His many fans will no doubt wonder at the absence of anything by Wayne County from the list of Top 50 American punk albums we’ve compiled as part of this month’s cover story on the Ramones. After all, Wayne – who by 1980 was Jayne County, following the necessary surgery – was with his band Queen Elizabeth part of the same Max’s Kansas City, Mercer Arts Center and Club 82 scene that nurtured the early New York Dolls. With his subsequent band, Wayne County & The Backstreet Boys, he was a regular at CBGB’s and in 1976 appeared in the film The Blank Generation that documented the beginning of New York punk that grew around the Bowery venue.
He had to come to London, though, to record an album, after a deal with David Bowie’s management went sour, arriving here in March 1977. We met at the Soho digs of Leee Black Childers, who’d worked previously with Bowie and was now managing Johnny Thunders, who Wayne later took me to see at The Roxy, where Johnny was playing with The Heartbreakers. What an entertaining date this turned out to be, especially after we bumped into Speedy Keen of “Something In The Air” and Thunderclap Newman fame. Speedy, who’s become a bit of a pal after I wrote something in Melody Maker about his first solo album, the little-heard Previous Convictions, was just back from recording a new record in America with Little Feat that’s never been released and here to see The Heartbreakers prior to producing LAMF for Track. Needless to say, things were quickly a blur…
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