mange, these guys were neurotic poodles (neurotic poodles!). So anyway, they refused to buy tickets to the PUNK awards. Tense Words were exchanged. There was some animosity, if I recall.
Later on that same night me and the fellas came back. The store was closed. The window had a gate in front of it, making a garbage can less feasible than it might otherwise have been. So we did the next best thing: Me and David inserted a bottle into the space between the front window and the gate. Both of us pushed it equally to give it strength. The window shattered, not totally, but a lot of the storefront window, maybe half, was gone.
One final note: The people at Revenge represented the lowest type of humanity I ever met, personally. Didn't buy our tickets? STRIKE ONE. Pink hair, dog collars and cashmere sweaters? STRIKE TWO. 'Cos I say so. STRIKE THREE. Buncha commie nazi capitalist pinko @%*!!! No, seriously, they definitely stunk and they definitely deserved it. It was people like them who turned punk into punk rock and punk rock into new wave and kept even that from becoming successful by making pure uncool weirdness the whole "selling" point.
I REMEMBER... THE NIGHT OF THE SHOW! THE NIGHT OF A THOUSAND (WELL...) STARS! A few hours before the show, I walked in and saw John H. talking to LOU REED. I walked up behind Lou and tapped him on the shoulder. I waved my hand and said "Hi" in my usual goofy way. I'll never forget the look he gave me. He looked me up and down like Clint Eastwood looking at the Zodiac killer in Dirty Harry as if to say, "Just who the hell are you supposed to be? What is this, a joke?!" I inwardly thanked my lucky stars to have been in the presence (however briefly) of THE MAN and quietly slunk away to hide. Next, people started showing up. Lining up to get in. I saw JERRY NOLAN, the other THE MAN, waiting on line. He had pink hair and a cashmere sweater as a matter of fact but then again he invented Rock 'n' Roll so...
Then... TAH-DAH! The show! Man, I got up there. I'm nervous and excited. I feel like a real pipsqueak in this crowd of luminaries. Over there was Danny Fields (of Stooges and Ramones record contract fame plus lots of other cool stuff). Right there at ringside: Da Ramones! God, in other words. Over here Chris Stein and D-D-Debbie H-Harry... B-B-BLONDIE. In The Flesh! In back The Dictators. Lester Bangs. Malcolm McLaren. And, from the incredible MUMPS and An American Family Lance Loud. Peter Wolf. Harvey Keitel. Tom Forçade (D.O.A. Producer, the father of HIGH TIMES mag). TISH & SNOOKY! Plus just about all the local luminaries & semi-luminaries and my very drunk friends, my mom and my sister. I mumbled some sort of an attempt at a semi-serious opening monologue. I had prepared something about, "We at PUNK do not stand behind disgruntled apathy." It was like a debating team speech. As the evening progressed everyone got drunker and pieces of mirror from the tables started flying, along with beer mugs, past my head. Some of 'em came pretty darn close to my beautiful face but I have real bad eyesight so I didn't see the glass 'til it was on its way, I stuttered at one point and Handsome Dick yelled "You sound like MEL TILLIS!" For which my snappy comeback was "Oh, yeah?"
Legs came up at one point to make fun of my lack of show-biz aplomb. But the late, great Lester Bangs summed it up best: he came onstage to receive his award for best drinker and told this story: "A friend of mine passed out drunk in the street. He woke up upside-down in a garbage can. When he got up, he found that his shoes were missing. That's what this night reminds me of."
I REMEMBER... Later on that night: John Spacely (aka Gringo) got thrown out though he was our new publisher. Lester Bangs put his arm around my shoulders and said "The King Of Rock 'n' Roll" (a joke 'cos I used to greet him with those very words). My buddy Vanya from my neighborhood who plays in the band I'm in now helped destroy the fine Club Hollywood mirrored tables piece by piece & asked Lou Reed if he, Vanya, aged 15, could play in his band. At the very end of the evening, at the Mudd Club, the liquor from the open bar flowed freely and as my buddies continued to smash things through the night, I got to hear the two songs that started it all over the truly excellent speaker system: "96 Tears" and "Louie Louie." As Ted Nugent once said, "A lot of dirt, a lot of blood, a lot of fun!"Return to top
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