New York City is universally acknowledged and rightly revered as the cradle of punk rock civilization. But it is safe to say that few are aware that many of punk’s progenitors were Jewish – kids from the outer boroughs and far beyond who settled in Manhattan’s East Village and forged a new world of sound, fury and humor at CBGB’s and other downtown bars and clubs.
Much like their American and European Jewish forebears, these pioneer punks both reflected and redefined the culture of their day heritage to create a dynamic new art form. In the process, they birthed an aesthetic that continues to influence not only music but the visual arts, literature, fashion and language.
In this forum, four Jewish punk rock fathers – Ramones founder and original drummer Tommy Ramone (born Tamas Erdelyi), Dictators singer and radio personality Handsome Dick Manitoba (Richard Blum), Patti Smith guitarist and journalist Lenny Kaye, and Blondie co-founder and guitarist Chris Stein – will convene at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research (15 W. 16th St in NYC) on Thursday, June 11th, to discuss the glorious heyday of New York punk, the arc of their individual careers, and the impact their Jewish experience has had on their music.