Mojo - June 2006
Pages 14 & 15
THE HOT NEWS AND BIZARRE STORIES FROM PLANET MOJO
Smash And Grab
LENNON, PISTOLS, CLASH, BLONDIE... ALL ON SHOW AT BOB GRUEN'S NEW EXHIBITION, ROCKERS. BY CLIVE PRIOR.
EVER SINCE he got his first photopass - to take pictures of Bob Dylan at Newport in 1964 - Bob Gruen has created an extraordinary archive of music photography. Next month, Rockers, his first career-wide retrospective to be held in Britain, opens in London. The exhibition will include iconic images of Led Zeppelin, the Sex Pistols, The Rolling Stones, The Clash, John Lennon, The Ramones, Blondie and the New York Dolls. "It gets easier and harder to choose them," ruminates Gruen, who won the Classic Images Award at the MOJO Honours List in 2004. "You get to know what the really iconic ones are, but you find yourself unearthing real treasures. And they're an education about their time, there's one of Joe Strummer smoking on a plane!"
A bigger show is due next year at Museu Arte Brasileira, São Paulo, Brazil, and after his New York Dolls documentary, All Dolled Up, Gruen says he has footage of Patti Smith and Blondie he'd like to "get out there". But he won't be shooting new bands in the same way. "Sitting on a tour bus with drunk 22-year-olds? That's not a strong draw any more."
Rockers runs from June 15 to July 16 at the Blink Gallery, 11 Poland Street. London W1F 8QA. See www.blinkgallery.com
Behind the CAMERA
Debbie Harry and car wreck, 51st Street and 6th Avenue, New York City, 1976.
Bob Gruen: "I was visiting Blondie when they were recording their first album in the Rockefeller Centre. I'd noticed this car just left on the street after what looked like a horrific accident, and suggested we take a photograph. So Chris stuck the guitar in the trunk and Debbie got down and acted like she was crawling out - they put it together themselves, I didn't tell them what to do, and it took two minutes from beginning to end. Everyone was looking and it was very funny, but I have felt guilty since, 'cos it was a serious wreck and yeah, someone might have died in it. We sent it out to magazines with no explanation. They had to make their own stories up about what had happened!"