At 17, in 1975, I left the safety of N. Miami Beach Suburbia for the wilds of Los Angeles to study photography and somehow found myself working as a paparazzo with the likes of Ron Galella of Jackie O fame. 

In 1978, whilst living in an apartment in Hollywood, my across-the-hall neighbour Don Snowdon, a music critic for L.A. Weekly, introduced me to The Clash’s Give Em Enough Rope and soon after music by local bands X, The Go-Gos, The Screamers, The Germs, The Alleycats…the beginning of my lifelong love affair with punk.

The Clash, with their British sensibilities and political rage, proved to have a huge impact on my life and I jacked in my job as a paparazzo and for a year spent most nights haunting the dive bars in West Hollywood and the Sunset Strip photographing punk bands.  My partners in crime were an Englishman called Bill and punk photographer named Deborah and I still have vivid memories of multiple nights seeing X at The Whiskey-a-go-go after drinking beer in the parking lot opposite, Tom Waits in a corner of Barney’s Beanery on the Strip, and the train wreck that was The Germs playing in a San Fernando Valley roller rink. 

In what must have been 1979 my English mate Bill blagged an interview with The Clash who were over from the UK by pretending to be a writer from the NME, and this was one of several times I photographed “the only band that mattered.”  Legends.

In 1980, I funded, did the art direction and photography, and released (Miami Beach band) The Reactions first EP Official Release and I was also a member of the Miami ‘cowpunk’ band Roy and the Hayheads.

I moved to London in 1981 and spent the following 18 years bouncing between London, Athens and the Greek Islands, Istanbul, Paris, Thailand and SE Asia by whatever means necessary.

Returning to the States in 1998, I settled in San Francisco on the recommendation of a friend from Berkeley, Shelly, who I had met in Thailand. I spent a few years working as a chef in an old-school Italian restaurant The Iron Horse, did an html internship at streaming music site, spinner.com, and eventually returned to the hospitality industry and work as a catering chef. 

During this period I re-discovered American punk via the then current Bay Area scene and did photography and web design for local bands The Eddie Haskells and The Twots.  In my spare time I was involved in progressive leftist activism and the direct action anarchist movement as well as promoting the occasional punk rock and roll music night.

After 10 years in the US and several years running a rock’n’roll restaurant/bar on a Thai island, I returned to London in 2009 and started now ‘legendary’ punk night Garageland which has just celebrated its 10th year anniversary. 

I’m presently living in Brighton, working from home and planning my next move..

  1. Jo

    U should mention legendary punk rock Halloween 🎃 in North London too x

    • ssilk

      Whatever that is, it sounds like fun! *adds to to do list…

    • Spike

      Yes the Halloween parties and the summer punk rock bbqs on Mattison Rd we’re definitely a thing.
      I also forgot to mention my time with The Drunk Clownz, a very niche alternative clown troupe based in San Francisco, often seen terrorising the clientele at the Eagle beer bust!!

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