Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Richard Barone: Surviving the Rock Star Myth-Signing and Performace at Barnes and Noble, October 1, 2007

Every so often, someone comes into our life and they change it. They see something in you and pull it out. 17.5 years ago, I met Richard Barone when I was producing a calendar and photo exhibit of NJ Musicians to raise money for the homeless in NJ. I lived at the Jersey Shore at the time, Richard lived in Greenwich Village in NYC. In order to photograph him, I had to pick him up in NYC, drive to the location where I wanted to shoot him, and drive him home. I had never driven in NYC let alone even really going there by myself. At the time, I HATED NY.
I met Richard at his apartment on a chilly Saturday, March 10, 1990. He was very friendly, and talkative. We drove to Hoboken, NJ, the town Richard was in when he formed his band, The Bongos. When the day was done, I drove him home and while driving home to the shore, I was pretty much smiling the entire way. The only other "celebrities" I ever spent time with prior to this day was Jean Stapleton aka "Edith Bunker" from "All in the Family" and Kirk Douglas who was from Amsterdam, NY-the town where I started my professional career.
The next day, Richard called. We became friends. I came into NYC very often and each time, Richard took me to a different part of the city. He would always ask if I was comfortable riding the subway. I was, but only because I was with him. Several times, Richard told me I should contact a photo agency for representation. He mentioned Retna and I knew of Retna-any music photographer at the time was either with Starfile or Retna. After several "pushings" I contacted Retna and dropped off my portfolio one Friday while visiting Richard. When I dropped it off, I was told "we'll call you." I was so naive that I asked "today" and they laughed and said no, next week. I went back to Richard's place and we had lunch. 3 hours later I checked my answering machine and there was a message from retna to call them. I was so nervous thinking they were going to tell me my worked sucked-something I heard VERY often in college. Richard assured me they weren't going to say that but I was too scared to call. I waited the entire weekend and called on Monday. Retna was loving my work, and I signed on with them. Over the next 1.5 years, I shot 92 concerts for them, most of which were used in The NY Times.
I shot Richard as often as I could. Posed, live, in the recording studio, in his cute little apartment on Perry Street. One of the photos was used on a CD Single.
Richard and I remained friends for many years, talking long and very often. I don't quite remember when we lost touch via voice contact, but we remained in contact frequently via letters and then the internet.
I moved into NYC, and Greenwich Village, in 1999. I have been a NYC resident for 8.5 years now and up until last night, I haven't seen Richard.Everytime I would get an email telling me of a show he was doing, I would plan to go and then I got busy. Last night, he celebrated the release of his first book "Surviving the Rock Star Myth" with a performance and a reading, with special guest Joyce DeWitt (from "Three's Company") reading as if she was Richard. This woman is am amazing talent, not to mention beautiful and so friendly. It was also Richard's birthday and he was presented with a birthday cake that looked like the cover of the book. ( 2 of my image sof Richard appear in the book)
As I was speaking with Joyce DeWitt, it suddenly occured to me that...I was living in NYC and working very steadily as a photographer--I am living my dream-in part because of what Richard Barone did for me 17.5 years ago. I was this scared insecure little girl when he met me at age 28. He saw something in me and pulled it out.
I have not read the book yet but DEFINITELY will. I am not much of a reader but I really can't wait to start reading it.
If Richard Barone comes to your town for a performance or a reading/signing of "Frontman: Surviving the Rock Star Myth" go check him out. , check him out. He has one of the most beautiful voices I have ever heard, and in my years as a music photographer, I have heard almost everyone who passes through the NY/NJ area. And his early music with his band The Bongos before going solo is terrific.


Blogger Diane said...

Deb what a wonderful story. I have know you since 1987 (Our days and nights at the Stone Pony) and I could not be more prouder of you. Things that I have never known about you that I just found out and could not be more prouder of you. Diane

7:17 AM  

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