Friday, April 27, 2012

TamTam Books' Tribute to Nick Faigin

Photograph by Ken Rosenthal
A very close friend of mine passed away last Friday (April 20th).  I heard about it Monday and the thought of it is a real heart stopper.  And of course trying to get the brain working at the same time is sort of a classic Laurel and Hardy routine.

I think I met Nick in the very late 70's.  He was a teenager, and I was about ten years older.  The original generation of punk rock (at least the 1970's version) was fading into a more 'pop' mode at the time.  Both of us worked at Licorice Pizza in Reseda.  And I use the word 'work' loosely because basically, the staff would spend a great deal of time trashing and praising the music of the time.   Paul, one of the Brotherhood of the store, was a Jam fanatic, but also had a great sense of pop music history and his appreciation even went beyond the strict boundaries of punk.  He actually liked Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young!  I personally sort of forgiving him for that, because again his knowledge on the twists and turns of pop music was simply amazing.

And Nick, in his teenage way, was totally open, yet had very strict and sophisticated taste in music.  Both are hardcore Mod like in their appreciation for pop culture.  I was (and still am) deeply impressed with their vision and passion.   Our friend Gwenn who worked at the store was very close to Nick, and they would often go out to see this local band The Joneses.  They were Gun n Roses before there were a  Guns N' Roses.   And both Nick and Gwenn were devoted to them.  In my eyes, they were a sloppy too much hair on the top of their head type of band, but Nick and Gwenn saw pure poetry and 'rock' in their vision.  Again, I knew that they had something of great worth because Nick was so into them.  And Gwenn too!

Many years after Licorice Pizza, Nick got me a job at a sex mag to write porn reviews.  At the time he was the graphic designer for the magazine.  I remember going to his office, and he just showed me a box of VHS videos and told me to take what I want and to write on it.  It was a perfect job!  The first video I saw was about electrocution and having sex at the same time.  I thought at the time "what a great idea."  The beauty of this is that Nick had such a great sense of adventure, humor and just the absurdity of it all - it was hysterical.   He was hysterical.

Also through the years, we never lost our love for being obsessive on the subject matter of music.  I once requested an album by David Sylvian, because he told me he had a copy of a rare recording.  Within a week I not only got a CD-R of the album, but also every recording with David Sylvian - it didn't matter if he only sang background, or maybe he just walked through the recording studio - he gave me the COMPLETE David Sylvian catalog and beyond.

I also made the pleasant mistake asking him for an Associates single - and bingo!  Got every recording solo and band - including rare bootleg recordings.

I learned not to ask him for one recording!  But it was, strange enough, a wonderful surprise when I got the package in the mail, or he hand delivered the precious music.

I think Nick's real love was soul music.  He knew classic Hip-Hop and really appreciated the culture.  He had a thing for Marvin Gaye that was on the obsessive side - but being obsessive for a music fan is the only way to go.'

The great thing about Nick was to see 'music' through his eyes.  It is like he's the driver and you are just the passenger, and it is going to be a wild and crazy ride.

Nick over the years got super interested in poetry and performing his poetry with live music.  A natural talent, who worked really hard on his craft and art.   Here are some samples:

Nick was also a photographer and was the Marcel Proust of Harvelle's Nightclub in Santa Monica.  Like Andy Warhol, he went out every night to this club to either perform, to encourage, and to document what was going on there.   His focus was very tight and wonderful.

I can go on and on, but check out Nick's website:

And Nick, I'll be seeing you.....

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