Why music mogul has put punk legends in the picture
Jewish Telegraph, April 2016
ROCK music mogul Danny Fields has revealed how he ‘bribed’ the Ramones with $3,000 to become their manager.
Fields — who had changed his name from Danny Fineberg after college — released a book yesterday containing hundreds of his photographs of the legendary punk group.
My Ramones (First Third Books) is limited to just 1,300 copies.
All the images were taken between 1975 and 1977 when Fields co-managed them with Linda Stein, wife of music impresario Seymour Stein.
He writes in the book how he wanted to sign them after their 17-minute set at iconic New York venue CBGB, but they asked for $3,000 for a new set of drums.
“I went to Florida, asked my mother to lend me the money, came back with her cheque, and got the job,” he said. “I photographed the band on tour, backstage, in the studio, walking around, meeting fans, seeing the sights and just checking things out.”
In his book, The Heebie-Jeebies at CBGB’s, Steven Lee Beeber writes: “Danny Fields was forever the coolest guy in the room . . . he was also forever at heart a nice Jewish boy who embodied punk’s simultaneous reaction against yet embrace of New York Jewishness.”
Beeber writes of Fields’ first encounter with the Ramones: “When Fields entered CBGB, the force of the Ramones hit him like a revelation. It was like he was back in that ‘goyishe hub of civilisation’, Detroit, that place where his ‘short, funny, little Jewish’ self had been adopted by the ‘echt Americans’.
“Yet this time, the band he was watching was playing in that once most Jewish section of that most Jewish of cities. And it was featuring at least one Jew on vocals and perhaps another in the background, though at the time Fields wasn’t sure.”
According to Beeber, Fields didn’t know that drummer Tommy Ramone was Jewish until he was interviewed for The Heebie-Jeebies at CBGB’s.
Tommy was born Tamás Erdélyi in Hungary to Holocaust survivors, while lead singer Joey Ramone was born Jeffrey Hyman in New York.