madonna at usblues in roslyn, li, 1981

I was contacted by John Phillips, the bouncer at Hurrah's who was sidelining as a radio promotions man, shopping Madonna's first demo to radio stations.

He put me together with Camille, of Empire Management, Madonna's manager. Camille asked me to go to Uncle Sam's Blues, a club in Roslyn, Long Island and make live photographs of just the singer who was fronting a band called "The Breakfast Club".

Just the singer, not the band. Hmmmm?

madonna 2

There was this sexy, young woman wearing barely-concealing costumes of chamois skin and foxtails. She was oozing sexuality, but seemed shy or unsure of herself. I went back stage between sets to meet her.

I asked her what her real name was.

"Madonna."

I offered her encouragement and wrote a short list of suggestions regarding her performance. I was trying to be supportive.

madonna3

When her manager, Camille, discovered the note, she was furious and ejected me from the dressing room, screaming, "How dare you speak to my artist!"

I stayed in the club and shot the second set.

I took the train back to Manhattan and never heard from Camille again. I referred Madonna to the promoters of Club NY and we saw her shows at the Underground, Danceterial and the Roxy, without a band.

My negatives of Madonna'sfirst gig sat in my files for 15 years before anyone had any interest in publishing them.

I have since recouped my expenses and then some from my first meeting with Madonna.


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