Days of Punk | BOOK GALLERY

Punk Post Punk, New Wave

January 29, 2021

Book by ex-Hub photographer offers portrait of Boston’s punk heyday - Boston Herald

“Boston was ground zero in some respects: Grecco said from his office in Los Angeles. “It was ground zero tor the first college radio station dedicated to this new music in WTBS (now WMBR, out of MIT) and because Boston is a college town there was this epicenter for appreciation of the music and It was the first place a band would play It you were a national act, like Devo, your first tour date was in Boston And if you were an international act, your US. first date was Boston.

Grecco points to acts such as the Police, U2, the Cure and Billy Idol, who typically began tours in Boston before they headed down the coast to New York City. And Grecco knows, because as a  college kid at Boston University, he snot most of these band’s early gigs.

As a student in the ’70s, then while working for the Associated Press and Boston Herald in the ’80s, the photographer documented the birth of the scene locally and in New York. Here in Boston, he didn’t just capture national acts such as Talking Heads and Joan Jett but snapped conceit photos and portraits of local legends, including favorites Human Sexual Response and Mission of Burma.

“With better management, Human Sexual Response could have been the next B-52s,” Grecco said. ‘They were so creative. Their harmonies were mind-blowing. Musically, they were mind blowing. I’d say the same thing about La Paste and Mission of Burma. But these bands were on local labels so they didn’t get national attention.”

“l don’t know what was about Boston, but the New York A&R guys didn’t take Boston bands seriously, he added.

At least during the first wave of punk they didn’t Near the tail end of Grecco’s time in the city in the late ’80s, artists such as Pixies, Lemonhead and Mighty Mighty Bosstones became the vanguard of the coming age of alternative music.

While the city’s music has constantly renewed itself, Grecco moved on when his career as a photojournalist took off “I couldn’t do a 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. job and go out all night and party and do drugs,” he said with a laugh.

Each generation in the city has a favorite musical age. May be your was the rise of New Edition or New Kids on the Block. Maybe it’s the modern hip-hop or (still going) punk scene. “Punk, Post Punk, New Wave” sets an example of how to document a slice of artistic history. Hopefully others will take note and answer him with volumes about the heyday of the Dropkick Murphys or rise of Donna Summer or Cambridge folk boom that brought us. Tracy Chapman, Dar Williams and Patty Griffin.

Because of the pandemic, Grecco hasn’t mounted a big, local exhibition of works from the book, but one is coming. And while we wait, he is collaborating with members of Mission of Burma on soundscapes tor future gallery and museum events to rekindle a little magic from the scene he championed.