Days of Punk | BOOK GALLERY


March 16, 2021

Michael Grecco Interview - The Alternate Root

Michael Grecco (Punk, Post Pink, New Wave: Onstage, Backstage, In Your Face 1977 – 1989 available on Harry N Abrams Publishing) (by Joe Burcaw)

I must be completely up front and honest, going into this interview my knees were quaking and palms sweating from nervousness. A rare and unlikely scenario for a chap like myself who feels more than at home interviewing musician types, ‘cos at the end of the day we speak the same language. Photography, well that’s a whole other untamed beast I wasn’t 100% sure I could tackle. Don’t get me wrong, I have a deep admiration for photo legends such as Annie Leibovitz, who can ever forget that iconic photo of John Lennon lying nude curled up to Yoko hours before this death, or Mick Rock’s illustrious Ziggy Stardust stage portraits? Without a doubt, I understand the creative process that goes into the art but can I hang without knowing the proper vernacular? Answer, yes, and thank the heavens above for sending me the tools to successfully navigate super talented heavy-hitter filmmaker Michael Grecco. His latest book: Punk, Post Punk, New Wave takes us on a journey through time dating back to 1977 running right up to 1989. These are never before seen shots documenting the Boston, Mass and NYC club circuit featuring Wendy O. Williams on the front cover smashing a television with a sledge hammer. Grecco has been sitting on these magical motifs for decades, and decided now is the right time for the public to witness behind the scene antics meant for adults only. These pictures are stunning, especially the black and white lighting techniques used to cast shadows on the subject and their rock and roll silhouettes. My favorite shots out of the bunch are Phil Oakey of The Human League (back cover photo) and bassist Dee Dee Ramone of The Ramones (page 179). Crystal-clear, emotionally charged time capsules caught in a forever moment. Michael Grecco is a fantastic storyteller who in his own right has many a tale to tell from firsthand experience behind the lens, and beyond. If only the walls could talk. I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation and highly recommend purchasing his book, you will not be disappointed.

Michael Grecco (MG): Hello there, and how are you doing?

Joe Burcaw (JB): I am well, thank you for asking, and thanks for speaking with me. Congratulations on the new book, the photos are gorgeous!

MG: Ahh, you’re very kind thank you for saying that.

JB: Let’s get down to business, how long have you been sitting on this archival footage, and what took you so long to release it?

MG: I moved to Boston and got a job at the Boston Herald as a photojournalist. Then I accepted an offer from People Magazine and moved out to Los Angeles working for them regularly holding a sort of pseudo-staff position but really wanting to move from photojournalism over to celebrity portrait photography. So, I considered this work, but didn’t even realize how much of it I had and the importance of it. I was encouraged by my archivist, a woman named Michael Parker, to edit the body of work and show it around. That’s what we did, I really like the direction Abrams pushed for and how it turned out. They did a great job by making it personal and we think it worked all the way around.