Unfortunately, my dad passed away a little over 9 years ago and we really miss him. My Dad, Barry, was only 60 years old and was taken from us too soon. As a tribute to him on his birthday today, I wanted to share my favorite photo of him — taken by Bob Gruen. At the time (circa 1974), my dad and Bob were on tour with the glam rock band The New York Dolls. My dad was working as their sound man. For those of you not familiar with Bob’s work — he is a legend in rock n’ roll photography and is probably most famous for his portrait of John Lennon with the New York City T-shirt and sunglasses. If I remember the story correctly, Bob actually took off his shirt and gave it to John to put on! My pop really enjoyed hanging out with him and always had great stories about that trip to Hollywood.
One of the reasons I like this photo (besides the fact it is sooo funny) so much is because this was one of my dad’s happiest times in his life. Shortly after this trip he stopped doing sound work and went back to his job as an electrician with Local #3 in NY. He realized that being “on the road” for 9 months out of the year was not going to work for him and his family, but I think my dad always wondered what would have happened if he kept going. So this picture also serves as inspiration for me to work hard and to appreciate how lucky I am to do what I love.
Anyway – when I was going through my pop’s things 9 years ago I found this picture – unfortunately it had gotten wet and was totally ruined! I was so sad, but figured I would try to find Bob and see if by any chance he still had the negative. I emailed Bob and two days later he emailed me back saying not only did he find the negative, but he had made me some prints! I could not believe it! He was able to pull out a negative from a random shot of my Dad (a soundman) from 1974! 30 years later! Thank you so much Bob — you have no idea how happy this made me.
Happy birthday Pop. We miss you.