On Tuesday, May 2nd, 7 p.m., Three Rooms Press presents a one night only event: PUNK ALL-STARS, the NYC book launch for “PUNK AVENUE: Inside the New York City Underground 1972-1982,” a memoir by NYC punk scene insider Phil Marcade. The event will feature live performances by Phil Marcade (The Senders) backed by The Rousers + Friends including Steve Shevlin, Barry Ryan, Danny Ray, JF Vergel, as well as performances by The Waldos (feat. Walter Lure from The Heartbreakers), Lenny Kaye, Andy Shernoff (The Dictators), Lynne Von, Daddy Long Legs, plus a conversation with Marcade and Legs McNeil (author of punk oral history Please Kill Me), along with a slew of very special guests. Copies of PUNK AVENUE will be available for purchase and signing at the event.
PUNK AVENUE is a memoir of author Marcade’s early years in the U.S. Following a brief cross-country tour à la Jack Kerouac, the Paris-born author made his way to New York City where he was an insider in the early days of punk rock, both as a fan and as lead singer of the beloved punk-blues band The Senders.
PUNK AVENUE includes a preface by Blondie singer Debbie Harry, plus a foreword by Legs McNeil, co-editor of the renowned punk rock oral history, Please Kill Me. In addition to Marcade’s “raw, straightforward and often really funny” tales (Le Magazine des Livres), PUNK AVENUE offers more than a dozen rare black and white photos from the era, by renowned photographers Nan Goldin, David Armstrong, Marcia Resnick, and Eileen Polk. Rock & Folk Magazine hails it as “The best book about the New York Punk Scene.” Other high praise from music and trade publications includes:
“A must-read for those interested in the history of punk.” —Library Journal
“A musician’s memoir of punk rock in its New York City heyday shows how much fun it was while it lasted. . . . Must-read for those who love that era and want a fresh perspective on it.” —Kirkus Reviews
“It was hard to put this book down. A fun and dishy read!” —Punk Globe Magazine
“Punk Avenue is a fast, fun read that fills in historical gaps and establishes Phil Marcade as more than a character lurking in the shadows.” —Razorcake
“Get it! It’s great!” —VICE
As musician, writer, and record producer, Lenny Kaye has been intimately involved with the creative impulse that marks the music. He has been a guitarist for poet-rocker Patti Smith since her band’s inception more than thirty years ago, and is the co-author of Waylon, the life story of Waylon Jennings. He has worked in the studio with such artists as Suzanne Vega, Jim Carroll, Soul Asylum, Kristen Hersh, and Allen Ginsberg, as well as his own solo muse. His seminal anthology of sixties’ garage-rock, Nuggets, has long been regarded as defining a genre.You Call It Madness: The Sensuous Song of the Croon, an impressionistic study of the romantic singers of the 1930’s, was published by Villard/Random House in 2004.
enny was born on December 27, 1946, in the Washington Heights area of upper Manhattan, New York, along the Hudson River in the shadow of the George Washington Bridge. Growing up in Queens and Brooklyn, Lenny originally began playing accordion, but by the end of the 1950s, had dropped the instrument in favor of collecting records. His family moved to North Brunswick, New Jersey, in 1960 where Lenny attended high school, and later, college, graduating Rutgers in 1967. Though he majored in American History, his true avocation was musical, and it was there that he first began playing in bands, on a college mixer and fraternity circuit later immortalized in Animal House. His first gig, with the Vandals (“Bringing down the house with your kind of music”), was at Alpha Sigma Phi on November 7, 1964.
His uncle, songwriter Larry Kusik (“A Time For Us” from Romeo and Juliet; “Speak Softly Love” from The Godfather) took note of his lengthening hair and musical commitment, and asked him to sing on a song he’d recently penned with Ritchie Adams, once of the Fireflies (“You Were Mine”). It was the fall of 1965, and folk-protest was in the air. Lenny soon found himself in Associated Recording Studios on Times Square, recording “Crazy Like A Fox,” along with its flip side, “Shock Me. ” The resultant 45, issued under the name of Link Cromwell, was leased to Hollywood Records, a division of Starday Records located in Nashville, Tennessee, and released in March of 1966. It garnered a Newcomer Pick of the Week from Cashbox (“A rhythmic bluesy folk-rocker with a pulsating beat”) and was issued in England as well as Australia; but failed to move in the charts. Though hardly a smash, it did give Lenny a sense of himself as a musician, and inspired him to continue performing and playing. His group at the time, The Zoo, worked a college circuit ranging from New York to Pennsylvania; this early experience has been captured on a live album issued by Norton Records, Live 1966.
Moving back to the city, Lenny began writing reviews for Jazz and Popmagazine; branching out to such nascent rock publications as Fusion,Crawdaddy, and Rolling Stone. He became the music editor of Cavalier, a men’s magazine that at the time was also publishing the early short stories of Steven King, and would write a monthly column for them until 1975; and the New York correspondent for the British weekly,Disc. As a free-lance writer, he would write for a wide range of periodicals, including Melody Maker, Creem, and edit such publications as Rock Scene and Hit Parader throughout the seventies.
While working at Village Oldies on Bleecker St. in New York, he met poet-singer Patti Smith. On February 10, 1971, he backed her at a reading at St. Mark’s Church on E. 10th St. When they resumed performance in November of 1973, their artistic efforts bore fruit as one of the major rock bands of the 1970s. Lenny produced Patti’s debut single (“Hey Joe / Piss Factory”), and performed as part of her Group throughout the decade, as reflected in four Arista albums: Horses(1975), Radio Ethiopia (1976), Easter (1978), and Wave (1979).
Following the PSG’s final performance in September of 1979, Lenny joined the Jim Carroll Band, as well as fronting his own Lenny Kaye Connection. He co-produced Suzanne Vega’s first two albums, including her 1987 hit single, “Luka,” which was nominated for a Grammy as Record of the Year. He has been nominated three times for Grammy awards in the liner notes category for boxed sets on the sixties folk revival (Bleecker and MacDougal), white blues (Crossroads), and progressive rock (Elektrock); and has co-authored a comprehensive hall of fame with David Dalton (Rock 100).
In 1995, he reunited with Patti Smith and has been a part of Her Band since, creating five studio albums, a retrospective, and celebrating the thirtieth anniversary release of their landmark debut album, Horses.
Punk Avenue: The New York City Underground 1972-1982 is an intimate look at author Paris-born Phil Marcade’s first ten years in the United States where drifted from Boston to the West Coast and back, before winding up in New York City and becoming immersed in the early punk rock scene. From backrooms of Max’s and CBGB’s to the Tropicana Hotel in Los Angeles and back, Punk Avenue is a tour de force of stories from someone at the heart of the era. With brilliant, often hilarious prose, Marcade relays first-hand tales about spending a Provincetown summer with photographer Nan Goldin and actor-writer Cookie Mueller, having the Ramones play their very first gig at his party, working with Blondie’s Debbie Harry on French lyrics for her songs, enjoying Thanksgiving with Johnny Thunders’ mother, and starting the beloved NYC punk-blues band The Senders. Along the way, he smokes a joint with Bob Marley, falls down a mountain, gets attacked by Nancy Spungen’s junkie cat, become a junkie himself, adopts a dog who eats his pot, opens for The Clash at Bond’s Casino, opens a store named Rebop on Seventh Avenue, throws up in some girl’s mouth, talks about vacuum cleaners with Sid Vicious, lives thru the Blackout of 1977, gets glue in his eye, gets mugged at knife point, plays drums with Johnny Thunders’ band Gang War, sets some guy’s attache-case on fire, listens to pre-famous Madonna singing in the rehearsal studio next to his, gets mugged at gun point, O.D.s on heroin, gets saved by a gentle giant named Bill, lives at night… Never sleeps… A very funny book.