Bash Compactor: Birthday Bob

Written by Matt Harvey on . Posted in Bash Compactor, Posts.

Celebrating his 64th birthday Friday night at Giorgio Gomelsky’s Chelsea loft space, legendary rock photographer Bob Gruen decided
getting old was a hell of a lot better than turning 21. “I have a lot
more friends now,” he said, “and I’m going to stay out a lot later.”

Wearing a black smoking jacket and maroon ascot
combo, the man of honor was packed tightly in with 100 or so
well-wishers. On stage with her ensemble, Bebe Buell performed
a few numbers. A good portion of the crowd was made up of women half
Gruen’s age, eager to give him a birthday hug. Referring to his surfeit
of attractive young female friends, Gruen said, “Yeah, I’m lucky that
way.” Smiling, he added,“I’m married to one.”

Giving the bouncer a breather, veteran punk rocker Jesse Malin kept
his eye on the door for a few minutes. Not that it was a velvet rope
scene. These stalwart old rockers have never been afraid of a little
riff raff. If you tapped one of Gruen’s guests on the shoulder, there
was a good chance you’d be face-to-face with a rock ’n’ roll cult
figure. A man wearing a gold-brocaded 18th-century naval tunic turned
out to be Buddy Bowser, the original New York Dolls sax
player.“Bobby’s like my brother.We go back forever,” he said, before
letting out a deep mysterious chuckle. Seminal punk fixer Leee Black Childers was snapping pics with a digital camera. Sixty-eight years old and looking every bit a gray-haired Southern gentleman, Iggy Pop’s former
manager is still a firm believer in the lifesustaining power of three
chords and a basic 4/4 beat. “Rock ’n’ roll is getting older with me,
honey,” he drawled. “No one is 16 anymore.”

Photo by BP Fallon.