A Cle/NYC memory


In 1975 or maybe 76, I was working at Northern Records, a warehouse in the east side of downtown  Cleveland. My job was being in charge of the loading docks. I loaded and unloaded skids of albums from trucks with a manual fork lift, checked  the invoices, and let the Northern salesmen (and one saleswoman, who became a girlfriend)  in and out. One day Bradley Fields (we both had gone  to Lakewood high School, along with the Electric Eels) showed up at the dock with a band, who turned out to be the (as yet unrecorded) Heartbreakers from NYC. I let them all in (dumb move) and they walked around the warehouse. Someone saw them pocketing cassettes, which resulted in me being punished by being sent to work at the one – stop up front. I met  interesting records store owners there and got to work for Alex Mayewski, a nice guy who later worked for Polydor. In 1977, one record store owner (John Thompson) hired me away for his store (the Drome) to more or less replace Pere Ubu founder Peter Laughner (who had just died) and took me to New York for the very I’st time. Two years later, I found my East Village apartment through Bradley (a long story, involving a Vietnamese junkie cook, for another time), who by then was the former drummer of Teenage Jesus And  The Jerks.  Right after I moved in a  guy from Queens called Joe T who I was working with at Record City on Broadway (my I’st NYC job) came by with Heartbreakers drummer Jerry Nolan – who proceeded to shoot up.  Not long after I saw The Heartbreakers playing a “rent gig”  at Max’s Kansas City. Fans (mostly girls with excellent Queens and Brooklyn accents), were wondering if Johnny Thunders could get through a show without nodding out. The eventual death toll of this story includes:  Laughner, Thunders, Nolan, Fields,  and Joe T (and his young wife)  – all from heroin – and Alex  (and his younger brother), a  tragic accident story for another time. The Heartbreakers sound was ripped off by The Sex Pistols and their name was ripped off  by Tom Petty. I still think the L.A.M.F. album, released by Track UK (owned by the Who) is great!

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