Days of Punk | BOOK GALLERY
November 10, 2020
Underground and Over the Top - Art and Cake
Exploring the energy of an era with Michael Grecco. When I first heard about Michael Greco‘s book, Punk, Post Punk, New Wave: Onstage, Backstage, In Your Face, 1978–1991, I could not wait to get my hands on it. A photographic history of that legendary music scene in Boston and New York in the 1980s sounded like it could have been a snapshot of my college and post-college years. As I lived in Boston during that same time period, within spitting distance of clubs like Spit, The Rat, The Kenmore Clubs, and other fabled haunts of the edgy music crowd, I couldn’t wait to research not just the art, but also the artist behind the scene.
Although Michael is “an award-winning internationally -renowned director and photographer of celebrity portraits, advertising and editorial commissions, private collections and fine art,” (according to his professional bio,) this book shows him as something else – an inquisitive, edgy, and aspiring young man just finding his stride amidst a cadre of musicians in similar positions in their own lives. Trying to find the shot/ moment/right club or personality that would capture attention and raise his profile was pretty parallel to many of the then-unknown musicians struggling to find the fan/ promoter/ music executive/ear who would catapult their career into music history. The performance and backstage images captured by Grecco not only chronicle the rise of musicians at a time when their music was so left of center that it rarely saw radio time, they also portray a moment in history for many now-celebrities who got their start in those sticky-walled clubs, where pierced and tattooed college kids would slam into each other in a frenzy of youthful passion and wild abandon. It is a record of the days when everyone had growing pains, and we all cut our teeth on the ubiquitous black leather and pressed vinyl of the era.
Michael Greco was born in the Bronx, and moved “over the line” to Westchester when he was young. He subsequently spent as much time as possible in New York City, absorbing the art and music scenes as a youth. Loving the urban vibe, when it came time to choose a university to attend, he wanted it to be in a city, yet separated a bit from his family. Boston was a logical choice, at a little over a three-hour drive away.