Playground: Growing Up in the New York Underground
Rock stars die, but the sounds and sights of the 1970s punk and glam stars live on in the hearts and minds of fans, and in captivating photos by Paul Zone, whose new book, "Playground: Growing Up in the New York Underground," shares rarely seen images of the rock revolution.
Before and after he became a minor sensation with he and his brothers' band The Fast, then in the electronic duo band Man 2 Man, and as a DJ, Paul Zone took thousands of photographs of bands at such historic clubs as Max's Kansas City, Club 82 and CBGB through the New York glam and punk era of the 1970s.
Working with music editor Jake Austen, this sturdy 208-page hardcover book is perfect for any retro music fan, or person of a certain age who still relishes a bit of glitter or a safety pin as a fashion accessory.
Zone was there when Blondie premiered, and the innocent youthful images of Debbie Harry (who co-wrote the book's foreword) are astonishing in their freshness. The band looks like they're playing a basement party of teenagers. He captures members of The Ramones in casual moments, designers like Steven Sprouse and Anna Sui posing casually or with teeth-glaring smiles.
"In the early seventies no one really cared what you did, and everyone experimented with sexuality and drugs -- at least in Manhattan," Zone writes in his introduction. In one of several memoir chapters, he describes his teenage life of club-going 'til 4 am, then getting to school late and exhausted, only after washing off the previous night's glitter or sweat.
Zone shares a touching summary of his upbringing, and how he came to be one of three gay/bi brothers whose working class father would scream, "No good is going to come from your lifestyle!" But it was because they were musicians, not because they were gay.
Even those definitions -- gay, bisexual, queer -- were more fluid for people in the scene, including Zone and his band mates, whose lyrics did take on gay subtexts, as in "Jack is a Jock" and "Boys Will Be Boys."