“Chris Stein/Negative” Looks At The Early Days of Punk



The time, place, stars, and planets that aligned to give birth to Blondie and all the cool creatures who populated their world are captured intimately and inimitably in the acclaimed photography of Chris Stein, guitarist/songwriter and co-founder of Blondie. On the occasion of the band’s 40th anniversary year, Chris Stein/Negative: Me, Blondie, and the Advent of Punk offers a revealing look back at one of the most trailblazing and influential bands of our time and the punk scene that they pioneered. From Blondie’s early days, to their world travels and sold-out shows, to their legendary musical counterparts, it is all shown from the inside view of Chris Stein.

In 1968, while at the  School of Visual Arts, Chris Stein began photographing the early downtown NYC rock scene that he was a part of. In 1973, he met and began working with Deborah Harry and together they founded the band Blondie, who eventually went on to be inducted into the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2006 and sell more than 40 million albums worldwide. Their unique blend of punk, dance, and hip-hop spawned a totally new sound that helped give birth to new wave. Chris Stein’s photos were part of establishing Deborah Harry as an enduring fashion and music icon. From 1972 to the mid-1980s, Stein’s photos provide a fascinating snapshot of the period before and during Blondie’s huge rise, as well as the larger historical and global context in which they and other new wave bands were born.

Stein captures enduring and ephemeral scenes and people such as Mudd Clubb, CBGB’s, Andy Warhol’s Factory, parties by the pool in the early morning hours at the now defunct Beverly Hills Hotel, the early gritty East Village and their Bowery hellhole, as well as what Europe, Russia, and other places around the world looked like at the time. Chris Stein/Negative is filled with well-known icons like David Bowie, The Ramones, Iggy Pop, The Sex Pistols, as well as bands like the Voidoids, The New York Dolls, and The Avengers which are absolute fun for a new generation of music fans to re-discover. Stein was also able to capture many of the very early girl bands like The Stillettos, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Tom Tom Club, and of course, the enduring friend of the band, Joan Jett. The book also includes fascinating early 80’s downtown characters like Richard Hell, Stephen Sprouse, Anya Phillips, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Divine, and more.

Chris Stein/Negative features both well-known iconic shots, as well as many rare, early, and never-before- published photographs of early live performances, private moments on tour, and Stein’s personal favorites. Filled with anecdotes and memories direct from Stein, the brilliant lyricist of hits like “Rapture” and “Heart of Glass,” and contribution from Deborah Harry, Chris Stein/Negative is a must-have for fans of this time and era in music.

© Chris Stein/Negative by Chris Stein, Rizzoli New York, 2014.