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Monday, February 17, 2014

RIP Marty Thau



When I went to Facebook this morning and saw a post by CBGB's saying "RIP Marty Thau" I had hoped it was a hoax. A quick search revealed that it wasn't. Marty passed away last week on February 13th. Details have not been released.

If you were in the music industry, or were a punk rocker. you know who Marty is. If you're not you may not know in the 70's he discovered and managed the New York Dolls, produced Suicide, The Ramones, Blondie, and founded his Red Star Records label which introduced The Revlons, The Fleshtones, Comateens and Brian Setzer's pre-Stray Cats band, Bloodless Pharaohs. To understand Marty better here is a link to an in-depth interview he gave in 2012 with Vice.com.

When I heard Marty had moved to Roanoke in 2003 I contacted him. As I am also a former New Yorker who knew who he was, we immediately bonded over music.We had quite a few lunches together and I relished hearing his stories. When he told me he was writing a memoir I was thrilled, and surprised there wasn't a long line of publishers waiting to snap it up. We spoke about him self-publishing which I had hoped he would consider sooner rather than later if he couldn't strike a deal. I don't know where his book stands now, but I wouldn't be surprised if someone now snaps it up and publishes it. You know what they say, everyone loves you when you're dead.

Unfortunately, over the last two years we stopped having lunch together. I don't know what happened, but neither of us made good on our promises "to get together." And then one day I saw a status on Facebook that he switched his hometown from Roanoke, to Petersburg, VA. I was like, WTF? I never bothered to ask him why, and the only real contact we had since then was when he would forward me an article or repost a song I posted on Facebook.

It was only two weeks ago when he sent me this link about Club 82 where he spoke about the NY Dolls performing there: "It was funky and dark. The show was sold out and it was a hip audience that showed up. All the downtown hipsters and vintage clothes kids, all the trendy types. The buzz got out on that and they showed up en masse. It was a one-time shot at making the point that we’re too cool to be bothered by your lack of information. So we’ll hit you squarely between the eyes with this and maybe if you’re hip enough you’ll get the point." Of course, now I regret my two word response of "Cool, thanks" wasn't longer. I lost the last opportunity to speak with him and find out what was going on with him.

"I'm always surprised when someone makes a comment like, “I'm honored to speak to you” or “I'm honored to interview you” because I really did suffer a lot [and take a lot of abuse from] the industry in the past. But I'm starting to recognize that, hey, maybe I did something pretty good." - Marty Thau

Marty, you were a class act, way ahead of your time, and I am honored to have gotten to know you. I hope your book is released so others will realize that yeah, you did something "pretty good."


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