IT’S 1979 OK!
© Madeline Bocaro, 2019. No part of this site may be reproduced in whole or in part in any manner without permission of the copyright owner.
I am so happy that I wrote this down. My memory is pretty good, as I never did drugs and can remember most of what I did and saw. But I had forgotten some of the details.
There were hundreds of nights that I snuck away to the city to see a concert in New York City at The Palladium, CBGB, Max’s, The Mudd Club, Irving Plaza, Hurrah! or elsewhere. I would often travel to nearby northeastern cities to see my favorites.
One or more of my idols would just be stepping onstage as my mom would undoubtedly hear the announcement on the Channel 5 Ten O’ Clock News. “It’s 10 PM. Do you know where your children are?” Hours earlier I had stealthily left the house wearing a kimono over whatever skimpy weird outfit I had on underneath – in case my parents saw me. Now they would realize that I was long gone, but it was too late, the curtain was going up and opening chords were ringing out…
‘Hello, Hurray – let the show begin, I’ve been ready.”
Good old Alice Cooper entertained me many times, and this song is still one of my favorites…
Feb. 2 1979
Sid Vicious died – O.D’d one last time. Yoko is in London. She and John just bought 103 dairy cows. WPIX FM is a great station now – they play all kinds of great cool new music – lots from England – and old Bowie!
March 17, 1979
Went to Fiorucci to see Andy Warhol autographing Interview magazine. Not many people were there. I showed Andy the expensive plastic Fiorucci jacket I could not afford. He said, “Oh wow!’ but he didn’t buy it for me. Oh well! He was so nice and funny anyway. Went to David Johansen’s show at midnight. Got a backstage photo of me and David!
April 21, 1979
I interviewed Joe Jackson at A&M records for CMJ. He was super cool. I like his album. It’s called Look Sharp. I took him to Bloomingdales because they have a polka-dot department. Elliot brought me Sparks’ new disco album that he got at Disc O mat! They’re one of my favorite bands of all time and I didn’t even know that they had a new album out!! The album is called No. 1 In Heaven. It’s Sparks’ own weird version of disco, which is really warped, so it’s actually fantastic!
My interview with Joe Jackson:
May 24, 1979
I went to Korvettes to get Robert Gordon’s new album but they didn’t have it, so I went to Roosevelt Field mall to get it. There was a crowd and a stage set up in the mall. I asked a guy (I didn’t realize he was Chris Spedding) who was playing and he said ROBERT GORDON!!! How cool! He played about 40 mins at the mall, and had everybody old & young bopping along! Then he autographed my album! What a great day!
June 10, 1979 – My 21st birthday – Hunter/Ronson at Toad’s Place, CT
Drove to CT with Elliot listening to Aladdin Sane and Sparks tapes. We watched Ian & Mick rehearsing ‘Ships’ through the window. I was in ecstasy! I can’t believe two of my favorite people on earth are now together! Mick’s hair is long & beautiful! Ian looks like a DREAM!! That wild hair – he is a rock n’ roll GOD. We were right in front – between Ian & Ronno – the most perfect spot! Ronson did a solo song first ‘FBI’ – amazing. I didn’t blink once! He is so small! I wondered what shoes they’d wear since platforms went out of style! They were both wearing Beatle boots! How cool! Ian did ‘Once Bitten Twice Shy’ and he was singing right to me!. Then Ships, Just Another Night, Cleveland Rocks, Angeline, Standing In My Light, All the Way From Memphis… & All The Young Dudes. I still can’t get over it! I love them! Ronson gave me his guitar pick!
My story about ‘All The Young Dudes’
June 12, 1979 – Hunter/Ronson At My Father’s Place, Long Island
Listened to Mott The Hoople all day. Wore my Fiorucci jeans. Went MFP at 2pm, helped a guy from Chrysalis hang Ian Schizophrenic promo posters and he gave me six! I went around back at 4pm. Ian came to me (I thought he was pointing to someone behind me) and said, “You were there last night!” I couldn’t believe that there was a brain cell in his head with the memory of my face in it!!! Ian brought me inside during sound check. Mick remembered me too! He held my hand while I melted and almost cried. They said they got their Beatle boots on 59thSt. at Jumpin’ Jack Flash. I was right between my idols Ian & Mick during the show! After ‘Dudes’ Ian grabbed me, and kissed me on the mouth! I took 20 pictures. The concert was simulcast on WLIR-FM radio.
June 13, 1979 – Hunter/ Ronson @ My Father’s Place
I went (alone) to the club at 4pm. Ian & Mick brought me inside again. They rehearsed till 6. Ian played drums and they did ‘Let It Be’, ‘Bring It on Home To Me’ and ‘Cleveland Rocks’. They asked me out to eat but I said no because I wanted my spot up front! I would have been too nervous to go anyway. Mick held my hand tightly as we sat and talked. I told him I loved him. I asked him why Aladdin Sane, PinUps and Slaughter sound so amazing and he said they spent 6 months mixing them and they’d never do that again.
While they went to eat, I was alone backstage with the guitars and Ian’s stage clothes … Oh god – I was alone with Ronson’s Ziggy guitar!!!! I swear it was glowing!!
At the show, I sat right in front. Mick kept smiling at me. There’s nothing like the light of his smile washing over me. He’s such an angel I cried during his solo at the end of ‘Ships’ and even Ian said ‘That was GOOD!’. Johansen was huddled in a corner backstage. Ian hugged me and I got buried in his wild & crazy Hoople hair!. I turned to go downstairs and Mick came running up and picked me up and hugged me and said “See you at the Palladium!”
June 16, 1979
Debbie Harry & Andy Warhol @ Brentano’s book store in my neighborhood
Debbie Harry was on the cover of Andy Warhol’s Interview Magazine in June 1979. She and Andy did a magazine signing at a Brentano’s book store in my neighborhood of Roslyn, Long Island. It wasn’t well advertised so nobody was there but us! During the three hours that Debbie and Andy were at the store, about five suburban shoppers cautiously approached to see who they were, and they did not even care at all. (This literally happened in 1979! Today, things would be much different!)
Blondie had recently played some dates on the Hunter/Ronson tour, so I had spoken with Debbie during sound checks. She remembered me and was very sweet. We chatted like fan girls about Mick Ronson – Debbie was fascinated that I knew him.
Debbie looked fantastic that day in her yellow dress with orange, yellow and black shoes with fab heels. I asked her where to get thigh-high boots (I wanted the ones Bowie wore on The 1980 Floor Show). She said to try Bergdoff’s or Charles Jourdan. (I finally got them!)
We talked incessantly about fashion (Fiorucci!) NYC bands, about our adoration of Bowie and Iggy Pop and about upcoming concerts. Andy looked on and nodded his head, interjecting an occasional, “Oh WOW! REALLY???!!” (This was at a time when we would literally bump into Andy on the streets of NYC – he could never see where he was going! – or find him shopping at Fiorucci or Bloomingdales or even sit next to him at a concert. It’s amazing that he did not have tight security, especially after he was shot at the Factory in 1968!)
Blondie tapes had been playing for hours and Debbie said, “Get this shit off and put on some Bowie!’ I told her that there was a record shop next door, so she gave me $10 to go & buy Diamond Dogs and we played that instead.
My friend took photos and Andy’s assistant gave me a Polaroid that he took of me with Debbie & Andy! Debbie autographed my picture bracelet of her (it was Andy’s idea).
See the photos here:
June 27, 1979 – Hunter/Ronson/Blondie at Pinecrest, CT
Due to the gas shortage, the lines at gas stations are honoring odd and even license plates on alternate days – so we took Elliot’s car. Pinecrest is a gorgeous country club. We got there at 1:00. The stage was on a small field. Then the most beautiful sight – Ronson walking up the hill in a pink shirt with matching shoes. He gave me a big hug! They went swimming and Ian had his shades off. Some jerk was hanging around us – harassing me. Mick put his arm around me and said, “Don’t worry, Uncle Mick will protect you!” We then went to sit by the pool.
Ian was sulking alone in the field ignoring everyone.
I was among the first people to hear this song! On June 27, 1979, Ian Hunter and Mick Ronson (Hunter/Ronson) opened for Blondie at an outdoor gig at a country club in CT called Pinecrest.
I was with Ian and Mick all afternoon. It was a beautiful, sunny perfect day! Blondie arrived at 4pm. Debbie was wearing a bright orange jumpsuit w/ black scarf and shades. Blondie began to rehearse their new song ‘Dreaming,’ playing it in its entirety! It would soon be their single from their album Eat to the Beat.
Me and Ronson were sitting on the stage. Mick took my hand and said, “This is such a romantic song!” I was impressed that the guitar reminded me of Bowie’s song ”Heroes”’ and Ronson said, “Oh yeah, you’re right!”
Sadly, ‘”Heroes’” was one of Ronson’s final live performances (with Bowie, at the Freddie Mercury Tribute concert in April 1992) before he succumbed to cancer a year later.
A roadie made fun of the first line,
“When I met you in the restaurant / you could tell I was no debutante
But Ronson and I both lovingly defended the song. We were overjoyed at how wonderful it was.
Imagine something of your very own, something you can have and hold
I’d build a road in gold just to have some dreaming
Dreaming is free
Dreaming dreaming is free
I will remember this moment with my sweet idol Mick Ronson forever!!! It really was like a dream!
‘Dreaming’ is now my favorite song!
When they finished rehearsing, Debbie lingered near us. I had spent time with her a few weeks prior at an autograph signing, so she recognized me and I called her over. I knew that she idolized Ronson and probably wanted to meet him, but was too shy. I introduced her to Mick. She was blushing! She only shook his hand and said, “I’m a big fan!” and walked away giggling. So sweet.
‘Dreaming’ was released as a single from Blondie’s fourth album Eat to the Beat in September 1979. It reached No. 2 in the UK and No. 27 in the states.
Blondie were great. Debbie did some Iggy moves – and his ‘Idiot’ pose during ‘In The Sun’. I’m so mad that I didn’t bring a camera that day!!!
Debbie wearing a Mick Ronson T-shirt
This is the only photo that I have ever found from the Pinecrest show. It shows what a beautiful day it was!
Ian @ Pinecrest:
June 28, 1979 – Hunter/Ronson @ The Palladium NYC
If I was alone I could’ve gone backstage bit I was with two friends. I was right up front but the stage there is so big. Ian & Mick saw me though. Went to Bleecker Bob’s after and got WetMagazine with Debbie on the cover.
July 8, 1979 – Blondie at Belmont Race Track
The place was mobbed with Long Island idiots and little kids to see Blondie. So annoying. They played less than an hour and did T. Rex’s ‘Bang A Gong’.
October 31, 1979 – HALLOWEEN! IGGY / CRAMPS – The Palladium, NYC
My pal Lori’s band The Student Teachers were opening act! The Cramps were amazing – Bryan Gregory was ½ man, ½ pony – he even had hooves! (I later learned that he was replicating Nijinsky’s costume from Afternoon of a Faun). Ivy had rubber snakes in her hair and Lux was insane. Hooded men in long brown robes preceded the band onstage, waving lanterns of incense in total darkness, enveloping the whole stage in smoke and releasing live mice or rats???!!! Lux cradled a rat in his hand and he sang to it! I think it was dead, and therefore could not appreciate Lux’s serenade!
I recently heard from someone who said that Bryan got dressed at his apartment for this gig! He glued the fur directly onto his lower body using Elmer’s glue – wearing no underwear or anything else. The hot lights onstage melted the glue, and the movement of his guitar pushed the fur down his legs, leaving him practically naked as the set went on. Nobody minded, and neither did he. His playing on ‘Lonesome Town’ that night was astounding.
Iggy was NUTS! He played songs from Soldier and some Stooges stuff. So GREAT. Elliot took a Quaalude and was spaced out. Ha – and Mom thinks I am safe in the city with him. Went to Christopher Street after and there was a transvestite parade! Our favorite was a ‘lady’ dragging a doll by the hair, yelling at it, and throwing it in front of cars (Mommie Dearest). All the ‘girls’ looked amazing!
Great costumes in the city! One nut was being driven around in a limo, waving out the top dressed as the Pope! There were groups dressed as the Village People. Me & Elliot went to Club 57 (Irving Plaza) – they were showing the best clips of monster movies & everyone was screaming and making shadow puppets on the screen with their hands. The Misfits played ‘Teenagers from Space’ and ‘Rat Fink’. Hundreds of orange balloons came down with Night of the Living Dead buttons attached to them Left there at 2:30 am and went to Roseland for the Rocky Horror party.
I found these cool photos of Iggy from that night by Gary Van Miert…
November 4, 1979 – Sun. – Iggy at My Father’s Place
Iggy walked in the front door at 6:30 smiling! He is so little and cool! He asked if I was OK with tickets and I said yes thanks, and he kissed me on the cheek! The show was the most incredible ever. Iggy was totally insane. I thought they’d have to drag him to the nut house. He bashed the microphone apart, tore down the curtain, kicked some girls who grabbed him. He was all bloody. I sat absolutely still staring most of the time. He hated the audience. He yelled, “This is what you want – you fuckers!”– and he bound his wrists together. This is no act! He’s so sick. I wonder if he’s happy. He told everyone that they are assholes. “I’m so messed up, I want you here” sums it all up! Iggy’s parents were there. Clem & Jimmy from Blondie were there. I went home, but 2 friends went to a diner to eat. Iggy came in and ordered steak!! Thankfully they came to wake me up!! I ran out the door – glad I thought to grab my silver Raw Power press kit folder! He signed it for me – almost put the corner of it in his steak dish! He wrote, “To Madeline – Thanks, Jimmy” and he drew a little cat head! He was so nice and friendly – so different from the show just an hour before.
November 5, 1979 – Iggy @ MFP night #2
I got the best seat and Iggy did most of the show staring into my eyes! He stared non-stop for the ending of ‘China Girl’. I was pressed against the stage, feeling his buzz – too stunned to take pictures again. It was especially great when the hecklers got him riled up. He completely ignored most of the audience and came right to my friends and I, and sang to us and nobody else after abusing the hecklers – he completely shamed them! Iggy gives better insults than Don Rickles!
November 20, 1979 – Cramps at MFP
Lux went crazy again – he threw over all the tables & chairs and made a dance floor. Got Ramones tickets for New Year’s Eve @ the Palladium – front row on the side!
November 22, 1979 – Thanksgiving
Family dinner. Aunt Jean has a leopard coat, but she’s so not cool! She was in my room pointing at my Bowie pictures that cover my walls and asking, “Who’s she?” and I’d say David Bowie” and she’d point to a different picture and say, “And who is SHE???” and I’d say “David Bowie!!!” She thinks Iggy is ugly! God – what is wrong with old people?!
I bought Crazy Colour hair dye at Manic Panic. I used the colors Aubergine and Cyclamen (dark purple with a bright pink streak). Bought a Betsy Johnson body suit. Went to Johansen’s show at midnight. Got a photo of me and David backstage.
December 9, 1979 – Iggy @ Hurrah!
I was supposed to go to my godmother’s wedding today. Mom realized there was NO WAY that I would give up seeing Iggy, so she told my godmother that I was sick.
Iggy tickets went on sale unannounced and they sold out. That was not going to stop ME! Elliot and I snuck into Hurrah! early and hid upstairs under a table. A security guard sat on top of the table and we had to be super quiet and try not to laugh. Then we found a better hiding place around the corner from the stage door behind a wall. We had to run to change places, but we kept falling because our legs were chained together by our bondage pants (from BOY in London). Oh the hazards of fashion!! Those pants were so cool – the zipper went all the way from front to back. I still have them!
Iggy came backstage. I wanted to run to him so badly but we couldn’t let anyone find us. We heard the sound check. Iggy was singing “Fa la la la la “ for Xmas. Then he was on the pay phone near us calling his friends to put them on the guest list. I was able to crawl over to him and tell him my ticket plight, so he laughed and put me on the list!!! We waited outside till showtime. We walked in behind Bowie and his bodyguard/driver Tony Mascia.
Iggy went on at 1am. He sang to me and held my hand! He opened with Real Cool Time and did songs from Soldier and ‘You Really Got Me’, TV Eye, Funtime, I Wanna Be Your Dog, some from New Values, China Girl, and NO FUN!! I watched so intently, I was so still that I think only my eyeballs moved for 2 hours. I was paralyzed, hugging the stage and feeling the vibes. I cherished every minute. Every time he finished a song I was sad because that was one less song and the show would be over soon. I tried not to laugh when he was outright hilariously funny but HE didn’t know it. He is always so serious!
I loved it when people threw ridiculous stuff on stage and he would work it into the act. He was putting on a bra that he received mid-song. When he got tangled up in it he said, “Arghhhhh forget this!” and threw it off.
He likes me so he tried to corner me in the hallway backstage but I ran away. Later, he put a key in my hand and told me to hold it for him until after the show. It was the key to his hotel room. He wouldn’t take it back so I gave it to the drummer.
I wanted to see the Stooges during Raw Power (1973) SO BADLY when they played at a small club near home – it was like 5 miles away and I was 14. I wanted to go there after school to maybe meet them outside. My mom said she would drive me, but she went food shopping and never came back. I don’t know why I didn’t walk there until my feet bled. It would have been worth it! I remember driving into small towns to see Iggy, watching the every day hustle & bustle of people in the streets and thinking – such idiots, Iggy is in their town tonight and they don’t even know that HE is amongst them! They’re not even going to the show, BUT I AM! So screw them all! It was so great to love something so much that everybody else hated.
I got another Iggy live cassette. I have lots of them because I befriended Iggy’s security guy. He confiscates everybody’s tapes but leave the one with the best recording equipment to finish the show and then grabs the tape, and hands it over to me!
December 15, 1979 – Bowie and Klaus Nomi on Saturday Night Live!!
Cindy called at 11 am with the verdict – no tickets but her dad (a VP at WNBC TV) would try to get us in to the rehearsal. The railroad is on strike so Michael drove us to the city !! Lucky!
Michael dropped us off at Fiorucci. Joey wasn’t there. We nervously ate at Burger King wondering if we’d get in. The big Xmas tree was right there in Rockefeller Center near the NBC building. Then the great news!!! Cindy’s dad got us tickets, and ushered us in to the building at 6pm. I felt Bowie’s presence as we went up the elevator. Something was actually different about the air! The SNL cast members were all jumping up & down saying, “BOWIE IS IN THE BUILDING!!!!” When we exited the elevator on the 8th floor, everything was glowing! When we walked by his dressing room door I got chills, and when he came out and saw me, I had tears in my eyes!
We stood in the studio and it was the closest I ever got to heaven! It looked like a weird space ritual!
We were in the control room until they announced ‘2 minutes to David Bowie band’ First he did Man Who Sold The World in a gorgeous monochrome striped space outfit that encased his legs, with the 2 prettiest androids carrying him out – who turned out to be Joey Arias whom I know from Fiorucci, and KLAUS NOMI!! Joey’ s hair was day-glo pink – he wore a red leotard dress and Klaus wore the same in black.
We went out in the hallway near the dressing rooms. Bowie came out in the hall wearing an incredulous gray skirt and a communist Chinese jacket with UGLY suede sling-back shoes!!! If the wall was not holding me up, I would have fallen over backwards! Bowie sang ‘ TVC15′. He is not human! He is made of wax! He smiled as he passed us by and I felt neon rays beaming into my eyes! He belongs in a glass case lit by a bright white light in a wax museum as a space specimen! Everyone was in awe. All of Blondie were there too. Jimmy played keyboards. All I kept saying was, ‘They’re so pretty!!!’ about Joey and Klaus and Bowie.
I had a postcard from Fiorucci of a weird little man that read, ‘Klaus Nomi’. Since it’s December I thought it meant ‘Merry Xmas’ in German. I told Cindy – “That guy in red looks like Joey (Arias) from Fiorucci!” Joey heard me and came right over and excitedly said, “I’m singing with Bowie tonight!!!!! Joey brought a little elf dressed in black over to us and said, ‘This is Klaus Nomi. I thought – Oh THAT’S a Klaus Nomi – he is a real live thing!!! He was so small and cute! He shook my hand (he wore the softest leather gloves). Klaus and Joey’s gold air-brushed eye makeup was exquisite! (The details didn’t show up on TV). Bowie came over and smiled at me unblinking with those crazy eyes of his, and kissed my hand – OH GOD!!! They rehearsed their muscle man moves for the next song “Boys Keep Swinging” Bowie wore a green leotard with a puppet body attached to it! We came home at 10:30 to watch and record the live show on TV.
Read my entire Saturday Night Live and Klaus Nomi stories here:
Live From New York, Its’ Saturday Night!
Klaus Nomi – Riding the New Wave
December 22, 1979 – Fiorucci Xmas party
Elliot & I went to the all-night Fiorucci Xmas party. The store was open till 10am. I wore my fuzzy lavender angora sweater with leopard hot pants and thigh high Bowie 1980 Floor Show boots (about which my aunt sarcastically commented, “Well, they’re perfect for trout fishing!”). Joey and Klaus Nomi came in around 1:00 am looking gorgeous. Betsey Johnson signed t-shirts. The Stillettos played. A DJ played cool music. Went to the village afterwards for breakfast.
December 31, 1979/80
Ramones @ The Palladium, NYC – New Year’s Eve. SO MUCH FUN!!! ‘Pinhead’ at midnight! Went with Elliot and we wore our BOY bondage pants.
My Ramones story:
It doesn’t feel like 1980 yet. Had BLTs at Riviera Café where the Velvet Underground broke up.
My 1979 Concert List
The Jam @ Palladium, NYC
Met Andy Warhol @ Fiorucci
David Johansen @ NY Tech
Robert Gordon/Chris Spedding @ Roosevelt Field
Buzzcocks @ The Palladium, NYC
Hunter/Ronson @ Toad’s Place, Ct
Hunter/Ronson @ My Father’s Place
Debbie Harry & Andy Warhol @ Brentano’s bookstore
Hunter/Ronson/Blondie @ Pinecrest. CT
Hunter/Ronson @ The Palladium NYC
Blondie @ Belmont Race Track
Hunter/Ronson/Kinks @ Nassau Colisseum
Buzzcocks @ Diplomat Hotel
The Brains @ Hurrah
Clash/Undertones – the Palladium, NYC
Iggy/Cramps/Student Teachers – The Palladium, NYC
Iggy @ My Father’s Place
Student Teachers @ CBGB
Cramps @ My Father’s Place
Student Teachers/Lydia Lunch @ Max’s
Iggy @ Hurrah!
Bowie/Klaus Nomi/Joey Arias –Saturday Night Live
Ramones @ The Palladium, NYC New Year’s Eve
Read more of my concert diaries here:
With David Johansen
© Madeline Bocaro 2019. No part of this text tmay be copied, photocopied, reproduced, translated or reduced to any electronic medium or machine-readable form, in whole or in part, without the prior written consent . Any other reproduction in any form without permission is prohibited. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without prior written permission of Madeline Bocaro.