Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Top 10 List

March 27th, 1979

My New List

1. David Bowie

2. Iggy Pop

3. Debby Harry

4. Howie Pyro

5. Johnny Ramone

6. Tommy Trask

7. Nigel Harrison

8. Clem Burke

9. Franke Infante

10. Johnny Thunders

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Gabba Gabba Hey

March 25th, 1979
Went to see the Ramones & Shrapnel at the Fast Lane in Asbury Park. I am so in love again and I mean really in love. This time with Johnny Ramone. Oh God he is so cute. He even threw me some of his guitar pics. I wound up with 2 of them. Dee Dee is really cute also but no one in the Ramones compares with Johnny. I think Joey has something wrong with him. Me & Marie were the first ones on line so we were right up close against the stage. I now want to follow the Ramones everywhere. I can't wait to see them again and stand in front of Johnny.

XOXO JLP
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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Venturing out after the accident

March 24th, 1979
I finally went out again. I feel so much better but for the first week I never felt so awful. I never left my bed and slept almost all the time. Jo ann came over to visit. I feel pretty much back to my old self again except I am wearing an eye patch and I am still missing my teeth. But I went to the dentist and that is getting fixed.

So we went to see the David Johansen Band at Emmit's. It is only about 30 minutes so I did not have to venture into NYC. It was a really good night. Buzzy Verno got so drunk that he could not even play with the band so Peter the tour manager had to take his place. So needless to say, the set was really short. I spoke with Bernie the roadie alittle bit. Frankie LaRocka had a lot of sympathy for me with my car accident and so did Tommy Trask. Frankie said he considers Marie & I friends and not fans. I got alot of guitar pics from Tommy. He is definetly one of my favorite rock stars. It was so good to go out and see a band again. I think I was having withdrawals.

I also went to Woodbridge Center and for a few new singles, one of which is the new Voidoids single. It is so good.

XOXO JLP
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Monday, December 15, 2008

My Car Accident

March 11th, 1979
I went to see the Dead Boys at CBGB's. It was great. I saw Howie & Billy from the Blessed there. Only thing, got into a car accident. Mary Ellen was driving and she fell asleep behind the wheel. I lost my 2 front teeth and got 50 stitches above my eye. I am lucky I was not killed. If I was in the front seat, I would have gone through the windshield. But I was sleeping and laying down in the back seat so I was cushioned during the impact. I will be out of college for a few weeks I think and definetly will not be able to go see any bands for a little while. It actually happaned March 12th 6:10am.

XOXO JLP
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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Changes to the Voidoids

March 10th, 1979
I went to see the Fast at Max's. It was a really hot night. Jerry Nolan was walking around all depressed all night. Joann offered him a joint but he said no. Billy Stark was there from the Blessed. So we talked about the Blessed all night. And now for the shock. Xcessive joined the Voidoids. Jerry was fired. Isn't that so weird. So X told me the words to my fave Richard Hell song in the world, " I lie here staring in her eyes." Joann found out such hot gossip and I found out so much dish on Debby Harry & David Bowie. It was confirmed that Bowie is in NY now and he was at the Ramones party the other night. And also confirmed that Debby Harry was there. I just have to find Bowie this week in NY.

XOXO JLP
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Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Mumps

March 4th, 1979
Went to Max's to see The Mumps. They got so much better. Billy Stark was there so I talked to him for a really long time about The Blessed. It was really good. I heard last night that David Bowie, Debby Harry, & Chris Stein were all at Hurrah's and then they went to the Mudd Club for a party for the Ramones. I wish I had been there. David Bowie is back in NYC. I have to find him.

XOXO JLP
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Thursday, December 4, 2008

More David Jo Shows...

March 2nd, 1979
I went to see the David Johansen Band again in Long Island. What a hike to get there. I had a really good time. I do not like the roadie anymore. Tommy Trask was also really nice. He dropped a guitar pic in my lap during the song "Girls". He came up to me at the end of the show and we talked a little. I went to the show with Marie. Everyone is so in love with her. She is so beautiful.

XOXO JLP
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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Bernie the Roadie

Feb 24th, 1979
Went to see the David Johansen Band again at the Fast Lane in Asbury Park. It is great that I have gotten to see them 3 nights in a row. So a really weird thing happened. All along I thought that this one roadie hated me alot because he was always laughing at me. Well we began to talk and he told me that the first time he saw me, he thought I looked cool and he knew that we would be friends. So he told me that he would put me on the guest list for My Father's Place on Long Island. But I told him I could not take the chance & I would get tickets anyway but he did say that he would reserve me a table. Then we spoke about me going up to see the band in Boston but I know that is out of the question.

Tomorrow I have to go to ticketron and pray that I can get tickets to see David Jo. Of course I will try to get tickets for both shows. I think the roadie's name is Bernie. I really like him. I just can not believe how nice he is and all along he never hated me like I thought he did. He is only 19. The only bad thing about him is that his favorite band is Cheap Trick but that's ok. I won't hold that too much against him.

So it will be funny if we go out to My Father's Place since M is going to see Peter the Tour Manager and I want to see the roadie. I don't think I even like Tommy Trask anymore. She brought a girl last night and she was not pretty at all. He is more looks that personality anyway. And by the last song I did not even have 1 guitar but with the encores I wound up with 5.

I am back at college and I am so depressed. I can not stand the people here. There is absolutely no one that I can become friends with.

XOXO JLP
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Thursday, November 20, 2008

More David Johansen Band....

Feb 23rd, 1979
I went again to see the David Johansen Band but this time down to Asbury Park NJ to a place call The Fast Lane. I stayed down the shore for the weekend since they are also playing there tomorrow night. The show was pretty good and I spoke with Tommy alittle bit. I got a few guitar pics. I do not like The Fast Lane at all. The crowd was really lousy.

XOXO JLP
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Monday, November 17, 2008

An Encounter with Legs McNeil

Feb 22nd, 1979
Went to see the David Johansen Band & Shrapnel at The Place in NJ. It was just a strange night. Legs McNeil was there since I think he is the Manager or something like that for Shrapnel. He was attacking MaryEllen the whole night. For some reason, he would just not leave her alone. Then after we went to Howard Johnson's to get something to eat and he came there with the band. He came over & sat with us & made such a scene in there. He was screaming & throwing his food. I spoke with Tommy Trask a little.

XOXOJLP
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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Another Richard Hell Encounter

Feb 17th, 1979
I was supposed to go see the Clash but things got so screwed up. So I went and saw the Erasers & Necessaries instead at Max's. It was just a very strange night. Robert Gordon went on stage and did a set. Richard Hell was there of course to see his girlfriend Susan Springfield who is in the Erasers. I went up and spoke to Richard like a jerk. I saw Jerry Voidoid there with his girlfriend. We went upstairs after the show and Susan & Richard were making out but we stayed anyway until we could talk to them a little bit. I must say that Richard Hell looked really good. All in all, I had a good time.

XOXOJLP
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Monday, November 10, 2008

3 Nights of Johnny Thunders

Feb 8th, 1979
Went to see Johnny Thunders at Max's. Neon Leon also played.

Feb 9th, 1979
Saw Johnny Thunders & the Student Teachers at Max's. I stayed over at Kim's. She talked about Walter Lure all night.

Feb 10th, 1979
Went to see Johnny Thunders at Max's. I spoked with Howie and he was fired from all of his jobs. He sounded so depressed. So I think they were filming or recording all of the Heartbreakers show for some live album. I got to sit up close all 3 of the nights. Johnny was picking on Walter so much again while they were on stage. It really was so funny, comments about Walter going to Fire Island. Walter doesn't care. He is always just rolling his eyes at Johnny.

XOXOJLP
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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Bad night for guitar pics...

Feb 3rd, 1979

Went to see the David Johansen Band at Alexander's. It was the first time I had ever gone there. It was some club in south Jersey. It was a nightmare. I thought that Tommy Trask was a real snob. I only was able to get 4 guitar pics because all these other people were grabbing them. It was so unfair. I got drunk so I screamed for everyone else in the band. Johnny Rao was really good last night. His pants kept on unsnapping while he was playing. I think that Tommy is mad because I wear a button of Howie and not of him.

XOXO JLP
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Monday, November 3, 2008

Sid Vicious (May 10, 1957 - Feb 2, 1979)

Feb 2nd, 1979
I woke up today and it was on the news that Sid Vicious died. It's so sad. They said something about this girl Michelle on the news, the same Michelle that I had met at Eileen's house. They said he committed suicide from an overdose of drugs. Poor Sid, at least he is finally with Nancy.

I went to see the David Johansen Band at the Red Foxx Inn. It really was a shitty day. First I went to the mall to get my hair cut and I forgot to turn the lights off in my car and my car died. Finally I got it jumped. When I got to the Red Foxx Inn I saw Marie thank God! I spoke with Tommy Trask & Frankie La Rocka alot that night. I was wearing my button of Howie Pyro and Tommy goes, "I can't believe you are wearing a button of Howie, why aren't you wearing one of me?" I told him because I did not have a good picture of him. Well you know the old saying, Boys will be Boys.

XOXO JLP
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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Just another night at Hurrah

Feb 1st, 1979
Went to Hurrah to see the Only Ones and the Invaders. The Only Ones were pretty boring. Nigel, Frank, & Clem were there from Blondie and I think they all acted kind of snotty to me. They don't appreciate what a good fan I am. Johnny Thunders was there. It was so great to see him but he was kind of f'd up, as always. Eileen Polk was there and we made arrangements to get together on Saturday. I am going to go over to her house and we are going to work on the Blessed Fan Club and start to plan for this big upcoming show at the Mudd Club. Howie Pyro was also at Hurrah with some guy from the Misfits. Howie was really nice that night.

XOXOJLP
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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Interview with Howie Pyro

For my on Howie Pyro, please visit his myspace at: http://www.myspace.com/papaoooomowmow

ME: How did the Blessed start and were you a founding member?

HOWIE: I WAS A FOUNDING MEMBER...WE WERE ALL STREET KIDS ATTRACTED TO PUNK ROCK & FLOATING IN & OUT OF THE LOWER EAST SIDE...WE WERE 10 YEARS YOUNGER THAN ALL THE OTHER PEOPLE AT THAT TIME (JOHNNY THINDERS, RICHARD HELL, DEAD BOYS, ETC.) & WE FOUND EACH OTHER...MOSTLY AT BLEEKER BOB'S DESPERATELY SPENDING OUR ALLOWANCE OR BEGGING MONEY ON RECORDS)

ME: How old were you?

HOWIE: I WAS 16 WHEN WE ALL MET

ME: How old were you when you played your first show and where was it?

HOWIE: IT WAS XMAS 1977 AT MAX'S, I WAS 17.

ME: When did you first know you wanted to be in a band? Why Punk Rock?

HOWIE: I WANTED TO BE IN A BAND SINCE I WAS A LITTLE KID STARING AT RECORDS ON THE LITTLE RECORD PLAYER MY OLDER SISTER HAD...THEN GOING CRAZY FOR ALICE COOPER, STOOGES, VELVETS, ETC & READING CREEM & ROCK SCENE (ESPECIALLY) MADE ME FAMILIAR WITH THE LOCAL GOINGS ON & WHEN I WOULD GO TO A CONCERT AT THE PALLADIUM ON 14TH STREET WITH FRIENDS WE WOULD WALK UP THE STREET & PEEK INTO MAX'S KANSAS CITY'S WINDOW & I WOULD DREAM OF THE DAY I WOULD BE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THAT WINDOW...PUNK ROCK & MY ENTHUSIASM BROUGHT ME TO THE OTHER SIDE...THIS WAS BEFORE THE BLESSED A BIT...LATE '76 PROBABLY..

ME: How did you get into the Punk Rock scene and what was the first band that you saw?

HOWIE: I GOT INTO IT BY READING THE ABOVE MAGAZINES...AS IT WAS UNFOLDING...I THINK THE FIRST SHOW I SAW WAS BLONDIE & SUICIDE (AND I THINK THE CRAMPS WERE THE FIRST BAND ON...MAYBE THEIR SECOND SHOW?) THEN I SAW THE DAMNED & THE DEAD BOYS AT CBGB'S...I HAD SEEN THE DEAD BOYS SHORTLY BEFORE THAT WHEN THEY STILL HAD LONG HAIR...

ME: Who were your major influences in your music?

HOWIE: WHATEVER WAS HAPPENING RIGHT THEN...SEX PISTOLS, DAMNED, CRAMPS, HEARTBREAKERS, THE FAST, I WAS ALSO FRIENDS WITH LYDIA LUNCH & ALL THE NO WAVE PEOPLE & THAT HAD A GREAT EFFECT ON ME PERSONALLY. WE GOT GROUPED IN WITH THEM EARLY ON BECAUSE WE MADE SUCH AN INFERNAL RACKET! THE CRAMPS DID TOO!

ME: How did it feel the first time you were on the stage?

HOWIE: PURE ORGASM OBLIVION.

ME: How long did the Blessed last?

HOWIE: UNTIL THAT LAST GILDERSLEEVES SHOW, WHICH WAS A REUNION OF SORTS...SEE BILLY'S INTERVIEW...

ME: Why did the Blessed break up?

HOWIE: WE WERE INSANE, VERY YOUNG, & UNPREPARED...I GOT EXTREMELY INVOLVED IN HANGING OUT WITH JOHNNY THUNDERS & THAT CROWD & HEAVY DRUGS...WE WEREN'T OLD ENOUGH TO EVEN GO IN THE PLACES WE WERE PLAYING & SOME OF US (ME & NICK) WERE HOMELESS & LIVING A VERY HARD LIFE...

ME: Since you were so young, what did you think of the fact that you had fans?

HOWIE: I THINK WE WERE FANS FIRST & FOREMOST...THAT WAS VERY SURREAL...I DIDN'T TAKE IT TOO SERIOUSLY AS IT WAS A SMALL SCENE & FANS QUICKLY BECAME FRIENDS, YA KNOW?

ME: Where was your favorite show that you played at?

HOWIE: MAYBE THE PUBERTY BALL AT THE MUDD CLUB...THAT WAS INSANE...

ME: Who was the first really famous person that you met? Were you at all impressed that you were so young?

HOWIE: WELL...ALL THE PEOPLE IN THE CLUBS IN BANDS WERE FAMOUS TO ME...I HAD BEEN READING ABOUT THEN & LOOKING AT PICTURES OF THEM FOR A FEW YEARS ALREADY...NY DOLLS I GUESS (DAVID & SYL)...I MET THEM IN 1974 AT A BEATLES/ROCK & ROLL CONVENTION...

ME: What was it like for you in high school? Did the kids in your class know that you played in a band at night?

HOWIE: IT WAS HELL CUZ I LIVED IN QUEENS & THERE WASN'T EVEN A CONSCIOUS WORD LIKE PUNK ROCKER THERE YET SO PEOPLE WOULD THROW ROCKS SOMETIMES! IT WAS ROUGH...I WOUND UP IN A PROGRAM (BEFORE PUNK) WHERE YOU WORKED ONE WEEK & WENT TO SCHOOL ONE WEEK. THE HEAD OF THE PROGRAM AT MY SCHOOL WAS SUPER HIP & HUNG OUT WITH PATTI SMITH & WAS A PHOTOGRAPHER...THE IDEA WAS TO LEARN WHAT YOU WANTED TO BE...I HAD A JOB ON WALL STREET & WOULD GO TO THE EAST VILLAGE AFTER WORK...THIS WAS IN 1976,,,I JUST FOUND THE PLACES I WANTED TO BE...WHEN PUNK HAPPENED I WAS RIGHT THERE & THE STORE MANIC PANIC OPENED & I WAS WALKING DOWN THE STREET & BEFRIENDED THEM & WAS THEIR FIRST EMPLOYEE...I WENT TO MY FIRST SHOWS & WAS IN A PLACE I HAD ALWAYS DREAMED OF...I WAS ACCEPTED BY THESE PEOPLE I ADMIRED SO MUCH. I FINALLY GOT TO GO INTO MAX'S KANSAS CITY & THE FEELING WAS INSANE! I HAD NEVER BEEN SO EXCITED IN MY LIFE...IT WAS LIKE WALKING INTO HEAVEN. MY TEACHER KNEW I WAS THE ONLY STUDENT THAT HAD A CLUE OF WHAT I WANTED TO DO & I WAS DOING IT...ONCE I ENTERED THAT WORLD, THOUGH, I COULD NEVER GO BACK...I LEFT HOME FOR THE MOST PART & LEFT SCHOOL & BECAME A VERY HAPPY STREET RAT...THE FEW KIDS I SPOKE TO CAME DOWN TO HANG OUT...BRAD WAS FROM MY NEIGHBORHOOD IN QUEENS...THAT'S HOW HE BECAME OUR DRUMMER...

ME: Do you stay in contact with any of the original members?

HOWIE: ON & OFF OVER THE YEARS THROUGH LOTSA DRAMA THAT IS GONE NOW THAT WERE ALL SLIGHTLY SANE.

ME: What are you most memorable experiences that you would want to share from the Blessed days?

HOWIE: JUST THE AMAZING KNOWLEDGE THAT RIGHT NOW HISTORY WAS BEING MADE & WE WERE ALL MAKING IT...IT WAS A BEAUTIFUL & BIZARRE TIME...THERE WERE TIMES LIKE THAT IN MANY DECADES PREVIOUS, BUT THAT WAS REALLY THE LAST DECADE OF PURE CHANGE...TEENAGE POWER...MUSIC TO DIE FOR, LITERALLY.


XOXO JLP
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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Every Picture Tells a Story....

Jan 31st, 1979
First we went to visit Howie at his store. It was so good to see him again because I had not been in to visit Howie in so long. Or at least it seemed like a long time. Then we all went over the Eileen Polk's house to see my Blessed movies and her Blessed slides. Billy came over and this girl Michelle was there who wants to be an actress. I think they said she was Sid's new girlfriend. Eileen took photos of us. I had on my home made Blessed T Shirt where I had taped the Blessed name on a black T Shirt and then spray painted around it in white. When I took off the tape - you saw the Blessed imprint. I thought is came out pretty good although the paint made the shirt alittle stiff. Howie was playing with this big Kiss promo thing in the photos. I had so much fun there. I got stuff from the Blondie Fan Club today in the mail. It is such a joke. I should be running that fan club. Whoever is running it, is doing it like complete crap.

So who is in these photos: That is me on the right looking up at Howie & Billy. On the left, Michelle is the girl in the front and JoVan is the girl in the back. JoVan is the one who first told me all about the Blessed and is certainly part of this diary. She was an original Dead Girl. And no need to tell you that Howie Pyro & Billy Stark are in the middle.



XOXO JLP

Monday, October 20, 2008

Back to CBGB's...

Jan 28th, 1979
We went to CBGB's to see Music Industry Casualties with Cheetah Chrome. This is the first ime I have been to CB's in so long. Unfortunately, one of the people that came with us was so F'd up that we had to leave after the first set. But I did not care since CBGB's was so dead anyway. Cheetah Chrome's band was really good though and I really liked the keyboard player. I loved the way that he moved while he played. I found out the Richard Hell & the Voidoids finally recorded another single and they will be putting out an album soon. But they won't be back until the end of February and I am going to miss seeing them so much.

I have changed my list of Top 10 people for now and I am putting Nigel Harrison on and knocking off Mick Jones. But my list is just changed for now. I do seem to change so easily with how I feel about rock people. They are just so much for fascinating than ordinary people. I can't wait to see Nigel on the stage again & Thomas Trask also. They are two of my favorite guitar players on stage but I can't wait to see Howie Pyro again either. He is still of course on my list.

XOXOJLP
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Friday, October 17, 2008

The Most Devoted Blondie Fan...

Jan 27th, 1979
What a wild night. I don't even know where to begin. I went to see Johnny Thunders again at Max's. Thank God he was not so f'd up. I filmed him during the first set. Too bad my camera does not have any sound but at least I can see him moving. They cleared out Max's in between the first and second set so I went downstairs to hand out in a booth. So as I was leaving I saw Tommy Trask in a booth in the back. So I was pushing these people to leave & I didn't even realize who I was pushing & then I saw it was Clem Burke from Blondie. I felt so dumb so I went & told Howie how dumb I felt and he said not to worry because the night before Clem said he liked me and & I was such a huge Blondie fan.

So then I went back in for the second set of Johnny Thunders and was just hanging in the back. Tommy Trask walked by & he was really nice. Then Franke Infante walked by and said hi. And the Nigel Harrison, my new absolute favorite, walked by and he gave me a big hug & kissed me. So later on we talked through almost the entire set of Johnny Thunders. He told me so much Blondie dirt that it was wild. He was so nice and whenever he told me something he put his arm around me and held me real close. The best part about it was that it looked like we were really good friends. I could not believe how nice Nigel was. They are supposed to be playing in Feb & I can't wait. I think that if I didn't get tickets, I would get in for free. I bet they all think that I'm the most devoted or one of the most devoted Blondie fans.

XOXO JLP
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Monday, October 13, 2008

The Stolen Letter

Jan 26th, 1979
We went to see Johnny Thunders at Max's. What can I say except he is practically dying. He was in such sad shape. He was beyond F'up up and was stumbling so bad around the stage. You could just tell from the look in his eyes. He screwed up alot of the songs but it was still great to see him.

One good thing is that Nigel, Frank, & Clem were there from Blondie. I got to talk to them all and they were really nice. I was so surprised that when Clem said to me "I was so surprised to see you in Phili". I didn't even think he knew who I was. I guess if all of them knew that I was in Phili, then Debby Harry did also. Howie Pyro & Billy Stark were there also & I got to talk to both of them also. Eileen was pretty nice also.

One bad thing that happened was that I wrote Joon this 10 page letter & I think that someone stole it. That is enough to make me never go into NYC again. I had some intense stuff in that letter but I don't think anything too incriminating. Besides, my letter begins really boring so maybe who every stole it will just get bored & throw it away. Johnny Thunders is playing again tomorrow night so I think we will probably go again.

XOXOJLP
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Thursday, October 9, 2008

More Guitar Pics............

Jan 25th, 1979
Went to see the David Johansen Band at Creation. It was a pretty nice club in New Jersey. They were really good but I am really not a very good judge of that since all I did was watch Tommy Trask. I got 5 guitar pics from him while he was playing. I am getting a really good collection of them. I didn't like the crowd that much as there were way too many groupies. They finally changed their set. They don't do "Its a Heartache" anymore which was really pretty boring but instead they are doing "Let's Hang On". Tommy Trask's pants were really tight which made him even better looking. Certainly makes going to see them more fun. I can not wait to see Johnny Thunders playing tomorrow night at Max's.

XOXOJLP
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Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Blessed Fan Club.....

Jan 24th, 1979
I spoke with Eileen Polk, the Blessed Manager on the phone. I can't decide if I like her or not. The only thing I really don't like is how she wants us to show her everything before we do it for the Blessed Fan Club. If she wants to do the Blessed Fan Clib, then she should have started it from the beginning. I also spoke with Kim from NY. She was really nice surprisingly. I really like her and Jody also. Jody is really sweet. I am going to see the David Johansen Band tomorrow night. Can't wait. Hope I get more guitar pics from Tommy Trask.

XOXOJLP
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Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Worst Day of My Life............

Jan 21st, 1979
What can I saw about the worst day of my life. I went to see Blondie at the Spectrum in Philadelphia. They opened up for this horrible band called Rush that attracted a bunch of hippies. I went alone to the concert since no one else wanted to go. I wish I knew other Blondie fans that liked them as much as I did but I was not going to miss a Blondie show. It was raining out and my car broke down on the way to the concert. I was in the middle of no where but some man stopped and fixed it for me. They I had to wait on line to get into the show with a million other hippies. The floor was not reserved and there were no seats so if you wanted to be a up front, you had to be online early. So when I finally got in & I made it up front but right behind a bunch of guys who were so disqusting. You think they would have let me in front of them just for Blondie playing but they would not give up their spot against the stage. Anyway - it was so awful. People were booing Blondie and throwing things at them. People were hitting me so would stop dancing. I finally left during the show since I could not take it anymore. So I waited at the Hilton for 2 1/2 hours and then found out that Blondie wasn't staying there. Usually all the bands stay at the Hilton right next to the Spectrum but I guess that they decided to stay somewhere else. What a sick day. I never felt so suicidal in my life. I felt very numb in body & mind. Someone could have really physically hurt me and I don't think I would have felt it.

XOXOJLP
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Saturday, September 27, 2008

THE BLESSED & THE MISFITS....

Jan 19th, 1979
Well it was quite a night. Howie was alittle snotty at first but then he got nice. Oh - I went to see The Blessed & The Misfits at Max's. I went up to the dressing room for awhile. It was alot of fun. Cheetah Chrome & Johnny Blitz were there from The Dead Boys. Then for the encore of the second set, they did "Chinese Rocks " and Johnny Thunders went on stage. I think that Howie was a little mad because I do not think that he likes J.T. It was so great though. Eileen Polk, the Blessed manager was extremely nice and gave me her card to call her so we can discuss the fan club. Maybe we can get together so I can see all of her pictures. Of course the one I do not like wants to get in on it. She gets on my nerves so much. I filmed the Blessed while they played and I hope that it comes out. Too bad the movie camera has no sound but it is just great to get them on film anyway.

XOXOJLP
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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Just Another Winter Day....

Jan 18th, 1979
Well, its the day before the Blessed are supposed to be playing. I heard there is supposed to be a big snow storm tomorrow but I will find a way to get to NYC to see the Blessed playing. I can not miss them at all. Found out that the Clash are playing the Palladium on Feb 17th. I will see if I can get tickets. Johnny Thunders is also playing again at Max's on Jan 26th & Jan 27th. I was going to go to the Ramones that same weekend since they are playing in NJ. Now I don't know what I will do. I will probably go see Johnny Thunders or maybe I can go to one night of each. I wish they weren't not playing on the same nights. I really want to see the Ramones but it is so hard not to go see Johnny when he is playing.

XOXOJLP
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Friday, September 19, 2008

NEW TOP 10 PERFORMERS LIST

Jan 13th, 1979
I went to see the David Johansen Band at Emmit's again. It was really good although the crowd leaves something to be desired. And that place is so awful but it is easy to get up front by the stage. I got 4 more guitar pics from Tommy Trask. For the first time after the show, he came over and talking to me. We talked for awhile and he was really nice. Even David Johansen was alittle friendlier but I still think he is such a snob. I also just found out that Blondie is opening for Rush at the Spectrum on Jan 21st. I want to get in touch with Debby Harry to see if there is someone that I could get free tickets. I will definetly find a way to sneak down to the front once I am there. I can't miss Blondie playing at all.

At Present - My Top 10 Favorite Performers (not in any order)
1. David Bowie
2. Iggy Pop
3. Deborah Harry
4. Tommy Trask
5. Howie Pyro
6. Johnny Thunders
7. Paul Zone
8. Mick Jones
9. Richard Hell
10. Walter Lure

XOXOJLP
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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Start of the Guitar Pic Collection

Jan 12th, 1979
I went to see the David Johansen Band at Emmit's. That place is such a dive, some club in the woods in the middle of no where. The only good thing is that it is pretty close to my house, maybe 20 or 30 minutes and they are starting to get some decent bands from NYC there. Sylvain is no longer with the band. Some guy from The Rozz is now. I think that David Johansen is such an awful snob. Really obnoxious. At least the place was not overly crowded so we got to stand right up front against the stage. I got 6 guitar pics from Tommy Trask while they were playing and also 1 broken guitar string from him. I still like him the best in the band but there is something really kind of strange about Johnny Rao and at times he can come off a little mean. But the band was really good. They are playing again tomorrow night so we plan to go again.

XOXOJLP
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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Strange Night at Kim's

Jan 9th, 1979
Went to see The Fast at Hurrah. It was a hell of a weird night. First we saw Kim when we got there so we hung out with her for a little while. Then Billy, Howie, & Brad from the Blessed come in. So we hung out with them and then went into the dressing room for awhile. Paul Zone was there but we wasn't overly nice or anything. Donna Destri was there and she was very nice. I brought in my movie camera and I filmed Howie, Billy, & Paul for awhile. After some of us including Billy & Howie went to Kim's apartment to see photos of the Blessed. We wound up staying until 7:30am. I filmed there also and God only knows what I have on film. Howie asked for his earring back so I gave it to him. It was just a really crazy night. Can you imagine if the Blessed every get really famous? I think that Billy & Howie should be. They are both natural born stars.

XXXOJLP
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INTERVIEW WITH BILLY STARK (BLESSED) FINAL INSTALLMENT

Final Installment of Interview with Billy Stark from the Blessed. Please visit his myspace page for more information on the Blessed.

http://www.myspace.com/theblessed2008

CLOSING THOUGHTS FROM BILLY: Finally, I did want to mention my Father (RIP) who intentional or not had some major influences on me (both good and bad I think) and also set a certain sensibility in my personal approach and outlook to all this. A little about Him, He was a Commercial/High Fashion Photographer who also was involved with his Photos in the ‘Serious Art World” galleries and museums etc. In the 1930’s he apparently traveled w/ the Ballet Russe De Monte Carlo and was Photographer for Life Mag. in the 40’s and staff Photographer for Esquire in the 50’s. He photographed a wide variety of people including Suzy Parker-Don Loper -Marge and Gower Champion-Betty Grable-Humphrey Bogart-Pres. Truman. -Jimmy Stewart -Cary Grant-Lauren Bacall-Orson Wells-Raymond Massey- Yul Brynner - Gertrude Lawrence-Jack Lord-Glen Ford Etc. He is supposedly the only American Photographer to have Photographed Edith Piaf in a formal sitting and piloted a plane himself to Cuba to photograph Ernest Hemingway for an ad.

He also traveled w/ Ringling Bros Circus becoming friends w/ a lot of the performers (this fits in soon I promise), In 1929 in Ohio he won some kind of award in a race or something piloting a plane he flew himself -Who the hell was even flying IN a plane in 1929 never mind flying one yourself??!! He would have been about 16 years old or something (sounding familiar). I know he flew Glider planes during WW 2 and always wanted to take me flying in one. No way- uh-uh- was I ever getting in a plane that had no engine and I never did!

He had a studio in the Village –West 3rd St I believe in the 40’s and 50’s so he really was the epitome of the bohemian artist living/working in a loft in Greenwich Village @ that time. He never treated me like a child or his Son (well of course he did but not in any repressive way) but really as his ‘Adult Best Friend’ so I was exposed to and taken around to wide array of all that NY had to offer-going to see Warhol and Man Ray exhibits while listening to him extolling their genius. I also really loved that Goat w/ the spray painted tire around it-Rauschenberg I think? We used to go to the movies. One time he insisted I see this AMAZING film everyone is talking about- It was ‘El Topo’ and we went to the old Elgin Cinema @ Midnight in ’69 or 70 ? (I think that movie started the whole midnight movie thing) & I was about 9 years It was also the first time I smelled people smoking pot. We went to a lot of great festivals there -Buster Keaton, great double bills like a Marx bros. film and ‘Freaks’.

Pink Flamingos debuted here as well-they didn’t have a poster for it- just a big piece of white card board with the name written in magic marker or something. He tried to take me to see Warhols ‘ Trash’ (Truly Brilliant he’d enthuse about) but they wouldn’t let me in ‘ I’M HIS FATHER AND I SAY ITS ALRIGHT’ he argued with the person @ the Box office but it was to no avail. While I was still living in Connecticut the circus would be in town that weekend so of course we made plans to go. Now, this would be the Clyde Beatty Cole Bros circus which really was (is) the last of the old time circuses-Tents set up on a big lawn space etc, a midway-sideshow etc., as opposed to the Vegas like Ringling Bros. so the weekend comes and one night (or morning) about 4 a.m. he wakes me up ‘Come on get dressed-lets get going’ and I replied ‘Where are we going? And he said ‘To the Circus!!!” and seeing it was still kind of dark outside and it was 4 in the morning ‘Now??! we’re going now’!!? and he said ‘Sure this is the best part’- so we get there and his ‘BEST PART’ was watching them set-up(and he was right) The Bulls (elephants). Pulling up the poles for the main tent and the crew w/ mallets securing it all and the trailers arriving and it all being set up-its exactly like a Rock show. Pull in set up w/ roadies/Bulls setting up the trailers. The here today gone tomm’w atmosphere-had a big impact on me.

I spent a lot of time in the Village obviously-I remember it in the late 60’s when all the Hippie stuff was happening-heh! I even got my hair-trimmed (NOT CUT) @ Paul McGregors on St.Marks-he apparently invented the ‘SHAG’ haircut in’65 or so. Interestingly enough Howie’s Coney Island High Club –I later found out occupied the very same space and building it was in. I recall music blaring out of the Electric circus(always wondered now who might have been playing?) and all the Poster and head shops etc-still the same- just different groups on the T-shirts and stuff Lots of Fur coat shops and rug shops(don’t know why?)

Other places would be bars and clubs of all sorts in fact the first time I was ever @ Max’s was in ’69-I must have been about 7 or 8 years?! My parents and some of his friends and I went to see ‘Paint Your Wagon’ @ the old Loews State Theatre in Times Square (The Virgin mega store is there now). Then we went Max’s. All I remember about Max’s was that everything was RED (hence the infamous Red Room) and WAY TOO SMOKY in fact I made everyone leave because it was really bothering me. My father was also the Photographer who photographed Madonna during her early NY days and were published in Penthouse Mag, which caused a bit of a stir back in the 80’s. That’s how she ‘PAID’ for those recording sessions I mentioned earlier although I reiterate –indirectly!

Now this would have been about ’78 when he took the photos and The Blessed were up and running playing Max’s and CB’s etc.,So things came full circle and I was off doing my ‘THING’-…Remember there is no such thing as coincidences ! So, the Village was just ‘another’ part of the city to me. I am probably the only Blessed Member to not have ‘RUN AWAY’ at some point. I had no need to. My parents were cool and I could just be ‘me’ so as much as I enjoy all the village has to offer. Also I want add that one might get the impression that he made a lot of $$ but he was a LOUSY businessman and we were always just getting by or what not. We were not starving of course but he really never was savvy enough to really take full advantage of his talent financially.

This has been a lot of fun and I hope that it doesn’t come off pompous or w/ a lot of gratuitous Name dropping-which I usually find rather vulgar and off putting but its hard to tell the Story of The Blessed and a little about me without-well dropping in some names. In addition I also think it provides one more perspective and another snap shot if you will of NYC during those times from my corner of the world.

Lastly, I remember once reading about how Albert Einstein and Charlie Chaplin were having a conversation while outside the Premiere of one of Chaplins 'City Lights' and observing the huge crowd and pondering Chaplins fame. Einstein asked him “Charles, what does this all mean?” to which Chaplin responded ‘Nothing. It means nothing at all! I agree and feel the same way. Its fun and amusing and more exciting and interesting than most other things but ultimately its not important. Rock’n’Roll –The Punk Scene-the 70’s scene, Elvis, The Beatles etc, etc., and so on…..... Nothing. Its means Nothing at all Stay Tuned!The first 30 years was just a dress rehearsal............. ............NOW IT SHOWTIME!!!!!!!


XOXOJLP
http://www.jlporiginals.com/
www.myspace.com/jlporiginals
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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Interview with Billy Stark (Blessed) Part 6

ME: What are your most memorable experiences that you want share from the Blessed days?

BILLY: Do you mean in general or specifically to Blessed shows? Well from a show point of view of course the whole ‘21’ club was about as bizarre as it gets –lol Apparently the son of the Ambassador to Belgium under then Pres. Jimmy Carter was a fan of ours (yes I know it still sounds bizarre to me too) and hired us to play there for his 21st B’day party. Oh wow I just got that 21 @ 21 –lol. Now for those unfamiliar w/ the ‘21’ club-it’s the denizen of Manhattan’s wealthiest ‘movers and shakers’-Politicians- C.E.O’S etc., Jacket and Tie required etc. You can check out the movie ‘Sweet smell of success”. Anyhow we also brought a few of our friends along including Cheetah Chrome and his then girlfriend Gyda Gash.

At first we saw all these relatively young men. Well, they weren’t senior citizens lets just say that all wearing hearing aids!! We couldn’t figure out why there were so many deaf people there-WERE WE THAT BAD ??!!—lol Then someone mentioned to us ‘You idiots, those are the Secret Service” because the Host had invited Chip Carter to the party among his guests and Carter was currently the President. There was some story about Chip wanting to get high and figuring since we were Musicians and all that he was practically begging us for drugs. But we wanted no part of THAT—lol

So during our set they had shut off the power. Cheetah came up and we chanted F*CK THE 21 CLUB for about 20 mins. I then climbed on top of the P.A . and spit in no particular direction but it landed on this Maitre D’s hand. He wouldn’t wipe it off. He kept pointing at it and me and motioned he was going to throw me through the second floor window. Suffice to say we made a hasty retreat out through the employees entrance( exit) and that was that.

A couple of other amusing things that happened that night. It took forever for dinner to arrive (yes we had dinner before we played) so I went to Mcdonalds in Times Square to get some fries and was eating them on the way back to the club and the doormen told me “ No in and out and stay upstairs and no eating in the lobby’ Heh I can just picture this ‘undesirable’ type (me) standing in the Lobby of ‘21’ eating Mcdonalds-SACRE BLEU!!

Finally when dinner arrived and someone clanged a glass to make a toast and it got silent Cheetah said ‘ HEY, WHAT HAPPENED ??SOMEONE CUT ONE??? Then comes the soup (which spoon for soup please?) and it was Vichyssoise and Brad takes one taste and yells out ‘HEY! MY SOUP IS COLD!!”--Lastly not long after we played there I read or heard that Carter had issued a memo to the top record Co. Heads NOT to sign so-called Punk Bands this may be when they decided NEW WAVE sounded better…I’ve always wondered if we had anything to do w/ getting PUNK ROCK banned in the U.S.??!!

Here are other things that come to mind. The first time I ever got REALLY DRUNK was hanging w/ Stiv Bators (RIP) a @ some girls apt he was staying at. He was really sweet helping me downstairs to find a cab, making sure the driver had my address, and if I had enough money for the cab etc..-despite his onstage image he was a really nice guy.

Another one is getting a triple take from Divine (he of John waters Films fame) Before Hurrahs started having bands-Divine was doing an Off B’way Show Called ‘Women behind bars’ or something there and we were invited to see it. Then we were invited to take a look around @ the space. The play was due to close in a week or so and then be transformed into a venue for bands. I guess we were the first if not one of the first to play there. So we walk in one afternoon and Divine is @ the bar getting ready for rehearsal or something. He was in his undies and bra and had a nylon skull cap on before he put his wig on and was putting on his make-up. We walk in and he gives us not one not two but a triple take stare-lol. Now I don’t know if this is a compliment or insulting but all things Divine Has seen AND done on film and WE rank a triple stare-lol

Another one is going to a Blondie party @ the Copacabana w/ Nick.Blondies’ record co. was presenting them w/ their first gold albums I think from Australia or someplace and a Teenage Brooke Shields was there. Nick decided to use as an Ice breaker whether or not she had attended the same school that I had. She was polite but you could see her nose rising upward. I thought it was rather amusing Nick trying to pick up Brooke.

Another is when I had Appendicitis and was in the hospital and Anna Sui and ‘Fiorucci Linda(we called her that because she always shopped there) had visited me and also took pix! Incidentally Linda is supposedly the baby the KKK took away-(Ramones song reference) It was funny because I was still a minor and in the pediatric section with all these Disney and Nursery Rhyme motifs on the walls and everything. This was also the only time we cancelled a show and we had our Friends ‘The Misfits’ Fill in that night. More??!!

Having Francesco Scavullo take Eileen, Howie and I to Studio 54 when it was still in its heyday. Going to the V.V.V.IP rooms-I remember one was decorated in a camouflage motif.

Also @ our debut gig before we did Flagellation Rock for the first time I dedicated it To ‘Lux Interior of The Cramps’ having no idea he and the whole band were actually there. Apparently he was thrilled and used to chat w/ him and Ivy on occasions both very nice people, as was Bryan Gregory (RIP) who was always very polite and well mannered. I should mention our friendship and fun we had w/ The Student Teachers-The Fast-The Speedies-The Misfits-The Stimulators the Senders-the Contortions (if I’ve forgotten anyone I apologize)

Another outstanding memory is all that crap people used to throw at us. Not really spitting that was more of a London thing but everything else would come flying up-French fries-Pitchers of beer and water-Bottle caps-Lit cigarettes –half eaten Hamburgers (why anyone would order a Hamburger pay for it then throw it at us is beyond me). One show in particular is when Broken chairs and a Friggin table comes crashing onstage, that was most interesting –lol.

Also since no one asked but You might wonder how come I wasn’t @ the Sid Vicious (RIP)Thing? Why I’ll tell you-actually both Eileen and Howie called me saying ‘Come on there’s a party @ Michelle’s tonight for Sid (who just gotten out of Rikers-infamous jail in NYC) but I declined. I knew it was a bad scene and probably more trouble than not and didn’t want to be bothered. Turned out I was right I guess.

Another thing that I find rather amusing-in retrospect is Eileen ‘Retiring” as our manager. When she left I took over –Booking the clubs-dealing with our stage crew and roadies in addition to -performing –dealing w/ this crazy band I was in .–What I’m only 17??!!-lol(play the youth card when necessary) But Eileen had dated Dee Dee Ramone(RIP) of which that craziness is chronicled elsewhere-she dated Arthur Kane (RIP)during HIS crazy period- chronicled elsewhere and she was at the epicenter of all the Sid Vicious Craziness-again chronicled elsewhere- But managing The Blessed??!!-no, that got way too crazy and out of hand and too much too handle-lol But having spoken w/ her in recent years there was a lot of sordid drama behind the scenes that I shan’t go into-use your imagination but was enough reason for any sane person to bail. I would like to say that Eileen did contribute an ENOURMOUS amount to whatever we achieved and without her I doubt we would have done even a quarter of the things we did. She was an integral and very important contribution to all that we did and very instrumental (ok pun intended) in a lot of our success-however you want to define it- and I appreciate all that she did. She literally was the perfect Mama Bear watching out for her cubs!

Heres a good one-one time and only once we encored w/ a song called ‘SHORT SHORT SHORT” which was just that-3 seconds long- just BAM-BAM-BAM- we came back on stage-fumbled a bit –maybe pretend to tune up and then I sang (1-2-3-) “SHORT SHORT SHORT” The band played for 3 seconds and we walked off-lol A true exercise in obnoxiousness. In fact, more times than not we would ‘Dress’ the stage. I’ve always believed that every show should be an ‘event’ as if every show would be possibly the only and perhaps the last one you would ever see-going through the so-called motions seemed unfathomable to me. In short, a show we did on ‘Mothers Day” had a huge white backdrop w/ flowers strewn about the stage. On our 1st Anniversary Show we had streamers and balloons and some kids party backdrop. One show we T.P.’ ed the stage (Toilet papered) I remember as a kid in Connecticut the day after Halloween Neighborhoods would be completely festooned w/ Toilet paper hanging everywhere-from the trees etc, so one show we festooned the stage and equip in that manner.

There are other things we things we did as they are mentioned throughout this interview (the XXX film shown beforehand etc.,) and of course The Puberty Ball @ the Mudd Club. I didn’t mention the Blitz benefit did I? Of course I’m referring to the infamous Blitz Benefit shows that were to help Johnny Blitz (Dead Boys) when he was seriously injured. We were supposed to play but one of us having something to do or other with a fire being started @ CB’s( no not Mr.Pyro-lol) or whatever got us ‘Punished ‘ by not being allowed to play @ CB’ s for a month- 86’ed or 98’ed or something it was called. But this Punishment month fell during the Blitz Benefit shows and despite the Dead Boys intervening and asking that our ‘Month’ be the next one-CB’s would not relent. Personally, I always thought the ‘Real Reason’ was that on the ubiquitous Blitz Benefit t-shirts that were everywhere –all the bands that were playing were listed alphabetically. So we would have been first-ahead of Blondie -Even ahead of Blitz!! But I’m sorry we couldn’t have played –just to show our support- even though but we did go and see the shows anyway .

There are so many others that this is turning into ‘War and peace w/ The Blessed’ There was our aborted Cable TV show-(Nick Era) we were thrown out of the studio. Some college students or aspiring filmmakers wanted to do a half hour show on us for Cable TV so we went to the TV studio. First they interviewed Eileen. Then we played a couple of songs and then we sat down to be interviewed. One of us –Nick I think- had a can of beer and the studio manger a no nonsense Sgt. Type told us in no uncertain terms “ If you open that can of beer on camera I’m shutting the whole thing down.” So, naturally once the cameras were rolling, the can of beer was shook up vigorously and when it was opened sprayed everywhere. Needless to say that stage manager shut everything down and threw us out. I must give him credit-He kept his word and meant what he said-lol. This tape has been unseen for about 30 years now and would probably include the earliest known footage of The Blessed that exists (or existed) and we are fervently trying to track down a copy.

July 4th 1980-we had another ‘New’ Guitarist’ (name? who cares) who went AWOL before sound check so Howie played Guitar the first set- and Johnny Thunders (RIP) played the second set. One show w/ Rico and Charlie where our Bass player didn’t show up (got into trouble on the way –not arrested but something or other) so we went on just Guitar-Drums and I It sounded great and got a great reaction. I have recently spoken w/ Rico and we talked about that show and we both laughed and agreed that maybe we should have gone ahead like that It was in the mid 80’s predating all that White Stripes-YeahYeahYeah’s stripped down type of set up. Hindsight and all…..

There’s also amusing stuff about RCA and I think London records coming to see us live and in rehearsal- way early on’78 (Nick Era) There’s probably more that others would/could recall but to me those are the ones that stand out and come to mind first.

XXXO JLP
http://www.jlporiginals.com/
www.myspace.com/jlporiginals

Monday, September 8, 2008

Interview with Billy Stark (Blessed) Part 5

ME:Do you stay in contact with any of the original members? EH?

BILLY: Why would I do that? –lol- after the Gildersleeves show Howie and I were rather on the outs. Not too long after there was a MAXS night @ the Peppermint lounge with a bunch of bands playing and the promoter wanted us to do a re-union thing but I was just starting to play out w/ The Rico Version of the Blessed and didn’t want confusion with the name. I also wanted to move forward and not be stuck already doing ‘Reunions’ so I said no to that & NIPPED IT IN THE BUD.

Later on I went to see Howie’s band Freaks and checked out Degeneration intermittently from the Continental to CB’s to Irving Plaza. I also hung out @ the Green Door parties and Coney Island High and caught that post D-Gen thing he and Jesse (Malin) did called PCP Highway or Bellvue or whatever they were called that day-lol. It was in a great club-don't know if its still running, but it was the old Bleecker St. Movie theatre! I am also a great admirer of Howie’s Intoxica Show and think the Illuminoid’ Mash -ups are way cool. We are now in communicado on a regular basis.

After Nick left in ’78, Nick and I rarely kept in contact but he did come to one of the Rico/Blessed shows. He sat right in front-lol and we hung out and chatted during our break. He came back and sat through the second set! After that Nick & I hadn’t spoken for ‘DECADES” until quite recently with the Blessed My Space etc. I glad he’s doing really well.

The last time I saw Brad was @ Charlie Sox’s (O’BM) funeral.(but he recently popped up via the internet) The last time I saw Walter was at a tribute show The Waldos did @ the Continental for his brother Richie Lure (RIP) who had just passed away and to show my respects. Richie was a very sweet and nice guy. Walter and I have occasionally spoken via e-mail and I recall he came to one of the Screaming End shows (other band I was in) @ CB'S and Rico was there too! Eileen Polk and I have re-connected over the last few years thanks to the wonderful world o’ the Internet though she comes and goes.

Post-script- Most people now via the internet and w/ The Blessed My space page have popped up but I think the original intent of your question was after we broke up did we continue to have contact w/ each other. PRE-internet the answer would have to be no. Only the few times I went to a Waldos show and said Hi to Walter and Howie after a few years of no contact as stated above.Also Rico Blythe and I have re-connected after years of no contact (again thanks to the internet).


XXXO
JLP
http://www.jlporiginals.com/
www.myspace.com/jlporiginals

Saturday, August 30, 2008

INTERVIEW WITH BILLY STARK - PART 4

Continuing with my interview with Billy Stark of the Blessed. Part 4.

ME: Who was the first really famous person that you met? Were you at all impressed that you were so young?

BILLY: The first so called famous person of any note that I can recall had nothing to do w/music. That would be Elia Kazan (The Director) My Father was friends with him and his wife. We visited him @ his house somewhere upstate-when I was about 8 or 9 years old. When I still lived in Connecticut my Mother and I used to go to the Westport country playhouse to see plays in the summer. This is the place that literally started summer stock theatre so we used to finagle our way backstage and I got the only two autographs I have ever asked for in my life Vivian Vance a.k.a. Ethel Mertz on ‘I love Lucy" and Shirley Booth a.k.a. ‘Hazel’. I also met Hans Conried but I didn’t know who he was and my autograph asking career was over @ 9 years old.

There was also a certain amount of so called celebrities, artists, models, and people of all walks in the arts that my father associated with through his work and studio from before I was born. Through my school in NYC there was all that element of "Famous" so I have never been what you call star struck. I don’t recall ever having posters of Rock people on my wall-Movie stuff yeah-maybe a Pistols poster when they came out but that early Pistols stuff was ART –Jamie Reid stuff- but never that typical teenage stuff. I’ve always admired people themselves and their work, not the show biz personas but the behind the fa├žade grist and mill. Blind fan worship always seemed really weird to me.

One of the reason that Rock’N’Roll was attractive to me is when I was 11 years old I was having such a miserable time in Connecticut and when I took notice of some groups of the day "Hey! Those people look kind of look like me and vice versa" and look at all the people that are attracted to them and how crazy they go over them?? HMM, maybe that’s the road I should take! This was a contrast to the crew cut haired kids whose mothers bought their clothes and dressed them that I was associated w/ in the Good old Elementary schools of Connecticut. After seeing how manic fans acted toward the bands and liked them THAT MUCH, I thought maybe that’s the direction I should take. The secondary reason thing- was how people go crazy over groups. THE MAIN REASON is I wanted to perform and be creative in that area - fame etc was the secondary reason.

One last thing is that I never went through a girls are "icky" phase that so many kids go through. I always enjoyed and liked girls as they had better conversations and were more into music and stuff. You hear about so many Guys who get into bands to GET GIRLS but I always did very well Thank you with or without being in a band although being in a band certainly made it more palatable and opened up many more avenues to explore. Now I don’t like when people go into details and name names and such I think that’s just vulgar and I will always keep that side private. I kiss but I don’t tell but let me conclude that for a 15-16 year there were plenty of ‘older’ women in their 20’s and such who did show me a great time so a big Thanks to them all. I tell you, some of these women –and girls too -were really so brazen and so upfront, talk about your lack of inhibitions I mean it was ALMOST SHOCKING -lol

ME: What was it like for you in high school? Did the kids in your class know that you played in a band at night?

BILLY: Ok, here is where it gets ugly. I quit High school when the band started. I went about two weeks into 11th grade when I was 15 so I have really no idea if anyone knew I played in a band although I had run into a couple of them later on but I’m pretty sure most knew I quit school to start a band. I didn’t play @ night then go to school the next day. It was all Blessed all the time.

Now here is a dirty little secret no one but the band members and very close friends ever knew –a very guarded secret-lol- but the school I went to was for Professional kids who were working as Actors and in the Arts. The other one in the city was Professional Childrens school but mine was their competitor if you will. It was in Lincoln Center across from the Julliard. The premise was that the curriculum was kept to a minimum as the students were professionals in the industry, on TV shows, movies, Broadway shows, Ballet etc. They had very busy work schedules that the school was set up to accommodate. It was very small of 150 students or so from grades Kindergarden through 12th grade. I went there from 7th through two weeks in 11th. It was a private school but the first year a friend of my parents paid for it and the following years we scrimped and paid as I went along. The school needed the enrollment Numbers for the State or something and kind of let me slide but I never had any friends over my house. We didn’t have any(very little) furniture and stuff and I was very much a black sheep out of my element. In fact The Band was the first friends I think I ever had over and the lack of furniture made it easy when we started to rehearse there.

Anyhow one of the kids in my class who I sometimes would hang w/ after school has a Mother that worked for a big talent agency and we’d hang out there sometimes (they lived in the same building as the Agency). Eventually they asked me if I wanted to get into the biz. So for a few years I did a few things, some movies, TV, a bunch of commercials, a small thing on a soap opera. But I didn’t actively pursue it since I wanted to be a Rock’n’Roll singer and was terrified of getting a sitcom or something. It never really works our for Actors who go into music. I remember going on some audition for some Shakespeare thing on Broadway and purposely NOT DOING GOOD so I wouldn’t get it.

The first ‘PROFESSIONAL’ thing I did was when I was 3 years old. My father was a commercial photographer and used me in an ad for a Sunday supplement ad. I did several modeling things as I was growing up and a lot of test stuff for his ad agencies etc. So by the time the Blessed started I had a bit of ‘PERFORMING’ experience under my belt. Being in a Band was my main and only choice of creative expression or what have you @ the time. I like to joke that I was the only member of The Blessed in S.A.G.(Screen Actors Guild) though I let my membership lapse when the band started and the only Blessed member---so far as I know-to have been directed by Woody Allen (I worked on Annie Hall for about a week). So this also answers the previous question-Who was the first famous person you met?

A lot of the kids in my school and class were well known on TV and movies and having worked on sets myself and in the industry I’d met a lot as well. I was never particularly ‘Star-Struck’. I was always been more interested in people and their work rather than fan type stuff. How it felt the first time on stage - it was just where I wanted to be. With having worked on movie and TV sets etc I already had been performing in a sense for a few years so being on stage wasn’t as foreign to me as it was for the other band members.

Also in late’76 my school was planning a charter trip to London-with an emphasis on the Plays and a Shakespeare excursion or whatever which would have been nice. I would have gone and ditched the school thing to go see The Pistols and everything else going on there at that time at The Roxy Etc. Maybe I could have caught an Anarchy Tour date or something but it was cancelled due to lack of interest. I WAS SO PISSED- but I showed them by quitting the following year-lol -OK that’s enough of that.

XXXO
http://www.jlporiginals.com/
www.myspace.com/jlporiginals

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Interview with Billy Stark (Blessed) Part 3

ME: Since you were so young, what did you think of the fact that you had fans?

BILLY: Age really had nothing to do with it. I don’t think or felt at the time that ‘How unusual it is that we’re so young and have "fans". We were a new band and pleased that it was working and people were coming to see us and each show the crowds grew and grew so it was as it would be for ANY band regardless of age. I mean I didn’t know any different being 15 or 16 or whatever, it was all I knew at that point so there was nothing to compare it to.

Now, Do you mean now looking back? -its what we set out to do and it worked to a certain degree-its interesting that it DID work to an extent-Not to the level we would have liked or were aiming for nor did the real message I think we were driving at once we got rolling(no pun intended) the whole Teenage aspect was unavoidable and we just dealt with it head on so, the fact was that we WERE teenagers who HATED being teenagers and ranted about it-not in a dopey angst way like many emo-esque bands do today but I just couldn’t stand these 30 year old guys singing about how they wish they were 16 again…. Oh, to relive those good times blah blah blah SHUT UP I’M 16 AND IT SUCKS AND I DON’T ever want to go through this again.

Even now I have no desire to be 16 again heh especially now –lol-most teenagers are very self conscious and just want to fit in and all. We had was an over the top amount of swagger and self-confidence and reveled in our otherness that was rare for a bunch of teenagers. We didn’t sing about your run of the mill teen subjects but in a world weary and jaded maybe slightly feigned way for guys our age and I think most importantly we played up to the fact that we aware that we (at least thought ) we were COOL but in a very non-chalant way, not in an arrogantly off putting way but a genuine healthy kind of take no prisoners confidence despite whatever the situation we were in.

But its funny because we never wanted to really dwell on our YOUNGER THAN THOU stance because that can only last so long and not really what we wanted to be. It was an IN and it was a good way to start off to make our mark and move on. Ironically Nick leaving the band at the time allowed us to do just that-leave it behind and move on although I would have liked to have had an album of that period for posterity but we have some tapes and videos. I’m still trying to track down so that’s that. In conclusion its funny because we never intentionally set out nor planned to be THIS TEENAGE BAND. We just happened to be teenagers-any other member had we met them could have been a 20 year old or whatever on Bass or Drums-it truly was serendipitous that we came together-right place right time. THERE WAS NO ELSE OUT THERE AT THAT TIME.

We really were a perfect snapshot of disaffected yet smart alecky pseudo-intellectual City kids in the mid to late 70’s NYC who feigned an impression of being world weary and jaded @ 16. We were the combination of this new energy and the Punk scene and everything we played up our Younger than thou stance and it allowed us to be more obnoxious than otherwise. We hated it when some people were condescending and ‘Oh, aren’t they cute and all’ first and foremost we wanted to be taken seriously as real contenders in the arena.

Keep in mind that most groups play around a lot before they get noticed but right from the get go from our first gig we had a crowd, made some real $$$, and wound up in major mags. We had to grow-up and learn our craft in the spotlight so we never had a chance to work out any kinks in the band-we did all that on stage. One other thing I do regret is us telling Frank Zappa(RIP) to ‘F*ck off’.He had come to see us play and was interested in maybe buying Howie’s ‘Rare’ Dan Electro Bass and when word was sent to us that Frank wanted to talk we said ‘Tell him to F*ck Off’-nothing personal against Frank-it just seemed like ‘the thing for us to do’. In retrospect I would have enjoyed chatting with him. Plus we never did find out how much he was willing to offer for the Bass-lol-. Finally I will admit in retrospect there was probably a certain Three Stooges quality to the Three of us banging and bounding into other-who is which Stooge is up to conjecture Though (I’ll take Moe’s spot Thank You-lol)

ME: Where was your favorite show you played?

BILLY: Oh all of them !!!-you should ask which were my LEAST favorites–lol- but favorites I think our best ‘FIRING ON ALL CYLINDERS’ one so to speak was the Rock convention/Flea market-@ the Diplomat Hotel(same venue the Dolls had played years before I think when Kiss were still opening for them but I’m not sure if it was the same ballroom or not). Also most of the shows at Maxs. Both Nick and Walter eras-this club on West 8th St. downstairs called Rock Bottoms we had some good ones, a few CBGB’s ones- also playing w/ the Dead Boys was fun despite people during the first set yelling out ‘Bring on the real Dead Boys’ and ‘We want the Real Dead Boys-lol- but by the second set and second night we were getting encores so there ya’ go (and I had a tape of that first set with all the cat calls too-but its gone but I just got pix of it though!).

Of course the ‘21’ club would have to be mentioned and the party @ the Nirvana restaurant. I think Nicks last show with us was really good, not because it was his last one-lol- but we showed this old hard core XXX 8mm movie before we on and the crowd had this whole L.A. contingent that converged onto NYC at the time, among the audience was-and if I forget anyone apologies all round but Kid Congo-Trudie-members of X-members of the Dickies I think-members of the Screamers I think-Alice Bag etc, I used to have a tape of this show and Nick played great-he just ROARED and of course the shows we did w/The Student Teachers,The Misfits,The Fast,The Stimulators,The Contortions, The Senders, (if I have forgotten anyone I apologize-please send an E-Mail to the Administrator) !But yeah the Rock Convention/flea market (w/ Legendary Night Bob ( Dolls Stooges, Aerosmith Etc) doing sound for us was MY favorite.

ME: Yes - I will write about the show at the Rock & Roll Flea Market at the Diplomat Hotel when I get up to that section in my diary. You played there on my 21st birthday on April 1st, 1979. What a perfect birthday gift.

XXXO
http://www.jlporiginals.om/
www.myspace.com/jlporiginals

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The First Snow of 1979

Jan 6th, 1979
Went to Max's to see The Fast & Authur's Dilemma. Debby Harry was supposed to be there & I was to meet her through Paul Zone but she wasn't there. I went up to the dressing room to see Paul Zone before the set. He kissed me hello and gave me a photo of Debby Harry he took 5 1/2 years ago. Wasn't that nice of him. I couldn't believe it. He is such a doll. First we had gone to the store Next and then into Howie Pyro's store. I had a really nice long talk with Billy Stark from the Blessed. He is so nice. We wants the Blessed to play in the Garden one day. I hope they do get famous because I am president of their fan club. JV said we should all run the fan club but I am the only President. I think that Mare is in love with Howie. It is kind of nauseating to hear her talk about him all the time. She is always saying such retarded things that are so embarassing. The Fast are playing on Monday & Tuesday at Hurrah's & I want to go but not sure because of the weather. We had to leave early last night because of the snow. Mare was driving but if I was driving I never would have left.

XXXO
JLP
http://www.jlporiginals.com/

Saturday, August 16, 2008

New Years Eve...Welcome in 1979

Dec 31st, 1978
Went into NYC for New Years Eve. We really had no plans at all. We went to Max's but it was too early. So we walked over to the Palladium and the David Johansen Band was playing. We ran into one of the Heartbreakers roadies that we knew and he gave us free tickets into the show. I was able to get to the front of the stage and Thomas & Syl saw us. After that we went to Max's and they were sold out. Thank God because we saw a flyer that said the Senders and Johnny Thunders new band were playing at this place called Studio 10. Jerry Nolan and Authur Kane were in the band with him. So we went there and it was great. The sound was so awful and Johnny Thunders was so F'd up. Walter Lure was there and we saw Howie at the end of the night. They had gone to the Mudd Club to see the Cramps. We were going to go there but I am so glad that we didn't. All in all the night turned out to be really great and as it turned out, we got to see all of the New York Dolls between David Jo at the Palladium and Johnny Thunders at Studio 10. Happy New Years! Let 1979 bring in fame & fortune!

XXXO
JLP
www.jlporiginals.com

Sunday, August 10, 2008

More December Nights....

Dec 29th, 1978
Went to Max's and saw the Cramps and this horrible country band. I do not even know their name. I saw Tommy Trask & Buzzy Verno from the David Johansen Band and spoke with them awhile. I saw a bunch of people I had not seen in a long time. The Cramps were great, and Joon, one of the girls we went with is so insane with them.

Dec 30th, 1978
Went to the Red Foxx Inn in New Brunwick, NJ and saw The Rozz. It was my first time that I ever saw them. There were really good and I heard that they all used to really be into Bowie. They did "Chinese Rocks" and "Chatterbox".

XXXO
www.jlporiginals.com

Friday, August 1, 2008

More Rumors...

Dec 28th, 1978
Went into NYC last night. First we went to Howie's store and hung out there for a little while. Then we took Howie and some kid to Max's. We saw Suicide & Walter Stedding. I ran into Lisa and she told me this rumor that this mutual friend of ours is gay and he is really a husler. Some things make more sense now. Walter Lure dyed his hair black. He looks younger but I liked it better orange.

I HATE COLLEGE!

Dec 23rd, 1978
I got my report card. I got 2 B's, 2 C's, & 1 F. I want to kill my teacher for the F. Now I have to take 18 credits my last semester at college. I should have majored in following rock bands. I can not want to get out of school.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Meeting Paul Zone.......

Dec 22nd, 1978
Went to see The Fast at The Place at Dover. I had a premonition that we would meet Paul Zone and we did. After the set he came over and sat with us at the table. As soon as he saw my Debbie Harry button, that broke the ice. We went into the dressing room and he told me Debbie Harry stories for over 1/2 hour. He invited me on Jan 6th to go see them at Max's. He said that Debbie Harry will probably come and I should go upstairs while the first band is on and talk to them. I said I would feel like a jerk but he said he was inviting me so I can't wait. The One who I can not stand said she was going to come upstairs also but she wasn't invited. I hope she doesn't come. Paul Zone said I look a little like Lydia Lunch. I hope I run into Paul before Jan 6th to make sure that he remembers me.

XXXO
JLP
www.jlporiginals.com

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Interview with Billy Stark - Part 2

Part 2 – Interview with Billy Stark – Founding Member of The Blessed

ME: How did you get into the Punk Rock Scene and what was the first band you saw?

BILLY STARK: I had seen Local bands when I was little in Connecticut but the first major concert I saw was Mott The Hoople @ The Uris Theatre on Broadway in ’74. Queen was the opening act. In fact it was their American Debut show but I thought Queen were boring but Mott blew my little 12 year old head away.The first concert I wanted to go to was Alice Coopers ‘Billion Dollar Babies’ Show @ The Garden- I remember the full page ad but I didn’t realize yet how fast concerts sold out. After I started going to a lot of shows Bowie ‘Diamond Dogs’( The Station to Station show was better I thought) The Stones w/ the lotus stage and Phallic Balloon prop-Led Zep-The Who- Black Sabbath (when Ozzy was still w/ them).

The first so-called Punk band I saw was The Dead Boys. There were a lot I wanted to go like The Ramones and The Damned when they played CB’s but the one I finally upped and went to by myself was The Dead Boys. Keep in mind the Bowery was a HORRIBLE place in the 70’s –its funny The Heartbreakers were also playing @The Village Gate the same nights and later on when Walter was playing w/ us and this story came up he said in mock shock ‘You went to The Dead Boys instead of us?!" Yep! I did-lol –so it wasn’t a matter of getting into ‘Punk Rock’ per se, just following Rock ‘n’ Roll and where it led.

It seemed like the right time to jump in the pan and get this Rock’n’Roll Singer thing going-the energy plus my Energy and you could feel that something was-a- brewing. I’ll also add that hearing about and reading about this NEW band from England- The Pistols- that really set off something in my head-not that I hadn’t thought of being in a band before but TO DO IT NOW!! Was the operative words-no waiting until I was 20-something as I had originally planned-that and coupled w/ my memory of thinking ‘ I’m too young’ to go see The Dolls were both strong motivators in my ‘Lets get up and go’ Mentality.

ME: Who were your major influences in your music?

BILLY STARK: Musically just read the other questions and the trail is pretty obvious. However there are other things that have influenced me -Buster Keaton-Harry Langdon-Chaplin-Mad and Cracked Magazines-Clyde Beatty Cole Bros Circus-Marcel Marceau-Side shows-Carnivals Particularly The Gorilla Girl Illusion at some Carnival I was at-Amusement Parks(especially Dark Rides…Fun Houses Etc)Man Ray Duchamp Warhol –Harry Houdini-The Addams Family-Times Square Especially in the 70’s-and of course Carl ‘Alfalfa’ Switzer. And oh yeah and Ferrets but that was later on have you ever seen one dance around? They have GREAT moves to borrow from.

ME: How did it feel the first time you were on stage?

BILLY STARK: That first time was both surreal and the most comfortable and natural feeling place to be. Literally " Ahhh, I’m home". In this sense this was the creative and /or for lack of a better way to put it the means I had chosen when I was 11 years old to be my so called ‘Artistic Expression’ if you will. Was being in a band and being a ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll singer a viable thing or going to be a totally ridiculous bust?

Most of ‘The Nervousness’ or whatever was more behind the scenes and what would be a Blessed show without that? Morning of the first blessed show-things were not worked up until we actually had to show up @ soundscheck w/out equip and we hoped we could borrow for that night. First of all, we had very little preparation time as well and I completely forgot WE HAD NO EQUIPMENT!!! No Drums or Amps so all day we knew we had to show up @ soundcheck and ask/beg/bribe the other band DNA/Arto Lindsey to borrow all their gear. They were cool and something was worked out the morning of the first show.

Howie, Nick and I needed to get out of my Apt for awhile and the only place open in the morning on Dec 25th was the old Horn and Hardart/Automat Restaurant near my Apt on 42nd St. We just sat there maybe drinking coffee-eating bags of sugar and the only other people there were people I guess of either other Religions and or people who don’t do X-mas and homeless and loners of all walks of life, those with no other place to go. Actually it was quite the perfect setting and mood enhancer for this burgeoning bunch of outcasts pondering the night ahead and what it would hold. But it was also kind of creepy too!

ME: How long did the Blessed last?

BILLY STARK: The core years would be 1977-1983 from our Debut @ Max’s to The Gildersleeves show AKA ‘Howies Last’. The core years I consider as those with Howie and I ‘Comrades in Arms’ if you will plunging ahead undaunted by any setback or set forward-lol-after Walter then Brad left there was a literal revolving door of Guitarists and Drummers and all the wonderful drama entailed therein. Either Howie and I just chewed them up and spit them out or Howie and I were just so Horrible to work with.

Howie and I did do a re-union thing of sorts @ The Continental Divide-in the mid 90’s a tribute show for good friend and scene stalwart Tony Cairo(RIP) who’d passed away. He was a Bassist in a number of bands including The Heartbreakers and Waldos and a very sweet and nice man. Naturally, The Waldos played and Sea Monster and others I forget and also this band of upstarts called Dgeneration or something-lol- who went on after us so Howie played twice that night. We did three songs ‘Major Minor’-‘Satyricon’ and ‘Kindergarden H.O.’ in which I was very uncomfortable singing the latter at whatever age I was at the time in fact I decided that would be the LAST time I would ever sing it in fact it would be THE LAST BLESSED SHOW of any kind.

Now to recap the show we had Prior to the Gildersleeves, one was @ NYU’S Loeb Center w/ our ‘new’ Guitarist Rico Blythe (and Richie- I forgot his last name on Drums) with a whole new bunch of songs. The direction we were going in was ‘Punk Funk’ someone called it and it sort of did fit. This was around the time I believe Rick Rubin was starting Def Jam out of his dorm room @ NYU and it was either Dave Insurgent ( RIP) of Reagan Youth or one of The Beastie Boys that asked us to play on this ‘HARDCORE CIRCUS’ thing they were doing at Gildersleeves ( for those unaware Gildersleeves was a good sized club a block or so up from CBGB’ which usually had past their prime Glam and pseudo metal bands while CB'S was ' The place to be' --but in the 80’s became a good venue for Hardcore and other bands. ) The Beastie Boys were still a ‘Hardcore Punk’ band @ this time. I remember speaking w/ one of them-which one I don’t recall- about the upcoming show details and what The Blessed were doing. We discussed the burgeoning Hip Hop scene and how they were all into it-suffice to say the Gildersleeves show was the last one they did as a ‘Hardcore Band" and they disappeared for a few and came back Rapping. I saw the first one @ The Ritz when they still had their Drummer Kate w/ them –it was truly brilliant.

We also did some recording- a couple of Demos of stuff that might have been our next single. I was listening to a lot of Heavy Jamaican Reggae and Dub Etc, and Howie would come over and hang out and was starting to get into it so we sort of starting going in a Bass heavy direction. Anyway due to some irreconcilable differences and misunderstandings Rico bowed out of doing the Gildersleeves show and we once again ‘Hired’ Nick to do the show his second come back and third go-round as Blessed Guitarist so it turned into more of a ‘Re-union" thing than originally planned and we played that angle up. I must also mention Pablo Jakobsen (RIP) On Drums who later played w/ Nausea. It as a good show. We had a great reaction and I was talking w/people about possibly playing that club in Minneapolis- the one Prince put on the map First Ave I think? And maybe a short Eastern U.S. city jaunt- I think there were talks of doing shows w/ T.S.O.L.Take advantage of this new scene coming up. I had gotten a few $$$ at this time and was going to finance the whole thing and buy new equipment Etc., but Howie begged out-He was somewhat physically burnt and Nick was a 'NO GO' so that was it.

Perhaps it was also a way of just going our separate ways. A bit of trivia, the very last song we did together-the encore was an unplanned and impromptu cover of ‘Shutdown" by The Germs. Very Appropiate-lol This show was Videotaped(only The Blessed set) and will be avail on DVD in the very near future. If I recall Howie and Nick later on had a couple of groups in name and rehearsal only they never played live but Howie kept a low profile for a few and resurfaced later as is now well known with Dgeneration and Danzig etc.

I hooked back up w/ Rico and we recruited Long time friend Charlie Sox (O’BM) who actually was the Second Blessed Drummer- He was a friend of Brads and was Brads Drum Tech and Roadie and when Brad left Charlie just slid into the Vacant Drummers Stool knowing the songs and all. On Bass we had Reggie Rhoden an Acquaintance of Rico’s. We played the circuit CB’s –Pyramid-The Dive ( a great club where the original Cavestomp nights started) We also put out a 12’ 45 ‘Taboo’ w/ three songs-'Rubbernecking'-'Potters Field and 'Rags To Riches' I kept the name The Blessed-if it was going to die-I was going to kill it-plus it was easier booking gigs and getting decent nights without having to start from scratch. A lot of people from previous years stopped going out –HI JUDY!!!- and a whole new crop of people were coming up who had maybe heard of the name but had never actually seen us so it was all new to them.

After this dissolved I hooked up again w/ J.F Vergel who actually came in after Walter (who also referred us to him) After Walter we did a few shows w/ JF including a Halloween show @ Maxs w/ Cheetah Chrome on the bill(Howie on Bass and Charlie on drums we did a few others I think. Anyway back w/ J.F. we wrote a bunch of new stuff and recorded some stuff @ the notorious Noise NY Studios –owned and run by Kramer of Shimmy Disc (why it was known as notorious I don’t know but I’ve read that it was –lol-) we had on Bass Sara Lee (B-52’s-Gang of Four and a lot of others )and on Drums Ira Eliot (Fuzztones, Nada Surf) we recorded three songs ‘Timbale Sally’ ‘Love and Sound Effects’ and ‘Upbeat’ these are know as the Faith Express sessions (a name we pondered for a NY minute) but I decided to keep using the Blessed name-making it a revolving door of Musicians and styles w/ me @ the helm. Kramer engineered the sessions but when we pondered doing some DANCE HEAVY MIXES he walked off ‘Refusing to do that kind of stuff"-lol so another engineer who worked there finished it. I believe he was also in the band Miller,Miller, Miller and Sloan though I forget which one it was. I think it was Miller. I should also that mention that Madonna paid for these sessions-albeit indirectly- but that’s a whole other story.

We shopped these around and thought of putting it out ourselves but that wasn’t feasible at the time. J.F. and I went to another studio and recorded an alternate (and I think better version) of ‘Love and Sound Effects’ again w/ Sara Lee on Bass and my new love of technology (samplers-Drum Machines) filling out the rest. We used these for booking purposes and may have sold some around- limited edition cassette only single. Sara and Ira had other projects and we didn’t play live w/ them so J.F. I re- recruited Charlie Sox and new Acquaintance Perry Bottke on Bass. So with this line -up we played a few shows- Lismar Lounge and this club Nirvana (not the restaurant The Blessed had played a party at years before) but it was located in One Times Square- The building where they drop that ball every Dec 31st- after that show we didn't 'officially' dissolve but the guys had other things they wanted to do. So that would be the last show I played under The Blessed name.

J.F. did some thing that played the Ritz w/ The Mission U.K. and Charlie and Perry went to play w/ The Waldos! (No coincidences I tell ya') which may have been the First Waldos Line-up ? I wanted something else to do to so I had gotten word of these guys looking for a singer and ASAP as they had gigs booked and coming up real soon.

I was tired of starting bands and relying on people who had been associated or known of The Blessed. So I met these guys and brought my 'Demo Reel' of stuff that I had done- and I was going to have to audition-which I was actually thrilled about -No relying on past endeavors or whatever-had to prove myself or get out of the game so to speak (not really, but I liked the pressure) plus they didn't have lyrics so I was given a tape and had to write a couple of things-no one was overly familiar w/The Blessed except the Drummer who had been in this band 'Khemer Rouge (SP?) So, I had to Audition along w/ a bunch of other people suffice to say I got it. I had two weeks to write a set of their songs and flesh them out –arrange them in actual ‘Song’ form etc., We did a few warm up gigs in N.J. and played Limelight- at the time they were called 'Strangle Beat' which I hated and strongly suggested 'WE' choose another they came up w/ 'Screaming End' -a Gene Vincent Thing. We had Recorded a Couple of songs and were getting some Press and Radio play -College and Alt. Stations off that tape so the name stuck. We played the circuit- CB'S-Limelight-all over NY State-Pennsylvania-all over Long Island. Oh yeah the band members were Sid- (RIP)Guitar( I forgot his last name- how awful of me) Mick Santeria-Drums and Chris Carrire on Bass and yours truly. To make a long story short every time we took one step forward Sid would recoil inward two steps and was acting erratically with ever growing more frequency w/ every step forward we took .Eventually he wanted out and said he'd play until we found someone.We did our last show @ Pyramid and he begged out so we had to cancel another Limelight and Cat Club show and not too long after this Sid Killed himself.

The rest of us carried on with different Guitarists and w/ various line-ups and one of the Guitarists we had been working with, he and I went off eventually started our own thing I think we were Tentatively called ‘The Hags'. The Hags didn't play live -they got cold feet when it came time to book gigs. Then the re-union w/ Howie @ the Continental and I decided to call it a day and walked away from music.

This began my own period of a revolving door of Re-habs- Hosp.Emerg Rooms and Jail (gotten into trouble a few times) and was into all sorts of unhealthy crap-Drugging-Drinking etc., which was somewhat anti-climatic since during The Blessed Years. I hardly drank- didn't do Drugs of any sort- didn't even smoke Cigarettes and despite the surroundings I was in and the band I was in -lol- all those Blessed shows I did 1000 percent straight and sober. Thankfully I put all that crap behind me and have moved on. Also as a result and during this period I started getting what one would call ‘Spiritual’ and have been studying and learning and practicing things of a more important nature. But, you can’t leave music forever-The smell of greasepaint is just TOO STRONG ya’ know-lol


ME: WHY DID THE BLESSED BREAK-UP?

BILLY: Which time are you referring to? Break-ups Volume 1-10 or later ?-lol I guess the first one would be when X-cessive departed. We got together around Sept. of '77 rehearsed @ my apt in Oct and moved to a real rehearsal studio in Nov. Now when we went out to the clubs-really there was only Max's and CB's-you would just jump back and forth between the two. We usually hung out together making a big stink of who we were-sort of the original (and our own) street team. Our plan was to rehearse and rehearse and I recall make our 'Debut' in June the following year.

One night I was hanging @ Maxs and Terry Ork-who with Deer France-was booking Maxs in Peter Crowleys absence. Peter Usually Booked Maxs but @ this point was in England w/ Wayne/Jayne County. Anyhow Terry said to me 'you guys want to play? I've got a date for you if you want Dec 25th' Which at that time was only a month away or so. Now, I don't remember if I accepted it right then and there or said I need to check w/ the band and get back to you. X-Cessive got very nervous and anxious and the rest of us were like' The hell w/ it lets just do it'. So X-cessive took Howie and me aside and said 'look, Nick just can't drum -we need to get rid of him"-which was true, a Drummer he was not. Then Nick took Howie and me aside and said whatever I don't recall but to the effect that X-cessive is the one we need to get rid of. So Howie and I had a little Pow-Wow and Howie argued more in favor of Nick and I told him "Look, you have to play Bass w/ whomever so if you're comfortable w/ Nick then so be it." So we let X-Cessive go and went w/ Nick on guitar.

So, here we are with a gig looming in a few weeks and now we need a Drummer. I've sometimes wondered how The Blessed would have been had we'd Gone w/ X-Cessive instead of Nick. It would have definitely have been a different band. Probably not as Anarcho-Nutso Punky as many of our shows turned into. Now Nick Leaving all depends on who you ask. Quite simply Nick Just didn't want to be in a band anymore, not just us but ANY band. He was if I recall either living with or hanging with people who convinced him that he should be a ''Pop" Idol and was going to be in 16 and Tiger Beat Mags etc and they were grooming him for all. But the general consensus was that he was always very uncomfortable on stage and had terrible stage fright though he masked it well.

After he left he didn't do anything musically until years later so that was that. Even though it was a little disappointing losing an original member and not having an album from that era. The crowds continued to get bigger and bigger as well as the $$$ so his leaving was really of no consequence. Actually I don't question why a person doesn't want to be in a band I question the sanity of someone who does WANT to be in one-lol. But he is a successful Chef now w/ his own restaurant and is married w/ a young Son so I wish him the best and all. He very well may have been the only one who had any sense -lol

As far as Walter was concerned, we kept trying to get rid of him but he wouldn't leave-lol. Oh, just kidding seriously though, his leaving was actually in stages. First off he really wasn't meant to stay as long as he did-lol. He was only supposed to be for one gig 'Special Guest' and all that but it went so well he did one more then another and another etc. The first chink in the armor was when Hurrah's wanted us to do a show w/ The Damned (which would have been their 2nd NY appearance since they played w/ the Dead Boys @ CB'S in '77) 'The Damned Blessed Blessed Damned' nights they were to be called. The first night we would go on first and the second night the Damned would go on first essentially opening for us. They had big ads and posters to be plastered all over town and after I booked it Walter wouldn't do it. He went on about how he had played with them on The Anarchy tour and this was his 'home turf'etc and didn't want to be seen playing w/ us blah blah. So I had to cancel it which didn't please Hurrah' much but out of deference. I suggested that they should get The Misfits who would make a great fit on the bill. The Misfits played and I believe that is how they struck up their "friendship" w/ the Damned and asked if they could open for them in England and the Damned said 'Sure." They went over based on that or something but that’s all Misfits lore and if one is interested can delve into on their site.

Moving along Walter did not want to do any 'Out of Town' shows that I tried to book but the final straw was when Bobby Orlando was starting a new label ' Thrust ' Records and wanted to sign us. Granted it wasn't the best of the best but I really wanted to get an album out even if it wound up in the cut-out bins. But again, Walter didn't want to do it specifically didn't like the deal points -lol- as if we were going to make anything anyway so that was it. We wanted to do it so we went our separate ways. We essentially 'Hired' nick to do the album which was to be called 'Out of the inkwell w./The Blessed" a Max Fleishcer/Koko the clown sort of motif. Bobby Orlando took us to this CRAP studio to rehearse-lol then we played Trude Hellers (this old club from the 70's trying to make a comeback) essentially a press announcement gig. Bobby had this huge list of industry people and such AND NOT ONE ON HIS LIST SHOWED UP. But we had some of our crowd and had Allen From The Speedies on Drums. We did one more show w/ Allen @ Maxs then Nick again bailed and the Thrust Record thing panned out. Funnily enough Bobby Orlando actually went on to become a big Eurotech Producer w/the Bobby O sound working w/ The Pet Shop Boys etc. He was also involved in that Maxs album from 1976 so there ya' go.

A few after thoughts I will attest to always having loved Nick’s playing. He had a great 'Roar' and Rhythm but when Walter came in our sound went up a thousand notches. Walter is one of the most talented Guitarists and his sound was one of the best and 'DEFINING' styles of that genre. You could definitely hear it in Steve and Mick Jones. All of a sudden we were THIS ROCK BAND -lol but we really should have done only a few gigs w/ Walter and gotten someone our age or so and traveled and recorded more etc.

At the time The Hearbreakers were playing every so often 'Rent Partys" or whatever and certainly not recording or anything and Walter wasn't doing his solo stuff yet so the general attitude was if this takes off- it would benefit everyone. Walter and I even wrote a few songs together so I never felt like he was 'Holdin back the good riffs" so to speak. In fact one we wrote together 'Forever Fashion' he eventually did do w/ new lyrics apparently called 'Crazy Kids' I think supposedly about us. I never knew the words although I could only imagine.

After Walter left we got this kid on Guitar. I forgot his name but who cares and he was quite good. One day I open up the Village Voice and in the Maxs ad its advertised "The Blessed-July 4th"!!! whaaaa? so I call up Peter (Crowley -who booked Maxs) and he answered 'Oh, we didn't know how to get in touch w/ you so we figured we'd advertise you and you'd call and it worked ...you did"!! As if the Village Voice Maxs ad was our bat signal or something. So next rehearsal we tell this new Guitarist we have a show in like two weeks and he got all anxious and nervous. Here we go again-Deja Vu all over again-lol and we told him you're great and we wouldn't get on stage w/ you if you weren't blah blah. So the day of the show he doesn't show up for soundcheck We go to his apt and kept banging on the door-but he went AWOL-so now what the Friggin'hell we gonna do? So I Told Howie 'Look, you were originally going to be a Guitar Player-tonights your chance. He wasn't sure if he was up for it and Mitch Zykowsky who was a good friend and roadied for us and was an aspiring Bass player would play Bass. Charlie Sox was also Drumming at this point. So on we went-lol. I remember we did 'Major Minor' which @ best is only 2 mins long, I kept telling Howie'Stretch it out-Stetch it out-jam if you have to" -lol -and Mitch was a big Who fan so we did a --LONG--version of 'Summertime Blues-most appropriate. How we got through that set, I still don't know. We actually got a good reaction!

Then between sets-yes we had to do ANOTHER ONE!! Johnny (Thunders) came backstage and was hanging out and chatting and we just said 'Hey Johnny, we don't have a Guitar player for our second set-you wanna do it?" Now, anyone who knew Johnny, you didn't have to ask him twice-he was up on stage before we were-lol -so for the second set Howie went back to Bass and Johnny was our Guitarist for one set. What we played I have no idea-lol -probably a 45-minute version of 'Chinese Rocks' after this show we Got J.F. so the story has come full circle.


XXXO
JLP

www.jlporiginals.com