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Banter 141 - Danny Fields in conversation with Jim Carroll
Wed 13 July 2016, 18:00 – 20:00 IST
Danny Fields in conversation with Jim Carroll
Danny Fields is an American music manager, publicist, journalist and author. As a music industry executive in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, he was one of the most influential figures in the history of punk rock. He signed and managed Iggy and the Stooges, signed the MC5 and managed the Ramones, and worked in various roles with Jim Morrison, the Velvet Underground and the Modern Lovers. In 2014 The New York Times said, "You could make a convincing case that without Danny Fields, punk rock would not have happened.”
He attended Harvard Law School, but left during his first year. He moved to Manhattan's Greenwich Village in 1960.
In 1966, as Managing Editor of Datebook Magazine, Danny was responsible for shining a spotlight on John Lennon's cataclysmic “more popular than Jesus” quote, which contributed to the Beatles decision to stop performing live at the height of their career.
In the 1960s, Fields began frequenting Max's Kansas City. It was there that he developed connections to Andy Warhol's Factory social circle. Fields occasionally shared his loft with Warhol actress Edie Sedgwick, and wrote an account of the Warhol-sponsored Velvet Underground during their early years. He later penned the liner notes for the band's historic Live At Max's Kansas City album, recorded in 1970, but released in 1972, after the band broke up. Fields was one of the first people in the music business to be openly gay, at a time when most were closeted.
Fields hosted a radio show on New Jersey's WFMU during its groundbreaking 1968–1969 free-form years, and he was hired by Elektra Records as a publicist. Elektra, which had primarily been a folk music label, was having huge success in the rock record market with The Doors, and hired Fields to publicise the band, despite the fact that he and lead singer Jim Morrison did not like each other. Despite this mutual antagonism, Fields' PR skills got Morrison on many key teen magazine covers in 1968.
Danny recommended to Elektra that the label sign the MC5 and The Stooges. Both bands served as major inspirations for the US and UK punk music movements of the mid-to-late 1970s.
In 1975, Fields discovered the Ramones at CBGB, and helped get them signed to Sire Records. As the band's co-manager, with Linda Stein, Fields brought the band to England, where they had an enormous impact, inspiring the nascent UK punk movement, including such bands as the Sex Pistols, The Clash and The Damned. Under Fields' management the Ramones recorded Ramones, Leave Home, and Rocket to Russia. The 1980 Ramones album End of the Century includes the track "Danny Says", about Fields. The song is considered among the best of all the Ramones songs, and has been repeatedly covered.
After leaving the music business, Fields co-authored Dream On, the biography of Warhol actress Cyrinda Foxe, the wife of Aerosmith's Steven Tyler. He subsequently wrote Linda McCartney: A Portrait, which was turned into a television miniseries by CBS.
Danny Says, a feature-length documentary chronicling Fields' life, premiered at South by Southwest in 2015.
'My Ramones - Danny Fields' is published by First Third Books in a strictly limited hard back edition of 1300 copies. Containing over 250 photos of the band between 1976 - 1978, with personal commentary by Danny throughout. Order from: www.firstthirdbooks.com