We were neighbours. We knew each other, by sight. She would say hi to me and I would say hi to her. She was dating a friend of mine for a millisecond, so we were introduced that way and then, through the years, when we’d cross paths on the street, we’d nod heads and smile. She was very friendly with Jean-Michel [Basquiat], Keith Haring, and these artists who were all our neighbours, and we all hung out at the same places: Danceteria, CBGB, Tier 3 and Club 57 were the main places. When she became super-famous, which was all of a sudden, she disappeared from the New York scene. It was a very strange thing, to be working washing dishes, and making pennies per day, and seeing someone who was in your neighbourhood all of a sudden become a superstar. It was unusual. There was no real model for that, for us. It became kind of exciting.
She was really ahead of the game. She was taking elements of what was cool at that time – punk rock, new wave, dance music, hip-hop and Latino music all clashing in this great non-hierarchical playground of New York. It was all kind of new; everybody was trying different things. Madonna was actually in a couple of no-wave bands that nobody ever talks about. She was in a band with these two twins, Dan and Josh Braun, who were the first members of Swans, Michael Gira’s band. Nobody really knows about that part of her history; she was in a pre-Swans no wave band! There’s all that interconnected history in New York with Madonna and the no wave scene.
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