Non LP B-side: Walking Heads

  • Saturday / August 3, 2019

Non LP B-side: Walking Heads

Long ago and far far away on the isle of Manhattan four American youths wandered the gritty streets in search of something. Could have been spring. Could have been summer—some time in the early eighties. Regardless—we were a band of friends looking for a phenomenon, and looking for amusement.

Maybe a little backstory is needed. I have been a photographer since I was in junior high school. In the time since I had photographed a lot of bands playing live in New York and New Jersey. I’m not quite sure how I landed it—but–I has become a staff photographer for a very arty New York City music magazine: “Non LP B-side”. I had a few things published in several of the issues over the course of time I was shooting for them. Hell … I was even on the masthead of the mag under photographers. Awesome!

So here we were, my friend Geoff Hoover, his good friend  John Shoenburg (visiting from Missouri), my then girlfriend, Dorothy Orant, and yours truly wandering the streets of NYC having a wonderful time. John and I both had our 35mm SLRs with us that day. I had my camera—not only to take photos of us “yoots” messing’ about—but also because I was on a Non LP B-side assignment. I was tasked to photograph people who were wearing the latest audio gear, and music phenomenon: The Walkman. The Walkman and all its third party copycat clones had taken the world by storm. The Walkman was a revolutionary product at the time. A personal, portable, music device with headphones that could play back all your store bought cassette tape “albums” and all your personal “mix tapes” on the go. It was the iPod of its day. And the mix tape was the precursor to the iPod playlist. But rather than using RAM the Walkman used cassette tapes (image below).

WTF is a cassette tape?

We really did have a blast that day! And if I’m not mistaken, after our romp in Manhattan we drove to NJ to see The A’s open for Kid Creole And The Coconuts. But I digress ….

As we walked around I had taken some candid photos of people wearing Walkmans. We also walked the outskirts of Central Park, where I chatted up a guy on his bike (wearing a Walkman) with his girl, and asked if I could photograph them. It was sweet. Wish I knew who they were. I may or may not have gotten their info at the time. And little did I know until many years later, John photographed me taking the phots of this couple.

But one of my F. A. V. E. photos was of mannequin heads in a discount electronics store. It was perfect! Even if I do say so myself. Even though the original photo was in black and white, there was something futuristic and telling about these chiseled featured, starkly made up, heads. I still love this photo even today. I think it was the impetus to my life-long fascination with mannequins in store windows. I’ve shot quite a few in my time, and still do.

March 21, 2009, 3:46 PM
Joe Streno added a new photo.

Walking Heads – This is the photo I took that day that was published in the NY club/music magazine “Non-LP B-side”.

Geoff HooverThe classic.
Mar 21, 2009, 7:59 PM
Geoff HooverThe days when people bought cassettes. how crazy was that!!!!????
Mar 21, 2009, 8:00 PM

Joe StrenoNo crazier than people buying 8-tracks. It was the technology of the time. It made music portable. People will say that about CDs or vinyl (god forbid!) in the next 50 years. The cassette was portable & reproducible. And what would we ever do without mix tapes!!!!! OMG!!!! =: o The Walkman phenomenon is what paved the way for the iPod … the death nell (supposedly) of CDs.

Hey … but what do I know!?

Mar 21, 2009, 8:33 PM
Geoff HooverActaully….8-tracks we’re crazier.
Mar 21, 2009, 8:41 PM
Geoff HooverUhh and whats a CD?
Mar 21, 2009, 8:41 PM
Joe StrenoOkay Mr Junkie, Vinyl.
Mar 21, 2009, 8:50 PM

Here are some of the photos John took of Geoff, Dorothy, and me on our excursion. There is also one of John (photographer unknown).

Non LP B-side Four walking heads in Manhattan. Non LP B-side Four walking heads in Manhattan. Non LP B-side Four walking heads in Manhattan.

Non LP B-side Four walking heads in Manhattan. Non LP B-side Four walking heads in Manhattan. Non LP B-side Four walking heads in Manhattan.

Non LP B-side Four walking heads in Manhattan. Non LP B-side Four walking heads in Manhattan. Non LP B-side Four walking heads in Manhattan.

Joe Streno

Joe Streno

artist . musician . photographer . apple computer consultant . residing on planet earth with his two cats rocky & rose & living to tell tales about it

Blog Comments

The A’s were in Westchester. Not Jersey.
Def opening for Kid Creole. I also remember the DJ playing Change by Killing Joke. That’s the first time I ever heard that

Joe Streno

Yo Hoov! You’re absolutely right! I may need to edit that bit. D’oh! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Leave a Comment