THE GREAT BLUESMAN TELLS IT STRAIGHT
Doc Pomus no longer had to cater to the teenage rock ’n’ roll market. He wrote sophisticated songs for adults. In his final years, he mentored dozens of singers, discovered bands like Roomful of Blues and The Fabulous Thunderbirds, and wrote the best lyrics of his life.
Josh Alan Friedman, Josh’s mother Ginger, Doc, Larry “Ratso” Sloman, Peggy Bennett, at Bitter End after Josh’s show, 1989
Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman at the Brill Building
Uncle Doc, courtesy of Shirlee Hauser
THE EARLY STIGMA OF ROCK ‘N’ ROLL
After a dormant decade, the great songwriter Doc Pomus was back in business by the late 1970s. I became his sidekick, entrenched in Doc’s late-night rock ‘n’ roll whirl, where he held court like a Buddha. He was amazed that so many of his songs became iconic anthems in a genre once vilified as teenage junk.
Song under Sinatra quote: “Fat Back,” by Josh Alan Band (unreleased)
Doc Pomus at the Pied Piper in New York, 1947
Late night at the Lone Star Cafe: Josh’s wife Peggy, Doc, (unidentified singing protege), Josh, 1982
French Elvis Lp. Mort Shuman became a pop star in France and thus received top billing here.
Still from documentary, AKA Doc Pomus: Josh, Doc, (unidentified), Ahmet Ertegun
FROM PARADISE TO THE GUTTER
The Great Pornographer went from Upper East Side family man/pornographer-next-door to Bowery bum. The First Amendment hero became destitute. But he never lost his appetite for pussy and pastrami.
Al’s Pompano Beach mansion, with the 11-foot finger that welcomed boats on the intracoastal waterway
Goldstein’s New York office
Beach Blanket Hippos: Goldstein and Ron Jeremy on Al’s beachfront
Screw ’69, front row: Jim Buckley, Goldstein, and 18-year-old Steve Heller, who would next become The New York Times art director for 33 years
John and Yoko’s Screw interview, 1969
Terry Southern in Screw #801. Cover: Julius Zimmerman
Hitler’s Worst Nightmare: Screw’s interview with surviving Third Reich architect, Albert Speer, with Goldstein as “Diddler on the Roof .” Cover: Curt Hoppe.
THE GREAT PORNOGRAPHER GETS SCREWED
With the creation of Screw and Midnight Blue, Al Goldstein liberated sex from the shadows of shame and illegal obscenity. He had no idea what it would lead to today. But in his era, the sexual revolution was a cry for liberation and the laws against sex came tumbling down in his wake.
Screw magazine, #1,024, “The Weird Sex Life of R. Crumb”, illustrated by cartoonist R. Crumb
Screw magazine, #735, “Is God Gay?”, illustration of Al Goldstein as God by Curt Hoppe
“Al Goldstein donned a fake prison outfit before his sentencing yesterday.” New York Times, 2002
Goldstein with legendary Harlem congressman, Adam Clayton Powell, in late ‘60s.
Al Goldstein’s bar mitzvah, 1949. In three years, he would wear the same undersized suit for his first hooker.
AN EDITOR’S EDITOR
A legend among his peers at the old men’s adventure magazines, Mel Shestack made people believe the impossible. And anyone who fell for his “gentle cons” felt privileged afterward.
True Action, one of the many magazines published each month by Magazine Management
Mel Shestack presenting a fake mock-up cover to Bruce Jay Friedman at Bruce’s Magazine Management retirement in 1966.
(photo: Jules Siegel)
A Mel Shestack cartoon on a letter to Josh