Apr 18, 2023, 05:55AM

A Life in the Days of Andrew Singer

Captured live on digital film or videotape, it’s a matter of attack, how to approach a subject, the angles you see and feel about it, and eventually, where to roll with it.

Screenshot 2023 04 17 at 5.41.08 pm.png?ixlib=rails 2.1

Andrew Singer sees a lot of things through the lens of a camera. He’s always watching, behind the scenes at a punk show, backstage with Dizzy Gillespie, or capturing footage of a few obscure ditties from Tiny Tim. Whether hanging out with Ron Wood and Bo Diddley, shooting interviews for a documentary or compiling videos for mixed martial arts competitions, it’s always the unexpected music moments, catching a glimpse of something unique. You can always crank up the hype machine, a lot of it is about the hype. Captured live on digital film or videotape, it’s a matter of attack, how to approach a subject, the angles you see and feel about it, and eventually, where to roll with it.

A born PR man, Singer understands the game, he knows how to be nice, and plays well with others. It’s a lucrative field. It takes a lot of finesse, a certain skill set to navigate the fickle world of sometimes difficult entertainment “stars” in the music business. A juggler specializing in balancing multimedia influencers, and currying favors for music biz players big and small. With club promo releases, teaser video shoots, and breaking news stories. The camera remains neutral in the spectacle of entertainers cavorting under the spotlight. Singer promotes many national rock acts, including a bunch of punk bands touring today, and heavy metal, hip-hop and reggae.

Like a human jukebox of encyclopedic knowledge, Singer’s still going strong today, publishing fanzines and music videos. Here’s a backstory he relates from the dinosaur rock days. “It was a venue called the PLUS 5 Club, and I was called in to shoot the metal band, Warrant. They just released the smash hit ‘Cherry Pie.’ The crowd kept surging forward, I kept going back until I climbed up on a table to video the band. My table was rocking back and forth, but my friends saw what was happening and formed a circle, no one could get to me… OH! HELL NO! They were going to cover a Backstreet Boys song, the crowd was laughing, screaming bloody murder, it was unheard of, I had it! The concert ended, and the band was swarmed by gorgeous girls in the tightest spandex they could fit into. A friend named Jani saw me and spread his arms open wide, causing the crowd to allow me in. The taping continued, this incredibly well-built girl walked up and Joey from the band said, get that shot! She became part of the official video and never forgot me!”

So how does that past glory days stuff relate to the present? I’ll revisit my first encounter with Singer and his introduction to me of Cosmo Ohms, legendary sound and light man for CBGBs etc. At the time he posed a question, whether Root Boy Slim could be considered punk, much less the king of punk. I reckoned he was as punkish as anyone before or after his reign. I mean, is Jim Morrison punk? Is Alice Cooper, Elvis or Charlie Manson? Maybe not Elvis. They all represent some aspect of the counterculture. A collection of anti–authoritarian, pushing anarchy and revolution. What a bunch of creepers. Acts like Wendy O Williams and the Plasmatics, GG Allin and the Murder Junkies; it sounds off the wall but somehow makes sense.

Back when heavy metal bands uniformly wore Spandex, big hair makeup and spiked stiletto heels, the New York Dolls meets Ziggy and the Spiders from Mars. From the MC5 to Iggy Pop, it was a freeform rumble tumble for all, rock ‘n’ roll spectacle. Headbangers. Fast and loud was the recipe. You couldn’t tell the boys from the girls. It was always about the fashion, the lifestyle, and the music. A bit of lace, ripped-up t-shirts, shredded blue jeans, combat boots, high-top sneakers. Lots of leather, fishnet stockings, sexual organ piercing rings, chains, whips, dog collars, metal spikes, studs, Manic Panic hair dyed Mohawks, or Oi boy skinheads. Andrew Singer captured much of that scene, and is still pursuing the exclusive story now. In Washington, D.C., he captured bands like Fugazi and Bad Brains. Based in Florida, Singer, in partnership with the elder of the punk tribe, Cosmo Ohms, part of a larger rock music community, helping to organize one of the largest festivals happening today no one’s ever heard of.

Until now. Announcing Luna Fest 23, in Vero Beach, Florida, originated by host Luna Rose Wolf. She organized this event to benefit not only the LGBTQ community, but also the 50-plus bands coming to the four-day festival. There are all styles and genres of music, art, and theater on the bill. With all the negativity coming from the state of Florida right now, via Gov. Ron DeSantis and his regime. It's no wonder. He and his henchmen are attempting to eradicate trans people, abolish abortion, women’s rights, gay rights, civil rights, and a few other rights for good measure. Banning books, while supporting the NRA, along with backing the use of deadly force by the police. In protest and solidarity, the LGBTQ community, in line with the punk rockers, say it's time to stop the go-to abuse issues of the GOP's excuses. Not only in Florida, but across America, in the name of ill-advised Christianity and politics as usual. Put that in your Bud Light and drink it. The Luna festival will be one for the history books and Andrew Singer will be right there recording it.


Register or Login to leave a comment