As a part of my birthday jaunt to NYC my wonderful wife Catwoman (a.k.a Catherine) booked a rather intriguing East Village Punk ,n, Rock walking tour of New York’s East Village from Rock Junket. Our host and Rock Junket Head Honcho was Bobby Pinn (not his real name) and it was a pure delight to spend a couple of hours in his company. I pride myself on knowing an awful lot about rock music, but I bow to the vast encyclopaedic knowledge of Mr Pinn. I learnt so much on this tour.
We saw the apartment block where Joey Ramone (a.k.a. Jeffrey Ross Hyman and also a.k.a Jeff Starship!) lived. Not far from there is the spot where the iconic photo of the Bruddas that adorns the cover of their first album was taken. Take another look at that picture, in particular the subtle way in which Joey is bending his knee and Dee Dee is standing on tip toes just so that the vast gap between the pair of them does not appear so vast.
Whilst I didn’t try one until later in the week we learnt what an Egg Cream drink was. The drink is immortalised in song by Lou Reed and apparently one of the best spots to buy one is the Gem Spa, a one time haunt of the New York Dolls. Strangely enough the Egg Cream beverage contains neither egg nor cream! Go figure!
I already knew a lot about Bill Graham’s venue the Fillmore/ Fillmore West in San Francisco, but I knew next to nothing about the Fillmore East in New York. Many great acts took to the stage there from the Allman Brothers to Frank Zappa. The most appearances by any artist or band was by the Grateful Dead.
Apartments that were once home to a young Madonna and tortured jazz giant Charlie Parker were encountered. Charlie Parker even has a street named in his honour. Now that is not bad for a suicidal junkie who died aged just 34. But that was just a part of his story and it is impossible not to recognise the towering influential, pioneering genius of Mr Parker. Also who knew that Madonna’s early live appearances were as a drummer for her then boyfriend’s band? I certainly didn’t!
I I hadn’t been on this tour with Bobby Pinn I am certain that I would have walked right past the building that features on the front cover of Led Zeppelin’s 1975 double album ‘Physical Graffiti’. The building was the home of Jimmy Page’s drug supplier who lived on the fourth floor. That floor is conspicuously missing from the album cover after a real cut and paste job by artist Peter Corriston. The very same tenement block was used in the video for the Rolling Stones 1981 single “Waiting On A Friend”.
The tour ended at the site of the now defunct CBGB’s; the iconic 1970s New York punk venue. I took the obligatory pictures outside and even ventured into the ridiculously expensive and rather disappointing shop that is now on the site. That said, the Captain Fantastic pinball table was stunning!
In this post I have tried to give you a flavour of this magnificent tour of some classic rock landmarks in the East Village. I didn’t want to add much more and therefore spoilmyour enjoyment when you take it. Make sure that you go walking around New York with Bobby Pinn next time you are in the Big Apple. You will not regret it. Click here to check out the Rock Junket site and to book your tour.
Apart from the Rock Junket header all pictures were taken by yours truly, apart from those that feature me which were taken by the most wonderful person that I know, Catherine Adamson. If you were wondering which landmark birthday I was celebrating it was 18 with 42 years of experience. 😉