In the 70s I was a massive Devo fan. I was a pre-teen spud boy. A member of their fan club (still have the membership card!), made my own Devo buttons, etc. When punk started to get covered by the national media in the US, I started to become aware of the bands that were part of this scene, both European and American. My friend Eric and I dressed up as punk rockers in 1978 for Halloween. We really didn’t know much about it but we thought we nailed the look.
My first major punk crush was the Stranglers after seeing their videos on one of those late night video shows. Through the videos aired there and what I could find in the press, I became obsessed with learning more about this music. I really didn’t know much about LA bands outside of what I would read in the articles and club listings in the Calendar section of the LA Times. I did see the Knack with the Rubber City Rebels with my friend Eric around this time. But I was too young to venture into most clubs.
My dad used to bring home promo records from his clients in the entertainment industry so I never had to buy records (except for Devo and other bands I liked.) Most of what I heard I liked so my musical palette was pretty wide—until I started buy my own punk and new wave records. I bought my first punk records at Licorice Pizza back when there was one single row of punk/new wave music. The Sex Pistols was an obvious choice so I picked that out. I had enough for about two more records. There was one record with a giant blue circle on it that caught my eye. I had heard of the band though the newspaper but had no idea what they sounded like. But the record had a ton of songs on it so I picked that out for the sheer value factor. That was the Germs (GI) LP. And the third record I picked out was the debut Madness album. When I got home I played the hell out of the Pistols and Germs and liked – bit not loved – the Madness record so I traded it to Eric. My lifelong connection to punk rock was sealed.
Once I learned I could trade in old records for store credit, there went my Devo collection – fuel to the fire that was my budding punk record collection. I quickly started buying up as much as I could afford: Cramps (Gravest Hits), PiL (Second Edition), Crass (Stations of the Crass), Buzzcocks (A Different Kind Of Tension), Stranglers, X, Dils, Clash, Weirdos, etc.
I think I still have every single early punk record I bought. Now those records are over 40 years old, and they’ve matured well. I on the other hand have not matured one bit. I like that just fine.
Never in any bands except for a bedroom band with my friend Eric Brodsky called Red Envy. We existed around the time we were getting into punk and new wave. 79/80. Oh and I currently front an LA punk rock cover band called The Gromfins made up of real, talented musicians and me screaming on vocals.
I formed Warning Label Records – defunct now but released music by the Urinals and Romans and the Keats Rides A Harley reissue. Sounds on Paper – a new publishing imprint, first book about the late 70s art collective World Imitation Products who morphed into Monitor; few new secret projects in the works destined for greatness.
Have been Board President for Non-Event for 5 years and before that curated many experimental music concerts in the Boston area; concurrently was a board member of SASSAS and sat on the programming committee doing similar things for the L.A. area.
I used to roadie for Tourist which was a weak excuse to walk in carrying a guitar case or drum head and get in free to the gig. Currently, I have have voluntarily acted as the manager for the Los Angeles Free Music Society for the last dozen or so years, doing everything from running a website, social media, online shop, organizing recordings, booking gigs, co-curating festivals (Berlin, London, Ghent.)
The only trivia I have is that I enjoy collecting all things related to the LA punk scene. I have quite a collection.
My wife and I have been married for 25 years and we have two teenage daughters. We live in Arlington MA – right outside of Boston. BUT L.A. IS MY LADY.