Behold

Candid Moments With the Ramones, Taken by Their Manager

“The boys in Washington Square, right in the heart of Greenwich Village. The square was built over a potter’s field where an estimated 20,000 people are buried.”

Danny Fields

Danny Fields has been many things: author; journalist; publicist; and, most notably, manager for a number of famous punk rock musicians, including the Ramones and Iggy Pop.*

It’s the Ramones through which Fields is most often linked. Fields first saw the band at CBGB, and 15 minutes after they ended their 15-minute set, he asked if he could manage them. Soon after, he brokered a deal for them with Sire Records. While the Ramones were recording their debut album, Fields photographed the band during downtime.

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But Fields insists he’s not a photographer, at least one who made his living by taking photos. He even begins the introduction for his new book, My Ramones, published by First Third Books, by writing that “I’d never felt like a ‘professional’ photographer until 2003.” (The photos’ captions are taken directly from My Ramones.)

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“The picture of Dee Dee reading and Johnny turning around in his seat, totally unbidden to do so, is one of my favorites. It was on the bus the Ramones shared with the Talking Heads, riding along the valley of the Rhone River. Neither Ramone is interested in scenery; they never were.”

Danny Fields

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Left: “In every issue of 16 there was a pinup page called “Hunk of the Month.” The swimming pool at the Sunset Marquis gave Dee Dee the opportunity to audition for Hunk or Adonis of the Month or maybe a new category. And what is Dee Dee wearing? Now, 40 years later, this photo of Dee Dee in his amazing ‘bathing suit’ has appeared everywhere—on T-shirts and posters, on lunchboxes. It’s even been printed out and taped to Dee Dee’s lipstick-kissed tombstone at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.” Right: “Blondie’s Debbie Harry and a fan backstage at a show where they shared the bill with the Ramones at Phase V in New Jersey.”

Danny Fields

“Joey loved to play pinball and was always able to find a machine to while away waiting time wherever he was.”

Danny Fields

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But throughout all of his careers, Fields has been taking photographs. He said part of the reason was out of convenience, as he did while writing for the magazine 16; other times, he said, it was out of boredom, especially when he was working with the Ramones.

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“The story is, I was their manager, and there’s nothing to do as the manager except be there,” he said. “And everything would have been done by the time I get there so I took out my camera and started taking pictures, and now they’re legendary.”

Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1976. The Ramones perform at The Club in Cambridge. The Boston area was the first major metro in which they performed outside of their native New York.

Danny Fields

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Backstage after the Rainbow Show in London, New Year’s Eve, 1977. Linda Clark, Leee Black Childers, Nancy Spungen, Sid Vicious, Dee Dee.

Danny Fields

Because he was working with the Ramones, gaining access to the band wasn’t complicated; he says he had their trust, which enabled him to learn how to photograph a band. The photographs in My Ramones are a mix of candid shots, portraits, and performance imagery.

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“What I really love is when the band is smothered in ‘otherness,’ ” he said. “With fans and you sort of have to pick out the band members or when they’re in a parking lot smothered by ’70s cars.”

“You take a picture and then my God, who knows, maybe they’ll be famous,” he said.

For more of Fields’ work, check out his Polaroids of hustlers, which are part of the exhibition “Scarlet Muse” at Daniel Cooney Gallery in New York through July 22.

“The Ramones and some very happy fans, after their first appearance in San Francisco. The Ramones would not leave a gig until every person standing outside the dressing room got an autograph. They always knew how important their fans were, and they were very respectful.”

 

 

Danny Fields

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“A handwritten greeting from Joey.”

 

 

Danny Fields

Correction, June 29, 2016: This post originally stated that Danny Fields managed the Bay City Rollers. He did not.

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