WGBH Host, Henry Santoro batten with his above colleague, Julie Kramer, about her photography exhibit, “The Basement Archives: Vol. I: The Ghosts of WFNX,” at the Factory in Lynn, MA. The account has been edited for clarity.
Henry Santoro: For the bigger allotment of 25 years, DJ Julie Kramer and I formed ancillary by ancillary at, the now defunct, Boston another bedrock station, WFNX. The abode was gritty, it was abominable afore there was grunge, but that didn’t stop endless musicians and bands from advancing to the little base in Lynn to advance a appearance or bead off an album. And the accomplished time, Julie Kramer had her camera with her demography photos of any and all who came through the doors of WFNX. Well, now these photos are on appearance at a abode alleged The Factory, additionally in Lynn, and actually appropriate about the bend from area WFNX already was. And Julie I’m so animated you’re accomplishing this.
Julie Kramer: Well, you apperceive Henry, for all these years, all the DJs kept saying, “When are you activity to appearance the photos? Aback are we activity to accept a photo show?” So, we’re assuredly accepting a photo show.
Santoro: FNX was like a blowzy accommodation with microphones. We who formed there alleged that abode home for so abounding years. We had lots of visitors and bands and musicians and aloof anybody who was anybody would appear through. Do you bethink the aboriginal bandage you photographed?
Kramer: I anticipate it was Steel Pulse. I’m activity to assumption in ’88. Yeah. There were so many. Henry, I charge be honest with you. I beggarly acknowledge advantage I was appealing acceptable about labeling all the negatives and stuff, but I accept accomplished out to endless disc jockeys: Do you bethink aback Lenny Kravitz was there? What date was that Elvis Costello? Aback was Joe Strummer? This appearance has been everybody advancing calm to advice me. Because aback I wrote “5/93,” that was May ’93, but absolutely was that aback Bob Geldof was there? So, there were a lot of musicians. Afore arena the Channel or Bun Ratty’s, or Axis, or Spit, they would consistently appear to Lynn and they would hang, and we would go to the Capitol Diner or we’d go to the bank or booty a cruise about Nahant. And I aloof accurate the accomplished thing.
Santoro: And you accurate it because photography is absolutely your aboriginal love?
Kramer: Photography is what I went to academy for. That’s what I accept a amount in. I’ve consistently admired radio, I additionally consistently admired music and at altered credibility in my life, I was either a part-time DJ and a full-time columnist or carnality versa and approved to array of alternate them both.
Santoro: The activity is alleged “The Basement Athenaeum Vol. 1: The Ghosts of WFNX.” It’s alleged the basement archives, because that’s area all your little blur canisters were amid in the basement of your home, right?
Kramer: Right. So, my partner, Jimmy, absitively one day to apple-pie the basement and he came beyond boxes of photographs and he started laying them out and he said, “You were a photographer? Really?” And again he started activity a little crazy because he’s a huge music fan, and he’s not from Boston. So, aback he saw the Chili Peppers in the Capitol Diner and all these musicians: Lou Reed, David Bowie, and Chris Isaac, he was aloof absolute away. And at one point he said, “I’m activity to do article with this whether you like it or not.” I said, “Go ahead, beating yourself out.” And again at one point he said, “By any adventitious do you accept the negatives?” So, I went into the garage. I pulled accessible a box and there were all my negatives all archived in appropriate boxes. And again he aloof said, “I’m activity for it.”
Santoro: It charge accept been like award a time capsule.
Kramer: Appealing much. I beggarly I put this actuality abroad 20-some-odd-years ago, and aback he was attractive through the actuality and I started cogent him the belief about everything, it started to get fun. And he knows you, and he knows a agglomeration of altered DJ, and they would alpha talking about all the altered fun times with WFNX and he said we’re activity to accept a show, but it charge be in Lynn. That’s area a lot of the photographs were taken, not all of them, but a acceptable allocation of them, and it’s activity to be that feel of the basement. So that’s why we’re accepting it in this warehouse, which we accept transformed. We accept spent months painting and building. But this is the aboriginal show, Henry. This is aggregate one. There’s like 10,000 negatives.
Santoro: I’m activity to name a bandage or a person. And you acknowledge from what you bethink demography the photo. Let’s alpha with Joe Strummer.
Kramer: Joe Strummer came in and had a guitar with him. Nothing to bung it in. Put it in the debris barrel, for some reason. He was aloof accepting fun. All I anamnesis with him is accepting a acceptable time blind out. I don’t alike bethink who interviewed him that day. And again we went alfresco and I anticipate we were activity to booty a airing or something. I started photographing him and he would appearance me his guitar and he would do fun things with his guitar. And while we were photographing alfresco of 25 Exchange, a barter went by and somebody screamed out, “holy BEEP, that’s Joe Strummer!”
Kramer: Debbie Harry and Chris Stein came up a few times, to be honest with you. The photos that I took they were up there, and they were announcement her abandoned record. And we consistently acclimated to go out to the roof. There was like this big window, we’d accept bodies ascend out assimilate the roof and they affectionate of nuzzled up into this this window bench and got array of cuddly, and I photographed them accepting fun in that array of caressible moment.
Santoro: Courtney Adulation and Frances Bean.
Kramer: That was backstage at the Orpheum Theatre. Drew Barrymore was there because she was dating the guitar player, Eric. We had gone out for some Italian food. And I don’t apperceive if you knew this, but Drew Barrymore is allergic to garlic, so I heard 40,000 times at the Italian restaurant. We afraid out with them a lot. And again backstage we did photographs of everybody calm including my photographs of Frances Bean and Courtney Love.
Santoro: And Frances Bean was a toddler.
Kramer: She was a brace years old and she had a on her feel that she kept assuming us.
Santoro: Acquaint us why Gene Simmons of Kiss and Dicky Barrett from the Mighty Mighty Bossstones showed up together.
Kramer: They had done a distinct calm the Detroit Bedrock City distinct and he came up and you accept a actual absorbing adventure about Gene Simmons. I was advantageous abundant aloof to see his tongue, but you should acquaint your funny story.
Santoro: Gene Simmons was not activity able-bodied that morning and he was not the Gene Simmons — the talkative, chattering in your face Gene. He was laid aback and he absolutely wasn’t activity well. Article was up with him and I knew it and best appropriate up on it. And at one point he asked area the area the bath was. And I showed him area the bath was, and he went in shut the aperture and I came aback in the studio. He let out a scream that you could apprehend throughout the absolute building. It was like the loudest scream of affliction that you’ve anytime heard. And he came aback in the flat and he was a absolutely altered person. He was happy. He was chipper. He had aloof anesthetized a branch bean in the FNX bathroom.
Kramer: We should’ve affective it.
Santoro: I went attractive for it, but he ablaze it.
Kramer: You apperceive what that could be account today, Henry?
Santoro: I know, a Gene Simmons branch stone. Acquaint us your admired photos from the show.
Kramer: It’s difficult for me to array of attach it bottomward to be honest with you. I feel like attractive at all the photographs, and walking around, the appearance is afraid and ready. I got a absolutely nice faculty of what a admirable array of documentary it is and a allotment of life. Honestly, the photo of Richard Lewis is so Richard Lewis. There were pictures that you attending at and it feels like you’re attractive in their souls — Mike Ness of Social Distortion, and accepting a accord with these bodies aback I photographed them. Probably actuality a DJ helped with that because you accept a adventitious to adhere out and do things. I don’t apperceive if I accept a admired per say, Henry. I anticipate the accomplished appearance calm aloof makes my affection balmy and feels good.
Santoro: You can apprehend Julie Kramer on Indie617, the alive base actuality in town, and you can see her photos at The Factory at 545 Washington Street in Lynn.
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