Fab 5 Freddy’s Latest Cultural Coup? ‘The Archive of the Future’


“When he was hopscotching between segregated poles of 1970s and ’80s New York — the uptown of Grandmaster Flash and the Rock Steady Crew; the downtown of Andy Warhol and Blondie — brokering the kind of cultural exchange that would pave the way for hip-hop’s eventual takeover, Fred Brathwaite, better known as Fab 5 Freddy, never kept a consistent diary. Instead, decades before social media, he documented the events of his daily life on film, deploying either a compact point-and-shoot camera or a Hi8 camcorder that he always kept at the ready. … As a sought-after graffiti artist, music video director, film producer and the original host and creative force behind ‘Yo! MTV Raps,’ Fab 5 Freddy’s lens produced a panorama of future cultural landmarks of New York and beyond, revealing an era when hierarchies of race, class and taste in art were beginning to scramble. His personal photographs and videos, and the narratives they tell, comprise much of a career-spanning archive that was recently acquired by the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, part of the New York Public Library. …”
NY Times

Blondie – Blondie (1976)


Blondie is the eponymous debut studio album by American rock band Blondie, released in December 1976 by Private Stock Records. The first singleX Offender‘ was originally titled ‘Sex Offender’, but since radio stations would not play a song with such a provocative title, the band renamed the song. After disappointing sales and poor publicity, the band ended their contract with Private Stock and signed with Chrysalis Records in 1977. Chrysalis re-released the album in September 1977, along with the single ‘In the Flesh‘. … Through the production of Richard Gottehrer, who had worked with the Angels and other artists of the 1950s and 1960s, much of the music is suffused with the girl group sound of that era. Harry told an interviewer in 1978 that the band never intended to be retro and when some journalists described them that way, it was ‘quite a shock’. Likewise she rejected any attempt to brand the music as pop, insisting that Blondie played new wave music. …”
Wikipedia
YouTube: Blondie [Full album : 11/11 songs]

A Conservative Impulse in the New Rock Underground


August 18, 1975: Arabian swelter, and with the air-conditioning broken, CBGB resembled some abattoir of a kitchen in which a bucket of ice is placed in front of a fan to cool the room off. To no avail of course, and the heat had perspiration glissading down the curve of one’s back, yeah, and the cruel heat also burned away any sense of glamour. After all, CBGB’s Bowery and Bleecker location is not the garden spot of lower Manhattan, and the bar itself is an uneasy oasis. On the left, where the couples are, tables; on the right, where the stragglers, drinkers, and the love-seekers are, a long bar; between the two, a high double-backed ladder, which, when the room is really crowded, offers the best view. … Now consider the assembly-line presentation of bands with resonant names like Movies, Tuff Darts, Blondie, Stagger Lee, the Heartbreakers, Mike de Ville, Dancer, the Shirts, Bananas, Talking Heads, Johnny’s Dance Band, and Television; consider that some nights as many as six bands perform, and it isn’t hard to comprehend someone declining to sit through a long evening. …”
Voice

1976 Film Blank Generation Documents CBGB Scene with Patti Smith, The Ramones, Talking Heads, Blondie & More


“Fans of bratty New York punk-turned-serious writer Richard Hell or schlocky German horror director Ulli Lommel or—why not—both, will likely know of Lommel’s 1980 Blank Generation, a film unremarkable except for its casting of Hell and his excellent Voidoids as feature players. (Their debut 1977 album and single are also called Blank Generation.) The movie, as a reviewer puts it, ‘seems as if each member of the production was under the impression they were working on a different film than the rest of their collaborators…. You can’t help but think that something more watchable could be produced out of the raw footage with a good editor.’ One might approach an earlier film, also called Blank Generation—the raw 1976 documentary about the budding New York punk scene above—with similar expectations of coherent production and narrative clarity. But this would be mistaken. …”
Open Curture (Video)
W – The Blank Generation
Voice: Punk Icon Richard Hell Looks Back at “Blank Generation” Forty Years Later

Exposure – Robert Fripp (1979)


Exposure is the debut solo album by guitarist and composer Robert Fripp. Unique among Fripp solo projects for its focus on the pop song format, it grew out of his previous collaborations with David Bowie, Peter Gabriel, and Daryl Hall, and the latter two singers appear on the album. Released in 1979, it peaked at No. 79 on the Billboard Album Chart. Most of the lyrics were provided by the poet and lyricist Joanna Walton. After terminating the first run of King Crimson in 1974, studying at the International Academy for Continuous Education through 1975-1976 and assisting Peter Gabriel in both studio and stage capacities, Fripp decamped in 1977 to the Hell’s Kitchen neighbourhood of New York City. New York was then a centre of punk rock and what would come to be known as new wave, and Fripp dived into the scene, playing and recording with Blondie and the Roche sisters, absorbing the sounds of the active downtown music scene. He envisioned a new approach, and incorporated elements of these NYC experiences into his current palette, including ‘Frippertronics‘, the technique he had developed with Brian Eno. At Eno’s invitation, Fripp performed on David Bowie’s ‘Heroes’ single and album in 1977. Originally, Fripp envisioned Exposure as the third part of a simultaneous trilogy also comprising Daryl Hall‘s Sacred Songs and Peter Gabriel’s second album aka Scratch, both of which Fripp contributed to and produced. …”
Wikipedia
Exposure Pages
Discogs (Video)
YouTube: Exposure 43:17

Blondie – Rip Her to Shreds / In the Flesh / X Offender (1977)


‘Rip Her to Shreds’ is a song by American new wave band Blondie, which features on the band’s self-titled debut album. ‘Rip Her To Shreds’ was Blondie’s first UK single, released on Chrysalis Records in the UK in late 1977, though it did not chart. The single peaked at #81 in Australia in March 1978. The B-sides to this single were ‘In the Flesh‘ and ‘X Offender‘, both previously issued as A-side singles by Private Stock Records, and both moderately successful in certain territories. As a promotional gimmick the song was also released as a 12″ single (at that time a relative rarity), selling for 99p. In a BBC Radio documentary about Blondie, singer Debbie Harry said ‘Rip Her to Shreds’ is about what gossip columns do to people’s lives. …”
W – Rip Her to Shreds
W – In the Flesh
W – X Offender
Genius (Audio)
Discogs (Video)
YouTube: Rip Her to Shreds, X Offender, In the Flesh

Downtown 81


Downtown 81 (a.k.a. New York Beat Movie) is a film that was shot in 1980-1981 and released in 2000. The film, directed by Edo Bertoglio and written and produced by Glenn O’Brien and Patrick Montgomery, with post-production in 1999-2000 by Glenn O’Brien and Maripol, is a rare real-life snapshot of an ultra-hip subculture of post-punk era Manhattan. Starring renowned artist Jean-Michel Basquiat and featuring such Village artists as James Chance, Amos Poe, Walter Steding, and Tav Falco, the film is a bizarre elliptical urban fairy tale. In 1999, Michael Zilkha, founder of ZE Records (the label of several of the film’s artists), became the film’s executive producer. The film opens with Jean (Basquiat) in the hospital with an undisclosed ailment. After checking out, he happens upon an enigmatic woman, Beatrice (Anna Schroeder), who drives around in a convertible. He arrives at his apartment only to discover that his landlord, played by former Yardbirds manager Giorgio Gomelsky, is evicting him. … Jean-Michel Basquiat was homeless at the time of the movie and slept in the production office during most of the shooting. The film production crew bought Basquiat canvas and paints to make paintings for the film. The paintings that appear in the movie belonging to Basquiat’s character are by Basquiat himself, and among his first canvases. … The soundtrack features music by: Jean-Michel Basquiat with Andy Hernandez; Basquiat’s own band, Gray; John Lurie and the Lounge Lizards, DNA, Tuxedomoon, the Plastics, Marvin Pontiac, Kenny Burrell, the Specials, Chris Stein, Melle Mel with Blondie, Liquid Liquid, Kid Creole and the Coconuts, James White and the Blacks, Vincent Gallo, Lydia Lunch, Steve French and Suicide. Many of the recordings were of live performances, but DNA and Tuxedomoon were recorded in the studio for the soundtrack. …”
Wikipedia
The Dissolve
amazon
Archive: Downtown 81 1:07:02