Speaking of weird shit, did you go to the CBGB bathroom recreation at the Met? No, I spent enough time in the real one.
Which bathroom was the most rancid? CBGB’s. Max’s Kansas City was a little better. And the Mud Club was just people doing drugs and having sex, by then. So that was different too. Then there was like, the Anvil. I never really checked out the New York hard-core gay scene. That wasn’t really my thing—but I was glad that it was there.
Does it bother you that the New York underground scene you were involved in has been totally fetishized? I find it disturbing. But that’s the way it always is in history. They form these little groups after the fact. There was a brief moment in the early 80s where punk rock, graffiti artists, and hip-hop converged together. I loved hanging out at this bar that was in an alley behind the American Thread Building. It was fucking great because, you know, Bambaataa would show up and Jean-Michel [Basquiat] would be there. Arto Lindsay or Mick Jones or Futura 2000—we were all there together. That was fantastic. My point is, it’s always evolving into the next thing. That’s just the way it is. But if you want to freeze it anywhere, that kind of disturbs me.
Has your relationship with New York changed since those days? I mean, there are days when I love it. And then there are times—like on the way here when I was smushed against a stranger’s armpit—when I fucking hate it here. In my years here, I’ve seen it being sold out, sold out, sold out. To real estate, to corporate stuff. I must say that I don’t like the noise of the city anymore. And I don’t like how a lot of young people are just into money and status. Going out becomes less interesting. But New York is about change and it’s about hustle. It’s about Money-Making Manhattan. I don’t have nostalgia, like, Oh, if only New York was like 1978. But I’m kind of sick of New York.
We interviewed Jim Jarmusch about his new film Only Lovers Left Alive and offered him a puff of our e-cig, which he declined. Read the whole piece