Chris Stein Shot Rock & Roll: The Photographer and Rocker on His Photos of Debbie Harry and Anya Phillips

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 Anya Phillips and Debbie Harry, Staten Island ferry, New York City. Graphics by John Holmstrom, "The Legend of Nick Detroit." © Chris Stein

By Chris Stein

Somehow I now associate images from that great 1976 issue of Punk magazine, “Legend Of Nick Detroit,” to the famous headline, “Ford to City: Drop Dead,” published in the Daily News the previous year. New York City was in decline at the time (well, actually even earlier) and I had had visions of young people playing in the rubble, among the skeletons of the city. For the downtown crew that I was a part of, a ride on the Staten Island ferry was like an excursion into the wildest nature.

 Anya Phillips and Debbie Harry, Staten Island ferry, New York City. Graphics by John Holmstrom, "The Legend of Nick Detroit." © Chris Stein

Today the “Legend Of Nick Detroit” might be construed as performance art but in 1976, I'm not sure if it had a classification. Cartoonist John Holstrom did the artwork on the photos.

Anyway we wound up on the ferry acting out the shootout twixt Nick and the Nazi Dykes, who were sort of villains. Debbie Harry and Anya Phillips went down in a hail of cartoon bullets. Anya was one of the movers and shakers of the burgeoning New York underground rock scene but that's another story...

Chris Stein is co-founder and guitarist of Blondie and also a photographer. See his images in the Who Shot Rock & Roll exhibit, currently showing at the Annenberg Space for Photography.

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