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Jesse Malin & Friends Discuss Their Holiday Shows Benefitting Howie Pyro

Jesse Malin & Friends
9 December 2021

Photo by BJ Pappas. L-R: Howie Pyro, Theo Kogan, Mike Ness, Michael Alago, Joey Ramone, Jesse Malin

For many years, New York singer-songwriter Jesse Malin and his band have put on a dazzling all-star holiday show, with proceeds going to a different charitable cause each time. The festivities at New York’s Bowery Ballroom on December 11 will feature host Joey Arias and performances from Lunachicks, Suzi Gardner (L7), Lenny Kaye (Patti Smith Band), Murphy’s Law, Tommy Stinson (The Replacements), Capital Punishment (feat. Ben Stiller and Kriss Roebling). The L.A. show will be held on January 8, with location and lineup TBA soon. This year, proceeds from the holiday shows will go to Howie Pyro, Malin’s former bandmate in their ‘90s glam punk band D Generation. Here, Malin and others explain why Pyro is a legendary figure, and why he is supremely deserving of these benefit shows.

Buy tickets to the New York show here: https://www.ticketmaster.com/event/00005B62D5E67982

What can audiences expect when they come to one of your holiday shows?

JESSE MALIN: We do holiday songs, my songs, and lots of guests that come from around the country to support it and have a great time. We do it every year, just as part of a tradition.

What’s your history with Howie Pyro?

JESSE MALIN: Growing up in Whitestone, Queens, I had always heard of Howie. He was a little older than me. He was a legend in Queens, New York. He was in a band called The Blessed, the youngest band play at CBGB’s and Max’s Kansas City. The first time I ever went to Max’s Kansas City, in 1980, I went to see Cheetah Chrome from The Dead Boys, and The Blessed where on the bill. The poster said “Hardcore Halloween.” That was before “hardcore punk” was a term. In fact, it was the first time I ever saw the word “hardcore” used outside of pornography! But it was describing music, and that would go on to become a genre from 1980 onto now. But when I went to Max’s, there was Howie playing his bass and his cool mohair sweater and the spiky hair. He had so much charisma. Years later, we would become friends. In the late ‘80s, he was in a band called Freaks – kind of a grunge heavy rock band. I was their moving man and driver. When Freaks split up, me and him decided to form, with a few other friends from Queens, D Generation, which was the band that would do many things for the first time for us: get record deals on major labels and play Madison Square Garden with Kiss where our parents got to come. We got to work together on the famous Green Door parties at Giorgio Gomelsky’s loft, which would later turn into [the Malin-owned nightclub] Coney Island High, which Howie was a big part of. Also my clubs Niagara, Bowery Electric, Berlin – all of that started from throwing the Green Door party with Howie. His design and artwork and ideas for fliers and mixing images together and creating great posters was a great thing. He played years later in the band Danzig with Glenn Danzig of The Misfits. He’s been a DJ all around the world, producing a radio show called “Intoxica Radio.”

Why did you decide to make Howie the beneficiary for this year’s holiday shows?

JESSE MALIN: He’s just loved by so many people, and he’s part of so many different scenes. For the last 40 years, he’s added so much to the world and has touched so many people in the underground scene. Howie came down with a bad liver and needed a liver transplant – he was on a waiting list while his health deteriorated. He finally ended up in UCLA, where he just had a liver transplant. It’s going to be a year-long recovery. He’s going to need money to eat, pay his rent, pay back his doctor bills – it’s an immense amount. We’ve been through a lot of stuff together. He’s a chameleon, a survivor. He has a huge heart and a huge smile and just looking in his eyes, you can feel that he cares. He’s special. There’s a magic to him. Here’s to 90 more lives, Howie.

Howie Pyro collage

MORE TESTIMONIALS FOR HOWIE PYRO:

CHERRY VANILLA: Never has our world needed you more, Howie Pyro, raising our spirits with your inspired spins, and filling spaces with the positive vibes that can only come from one who truly loves, understands and honors the music. I hope you can feel all of the love and positive vibes we are now sending you, Howie. Everyone is rooting for ya.

JOHN TRAVOLTA: I’ve met a lot of people in my life, but no one as unique as Howie Pyro. I’ve learned that he is a true blue friend, a high-spirited person with a big heart. His vast knowledge in all types of music really impressed me. He is truly one of a kind.

ANOHNI: I don’t know what to say. I love Howie very much, he has been a precious keeper of so many histories, including my own. He is a giant library of experience and cross cultural/generational subcultural knowledge. With the kindest heart and best sense of humor.

DEBBIE HARRY: Howie Pyro is very sweet.

LENNY KAYE: Howie Pyro is a true champion of the bizarre and extraterrestrial as it mutates into rock and roll. Musician, discophile disc jockey, above all a good friend and brother, he embodies the spirit of this music we celebrate, as in turn we celebrate his place within our hearts.

JIMMY G. (MURPHY’S LAW): Howie Pyro, rock and roll ambassador and dear friend, has fallen ill. When they made him, they broke the mold. The things he’s done and seen are legendary, but it never got to his head. Please send some love and positive energy to my dear friend.

THEO KOGAN (LUNACHICKS): I wouldn’t be who I am today without knowing Howie Pyro. He is one of my favorite humans on this planet since meeting him when I was a teenager. Punk wouldn’t be what it is without his existence. Literally. Howie influenced me with his vast music collection, his deep knowledge of all things bizarre and weird and his milieu of collections of candy, clothes, accessories, toys and movies. The movies! We would watch so many of the craziest movies I had never heard of till day break. Howie is a true punk icon and to me a national treasure. Lunachicks might not have happened if we hadn’t met him. For real. I love that guy more than I can put into words.

DONITA SPARKS (L7): Whether playing in bands, supporting other bands or DJ-ing and turning any night of the week into a celebratory dance party, Howie Pyro has been the crazy glue of the scene for decades. He’s a great friend and a part of the pulse that keeps the nightlife beating.

MISS GUY (THE TOILET BOYS): I, like many people here on planet earth, absolutely love and adore Howie. He’s sweet and has the sickest sense of humor and he’s my all-time favorite DJ. His band, D Generation, and his party Greedoor, both made possible with his good friend Jesse Malin, pretty much sum up the fun and exciting nineties scene in New York City for me. I could go on and on but you get the idea. Wishing you a speedy recovery, Howie.

MATT SORUM: Howie Pyro is the quintessential New York musician, always staying true to his hometown roots. NYC has a sound all its own and Howie and D-Generation brought punk and glam together like only an east coast band can do. Waving a flag for rockabilly, psycho surf and garage on his internet radio show proves Howie’s a rock and roll original.

MICHAEL DES BARRES: Howie Pyro is an artist, rock and roller and activist who has seen, played, collected and protected it all. The history and mystery, the freedom and the fury, the power and the gift of rock ‘n’ roll is in his precious blood making the power of this art form remain in our consciousness.

MIRIAM LINNA (NORTON RECORDS): Howie Pyro defies gravity! He shares his exciting world of records, monster movies, books, lost toys, and oddball EVERYTHING with anyone who will listen. He’s spent his life exploding our minds and expanding our lives. I’ve never heard him say “no” to anything worthwhile. He is absolutely a force of nature.

To donate to Howie Pyro’s Go Fund Me, go here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-for-howie-pyro