ROCK OF THE 1980’S
The "Virgin" Kennedy, who drove me around for months whilst my license was suspended, is great in photos. Given to plaid design, her personality was huge. Scott Weiland of STP felt hopeless about being on heroin. He believed that unless someone was threatening your career, it was impossible to get clean. I guess I was lucky.
Chuck Randall arrived at KROQ shortly after I did in 1978. A short-term Joq but a long time friend, he went to Acoustic Christmas with me in 1992. Chuck helped me stay sober as well. I got smart that year and asked for a photo pass.
Duran Duran keyboardist Nick Rhodes with -- I believe -- daughter Tatjana Rose at KROQ Acoustic Christmas. "This here is my Hammond Organ, Tatjana, I'm going to make you play this one day!" Not sure, maybe his wife at the time Julie Anne Friedman looking on. DD fans, help out.
Nick Rhodes backstage at Acoustic Christmas with -- I have no idea, but he seems a bit more interested in the keyboards than Nick's other observer. 1992
This amazing guitarist also played with Zappa and Missing Persons, so I've actually known him for a long time. While most guitarists strum at each other, Warren Cuccurullo was strumming at the string section. Duran Duran at Acoustic Christmas, 1992.
Jed The Fish and Dusty Street at a party in Santa Monica. Photo Debbie Leavitt.
For a short time in 1978-79, I was actually the KROQ Music Director. I had only heard about the station less than a year before. It was my responsibility to gain the trust of the record company promotion people, wary of giving us product because so much of it had been stolen by former KROQ DJs. Four scoundrels stealing albums meant I needed twenty meetings with promotion people. One of my first “adds” as MD was to begin playing Dire Straits, which I hated but knew would be successful. Devo’s first album was a no brainer.
Working at KROQ was fun, and I’m sure it sounded like it on the air. In back of me, albums, below my right elbow 7” 45rpm singles, the rest hundreds of carts, to my right and in front of me, shelved and stacked. The Grace Jones poster, seen in many photos, was directly to my right. We had creepy green carpet and awful green and red curtains which were never open. This control room had soul, the walls were covered with notes, flyers and photos. Ask me about Sly Stone.
Debbie Leavitt contact sheet from 1982, KROQ control room in Pasadena. Never a fashion trendsetter, somehow the DJs picked up on the medical scrubs look.
Jed The Fish in the KROQ Control Room, Pasadena, 1983. The ubiquitous Sennheiser 421 microphones.
Baseball shirts were a thing. Jed The Fish, Pasadena KROQ control room. There were carts everywhere. Similar to the old 8-track cartridges, these had a continuous loop with a stop tone (to stop the machine the last time someone played it) just before the beginning of each recording. So when you plugged it in to play it, it was always ready. It was quite a reliable system, which is why the cart machines such as ITC existed for 50 years. Hassle recording the cart in the first place, but I did it for the Go-Gos, who gave me a demo lacquer of “Cool Jerk.”
Silly grin. Jed The Fish, Pasadena KROQ control room. Turntables!
KROQ Music director Lewis Largent. He was a very funny guy and a treasure to work next door to. I need people like him around me to perform. This is Lewis goofing off at an radio station event. My photo.
Jed The Fish Pasadena KROQ control room. Various radio station stickers were everywhere.
DJ appearance at Sandpiper Square, Solana Beach. The chic facing me is so very 80s. Me? I look like I just went to see a dealer.
Where’s Josie? This is the day I asked her what her real name was, and she said, “Well, basically Josie Cotton is my name.” A dedicated bimbo. Pasadena control room. A fake protest was staged outside the Pasadena studios. None of the protesters were angry. Gleaming Spires, the Sparks offshoot, was in the studio. Leslie Bohem and David Kendrick.
Elvira and I did a string of appearances together. This one was in Hollywood at a gay club called The Circus. She was on-air for KROQ in 82-83. Always a riot to work with. And of course look at.
Backstage at the Bowie Glass Spider tour, the most amazing guitar player Adrien Belew, entertains KROQ DJs Lewis Largent and Jed The Fish, Dodger Stadium, 1987. This was the tour Peter Frampton played guitar as well.
By 1986, Depeche Mode were about to be huge. Here we display a listener license plate in the KROQ control room in Pasadena. Despite claims to the contrary, I played Just Can’t Get Enough the week after it was released in London. I played it because I had heard of the producer, Daniel Miller, who also produced the double a-side single TVOD/Warm Leatherette. Mike Zampelli of Zed Records in Long Beach gave it to me.
I think this was for the True Stories album, as David moved closer to a solo career. Always an impeccable dresser. Pasadena control room.
From left: Poorman (what a name) Van Johnson, Dave Gahan, April who couldn’t keep her clothes on, below her Martin Gore, whose guitar skills are vastly overlooked, Alan Wilder, Freddy Snakeskin (never one to push forward for photos), Andy Fletcher, Jed The Fish below Andy, some schleb who ripped off KROQ, and long time WB promoter Chris Crist.
In probably the best shot of the Pasadena control room, a 28 mm lens reveals Devo judging the Rhino Devotees album, for which KROQ listeners submitted their own versions of Devo songs. With phenomenal luck, two of my own made the album. Rhino at the time was known for their wacky, Dr. Demento tastes. Richard Bronson and Harold Foos went for the Warner Bros. payday. I would. The reason in 1978 I was so excited about working at KROQ, is that it was the home of Devo.
Oh, I did my best guys, but when I was set to pick her up for a B-52s concert at the Forum, her mother introduced me to her boyfriend and the date was over. Intercepted!
At least I stood up for this one. Erasure with Jed The Fish.
Very seldom do I get a pro to photograph me at work, but Debbie Leavitt was there on Josie Cotton Day, without Josie Cotton. These are her proof sheets, not actual prints.
My second semester at USC, my video project was a discussion on the riveting subject of Los Angeles TV advertising. Not what about the advertising, does it suck or what, merely the ads. Harry Shearer, left, took me aside and gave me some much-needed advice. He said afterwards, "Look, when you have celebrity guests, you roll out the red carpet, have a green room, drinks, etc. Even though it's not a drama, you give them a script." My response was to offer him a joint. Right, Mal Sharpe, in glasses, Peter Bergman.
It's rough for the American radio listener to hear a heavy Liverpudlian accent. Paul McCartney learned to clean his up a bit, Ian McCulloch not so much. His subdued voice does not help. At least he left a sizable souvenir booger on the wall of the Burbank men's room, which remained for nearly a year.
Muscle shirt, no muscles. INXS drummer Tim Ferriss is the clowner-arounder of the band, and I love that they didn't always send Michael Hutchence for interviews. Fun guy.
Darkwave industrial rock artist Meg Lee Chin allowed me to both produce one of her tracks and play drums for her on occasion. I never got to know her in part because we were each handled by managers.
Undoubtedly the only straight people with our hands on each other that night, I did not think of her as a comedienne. I thought she was just funny as hell. Ahh, the gays always loved her.
Now this was audacity that could never happen today. KROQ took 200 listeners to Hawaii. Twice. The first time the GoGos played and Richard got hired. The next time Oingo Boingo played at Aloha Stadium. April Whitney, R, next to Freddy Snakeskin. Then Danny Elfman, Steve Bartek comically peering in over Vatos. Dale Turner in the shades looking at me, behind him Kerry Hatch and Richard Gibbs in the striped shirt. The hotel was very angry.
This guy is as genteel as Peter Gabriel. Steven Patrick Morrissey, in his solo years. When Johnny Marr was playing with the Smiths, he grabbed a drumstick and bashed his guitar with it during The Queen is Dead. He then threw it right to me. A security guy was --I thought -- trying to grab it from me, but assured me that unless I immediately took it to my car, it would indeed wind up snatched.
This reminds me of when I got in trouble with a girl I'd just broken up with. She got so mad at me she emptied a vacuum cleaner bag into my car, two weeks in a row. You see, the girl I'm with is her sister. I always liked hanging out with Joan Jett. I was in the studio with The Runaways one time when Kim Fowley was producing. On another production, Kim, directing me on the synthesizer, told me to do my dog urine.
Rodney and I both took credit for supporting Adam Ant. This was probably the day of a show at Perkin's Palace. Since I arrived in 1978, this mural was the only permanent evidence of the radio station's existence. I would describe his mood during my interview that day as charmingly pretentious. The now-defunct Independent Media Center describes Old Town Pasadena in 1981 as “a burnt-out bastion of dive bars, porno parlors and low-end department stores and thrift shops.” Welcome, ADAM ANT!!
How many women do you know who put on boob makeup? It works for her. Here I am trying to climb on top of her in the KROQ lobby in Pasadena. Isn't she beautiful?
I wish you had a color photograph so that you could see how hideous these curtains were. Always drawn, they hid all kinds of secrets. Here, Dee Dee and Johnny Ramone, at this point were seven albums into their career. Subterranean Jungle interview.