Danny Fields, a legendary figure in rock music, gets profiled in Danny Says, Brendan Toller's lively documentary about the man alternately called a "hippie yenta" and the underground "mayor of New York." A Harvard dropout who became an editor, publicist, and manager, Fields was instrumental in promoting seminal acts like the Doors, Iggy Pop, Nico, and the Ramones. As the movie prepares for a September 30 opening, I've got some of the most memorable tidbits you'll find in it.
*When he edited a teen magazine, Fields famously ran John Lennon's quote that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus. Says Fields, "They were more important to me than Jesus. What did Jesus ever fucking do for me?"
*Rocker Iggy Pop describes the time when his band was playing a song's opening riff onstage, and "I was having sex on a bathroom floor with a groupie." He also talks about the times he was busy shooting up (a problem he combatted with methadone—again and again). Danny Fields steps in to say it was difficult for him to deal with Iggy's problem because, "It's tragic, but you're helpless."
*The story is told that at a performance by the Cockettes—the San Francisco troupe of gender-fuck bohemians—Angela Lansbury huffily stood up and said, "Let's get the fuck out of here!" Many followed her to the exit.
*About Aerosmith (and lead singer Steve Tyler), Fields says, "I didn't love them as anything." He relays that, if someone had said the group was going to be big and make everyone millions, his reply would be, "I don't care. Let someone else do that."
*Lou Reed is heard in a 1970s conversation, rhapsodizing about having heard the Ramones for the first time. Reed exults that the group starts a song at a high and keeps it there. He says they're dangerous and exciting and make the kind of music everyone's afraid of, which makes them great. Reed added that the Ramones make everyone else look like wusses by comparison—"including me and Patti [Smith]."
*Fields talks about how Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe would hang out around the outskirts of the '60s/'70s rock club Max's Kansas City and no one was quite sure which was the boy and which was the girl. But his feeling was basically, "Come in, sit down, and let's fuck you." He informs that Mapplethorpe got fucked a lot.
*Fields set up the Doors' lead singer Jim Morrison with sultry German singer Nico, but the two of them just stood there, awkwardly looking at the floor. When Fields checked up on them a half hour later, they were still immobile, in the same position, and utterly speechless. Morrison ended up getting a shitload of drugs from Fields—enough to feed an army of addicts. The rocker ended up naked, walking on top of the house and jumping over the gaps. This somehow led to them swimming, which Fields contrived as a way to distract from Morrison's continual request for his car keys. (Fields didn't want the rocker to drive because he was in no condition to do so.) The important revelation here? Jim's penis could indeed light a fire. "It was long," says Fields. "It was like a salami. It was long."