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JIMMY WEBB – I NEED MORE

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LISTEN: JIMMY WEBB INTERVIEW:I NEED MORE

WITH CLAYTON PATERSON & JOEY GOODWIN

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Joey: So, we’re here with Clayton Patterson, myself and Jimmy Webb. So where did it all start? Where are you originally from?

Jimmy: I’m originally from a little town called Wynantskill in upstate New York, outside of Albany. 

Joey: When you came out of the womb, were you rock and roll? Let’s start at the beginning. How did you get to where you are today?

Jimmy: Whoa! No one has ever asked that question. I think the answer I would give at this point in my life is that when I came out of the womb, I was me. Of course, I grew up feeling different. I remember being ostracized in kindergarten. I remember everyone standing around me on the playground and pointing a finger and calling me a fairy. And I didn’t know what that was. I thought a fairy was this great thing in a book like Peter Pan, that made your wishes come true. It was [actually] a gay thing.

Joey: Yeah.

Clayton: How did you find rock and roll in the city? What year did you come here?

Jimmy: Came to New York City in fucking 1975 with my clothes in a pillowcase, not knowing anybody. I was sixteen going on seventeen.

Joey: What pushed you from Wynantskill to the city?

Jimmy: So when I was like twelve or thirteen, we were walking to the creek, and we had gotten my friend Sue’s older sister to buy us some Boones Farm and Tango [liquor]. And we were going to go drinking by the stream and we were listening on a transistor radio to “Walk On The Wild Side” [by Lou Reed]. My friend Sue said, “Listen to this song. Do you know what it means?,” and I didn’t know what she meant, but I knew exactly what she meant. What my soul and heart said is “You’re going to take a walk on the wild side. You’re going to go.” You know what I mean? There’s somewhere else for you to be.

Clayton: So what was the first place you found? How did you know where to go though? I mean, how did you get your way downtown to rock and roll?

Jimmy: The spirit takes you - the spirit of adventure. How did Christopher Columbus end up in fucking America? It’s the same way Jimmy Webb ended up in fucking New York City. Straight up, that’s the truth. Same thing as taking a walk on the wild side, my body, my mind, my spirit…

Clayton: Okay.

Jimmy: The spirit. Nothing made me say I want to go there, from Studio 54 to CBGB’s, you know, nothing. I just went. I’m an adventurer. I walked. When I hit the streets in New York City, I walked. I walked everywhere, I was sixteen years old. 

Clayton: Right. Right.

Jimmy: I decided that once I hit New York at sixteen, the magical, amazing, wonderful city, I was going to walk every square inch of it. Whether it was while looking for a job, whether it was to learn it, I walked everywhere. The first time I hit Times Square at night, I saw those pimps, and whores, and  hookers on 42nd Street. Five years later I ended up working in a porn theater in Times Square in the late ‘70s or early ‘80s. It was magical. It was wonderful. The first time I walked all the way down to Seventh Avenue South? Fucking amazing.

Joey: Can I ask you? So, was it magical looking back on it? Or, was it magical actually being there, but also painful? Honestly.

Jimmy: I love these questions. You’re asking with sincerity. I mean, some people may find it painful. Why would it be painful? It’s part of the person you were [at the time].

Joey: It made you, and shaped you.

Jimmy: You know what? My best friend, Mr. Iggy Pop, ended up being my mentor. Did that little guy in the woods listening to “Walk On The Wild Side” think Iggy Pop was going to be calling me up years later? Did Iggy think he’d be talking to Jimmy? No. 

Clayton: So what clubs did you find and hang out in?

Jimmy: I went everywhere. This was ’75, so punk rock hadn’t even really exploded or any of that shit like that. I remember when the Pyramid opened. There was a lot of drugs in my life. This is why I don’t do drugs anymore [Laughter] because they didn’t lead me to the best place. That’s what led me to live homeless in Tompkins Square Park. But what clubs did I go to? I’ll give you the gamut. The first clubs were the gay discos and a few shitty after-hours clubs like the 220 Club on 220 West Houston. Then came the Studio 54 era, which was mind-boggling. I was the punk rock boy at Studio 54. My clothes came out of the garbage from what Bleecker Bob’s was selling on MacDougal Street. I remember saving money to buy things there. There was Trash and Vaudeville. There was Manic Panic on St. Marks Place.  I took clothes out of the garbage, and I would dress [up] and go to Studio 54 and dance all night, and fall in love with Bianca Jagger night, after fucking night. 

Joey: So, you were walking all over the city. At what point did you end up working at a porn theater in Times Square? 

Jimmy: It’s funny. I was this punk rock boy and wandered into this porn theater. I was jobless again, and there was this hot chick there named Zina who used to sing with this old school guy Neon Leon. She had me hired; it was a 24/7 porn theater - talk about rock and roll in Times Square. I can’t even remember what my pay was. I would work all the shifts. That’s the first time I met a handful of famous people, I was like, “Whoa shit!” you know? I met the father on the Brady Bunch there.

Joey: Really? [Laughter] He was going to the porn theater?

Jimmy: Yeah! It was five bucks to get in, that I remember. I remember it because I’m this boy from Wynantskill, New York that grew up while checking the Brady Bunch. And now here I am a punk rock boy, you know on speed, years later taking $5 from him.

Joey: In some fucked up way it made sense. [Laughter] So, that’s why you loved Times Square or working in the porn theater, right? Because it was like that thing, it was the essence of what’s real. It’s like what you capture. 

Jimmy: Yeah. And back to the clubs. When Rudolf [Pieper] opened Danceteria, it was fucking amazing. That’s when I was living at 302 Mott Street, and my neighbor was Glenn O’Brien, God bless him. We were all doing major drugs -- a complete heroin era. But we were young, and we were beautiful, and almost everybody from that era -- Glenn affected life hugely with TV Party. 

Clayton: Glenn did? Yeah.

Jimmy: Oh Glenn, God rest his soul, he’s like one of my heroes. He wasn’t the friendliest sort back then. We had our doors opened pretty much most of the time on the top floor, and all lived in shitty apartments when Glenn was doing TV Party. I wasn’t friends with Debbie Harry back then. Now, she’s one of my favorite people on the planet earth, and my friend. I wasn’t friends with anybody, but it was a community where everybody got along, everybody danced together, everybody ate ecstasy together, those of us that shot heroin, shot heroin together, you know? It was like one big TV Party 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Clayton: You know, [Glenn seems like] he’s so conservative. I know he went everywhere, but he just – he looks like a straight guy.

Jimmy: But he’s not at all. You know his history, it’s fucking amazing. I think Roberta Bailey knows the story more, because that’s the era of Basquiat. That movie about Basquiat wouldn’t have existed without Glenn O’Brien.

Clayton: Downtown 81.

Jimmy: Yeah. It’s like he was hired into the downtown scene. I think Barneys had hired him, and changed the whole world of advertising to what it is today. Turning that shit around, full fucking circle, going out and living as you can adding to the world, giving the big fuck you, saying, “We are the future.” That’s fucking punk rock. 

Clayton: I agree.

Jimmy: Why would anyone want to implode when you can explode?

Clayton: I agree. But you just go over it.

Joey: And when did you end up on St. Marks?

Jimmy: Well,you know, I got to say the Lower East Side was a continual thread in my life. Because I love drugs and…

Joey: And when did you meet Clayton?

Jimmy: I didn’t know when we met. The first time Clayton took my picture, it was when he was exhibiting some of Jeremiah’s stuff at his gallery. And I came…

Clayton: Yeah, you came to the Candy Darling show. That’s right.

Jimmy: Right. I came home glowing with pride and joy inside because Clayton Patterson took my picture. I never told him that until now. 

Clayton: What year were you Tompkins Square Park?

**This interview was recorded in the summer of 2018.  Jimmy Webb has recently passed on April 14th 2020. 

LISTEN 🔊 JIMMY WEBB INTERVIEW:I NEED MORE

WITH CLAYTON PATERSON & JOEY GOODWIN

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Jimmy: I was – wow! Just before the riots, literally, days before the riot [in 1988]. I was a strung-out heroin addict. I was shooting cocaine and heroin basically 24/7. You know, wherever – every dollar could come from at that point, homeless, jobless and I was on a methadone program simultaneously. So, I would live in Tompkins Square Park in one of those boxes. I really remember that era so well on the 6th Street squats. When we lived in the streets, you know, we had TVs running from the electric post outside the telephone post.

Clayton: Yeah.

Jimmy: But I was living in Tompkins Square Park as a heroin addict. I could go on a whole roll about squatter’s rights because it was pretty disgusting what we were doing. 

Joey: You literally had a front-row seat to all the stuff, from sex, drugs, and rock and roll -- being in the East Village in New York City in general. What do you credit to you still being here?

Jimmy: Could I start with Iggy Pop?

Joey: Yeah.

Clayton: He really was a major influence in your life, huh?

Jimmy: Yeah, because I remember – a desire to live, a desire to turn it around. I started with Iggy because of his beautiful song, “I Wanna Live.” He’s speaking to my soul. I was living in Tompkins Square Park, two days before the riot, and kicked off the last methadone program with scars and blood [on my body]. My mother came and got me in her pickup truck; my counselor was kind enough to call. The shelters basically didn’t even want her son. She took me [back] to Albany, then I got worse, and got arrested. Then I went to jail for like a long, long time. I went in there only for six months but hey, I was facing 7 1/3 to 25 [years] in prison.

Joey: Wow!

Jimmy: Yeah. It was pretty deep, and I was put in jail in Albany, New York. I was going to go to prison, but by grace, and blessings, and karma, and destiny - whatever you want to call it, I was released. I did a strong probation thing. I fell back into drugs again as soon as I got out of jail.

I may have been living in a park here – but I always had a mommy you know who’d buy coffee or do my laundry or something. How pathetic at thirty-something years old? I’m not fucking punk rock. You know what I mean?

So, then I had a suicide attempt and I got off drugs for two years and tried to kill myself and ended up on a kidney machine. I was on welfare, on SSI, not the man that sits before you now.

Joey: Dialysis?

Jimmy: Well, after my suicide attempt of two years clean, I tried to OD. I went to try to get bundle of heroin in Albany, New York, they only had eight bags and went out the wave. But I woke up, and the way I had nodded out twelve hours, it shut down my kidney.

Joey: Wow.

Jimmy: Yes. So I guess – they thought I was going to be on a kidney machine forever. They took my kidney. But somehow it came back, then into the mental institution.

Joey: Yeah.  So, to get where you want to go, what made you turn it around?

Jimmy: The desire to live was stronger than the desire to die. Being a junkie is not a good look. I wanted to give that up long before I gave it up. Think about it? It’s a fucking drug addict. Think of the word you’re saying. You know I meet these little drug addict kids they tell me, “I’m an anarchist.”  I was like, “Dude, you’re a fucking drug addict. You’re a fucking heroin addict. You’re the most dependent person in the world. How can you even say you’re an anarchist?”

Joey: What was your process in quitting drugs?

Jimmy: Right after that scene I just told you about, it took six months to teach me to bathe, and a full year to read and write again.

Clayton: Why is that? Did your brain shut down?

Jimmy: Yeah, everything. It was beyond. That’s where my end was. I couldn’t read, I couldn’t write, everything was not working together.

Clayton: So your brain came back, and your kidneys came back. What else?

Jimmy: Right. Incredible, right? I would sit there and I would think many things. I mean, did I have a choice? I tried to commit suicide, and I woke up you know there must be a reason, but strive for the flicker of Iggy. 

Joey: Mm-hmm.

Jimmy: [Choked up] And I would see him perform. And I would want to live, live a little bit longer now. That was one of the songs. I would listen to the Iggy soundtrack in my brain when I was learning to read and write, and walk again. And I got to live. The other way wasn’t working, and now I want to be real. I want to be a giver, not a taker. You know what I mean? I have a grandma that’s like my biggest inspiration in the world. I have two grandmas, one was a bitch grandma, and I can say that with no disrespect.

Clayton: Are they either still around?

Jimmy: No, they both passed away. The other one was like a storybook grandma, Grandma Webb. She was the most punk rock thing ever.[Laughter]

Joey: What about your father?

Jimmy: My dad was a hunter and whatever. He just passed away a couple of years ago.

Joey: He lived with your mom?

Jimmy: Yeah. They were together fifty years. I don’t know how much they liked each other, but they loved each other. You know it’s funny because I get to be the good son. I was the runaway, the black sheep, I was the one that everybody thought would never be anything. I have one brother that passed away from AIDS, another brother I had no communication with at all. If something is not good for you, you can’t separate with ugliness, but you have to separate from it. It’s not fucking good for you, you know what I mean?

Joey: Right.

Jimmy: You know it was like whether it’s heroin, or your loser friend and people that aren’t attaining something, you may just want to wave and keep moving on. Yeah. Are people remaining the same? That sounds so fucking boring. You know what I mean? Like, I may have just stayed in Wynantskill if I want to be the same. When I meet people in New York that are remaining the same, sitting on the same bar stool, it has nothing to do with liquor or doing the same thing, or seeing the same picture it’s like, oh my God, switch it up a little.

*Clayton: So how did you get into fashion?

Jimmy: It evolved. It happened, it naturally evolved. I started with a job at Trash and Vaudeville for $7/hour and I grew into Jimmy. It just evolved. I believed in my dream. I took that stage dive of faith and it grew and grew and grew and I found a star and I swang from it. Then it was time to jump again. I needed more. Right?

Joey: I don’t think you got into fashion. I think you got into style.

Jimmy: Thank you.

Clayton: Were you walking down 9th Street and ran into [Agatha Blois] when she headed into a leather store there, and you guys clicked?

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Jimmy: Agatha and I – yeah. I mean how Agatha and I have designed my clothes. It’s funny, I was going to see Iggy at Coachella the first time The Stooges got back together. I sent Agatha, it’s on the wall downstairs, a sticker of this hot pink and orange and yellow tiger I had found it’s crawling. Boom! Boom! With its nails in the fucking ground. And I found a picture of Iggy younger with the lowest pants in the fucking world, smoking a cigarette with bleached out hair with the roots about a quarter inch deep looking fucking amazing. And I said, “Agatha, I want a pair of pants that look just like this.” And I knew in my mind this is where Joey is right in what he says what those pants were going to look like. Agatha said, “I got it” and made those fucking pants.

Clayton: Yeah.

*Joey: Talk about the store. What is I Need More?

Jimmy: I Need More is my store. It’s going to be the next big thing. It’s happening on Orchard Street, # 75 which is fucking amazing, talk about rock and roll. 

Joey: It’s your store, and your story.

Jimmy: Right. Dude, listen to this. When I was trying to get this place, some very strong, well-known people stood behind me that believed in me. You know what I mean? It’s like what am I going to do? I took that leap of faith. I call it the stage dive of faith. I left Trash and Vaudeville, part one to help my mother out because she was old, and part two truthfully, because I wanted to do something different. I wanted to swing for me. I wanted to do that stage dive of faith into the unknown.

Joey: Yeah.

Jimmy: And I knew Iggy knows at fucking seventy years old, he’s going to land just right. So, I ran and I jumped, and I left Trash and Vaudeville, right? Lo and behold, I’m like what am I going to do?

And then God bless them, this is the list of characters that added to it: Ewan McGregor, he’s amazing, Alice and Sheryl Cooper, a beautiful husband and wife team, Iggy and his wife, mostly Iggy because he’s always the inspiration behind everything, and Slash who was like there for me 2000%. Slash is one of the most loyal amazing human beings ever, the man who’s behind that guitar for 15-20 minutes straight and plays until he sweats. He just gives and gives that way as a friend too. He’s awesome.

So I call them the powers that be, because all these people make a living off what they do, who they are. Well, I’m not an Alice Cooper, I don’t fucking sing. I’m not an Iggy Pop, I don’t fucking sing. I’m not a Slash, I can’t play guitar and I’m not Ewan McGregor, I’m not an actor. But they know how to fulfill their dream doing what they do. And they’re all like, you need to start with a store, Jimmy. That’s what you do.

Joey: Yeah.

Jimmy: You need to like – and then we had television, we had a radio, you do it live. It’s like, “Oh, duh!” the light went on. So I started looking for a place for a store. And I knew immediately like what’s the name going to be, I Need More.

Joey: Mm-hmm.

Jimmy: I Need More. It’s my back tattoo. Almost forgot it was the one book Iggy was involved with writing when he was a teenager. I know it’s an Iggy Pop song because that’s where it came from – my back tattoo. And when they asked me I Need More I know that’s great in print and then you know it’s part of the business why. So lo and behold, I go out looking on an adventure. I knew money had to come from somewhere that will stay off the record forever, people had to believe in me because I was requested to, a wrote a  fucking business plan. I never do that before.

So it happened. I had the money to go for the store and the people believing in me. Every one was behind me then. So when the phase finally came and two places came through, we thought, “What is I Need More?” This is an amazing rock and roll store built on authenticity, Jimmy’s story, and the truth that’s going to color and clothe the world. I don’t dress people. I don’t sell clothes. I make dreams come true. All I do is find what’s inside a person. If this is what I’ve done my whole life, then I’ve found out what I could do. I know how to make dreams come true. I know how to look at somebody and hang out with them and find what’s on the inside and bring it to the outside. I know how to dress Prince for the Super Bowl, because I did that. I know how to make Lil Wayne happy because I’m so fucking rock and roll, I judge nothing.

Joey: That’s an evolvement and you know now he’s mainstream, but he evolved from hip hop.

Jimmy: Right. Well, you can’t say you’re rock and roll and be arrogant which is most of what fucking rock and roll is. There’s little punk rock brats, “Oh, I’m punk, punk rock. You don’t look like this, and you don’t do this, you’re not punk rock.” Dude, that sounds pretty elitist to me, just my opinion, call me an asshole but that’s fine, you know? I know how to dress Iggy, I know how to dress Alice Cooper, I know how to dress – you know I know how to make people happy. And then I make a guy going to the prom that wants the punk rock plaid suit happy. So, I built the whole business plan on that. Lo and behold, in order to make dreams come true. I know how to paint the world. 

Joey: You’re a rock star.

Jimmy: Yeah, I just – well, thanks in my way, I guess. Yeah, thank you. So, lo and behold, when you ask me a couple of places fell through. I didn’t even realize this, the paper, the signatures were just about be wet on the paper. I found the perfect spot. It came through magically. This really great big place at 75 Orchard Street, two floors, 700 square feet on each floor wide so you can fit a bunch of people in it comfortably, so they can have a good time, so you can create love. You know what I mean? And I looked at the number on the front of the store and there was 75, [crying] which is the exact year I showed up in New York with my clothes in a pillow case.

Joey: Wow. Fate.

Jimmy: Now, that’s rock and roll.Joey: Yeah.

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Jimmy: Agatha and I – yeah. I mean how Agatha and I have designed my clothes. It’s funny, I was going to see Iggy at Coachella the first time The Stooges got back together. I sent Agatha, it’s on the wall downstairs, a sticker of this hot pink and orange and yellow tiger I had found it’s crawling. Boom! Boom! With its nails in the fucking ground. And I found a picture of Iggy younger with the lowest pants in the fucking world, smoking a cigarette with bleached out hair with the roots about a quarter inch deep looking fucking amazing. And I said, “Agatha, I want a pair of pants that look just like this.” And I knew in my mind this is where Joey is right in what he says what those pants were going to look like. Agatha said, “I got it” and made those fucking pants.

Clayton: Yeah.

*Joey: Talk about the store. What is I Need More?

Jimmy: I Need More is my store. It’s going to be the next big thing. It’s happening on Orchard Street, # 75 which is fucking amazing, talk about rock and roll. 

Joey: It’s your store, and your story.

Jimmy: Right. Dude, listen to this. When I was trying to get this place, some very strong, well-known people stood behind me that believed in me. You know what I mean? It’s like what am I going to do? I took that leap of faith. I call it the stage dive of faith. I left Trash and Vaudeville, part one to help my mother out because she was old, and part two truthfully, because I wanted to do something different. I wanted to swing for me. I wanted to do that stage dive of faith into the unknown.

Joey: Yeah.

Jimmy: And I knew Iggy knows at fucking seventy years old, he’s going to land just right. So, I ran and I jumped, and I left Trash and Vaudeville, right? Lo and behold, I’m like what am I going to do?

And then God bless them, this is the list of characters that added to it: Ewan McGregor, he’s amazing, Alice and Sheryl Cooper, a beautiful husband and wife team, Iggy and his wife, mostly Iggy because he’s always the inspiration behind everything, and Slash who was like there for me 2000%. Slash is one of the most loyal amazing human beings ever, the man who’s behind that guitar for 15-20 minutes straight and plays until he sweats. He just gives and gives that way as a friend too. He’s awesome.

So I call them the powers that be, because all these people make a living off what they do, who they are. Well, I’m not an Alice Cooper, I don’t fucking sing. I’m not an Iggy Pop, I don’t fucking sing. I’m not a Slash, I can’t play guitar and I’m not Ewan McGregor, I’m not an actor. But they know how to fulfill their dream doing what they do. And they’re all like, you need to start with a store, Jimmy. That’s what you do.

Joey: Yeah.

Jimmy: You need to like – and then we had television, we had a radio, you do it live. It’s like, “Oh, duh!” the light went on. So I started looking for a place for a store. And I knew immediately like what’s the name going to be, I Need More.

Joey: Mm-hmm.

Jimmy: I Need More. It’s my back tattoo. Almost forgot it was the one book Iggy was involved with writing when he was a teenager. I know it’s an Iggy Pop song because that’s where it came from – my back tattoo. And when they asked me I Need More I know that’s great in print and then you know it’s part of the business why. So lo and behold, I go out looking on an adventure. I knew money had to come from somewhere that will stay off the record forever, people had to believe in me because I was requested to, a wrote a  fucking business plan. I never do that before.

So it happened. I had the money to go for the store and the people believing in me. Every one was behind me then. So when the phase finally came and two places came through, we thought, “What is I Need More?” This is an amazing rock and roll store built on authenticity, Jimmy’s story, and the truth that’s going to color and clothe the world. I don’t dress people. I don’t sell clothes. I make dreams come true. All I do is find what’s inside a person. If this is what I’ve done my whole life, then I’ve found out what I could do. I know how to make dreams come true. I know how to look at somebody and hang out with them and find what’s on the inside and bring it to the outside. I know how to dress Prince for the Super Bowl, because I did that. I know how to make Lil Wayne happy because I’m so fucking rock and roll, I judge nothing.

Joey: That’s an evolvement and you know now he’s mainstream, but he evolved from hip hop.

Jimmy: Right. Well, you can’t say you’re rock and roll and be arrogant which is most of what fucking rock and roll is. There’s little punk rock brats, “Oh, I’m punk, punk rock. You don’t look like this, and you don’t do this, you’re not punk rock.” Dude, that sounds pretty elitist to me, just my opinion, call me an asshole but that’s fine, you know? I know how to dress Iggy, I know how to dress Alice Cooper, I know how to dress – you know I know how to make people happy. And then I make a guy going to the prom that wants the punk rock plaid suit happy. So, I built the whole business plan on that. Lo and behold, in order to make dreams come true. I know how to paint the world. 

Joey: You’re a rock star.

Jimmy: Yeah, I just – well, thanks in my way, I guess. Yeah, thank you. So, lo and behold, when you ask me a couple of places fell through. I didn’t even realize this, the paper, the signatures were just about be wet on the paper. I found the perfect spot. It came through magically. This really great big place at 75 Orchard Street, two floors, 700 square feet on each floor wide so you can fit a bunch of people in it comfortably, so they can have a good time, so you can create love. You know what I mean? And I looked at the number on the front of the store and there was 75, [crying] which is the exact year I showed up in New York with my clothes in a pillow case.

Joey: Wow. Fate.

Jimmy: Now, that’s rock and roll.Joey: Yeah.