Mr. Lee

I grew up in Brooklyn and in the early ’80s. I was into the usual classic-rock, the Grateful Dead, Dylan, jazz (through my parents), some metal (mostly Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Celtic Frost), and rap (I religiously listened to and recorded the Friday night shows on WBLS and KISS-FM). I was, and always have been, a music obsessive. I am not sure the exact year, but my friend who was already into hardcore and punk-rock played me “John Wayne Was A Nazi” by The Stains (aka MDC) and my mind was totally blown open. I couldn’t believe someone was pissing all over an American icon like The Duke, and I straight-up loved it! From there it the mixed-tape thing (the same one I was given seemingly travelled via dubbed copies across the five boroughs), seeing the documentary ‘D.O.A.: A Rite of Passage’ which I rented weekly from my local video store, and finally scoring a copy Black Flag’s Damaged on factory-cassette. Damaged truly saved me on the wretched commute from Brooklyn to Manhattan for high school — it was practically glued into my Walkman. The first punk/hardcore bands I fell hard for would be Reagan Youth and the Misfits (both of whom were on the aforementioned mixed tape), and Black Flag. I was deeply into another scene/subculture (graffiti) for nearly the entirety of the ’80s, so I missed out on going to loads of amazing shows even though a few of my friends were in bands that played the CBGB hardcore matinees every week, including the friend who first played me “John Wayne.” That said, the ones I saw I’ll never forget — the lack of barriers between bands and “fans” was revelatory — and I made up for it in the ’90s when I was publishing Sound Views and going to shows on the regular, as well as booking them myself. I was also part of the punk rock pen-pal scene. At 50 years old, I still collect records, and go to shows all the time, as well as book them… Or I should say I did before the pandemic hit. Punk-rock/hardcore was a total life-changer for me, and some of my closest friends I know through a music and scene that flows through my veins and always will.

Some stuff I’ve done… I’ve released records on my own labels (Sound Views,  Do A Runner!, and Dead Flowers Productions) and worked closely with Go-Kart Records. I also did design work for Go-Kart as well as a few other punk and hardcore labels. I did the buying for Soapbox Records in the Lower East Side, and also worked behind the counter. From 1991-2001 I edited and published published NYC music magazine Sound Views. I wrote a few scene reports for MRR and Punk Planet, and also volunteered for an issue of Book Your Own Fucking Life. These days I work in music as a promoter/booker and a DJ (not strictly punk-rock), run an archival Instagram account (Brooklyneeze), and generally just hustle to make ends meet. I have also managed a few bands and worked in various aspects of nightlife for many years. I am married and a proud father living in Brooklyn (where I’ve always lived). 

You can find out more about me here: https://linktr.ee/mrlee718

(this painting of Mr. Lee was painted on a 6”x6” wood panel using acrylic gouache – SS 9/28/2021)

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