John, Joey and Jim – My day in Manhattan

At the risk of exhausting my friends and family with endless self-promotion, I’d like to invite everyone to listen to a couple of interviews I conducted on Wednesday for my new book, All Hopped Up and Ready To Go: Music from the Streets of New York 1927-77.

Most people who live in New York – and many who live much further afield, too – have come to appreciate WNYC radio’s incredibly strong daytime programming; for my part, I have been an avid listener to John Schaeffer’s Soundcheck show in the afternoon (and, of course, Brian Lehrer’s news show in the morning) for over a decade now. It was, therefore, a personal thrill to visit WNYC’s lovely new studio and take part in a live, on-air discussion with Schaeffer about the history of the New York City music scene. You can listen to it below, but please also consider subscribing to the Soundcheck Podcast; Schaeffer, New York born and bred and a resident Park Sloper, covers all manner of music with intelligence, grace and humor.

Later that evening – much later – I went down to WOR’s studios to take part in the Joey Reynolds show. Reynolds has been on air for decades; his heart remains resolutely located in the golden age of rock’n’roll. To facilitate the discussion on my book, he invited in three other people, including fellow author Jim Gavin, and it was largely left to the four of us to carry the conversation. (Regular iJamming! pub contributor Patrick Carmosino, a big Reynolds fan, kindly kept me company. Patrick, we should have given you a mike as well!) Compared to the meticulous pre-programming research conducted by WNYC, this was freewheeling radio on a pretty grand scale. You can hear it below.

Tony Fletcher on Joey Reynolds show

And in-between those two events, I held a reading and discussion at the Strand Bookstore on Broadway. The Strand feels like it has been around as long as WOR and WNYC combined and in advertising “18 miles of books,” it’s not joking; the Strand’s several floors full of dusty shelves put your local mall’s Barnes & Noble to shame. To join me for this event, I invited Jim Fouratt, founder of the Yippies and the Gay Liberation Front and ACT-UP; the man behind the first Be-In in Central Park; promoter behind Danceteria in the 1980s; and all round wonderful man besides. The Strand’s location at the intersection of east and west Villages, uptown and downtown, made it an ideal place to promote the book, and we had a packed house; as I expected, the hour passed all too quickly. The event was filmed by both the Strand and my friend Joly at PunkCast so hopefully there will be You Tube clips made available before too long.

TF_Strand 003
Photo by Patrick Carmosino

Fouratt told me that on his way in to the Strand, he saw Tom Verlaine looking through the racks of books on the street outside. This seemed appropriate not only to the fact that Verlaine’s band, Television, are an important part of the book, but that when Verlaine first came to New York City in the 1960s, he got a job working at … The Strand. Serendipity? Or just another New York City minute?

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1 Comment(s)

  1. 3 December, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    The bad news is I seem to have mislaid one of the tapes of the Fouratt session (I have all the audio nevertheless, and The Strand also shot) – I’m still looking..

    The good news is that I’ve YouTubed the Arlene Smith.

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