The famous picture of John Lennon in a "New York City" T-shirt, or of the Sex Pistols with drinking straws, or of Led Zeppelin in front of their airplane—these were all taken by Bob Gruen, whose best photos of the Clash and Bob Dylan are just as iconic. Gruen's secret was that he hung around, getting to know his subjects rather than arranging for the photo shoots that are now industry-standard. He became the personal photographer for John and Yoko, toured with the Ramones, worked closely with Ike and Tina Turner, and shot everyone from Elvis to Madonna, Ozzy to Green Day. Forty hours of Gruen's New York Dolls video footage were edited down into 2006's All Dolled Up: Films by Bob Gruen and Nadya Beck, and his photos appeared in two recent books, The New York Dolls: Photographs by Bob Gruen and the band-authored The Clash. Gruen's stories are so good that he's become the subject of a forthcoming documentary himself, by Minneapolis producer-director Rick Fuller. My recent Q&A with Gruen at complicatedfun.com barely scratched the surface of a five-decade-spanning career, so expect a lively and revelatory conversation tonight with Mary Lucia, part of the Current Fakebook series on 89.3 FM the Current.
Wed., April 15, 8 p.m., 2009