For the past week I am acting as archivist, detective and photo editor for the film Alien Boy. It has been an adventure and a strange blast from the past as I am visiting some people I haven’t really seen in years. But they are the ones with the poster stashes and cool Polaroids from back in the day.
Like Mark Sten – he printed posters for gigs and has a great record of what happened here. Alien Boy will be able to draw from an archive that spans the birth of punk in this town plus the few years which followed, when James Chasse Jr. was active in the bands Possum Society and the Psychedelic Unknowns.
It was fun to go over the posters with Sten – as they flashed before my eyes, so did the memories of those nights. The scene was so small back then that I knew every band. The entire audience was made up of those kids; all we did was just change places from stage to floor and back again. In fact I wrote somewhere in my diary of 1980: Things are weird now, changing. We see all these people in the audience that we don’t know. I laughed when I read that.
Of course the most important Polaroid from the collection of Randy Moe is the one above, whom we knew as Jim Jim. But the other portraits are a fabulous treasure trove I would like to curate into an exhibition if I had the means. In some cases the photographs spawned posters and it would be fun to show them side by side – like a Polaroid of KT Kincaid (of the Neoboys) was the basis of a poster later made by Randy. There are several examples of this. And as we know, Randy Moe is no slouch of a draftsman.
What I enjoyed the most about the photographs as a collection was how intimate, lively and casual they are. Only a friend from the inner circle could capture such relaxed yet brutal, spontaneous honesty. Even when we are posing like crazy, it is real. There are no “Three Guys on a Stage” pictures. The few which are of a performance do not feel like it, not with their cut-off heads and the fabulous haircuts of the audience.