Hot on the heels of my post yesterday that ruminated on how rock has largely left the East Village, I ended up crossing paths with two old NYC punk stalwarts this morning while running errands in the East Village. Roused from my Saturday morning slumber by my early-rising youngsters, I stepped out into the AM to try to chase down a new lamp for our front hall. Said task found me darkening the doors of the godawful K-Mart on Astor Place. Unsurprisingly, said megamart didn't have the lamp I was after (I'm looking for an evidently elusive "touch lamp"), so I swiveled on the soles of my cliched black Chuck Taylors and headed for the exit. Who did I almost run smack into but Jon Spencer of Pussy Galore/Boss Hog/Blues Explosion/Heavy Trash fame. It was an odd place to encounter the famously foul-mouthed noisenik (though I've actually run into him before), but I suppose each of us has fallen prey to the sickly allure of K-Mart's convenience at one point or another. Last year, you may remember, I ran into original punk architect Richard Hell there doing some last minute Christmas shopping. Funny old world.
An hour or two later, I found myself lugging our "change jar" to a bank on 3rd Avenue and 10th Street when I passed a diminutive, portly gent with a thinning quiff and black sunglasses. As I made it to the corner and was looking back, trying to place the strangely familiar figure's face, a beardy, aging hepcat on the corner noticed me noticing him and grinned knowingly. "That's right," he said, gesturing with his chin at the figure I'd just passed,"You got it. That's James Chance." Suffice to say, he doesn't look much like the svelte, bug-eyed No Waver pictured above anymore.
In any case, while searching for the afore-cited article in yesterday's piece, I came across a slew of other articles lamenting the disappearance of the punky East Village of old. It's a weepy punk nostalgist's field day!!!
"New York Streets where the punks used to pogo" (Mar 2009)
"The Downtown Scene, When It Was Still Dirty" (January 2006)
Lastly, here's a clip of Jon Spencer before he became a dutiful K-Mart shopper.