Category Archives: Music
The Man Who Fell to Earth – 1976. David Bowie was at the height of his career having just released his brilliant blue-eyed soul LP, Young Americans. He was riding high on the hit Fame and ready to take over the world. The next logical step – movies. And what a movie. The casting of Bowie as an alien who crashed on Earth and can’t get back to his dead planet was perfect. Lean bordering on skinny Bowie looked the part w/ a shock of red/orange hair and other-worldly style. The film did well and Bowie was great. Looking back at it today its a bit dated and frankly kind of boring, but, Jesus, he looked great, and by the looks of things it was a fun set.
Vogue picture records were produced by Sav-Way Industries of Detroit, Michigan from 1946 to 1947 (before they went out of business) – there are only 74 different discs. The 10″ discs were created by sandwiching an illustration between 2 clear pieces of vinyl. The picture would usually have something to do with the song – though sometimes a tad obscure. The songs for the most part were war era mushy ballads sung by obscure big band crooners – no Sinatra, no Bing Crosby. They were more along the lines of The Don Large Chorus, Shep Fields and LuLu Belle & Scotty – big names all. The illustrations however make these discs quite beautiful and cool little collectors items. They’re not worth a ton, some more collectable than others, they are however a great look into 40’s entertainment and design.
Gerard “Jerry” Nolan (May 7, 1946 – January 14, 1992) It didn’t matter what they made him wear, as long as he got to drum for the Dolls and hang with his friend Johnny he was happy. By all accounts, a pretty happy-go-lucky guy, Jerry was a tough as shit street kid who (long story short) joined the New York Dolls in 1972 after the death of original drummer Billy Murcia. Always looking a bit non-plussed in his teased hair and tiny Doll clothes (though nowhere near as out of place as Arthur “Killer” Kane), Jerry could drum like a house on fire.
Nolan would leave the Dolls in 1975 along w/ Johnny Thunders to form the Heartbreakers (not the Tom Petty version), move to England and embark on the infamous Anarchy in the UK tour along w/ the Sex Pistols, The Clash and The Damned. It was Jerry and Johnny who introduced heroin to the UK punk scene causing untold problems with among others, poor stupid Sid Vicious. Jerry would quit the Heartbreakers in 77′ and kick around England for a few years playing w/ various punk outfits, eventually landing in Sweden for awhile before moving back to New York in the late 80’s. After years of heroin addiction Jerry would die of Bacterial Meningitis coupled with a stroke, in 1992, only 2 months after his buddy Johnny’s death in New Orleans. He is buried at Mount Saint Mary’s Cemetery in Flushing NY.
Bryan Gregory (Gregory Beckerleg, February 20, 1951 – January 10, 2001) Bryan Gregory was an interesting guy. Standing not much more than 5’6″ in heals and hair Bryan made a splash on stage w/ his poka dot Flying Vee, black and white hair and an ever present cigarette. His career was spotty to say the least, Bryan helped form the first version of punkabilly killers, The Cramps in NYC in 76. He played guitaron their first 2 LPs, Gravest Hits and Songs the Lord Taught Us. Bryan left the band unexpectedly in Cleveland in 1980 (along w/ all the bands gear and only van). In 1980 he formed horror shock band BEAST – that lasted ’til 83 and then – Poof! What happened to Bryan? Rumors of Satanism, heroin overdose, porno stardom. No one knew what happened to Bryan, when in fact no one was looking all that hard. Truth is always much more boring than fiction and Bryan was no exception. Turns out he was running an adult book shop in Sarasota Fla. He was a zombie in George Romeros’ Day of the Dead, drew a bit and designed some jewelry. I prefer the Satanism story. He eventually made up w/ the rest of The Cramps apologizing for stealing all their shit and was living the high life of a Florida Man when he suddenly passed away from multiple system failure at the age of 49 on Jan. 10 – no one saw it coming. Bryan was cool, not a great musician, but he was cool. I loved his look and stage presence and best of all a story that sounded great and evil and mysterious but turned out to be a bit mundane and sad – though sitting in the sand in Fla. designing jewelry and drinking Mai Tais doesn’t sound all that bad.