Tag Archives: Leee Black Childers

2011 ➤ Leee Childers interviewed: risqué tales of Warhol, glitter and Iggy’s best feature


❚ LAST NIGHT BRITISH PARTY PROMOTER Chris Sullivan sat in a new London gallery cafe to ask Leee Black Childers about his formative years leaving Kentucky for New York City and getting drawn into Andy Warhol’s Factory crowd of the late 60s and 70s. For more than an hour at The Society Club in Soho, Childers confessed all about his formative years when Warhol encouraged him to “say” he was a photographer, after which he snapped many informal early pix of David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Debbie Harry, Lou Reed, New York Dolls, Patti Smith, Jayne County. All the photographs on display are on sale for the next week.

Our two videos catch a few ribald moments verbatim. Other landmarks included Danny Fields and Andy Warhol taking him to see this “terrific new band”. Using the camera his brother had given him on his 17th birthday, Leee produced sensational pix of the young misfit Iggy Pop at the Stooges’ first New York concert. Leee lived for a year with Iggy. “You should know that he had a really great mind. He would talk about Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, and kept me awake talking about philosophy all night. He was also a very kind person and had one of the best penises I’ve seen.”

Lee attributes the birth of the glitter phenomenon in 1970 to Theatre of the Ridiculous director John Vaccaro’s production of Heaven Grand in Amber Orbit which was set in a circus, to which he brought “giant, huge barrels of glitter and he said, Put it everywhere, and everyone onstage was covered in glitter”.

Linda Clark, Leee, Nancy Spungen, Sid Vicious, Dee Dee Ramone. (Photo by Danny Fields)

In 1971 Leee visited London when Andy Warhol’s ground-breaking show Pork took over the Roundhouse with nude scenes that revelled in the recent abolition of theatre censorship in the UK. During this trip he met David Bowie performing at the Country Cousins nightspot in Fulham: “I’d never heard of him but I went because they said he wore a dress, but he wasn’t wearing a dress. We also met Angie Bowie who was not wearing a dress either. That show was pretty lame.” Yet when Bowie later came to play in New York, Leee was asked to be the vice-president of his US company. He subsequently travelled with Bowie through Russia in 1973 and was tour manager for Johnny Thunders and The Heartbreakers when they supported the Sex Pistols on their 1976 Anarchy tour across the UK.

Leee hung out with the Sex Pistols in both London and New York. Asked from the floor “Who killed Nancy?”, Leee replied: “Nancy killed Nancy. She created the situation where it was impossible to go on” — referring to her fractious relationship with Sid Vicious. Though Vicious was charged with her murder in 1978, Leee says: “We all know it was not Sid.”

➢ Last week’s report: Leee Childers brings his slice of 70s New York to London

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➤ Warhol chronicler Leee Childers brings his slice of 70s New York to London

New York photographer Leee Black Childers seen at last night’s preview of his London exhibition. At left, 
Patti Palladin of the 70s punk duo Snatch, at right the original Sex Pistols bassist Glen Matlock who went on to form the “missing-link” band, Rich Kids — over his shoulder, Childers’ picture of McLaren and Westwood. Photographed by Shapersofthe80s

❚ MORE LIKE A “WHO WASN’T THERE” EVENT, than a “who was”, wrote one Facebooker today. At the ripe age of 66, American photographer Leee Black Childers was in London last night to share his memories of Andy Warhol’s Factory acolytes in a selling exhibition of his work at The Outside World Gallery in Shoreditch. Titled Drag Queens, Rent Boys, Pickpockets, Junkies, Rockstars and Punks, the show has been organised by the two British co-authors of Cassell’s 2001 book Punk, Stephen Colegrave and Chris Sullivan. Colegrave rose from playing in various punk bands, famously The Lurkers, to become today the European marketing director of Saatchi & Saatchi. Sullivan’s journey as a clubland party promoter was propelled by the punk explosion of 1976, and most notably inspired the long-running Wag club in Soho.

Leee Childers travelled the length of the US as Bowie and Iggy tour manager between 1972 and 74. He also managed Johnny Thunders and The Heartbreakers when they accompanied the Sex Pistols on the 1976 Anarchy tour. On sale in London are his candid shots of Bowie, Iggy, Debbie Harry, Patti Smith, Johnny Thunders, the Rockats, Sid Vicious, Jayne County, The Star Spangles.

Leee says he loves rock fans who respect eccentric behaviour. In particular he’d like to meet “The new set of crazy, aimless, useless, doomed people like Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and Pete Doherty. I love time wasters. There also numerous dead people I would like to meet, but unless considerable advances are made in science (as opposed to TV) I am doomed to frustration, which fortunately I am very comfortable with.”

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London did its best last night to serve up some punk-ripened partygoers, and afterwards at the nearby George & Dragon Princess Julia was joined by Chris Sullivan spinning suitably retro sounds such as Was Not Was from 1981.

❏ At Facebook Tracy Jenkins reported: “Tonight was a scene for all the old scenesters! It was the old CBGBs / Max’s Kansas City crowd. Galaxies collided in a fabulous mix of friendly familiar faces, from the worlds of art, fashion and Soho, at Leee Childers’ private view… Pam Hogg, Ray Gange, Bruno Aleph Wizard, Stuart Leslie Goddard, Bobby Gillespie, Glen Matlock, Gail Sparkle Moore, Olanski Solanke, Johnny Vercoutre, Vivien Of Holloway, Jenny O’Drag, Mark Powell, Spizz Energi… what an amazing night. Oh, and Steven Severin, I did indeed give Leee Childers a big kiss from you!! (And he of course, gave me one back, which I am to deliver back to you.)”

❏ Andy Polaris enjoyed “A walk on the wild side with Leee Black Childers’ exhibition in Shoreditch tonight. Great photos of Patti, Iggy, Bowie, Divine, Lou Reed etc. A blast to see some familiar faces especially Adam Ant (looking great) and Patti Palladin of 70s punk duo Snatch. Along with familiar faces from Blitz and Beat Route — Karen O’Connor, Fiona Dealey, DJ David Hawkes, Ali King, Suzie Cooke, Barnzley Armitage and original Banshees guitarist John McKay. I come home and switch on TV and some political show is playing Walk On the Wild Side in the background.”

❏ Rhiannon Ifans reports today: “Was a good nite. Me, Jeff Phobics and Gaye Advert went to local bar for a sitdown afterwards. Have already hung up my Siouxsie, Severin and Thunders photo.”

❏ Drag Queens etc runs for a week at The Outside World Gallery, 44 Redchurch Street, E2 7DP. On Friday Oct 21 Leee Childers is in conversation with Chris Sullivan at The Society Club, 12 Ingestre Place, W1F 0JF (tel 020 7734 1433) while his photographs go on show and on sale there till Oct 28.