Robert Carrithers – 80’s NY

Posted in Art, boys, music, photos by okkame on August 3, 2010

SAMO by Robert Carrithers 


Sprint to and Swoon breathlessly


Here’re John Lurie’s accounts of Basquiat. If the dazzling existence of John Lurie is unbeknown to you, you should rewatch some of Jim Jarmusch films and had better not say anything about hipsters in the public. Also you might be misunderstaing the true meaning of hipster, as in his All Music Guide biography; “Musician, actor, and hipster icon John Lurie was born in Minneapolis but raised in Worcester, MA.” He’s a good painter, too.


K(ofi) F(orson): New York was going through what was then Neo-Expressionism. Names like Schnabel, Fischl, Basquiat were among the known and popular. You knew Basquiat. Were you affected by him as an artist in any way?   

J(ohn) L(urie): Haha – he was a kid who used to follow me around and sleep on my floor. He would constantly ask me how he could make a living so he could keep his girlfriend.   
KF: I’m not sure about the circumstances surrounding your friendship with Jarmusch…but he knew Basquiat as well. Was there a link between the three of you?   
JL: I don’t remember Jim knowing Jean-Michel, actually. So to answer your question, “No…” But I do remember that Jim was storing the movie equipment at my house when he was making Permanent Vacation. And Jean had been awake for days and was now sleeping on my floor in the front room where the equipment was. He had slept for nearly 12 hours and Jim and the crew were coming in and out to get equipment. At first, they tried to get around Jean but then eventually they found it easier to pick him up and move him. He never woke up, which I found very impressive. Jim certainly did not know him then. What year is that? 1980 maybe…   
KF: I’m still trying to get the image of Jean-Michel being lifted off the floor out of my mind…Haha – How often would he sleep on your floor?   
JL: He wasn’t there all the time – about a third of the time.    
KF: On a somber note, Jean-Michel’s funeral…You played for him.   
JL: That was an odd day, was the same day my Uncle Jerry died. The funeral was weird. His father did this thing where only rich, famous painters were invited. And I and many others weren’t supposed to be allowed in. But I said fuck that and crashed it. Crashing a funeral, how strange that is.  

I left early and on the way out, they were bringing out the casket out of a side door as I went by.   

I walked over to Roosevelt Hospital where my uncle was getting chemo. There were people he knew outside crying. And I realized what was going on.   

I don’t know what happened next, I found myself on the corner of 42nd Street with no jacket and no tie. I just lost it, I guess.  

That thing I played at the memorial Glenn O’Brien put it together. It was about a month or so later.    
KF: Was it Albert Eyler who played at Coltrane’s funeral…   
JL: Did he? I didn’t know that. Images of Coltrane’s funeral have floated in my head from time to time. My sister Liz said everyone had black balloons but I think that came from a dream. Teo Macero invited me to Monk’s funeral, but I was dope sick and didn’t go. I am quite ashamed of that.

Let that be a warning to you kids.  


Learn a little about John Lurie with photos of his Strange & Beautiful paintings on here.

And for music nerds, this is a duty read. One of the best interviews in regard to music as far as I know. John Lurie on PSF;

John Lurie: ” We also bought as much cocaine as we could possibly afford. Drugs have ruined a lot of gigs and of course a lot of other things but they made that gig better than could possibly be expected.”


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