Sunday, February 01, 2015

Playground - Paul Zone with Jane Austen

When the Fast arrived in Los Angeles in 1979, I think I first caught them performing at a clothing store in Westwood, which makes sense since singer Paul Zone was immersed in the NYC fashion and clothing scene, as well as the music scene - hell, he even made the zebra coat my then-girlfriend was wearing! But the music that the Zones - Paul and his brother Miki (guitar) - made with a powerful rhythm section fused punk energy with Who-styled pop sensibilities and just plain r'n'r coolness. Silliness abounded, as well, especially when Miki pulled out a couple packs of pencils and, besides playing guitar with them, stuck them in every available orifice. Good, clean fun. I saw them every chance that I could and even hung out briefly with them here & there.

What I didn't know was the the Fast had been together in one form or another for a 1/2 dozen or so years already and had been involved in the NY scene since the early days of the New York Dolls and before! Unfortunately, they were passed over by the record labels that picked up their friends (Blondie, Ramones, Dead Boys, etc.), at least partially due to bad management, and never received the accolades and notoriety that they deserved. What I also didn't know was that Paul & Miki went on to become a gay/electronic/dance duo that had huge hits in Mexico and Europe. And I didn't know what happened to them after all of that, but that is a story for Paul to tell.

And he tells is quite well - he and Austen provide an entertaining tale of one of the most exciting times and places of modern rock'n'roll from his personal point of view as he hung out - and photographed - many extremely famous (now) and legendary artists. His story has innumerable ups and downs, as do all too many musicians, and it is one that any lover of rock'n'roll should read.

Along with this tale, Paul includes pages and pages of photos that he took of the NY scene, starting with bands like the Dolls and Kiss in the early 70's, though the hey-day of the punk landscape.

This is a terrific book - highly, highly recommended! Thank you Melanie for this fab Xmas present!