The other night I headed down to The Bowery district in Manhattan to attend a very exciting book signing party for the U.S. release of “Transformer” featuring iconic photos of rock legend Lou Reed taken by my good friend, photographer Mick Rock. Both Lou and Mick were hosted by John Varvatos at his NYC retail store which occupies what was once the legendary rock music club, CBGB’s and a forum for Punk and New Wave artists such as Blondie, Patti Smith, The Ramones and Talking Heads to name only a few. Of course, the neighborhood has changed dramatically since the days of Punk and New Wave. There were certainly no fancy hotels or sidewalk cafes back in those days.
Varvatos managed to keep some of the grime and trash charm that was characteristic of CB’s in his retail store which is now home for his $500 pants and $4,000 jackets. While waiting for Mick and Lou to come out for the Q&A portion of the cocktail party, I took a good look around I recalled standing in almost the same spot at 2AM some 25 years ago anxiously waiting for a band I had booked to go on to play CB’s for the first time and dreaming that I’d be managing a hot new band, getting a record deal if they did well. Unfortunately, like a lot of new bands, they just couldn’t keep it together between the infighting, missed rehearsals and sleeping with each others girlfriends and boyfriends. No big surprise, they never went anywhere and neither did my very short music managing career for that matter. I did end up working for 3 major record labels with great success over the years and I can always say that I walked on the wild side for a night at CBGBs in New York City.
P.S. Pardon the unfortunate Red Sox and Boston reference in the YouTube clip. I decided to repost this video because of the terrific photos of Lou throughout. Lou is 100% New York City.
P.S.S. It was only a couple weeks or so ago when I posted this. Little did I know then, it would be the last time I’d see Lou Reed in action. RIP Lou. Thanks for your artistry and convictions. Mick already misses you terribly. [read NY Times obit]