tv Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown CNN November 25, 2018 7:15pm-8:31pm PST
here 65 years. i wouldn't trade it for nothing. i guess i'll be here 'til they cut the lights out. >> player: mount view on three. one two, three. >> team: mount view! ♪ ♪ >> lydia: new york city during the 1970s was a beautiful, ravaged slag. ♪ impoverished and neglected after suffering from decades of abuse and battery. she stunk of sewage, sex, rotting fish and day-old diapers.
she leaked from every pore. ♪ no wave was the waste product of taxi drivers, times square, the son of sam, the blackout of '77. a desperate need to violently rebel against the complacency of a zombie nation dumbed down by sitcoms and disco. we were howling with delight, laughing like lunatics in the mad house that was new york city. thrilled to be rubbing up against the freaks and other outcasts who somehow, for some unknowable reason had all decided to run to land's end and all at once scream their bloody heads off. >> it's our [ bleep ] park! ♪ i took a walk through this beautiful world ♪
♪ felt the cool rain on my shoulder ♪ ♪ found something good in this beautiful world ♪ ♪ i felt the rain getting colder ♪ ♪ sha, la, la, la, la, la, ♪ sha, la, la, la, la, la, ♪ sha, la, la, la, la, la, ♪ sha, la, la, la, la ♪ [ sirens ] >> man: nothing but a bunch of crackheads, dopefiends, and [ bleep ]. >> anthony: this is a show about
a very special place, a very special time, and some very special people. so much happened, so much began on new york's lower east side. those buildings are still there. >> michael steed: you know this neighborhood from the dope houses, right? >> anthony: yup, all of them. i mean, i know every corner i've ever grabbed. by order of like preference, because there was some you'd really rather not go to that was sort of like last resort. somewhere, there was a big hole in the wall right there. basically like a car-sized hole in the wall. you'd step into an abandoned space. i didn't know any spots down there. i mean, people would take me of course. but it was not my regular. my regular was here and executive, and laredo were my
preferred. but for a while i had to go specifically to d. ♪ >> anthony: the lower east side was, in many ways, the cradle of new york. where new arrivals first settled, built communities, and later, moved on. only to be replaced by others. ♪ in the new york city of the '70s, nearly bankrupt, riddled with corruption, the lower east side, particularly alphabet
city, was left to fend for itself. huge swaths of it abandoned, ruined, or simply empty. much of it became an open air supermarket for drugs. whole blocks taken over by organized drug gangs. rents were cheap, and the neighborhood started to attract a newer, highly energized and creative group of people who wanted to make things. music, poetry, movies, and art. ♪ it seemed at the time, everybody was a star. and for a while at least, that it was a golden time. but it was dangerous, you lived down here you had to be tough, and talented, and often very quick.
much some of the last remnants of what the lower east side was kind of used to be like, you know? good old school, no elevator. >> anthony: but you didn't live in this building? >> harley: no, this wasn't the building i lived in. this is a squat though, that actually became legal. i was actually in that building right there. when i lived in it, we had no windows, no front doors. you know you'd find a door in the street, you'd put it up and chain it up yourself. no running water. i used to bathe in the fire hydrant in front of the building. i used to sleep with my pitbull so rats wouldn't get too close to me at night. >> anthony: you actually grew up here. what was that like growing up here? being a little kid here? >> harley: my main problem growing up down here was that i lived on a gang block. the gang on my block was called "the hitmen". and, you know, they were no joke, right. and i remember they'd be hanging out on the stoop on the church
across the street, smoking dust. all of them with their golf clubs and 007 knives. everybody would be listening to, of all things, kraftwerk, trans-euro express. they'd be out there screaming, "we're going to kill the next [ bleep ] that comes out of that building." and i'm laying there, thinking "i gotta go to school tomorrow, man." i was never a violent person. christ, i was raised by hippies. but i was thrown into a crazy environment where i had no choice but to fight my way through it. i always had a cue ball in a sock in my pocket, i'd split your head open quicker than you could say, "what the --" and it did turn me into a bit of a problem as a teenager. >> anthony: i would guess. wait a minute, i don't have to guess, i know. first time i saw you, you were famously that 12-year-old
drummer in the stimulators. your aunt was in the band. >> harley: yeah, that was the only reason we were allowed to play at most of the clubs, because i had a relative who was basically my legal guardian. i need to get a vanilla egg cream. what are you getting? >> anthony: chocolate egg cream. >> harley: chocolate egg cream. >> ray: yeah, one vanilla, one chocolate. >> harley: i got ptsd, man. like i just feel like i'm seeing ghosts when i'm down here, man. i miss it though. i tell you, as much as i paint it as this horror story -- which it was -- i loved it. you know, it'll always be a part of who i am. my man. >> anthony: cheers. >> harley: all right, ray, thanks for the egg cream. >> anthony: that is a superb egg cream. >> harley: they don't make them no better. ♪ >> anthony: i had a signed "the last words of dutch schultz".
>> richard: be out of it. >> anthony: you came here first as a writer, as a poet. new york in your mind is where the writer's life was. >> richard: yeah, well, it was just a place that had the most stimulation. >> anthony: was music even in the back of your head or was poetry and writing? >> richard: my model was dylan thomas when i was a teenager. you know, so being a drunken womanizer. that was my ambition. ♪ >> anthony: you woke up in your own lifetime, open up a paper, and realized like a million kids in britain dressing like me, and
cutting their hair like me. and you have this inadvertent tectonic affect on kids all over the world. >> richard: it wasn't inadvertent, but it was indirect. i mean, i wanted to have that effect. other bands who responded to the way i was doing things got famous. so it ended up having this huge impact and influences. when i first saw the picture of the sex pistols, it was like, i just had to laugh. >> anthony: that's a charitable interpretation of events. malcolm mclaren came to new york, and saw the voidoids, and went back and built a boy band, and said you're going to dress like that guy. >> richard: yeah, i don't really look at it that way. i mean, ideas are free. i never resented that. but it was funny and strange.
>> anthony: cheap rent brought a lot of people together. it wasn't just living spaces were cheap. there were venues where you could put whatever it was you did out there where -- >> richard: yeah, cbgb's didn't exist until we created it. i mean, we went and proposed that we be the house band there. >> this is terrific. this next number's called "i belong to the blank generation". 1, 2, 3. ♪ >> anthony: and then, your band, the voidoids. what were your expectations? >> richard: i wanted everything that anybody who starts a band wants. but i didn't even quite realize how weird and uncommercial i was. >> anthony: you didn't? >> richard: i thought what i was doing was really, um, catchy. >> anthony: do we over romanticize that period?
i mean, was it special? >> richard: i think the creation of the mythology of the '70s kind of began in the mid-'90s. i can see why people who weren't there wish they were there. but it goes against all my instincts to think that way just because, the idea is, we didn't like the way things were, so we decided to change them. >> woman: why are you here tonight? >> man: i guess we're just interested to see what's going on. we saw, i think it was the "new yorker." more or less just to see what was happening. simple as that. >> woman: how about you? >> man: fascinating place, i must say. it's probably one of the most interesting places in new york. just simply the neon lights, and the crowd here, it's all very interesting. >> woman: would you come here again? >> man: no. >> anthony: have you ever considered writing a dishy memoir? i mean, my god, it would be 800 pages long. >> danny: i can't. you know why?
because so many people are still alive. >> anthony: i mean, people love you. >> danny: yeah, they have to say that. how can you say something mean about somebody who might be mean back at you? >> anthony: it's an industry, are you kidding me? ♪ >> danny: people ask, "what was it like the first time you saw iggy?" and i didn't see him. i heard the music from down the hall. i mean, i thought, "this is the rock and roll i always wanted to hear." something that was this fierce, and yet there was a tune there. >> anthony: when i bought funhouse, in high school, i was immediately ostracized. this was defining music and normal people didn't like it. >> danny: the ramones met because they were four outcasts in a high school with
5,000 people who liked funhouse. okay. they had it all figured out. they would sell as many records as the great record sellers would sell. and in a few years they would have so much money that they would retire and never have to work again. >> anthony: right, especially with each other. >> danny: guess what? they had to stay on the road for another -- >> anthony: 25 years. >> danny: yeah. you know what their greatest financial success has come from? "hey, ho, let's go!" sung in football and soccer stadiums around the world. and the ramones estates are gathering in more money from five seconds than they ever made -- is that the measure of greatness? or eternity? that's one of them. ♪ >> anthony: so many people died,
so many people didn't get recognized. richard hell is still living in the same apartment he lived in 40 years ago. >> danny: who likes to move in new york? you've got a good deal, the neighborhood got all better around him, you know? iggy was supposed to be the one who didn't make it most of all. and he's still there, the most dangerous. god sends us these signs that there are miracles, don't give up hope, what you believe is beautiful probably is. not everyone will know it, in time. ♪ love you like i do ♪
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we're really into it. but nowadays there aren't so many people into it anymore, and the supply of bikes is dwindling. it's gotten to the point now where i'm the only bad thing on the block. i'm now the mess. i'm now the noise. i'm the scruffy building. it's not that anymore. it's just not, i mean, it's super expensive restaurants which come and go every five years. high-heeled girls with mink coats on getting in fancy schnitzel restaurants, and they're standing on rats, and they think that's cool. what they don't know is that before the restaurants were here, there were no rats. and now all these rich people are coming down here and standing on rats and they think that's east village and it never was, you know. so -- ♪
>> anthony: how hard was it to, if you're coming to new york, a section of new york that's completely broke. you are broke. you're going to be an artist, and not just art, but fairly confrontational. how committed do you have to be to do that, particularly at that time? >> kembra: i think that, contrarily, it hasn't been that hard.
i feel like, i've been very fortunate to have got to stay alive here. so, and i have everything i need, look around us. it's a wonderful amusement park of good and bad ideas, all happening at once. you know how people immigrate here, to start a new life? and to dream big? i felt like i needed to do that as well. just like the way people did at the turn of the century, you move to new york to immigrate to a new land, to start a new life. and that's really what the lower east side is all about. you know it was an extremely rare and wonderful time. i think only now do i realize how fortunate i was that i got to experience a neighborhood that had jack smith on 1st avenue. it had the living theater. it had jonas mekas on 2nd
street. >> anthony: who thrilled you back then? who was doing stuff that you just thought, "holy shit, this is really incredible and inspiring."? >> kembra: well, gosh, luckily my friends that i was working with were very inspiring. i loved joe coleman's work. ♪ >> joe: the lower east side at that time was a destination for me. there was something, you know, that compelled me to just be there. and i would paint it. squeeze in. >> anthony: yup. wow, wow! oh, yes, you were telling me about this guy. >> joe: and here, if you want to use this.
>> anthony: it's beautiful. ♪ >> joe: you know, all of the paintings are novels, so it's a dense story, and the more that you look, the more that you learn. and it's in non-linear time, you know, like you're exploring at your own pace whatever you want to look at. and someone else might start in a different place, and it might tell a different story. >> anthony: the performance art -- at one point you came to paint, or did you come to paint and perform? >> joe: no, i came to paint. but the paintings were like implosions, where i was studying the world around me and myself inside, and the performances became literal explosions.
i learned violence from my old man. so i was angry. when your house is on fire, you know, you don't read poetry and you don't sing a folk song. you gotta scream. >> anthony: i missed all the great art of the time. i came for heroin and i came for music. other than that, i didn't live here. but man, a lot of people didn't make it and i remember i guess around 1980, it was like, something is happening and no one knows what it is. >> joe: you mean the aids? a lot of that time exists in my mind like a dream. like an opium dream. i have these people that i loved
that would just drop out, and fall out. and i'm a little bit sad that i wasn't there. i wasn't present, you know, for them. because i was too off in this other world. but for me, there was still something of great beauty to that time. you have wall st. tycoons fighting for huge amounts of wealth, and you have bums fighting over like pennies. and yeah, it has like, you know, a primal awe. (atlas) do humans know they are
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♪ >> freddy: this is one of the places, like keith haring and i would love to come here. jean-michel would join us, and we would have good meals here on the regular. and it was consistently the exa -- you know it's great when you could go someplace and they have the exact same food. come on, this is it. >> anthony: still the same? >> freddy: still exactly the same. >> anthony: that's encouraging. >> freddy: which is great, it's great. even though there's a hotel three doors away. and high rises going up, you can still have a decent meal.
>> anthony: you brought hip-hop culture to a very finite number of people initially on the lower east side. totally changed the world. >> freddy: teenagers at that time were doing something interesting so i wanted to find some people that would listen to these ideas, and that's what led me to the lower east side, and to connect with -- >> anthony: i guess you met glenn o'brien. >> freddy: glenn o'brien, yup. glenn was key to it all, because i would read his column in "interview" magazine, it was just brilliant. and i met him, and he embraced me, and invited me to be a part of "tv party", which was this underground -- >> anthony: i remember it well. i watched at the time.
>> glenn: hi, and welcome to "tv party". fred, why don't you tell us a little about what the holy land looks like? >> freddy: i want you to know. that i've been to the holy land. and the holy land is so funky. it's funky. and through that connection is where i met all these people that listened to all these ideas i had, and that was david byrne, chris stein, and debbie harry, and so many amazing people that were just like, "yeah, tell me more." ♪
>> anthony: what i think is under-celebrated about you guys in particular was your kindness. you were famously really, really supportive of the people you came up with your contemporaries, the people came up with your contemporaries, the people around you who weren't doing as well. letting each other sleep on each other's floor. >> debbie: there was nothing at stake. >> anthony: there was nothing at stake. i mean, this in a good way, you were raining hits from the beginning, i mean these are enduring songs that people are still listening to and hold up. i just think a lot of people had low expectations, you didn't, you had a plan, right? >> chris: well, no, if we had a plan we would've made more money, and not got so completely
[ bleep ] over by the industry, as it were. >> debbie: we had a plan to survive. >> chris: yeah, ongoing. >> debbie: we had a plan to keep going, doggedly. but i think the thing that was so attractive about that period was you weren't locked in to one format, or one form, you know. it was just, everybody was doing everything. >> anthony: you introduced the entirely revolutionary notion that street art was in fact really art. >> freddy: the painting that we did on the street was coming from a place that pop-art came from as well. like popular culture, magazines, advertising, comics. and so some of the first people to buy paintings from me and jean-michel was chris and debbie from blondie. and then they also commissioned me, lee quinones, and jean-michel to do sets and art, and to participate in their music videos, some of the very first. >> anthony: your support and work with fab five freddy, i mean look at the soundtrack to the whole world, now. it's hip-hop, that connection, that cross over there. you had to put considerable muscle and gravitas.
>> chris: i talked to all these record company guys, and i'd say 98% of them told me it was a fad. >> debbie: it's not going to last. >> chris: it's going to go away in five years. >> anthony: and you recorded a song that was hugely -- ♪ >> debbie: well, i will say, you know like, i'm very proud of the fact that we created a format that didn't exist in rap until then, and that is that we wrote a song that had a rap in it. >> chris: yeah, those guys were sampling stuff. >> debbie: rapping was always just scratching and sampling, so we, you know, made it viably commercial. >> anthony: and then, you know, another earth shattering event, "wild style". >> freddy: i had an idea, if we could make a movie, and show that this rapping, this dancing, and this deejaying was one thing. so i was on a trip to germany
not long after the film had aired, and i see these kids break-dancing. i'm like, "what the hell is going on?" as i got closer, i noticed the moves the kids were doing were the exact same moves that the rock steady crew does in "wild style". but i then knew that this was going to translate globally. >> anthony: i remember that film opening, and that was a nuclear bomb. and it ended up being like the second highest grossing -- >> freddy: second to "terms of endearment". which not many people think about now, but yeah, we did well. >> anthony: you've got to love that moment of corporate terror in the film industry when people are looking at the weekend grossings, and it's like, "what is this? who is this audience that did not appear in our metrics?" >> freddy: no, it was a great, great experience. i got it. new pixel 3. ♪ chloë! give again! ♪
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that's the history of the lower east side. everybody had to go back and find themselves in the lower east side. probably every day or every week, just by walking through it. that's my connection to the neighborhood. that's the neighborhood's connection to me. you know, to photograph that before that change, to have that running history. my main thing now is to keep a running record. so i started 4th st photo gallery here, and it's been history ever since. i'm still here, i survived. ♪
>> anthony: you started making films before you knew how to make films. >> amos: yeah, yeah. the oddball thing about it is knowing so little, being an amateur was so helpful. who knew that you could hire a casting director? no, it was just like, "hey you, play that. you play that." you know? >> jim: which one of our friends is going to be around for this? >> amos: yeah, exactly.
"are you going to be around next tuesday?" i saw myself more as like experimental filmmaker. you know like the godard films for example, they were inspiring because i would say, "i can do that." >> jim: i owe a lot to amos. when i saw "the foreigner," it was amazing the whole scene was there, everybody was there. >> amos: yeah, that was a big night. >> jim: i got so charged up. and i was sure i was going to make films. >> anthony: and your first film was a student film?
>> jim: my first film was a student film, "permanent vacation." >> i think people like myself are crazy. because of the way i live, you know. >> jim: nyu film school made a mistake, so i had a $12,000 budget for my first film. >> anthony: which is enormous for the time. >> jim: it was huge, for me. but the root of the word amateur is the love of a form. and professional means you are doing it for money. which i still hope -- i consider myself an amateur, for sure. >> anthony: what was the budget on your first film? >> amos: oh man. >> jim: $12. >> amos: yeah. well, it depends on what you call first film, but um, "blank generation" was like $2,200. i started shooting bands, and it was more, how do you shoot music with a silent camera. and then "unmade beds" was like my first narrative film. it was like about $4,000. >> jim: i think in "unmade beds" someone from "the new york times" called it "the cinematic equivalent of kindergarten scribbling." and amos put that on his posters. "new york times." and that was the most like punk ass move. >> anthony: so yeah, what do you think now when you walk around the neighborhood, you know, you
used to -- you had to pay some dues to walk down back in the day. and now it's projectile vomiting frat boys with baseball caps on backwards. does this give you a sinking feeling? make you angry? or -- >> amos: i wish i would've bought real estate, that's for sure. >> jim: the thing that i always tell myself is look at the history of new york city, and it's always about hustling, and -- >> amos: change. >> jim: change. and if you want it to stay the same, man you got the wrong historical spot because there used to be a native american trading post on the tip of manhattan. it's now wall street, you know? ♪ ♪ too many creeps ♪ too many creeps ♪ too many creeps >> clayton: want to come in for a minute? >> anthony: yeah, sure, i'd love to. i'd be interested to look at your dope bags. >> clayton: yeah, here's some. i got this guy who was a bank robber, and he was going to
jail, he hooked me up with this. this is from the early '80s. >> anthony: airmail! >> clayton: airmail. >> anthony: 12th street. >> clayton: yup. >> anthony: i might have to put the old glasses on for this. >> clayton: it's a treasure. >> anthony: doa i remember. >> clayton: poison you must remember. >> anthony: poison! yes, of course. evidence. psycho. i remember all of those. >> clayton: did you ever do hellraiser? >> anthony: no, i don't remember ever. toilet. >> clayton: classic, right? >> anthony: you knew you were doing something bad when you bought a product called toilet and, you know, shot it in your arm. oh man, memories. ♪ >> anthony: i mean, basically, your reputation is the godfather archivist of all things lower east side. you were here pointing your camera at stuff since the early '80s.
>> clayton: i probably have one of the largest inner-city photograph collections of anybody. i used to know everybody that went by. that neighborhood thing is like really important to me. so i photographed the puerto ricans, the dominicans. drag queens from the pyramid club. basically the whole hardcore scene in '87. i was more interested in like the eccentric people, the unique people. >> anthony: you were at the battle of tompkins square park, which is sort of the gettysburg of the lower east side. i remember it had essentially become clogged with nodding junkies, homeless people who set up permanent camps. >> clayton: it was dangerous. >> anthony: it was genuinely dangerous. when the police came down and decided to clean the park, the question is, who won? >> clayton: well, in the beginning, we did. >> it's our [ bleep ] park. it's our [ bleep ] park. it's our [ bleep ] park! >> clayton: you know you have to remember in 1988 they couldn't close a 10 1/2-acre square park
on the lower east side. not with 450 riot cops, horses, helicopters. they couldn't do it. >> we're going to defend the city. >> we don't got no weapons. they got 9mm's down there. shotguns and machine guns. >> clayton: there were big bonfires on the middle of avenue a, buses couldn't come down, cars couldn't come down, they were stuck. >> anthony: you were on the news a lot, i remember, you were the most despised man in -- nypd, you were not their favorite photographer, let's put it that way. ♪ >> clayton: this went on for four years. there were multiple riots, hundreds of arrests. four years here of real, solid conflict. cops eventually got organized. i think this was the beginning of the sort of police-state
mentality in america. >> anthony: i remember tompkins square after the police fenced it off. it was, in a lot of people's minds, the end of an era. >> clayton: and yeah, when they cleared off the drugs, a lot of people said, "hey, great, we're now going to have a neighborhood and everything's going to be safe." and then in came the gentrification, so the whole concept of america is being wiped out. because you can't pull yourselves up by the bootstraps anymore, because you can't get in the game. gentrification has affected the whole city. you have to now make a huge amount of money to be here. you know they got skyscrapers in midtown that are sold millions of dollars apartments, and nobody lives in them. and they're empty. >> anthony: i live in one of those big empty buildings, with absentee owners. is that all that's going to be left in new york. >> clayton: yes. new york -- there was always something that brought it back. but once you fill it with the corporate world, it's never going back. so we turned a corner that we will never go back again. so it's over. >> anthony: it's over. >> clayton: it's over.
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♪ >> lydia: you know, i have my eye on the octopus. >> anthony: okay. then i'm going to straight into the -- >> lydia: straight? you're going to go straight? you're finally going straight, oh my god! i'm impressed. can you verify exactly what straight means in -- >> anthony: [ bleep ] if i know. >> lydia: no way, honey. even when you're straight, you're not straight.
>> anthony: did you expect to make a living from art? >> lydia: no, of course not. >> anthony: i mean, at no point? >> lydia: no, i just was happy i didn't have to suck [ bleep ] in an iranian shoe store. first of all i thought i would come to new york to do spoken word, but spoken word didn't really exist. so i started teenage jesus and the jerks. i had to really make the most hideous, yet precise din i possibly could as a tantrum against all of the music and all of society. ♪ >> anthony: there were a lot of freakish, never could've happened at any other times, it seems to me, bands who had a readymade audience. okay, and you did the same. you can basically say, "i am a rock star." >> lydia: well hey, hey, hey. no, no, no. first of all i never said i was a [ bleep ] star.
>> anthony: no, but i mean but not by word, but by deed and deportment. >> lydia: we are great, aren't we? >> first of all, i'm not a star. i'm not an icon. that may be in your midnight fantasies. >> anthony: but you walked into a club, people knew who you were. >> lydia: i didn't walk into any place thinking i'm a star, i walked in thinking, "i got shit to do." i wouldn't say i was a catalyst. i'd say i was a cattle prod -- to get people to do shows, booking shows, curating shows. it's just what i do. it's like, "let's go, let's do it." and when people would ask me to do things i'd be like, "yeah i want to do it, of course." people were -- beautiful -- doing things because they had to do it, not because of any other grand idea. >> anthony: so what made you happy back then? i mean, did you have any happy moments? >> lydia: happiness was not the goal, satisfaction was the goal. as it still is. my anger is on a global level, it's never on a personal level. i'm very happy. i'm happy to have octopus with you tonight, my dear. thank you very much for inviting
me. >> anthony: good? >> lydia: they're perfect. when was the last time you had something this good in your mouth? i know you eat well, but this is like -- >> anthony: it's been awhile. this is pretty incredible. >> reporter: why are you here tonight? >> lydia: to see the dead boys. >> reporter: why? >> lydia: because they're great [ bleep ]. >> reporter: how do you know? >> lydia: because i [ bleep ] them. who do you want in a rundown then? >> reporter: did you throw the -- >> lydia: yeah, i did. it was my present. i'm lunch, they do a song called "i need lunch." i'm lydia lunch. >> reporter: why did you throw that? what was it? >> lydia: they were used tampons. genuinely used, new ones. why did i give them to them? because they're going to eat them the second set. ♪ >> anthony: you were featured prominently in many of the best known films of the era. >> lydia: most of which sucked. it was trying to be a reflection of the reality at the time. hence is why i made the films i made, especially with richard kern.
>> lydia: just drop me off. where are you taking me anyway? >> man: to my house. >> lydia: so we did this horribly violent film called "fingered," that was based on real things that had happened to me. it was not glamorous, it was not pretty. it was offensive. i'm trying to work out my psychosexual problem because i know i'm not alone in them by making films and speeches that will address the situation that i know other people suffer from. >> anthony: okay, this is a film, very influential, far beyond the imaginings -- >> lydia: well, we didn't think that when we did it. we didn't think that when we did it. we didn't give a shit. we just wanted to make a film and get it out there because we had to do something because we were burning, our blood was on fire. ♪ >> anthony: looking back though, was it all that? was it a golden period? are you nostalgic? >> lydia: no. i am golden.
it's always a golden period for me. look, we have a golden piece of asparagus, it's golden. >> anthony: so do you have any sense of -- >> lydia: no. i [ bleep ] don't. those were the bad old days baby. you try living on peace and black beauties, you try giving handjobs under the table to take your first band to europe. you want to go back to that? you go back to that. how were you living? i know the same, hand to mouth. >> anthony: so no sentimentality, no nostalgia at all. >> lydia: i'm doing too much shit all the time. i still have shit to do. why am i boo-hooing when i just been on tour from october to next october? i'm not stopping. >> anthony: youth? would you want to go through that again? or was that overrated? >> lydia: youth? don't i look good for my age? >> anthony: hell yeah. >> lydia: well, what do you want from me? >> anthony: was it worth -- >> lydia: the older i get, the better i taste, what can i say? it's like wine, baby. >> anthony: did something special happen then, or am i just? is it all -- >> lydia: my whole life is special, because i'm still alive, doing what i want to do with who i want to do it with. to me, i'm not living in the past because i'm living in the present. it's new york, get used to it. it has never changed, it had a golden moment here, probably had a golden moment in the '40s,
too, i'm not sure, i wasn't here. maybe the '60s, we weren't here. >> anthony: so it was all bullshit? >> lydia: no, none of it was bullshit. it happens when it happens, and things change, and time is not what it once was, and isn't anywhere. if you've done one thing, you're living in the past and that's your glory day, that's your glory day. this is my glory day. i'm here talking to you eating octopus. i got my boots on his knees. >> anthony: and i'm liking it. >> lydia: if only his [ bleep ] was big enough he'd be [ bleep ] me now, but we're going to go have a cigarette. got that? >> anthony: smoke, we'll be back. set up wide. (atlas) do humans know they are paying too much with verizon? (paul) no, they just don't know that sprint's unlimited plan gives you 5 lines for just $24 dollars per month, per line. (mom) wow, that would save us... (atlas)...nearly $1,000 dollars? (mom) what about the network? (paul) now sprint has lte advanced. (atlas) it's up to two times faster than before. (mom) no way! (dad) robots don't lie. (atlas) the man in the mom jeans is correct.
♪ >> john: i try to make paintings that are so beautiful that i get lost in them while i'm doing them. and you just hope that other people get lost in it the same way. >> anthony: you know, i have a john lurie over my bed. >> john: you posted about that, that was nice that you posted that. sometimes, you know, you get these letters, "your painting
save my life." da-da-da. but then sometimes because i don't have any shows -- >> anthony: oh, that's great. >> john: it feels pathetic, you know? >> anthony: this is incredible to me. >> john: what? >> anthony: you don't have shows. >> john: that's insane and it's sick and is wrong and i don't even want to complain about it. you complain about it. >> anthony: i'm complaining about it. i am bitter. >> john: because i'm going to die one day, and they're going to be worth a lot of money. so my paintings are going to be on the same tv station as wolf blitzer. >> anthony: oh, they are. yes. >> john: this is really a breakthrough for me. >> anthony: he's a big art fan. >> john: he is not. how i came to new york, i was kind of on this coltrane thing, i wanted to find god through music. i started meeting all these amazing people. they were irreverent. the energy was enormous. and it was probably more fun
than anybody's ever had in human history. for about a year or two. but there was no discipline. which, i mean, i like people that could play their instrument like they just found it on the street, but they can't just do it once. they gotta work on it. and i was a serious saxophone player. i came here as a saxophone player. i had to hide the fact that i -- i mean, i really did. i would practice for two hours every day but i would like -- i wouldn't tell people. so, these are eggs. which you can get, you know, at the store. if you live in a good neighborhood they will even deliver them to your house. and then, you take water. which, i know you go to all these exotic places, but they used to say that new york had the best water. >> anthony: that is true.
>> john: you think it's still true? >> anthony: i haven't heard anything to say otherwise. >> john: do you drink it? >> anthony: yeah, i do. >> john: and then you boil them. and then i serve it to you. >> anthony: outstanding. i am grateful and honored. >> john: i'm really curious, because i've seen your show, and i watch you sit down, you eat like some mouse head soup. and then you go, "mmm, it's delicious." i'm just curious to see when you eat the hard-boiled egg if you're going to say, "this is delicious." >> anthony: as long as it's not like half-term chicken fetus in there. which wouldn't be the first time for me by the way -- i'll be thrilled. >> john: we really felt like the universe was between houston and 14th street, and bowery and avenue c. you know, and if you went outside there, you were a phony. you were a traitor. like, "we're done with you." might as well be an accountant. >> anthony: what about film? as it turned out, you ended up appearing in the work of amos poe, jim jarmusch, all very seminal films.
>> john: and i made my own films, too. but i was kind of just like, you go downstairs, you run into a friend, you wind up getting a cup of coffee, and that's -- you know what i mean, like, there's nothing to it. and everybody's making these movies and so, did a little music for that, i acted for that one, and the whole baboom on that one. i didn't think about it that much. you know? and so -- look at that. i'm not eating this shit. there's a plate. >> anthony: eggs, the perfect food. thank you, sir. >> john: eat that. i don't think i've ever cooked for anybody before. >> anthony: i'm honored, sir. so looking back, is there a danger of over-romanticizing that place and that time? given the downside. and the body count. >> john: i don't know, does it have to end badly? i mean, i'm glad i survived it, i'm glad i still got my own liver. i'm glad i lived through it. but it's kind of -- i don't
>> john: you didn't say the egg was delicious. you did not. >> anthony: but i ate two of them. silence is the highest compliment. just the gnashing of my jaws. >> john: you didn't say -- >> anthony: delicious, delicious eggs. >> anthony: maybe you know him -- i hope you know him -- from such excellent shows as "united shades of america." host, writer, comedian -- w. kamau bell. ♪ i bumped into him in the cnn scene room recently fondling his emmy, and i asked him, "kamau, if you could go anywhere on earth for like a mash-up episode