Thursday, May 23, 2024

We'd Make Music History Together

September 17, 2012

Heading to where The Roxy Club used to be - The spot where I met Madonna

The weather is perfect for Walking on Planet C with BBC Radio's Paul McClean, cloudless skies and sub-tropical warmth. Normally, I'd randomly walk with no particular destination in mind - but we were tracing some specific steps from my biography Le Freak. I've had such a crazy life, it's a miracle I'm alive.

I became self aware around the age of five and my earliest memories are of life in lower Manhattan. My parents were both heroin addicts and life was very Nomadic. For a while we lived at 780 Greenwich Street. I remember legendary jazz musician Thelonious Monk coming over to buy one of my mother's then fashionable fur coats.

I've lived in Greenwich Village, Chinatown, The Lower East Side, and when I turned sixteen I even lived in the subway. I've been a member of The Cub Scouts, The Boy Scouts, The Boys Club of America, and I was the sub-section leader of the Lower-Manhattan section of the Black Panther Party's Harlem branch. Our headquarters was our section leader's parents fashionable townhouse on West Twenty-First Street.

The next door neighbors were famed actor Anthony Perkins of the Hitchcock film Psycho, and his wife-to-be Berry Berenson. Later in life she'd become my photographer and friend. She died tragically in the first plane that was crashed into The World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

Within a few blocks of that 21st Street townhouse I'd eventually meet David Bowie and Madonna for the first time - Bowie at the Continental nightclub on 25th Street, and Madonna at The Roxy club on 18th Street. We'd Make Music History Together. (Walking to be continued)


When I was in second grade I lived at 780 Greenwich Street. The marble in the entrance looks the same as when the building was originally built. We were some of the first tennants

Me & Mom - She was 14 and I was a few months old - I became self aware around the age of 5

Thelonious Monk on the cover of Time Magazine

As we were walking we met this lovely woman Alexa, who said The Lower Eastside Girls Club is still there

Our Lower-Manhattan section of the Black Panther Party Harlem branch was a 21st street townhouse

Berry Berenson and Tony Perkins back in the day

Nile Rodgers photo by Berry Berenson

David Bowie performing "Modern Love" produced by Nile Rodgers

Madonna's Like A Virgin album is her biggest seller