Once I was at the heart of the downtown music scene. Unlike my '60s counterparts, I wasn't immersed in a grand scheme to foment socio-political upheaval. But I was deeply involved in a very creative and fulfilling lifestyle. On a typical day back then, I'd be trying to decide whether to book the British ska band Madness or the California pop band the Go-Go's into my night club, the Peppermint Lounge.I'd have a lunch meeting over champagne in Central Park with members of various New Wave bands and the rock press, attempting to start a new musical trend.
More than two decades ago, I was waking up at 2 p.m. in my Greenwich Village studio apartment looking like someone from a New Wave video. The L.A. punk group, Fear, had played at my club the night before, attracting John Bellushi and Dan Akroyd from "Saturday Night Live." Bellushi and Akroyd invited me and my club's staff to their own after-hours club, the Blues Bar, to celebrate until the early morning hours.
Later that same week, I remember treating Joey Ramone to pizza near St. Mark's Place. Then I entered an uptown recording studio and sang back-up for Afrika Bambaataa on his single called "Planet Rock," which would become the first million-selling hip-hop record.