Here is my personal account of the life and times of the Magic Tramps and those who made (and still make) the R&R scene such a memorable trip. Click on a phase below to read on...

Reflections Phase 1: July 2005
Reflections Phase 2: December 2005

The Rolling Stones are on the radio...
"New Jersey Turnpike In The Wee-Wee-Hours......."
"You Can't Catch Me"...
As we speed down the highway heading towards NYC early 1971
After an Earthquake & nearly 4,000 miles
In a van with a band-equipment-a great dane-cat-blacklight-glitter-stage props-a skull-mirrors-makeup-our existence, packed tight.
Our driver was in Clown school in Hollywood-Ca.,as we "persuaded" him to drive us to NYC, it was quite a collage on the highway.
Coming home to the Big Apple.
The nervousness one gets at the Holidays
Before opening a gift...
Before the Holidays anticipating a gift...
  The NYC skyline... Bold-brazen & beautiful
Where Indians once roamed & lives are changed ...
Dreams are addressed...
at this address.
This is not Art-This is Reality
In my book -
This is "THE" City...
I've traveled the world -there are some spectacular hip-Metropolitan-cultural places on this planet-but
NYC is
James Dean once roamed the streets at night,
Allan Ginsberg-Jack Koroeac hung and conversed
Babe Ruth hit home runs
cultures merged.
Ellis Island let our relatives in.
Soon-we're in -
Concrete & bricks
Structures rising above the ground...

Go ahead -take a bite

As we open the van doors along the lower east side in the East Village along First Ave.
Glitter-globes-skulls-lights-feathers-stage clothes-tumbled to the ground.
"We're home"
Sirens were ringing due to a fire in the building we were going into.
We're taking armfuls of stuff-firemen are running up & down, in & out, passing each other like
"No big deal-it's cool-it's NY."
Don't drop anything -keep moving
We were going to Elda Gentile's apt '
5'th floor of a five floor walkup.
Eric's significant other & mother of his son-Branch Emerson & a singer in a group called the "Stillettos"
{along with Debbie Harry-Blondie}
A sweet person-kind & happy to see her man & what he brought back from LA.

As Elda wrote in her book:
Excerpt from
Elda Rose
(Formerly Primordial Soup)
Written by Elda Gentile Stiletto.
Copywrite 1994
Registered with
The Writer's Guild 2004
  "It was ten at night. Fire engines wailed outside of the apartment house and Elda leaned out to make sure they had the fire in the bar below under control.  That is when she saw the van pull up in front of the building.  A short guy with bright red curly hair down his back got out of the passenger seat and opened the rear doors to the van.  Nothing happened for a minute or so and then she saw Eric emerge from the van.  The firemen had pretty much completed their task and they stood looking into the van as the dog and another long haired guy popped out of the back.  Elda flew down the stairs with the baby in her arms.  They made it.  Eric Emerson and The Magic Tramps were home.
The family had expanded.  There was Larry the red headed violinist, Youngblood the dark mystic guitarist who even transported his skull candles from LA along with his Persian cat.  Youngblood opted to not move in with Natasha. There was the gentle Sesu, his long brown straight hair flowing to his butt, along with a full set of drums.  Their entire life belongings were hauled into the narrow four-room railroad flat.  All of this plus a baby, Messiah the Great Dane and a cursing parrot.

Larry lived in the Kitchen, Youngblood the second room, Sesu in the third and Elda and Eric slept with Branch in the living room that also housed the rehearsal studio, drums, amps, P.A. system and all."

I recall at Elda's apt.
The bathtub was in the kitchen
It was not uncommon to be taking a bath with
Jackie Curtis-Hollywood Woodlawn-Candy Darling
 sitting around the kitchen table conversing & putting on make-up
It was innocent-fun-natural & no big deal..
People ask-were you naked?
Well-Usually when you bathe your are naked.
It simply was a day in the life
{or more like midnight}
That's about the time we went out...

In the sunshine of the first day along First Ave. were fruit stands & the hustle & bustle of the City.
Walk downstairs and grab a grapefruit & other assorted fresh fruit.
Coming from California we ate pretty healthy
I was a vegetarian.
Little did we know what lie ahead.
Eric wanted to take a short walk to Second Ave & 11'th Street {If memory serves me} to Jackie Curtis apt.
I recall Jackie sitting in the kitchen in a flustered state of mind. I recall a photo session to be taking place that afternoon.
{I thought it was with Rolling Stone}
Jackie was having a difficult time figuring out if "he" was a "she" that day or
James Dean-a situation that seemed to plague Jackie frequently.
It was an emotional afternoon
Eric was kind and supportive as he was close to Jackie-
At one point {7-21-69}
Jackie & Eric planned to stage a fake wedding on a rooftop on
East 11'th Street inviting press-stars-artists
{Some still believe it to be real}.
The Village Voice front page called it the
"Twilight Of The Tribe"
& was filmed by the "Maysles Brothers."
{I have not been able to find the film.}
Guests included:
 Larry Ray dancing in a tutu and Melba LaRose, Tony Ingrassia, Alice Playten and Ruby Lynn Reyner.
When Eric didn't show up, Jackie married Stanley Sweetheart-the blonde maitre de at Max's.
Jackie staged numerous weddings.
Later I began to learn that the Warhol crowd had a strong bond-though competitive-
supportive of each other & loving.
I recall going out on the street hanging on a lamp post and photos were being taken
Jackie was "James Dean" that day.
I never did see the photos from that session.

We sat at the table inside being emotional & Eric decided we should walk over to "Max's Kansas City"
& say Hi to Mickey Ruskin who Eric had a comfortable-sincere relationship with.
A short walk as most were in NYC
{A bit different from LA }
Eric felt at home Yodeling-cracking his whip-as we walked-like a proud band of Cowboys & Indians-& of course a Great Dane..named Messiah.
Eric had an attitude as though he owned the town & we were proud to be a part of the new scene.
From the
"Temple Of The Rainbow"
"Max's Kansas City"
It's all good.

  Mickey Ruskin {Yvonne's husband}
Met us & was genuinely happy to see Eric.
We all were introduced & accepted.
We went upstairs and exchanged tales.
I remember Mickey always had a smile.
I liked him immediately.
He gave me a "Max's" Tee-shirt.

"Max's" opened 12-6-65
213 Park Ave. South
Between 17-18'th Street
{thru 1981}
It became an artists haunt quickly
& all the elements were right...
Across  "Union Square" park  was the "Factory"
Andy Warhols place of play-art-film-and mischief.
Always an interesting array of characters.
I remember walking thru Union Square with Eric leaving the Factory meeting Joe Dallasandro with his wife & child.
Eric & Joe would playfully spar in the Park-laughing and being boys, admiring the baby. Good vibes.

We hung out at "Max's" as Eric convinced Mickey
We should play a welcome home showcase of sorts. Within a rather short period {a few days if memory serves me} .
Now-Here's where it gets tricky
If possible you should read
"High On Rebellion"
by Yvonne Sewall-Ruskin
It gives an accurate description of the
"Lay of the Land"

"Max's" had a lunch downstairs restaurant & bar in the front area where a certain crowd hung & socialized.
 The back room was the more hip Warhol art evening crowd.
Superstars-Rock stars-Artists-Celebs-Etc.
Upstairs was closed up & not utilized since the "Velvet Underground" had performed their last gigs there quite a while back.
{Live LP's-perhaps?}
Actually I recall seeing the "Velvet Underground" play at the
"Dom"-on St. Marks Place in the East Village
{8'th St.-Between 2'nd-3'rd Ave.}
Where Andy Warhol discovered Eric Emerson dancing.
 "A small muscular blonde kid made a ballet leap that practically spanned the dance floor" {Andy Warhol}

In April-1966 with "NICO" & "The Exploding Plastic Inevitable Show" 
{While playing with the "Mojos" in the City prior to LA}
I was quite impressed with the live show & mood of the evening -NICO was
the music was electric-sincere
very 60's-
Gerard Malanga danced with whips if I recall correctly
Leather pants
NY style-I dug it !!!
I recall sitting in a few art classes at Cornell University around 1965 when Gerard Malanga came for a poetry reading I believe-with leather pants -a whip.-a new breed. I believe he met an art student named "Mary Woronov" at that time.
As the story goes he filmed her.
"Mary On Triphammer Bridge"
She soon left Cornell Fine Arts School to join the ranks of the Warhol Superstars.
While in the "Mojos" I remember her hanging out at "Noyes Lodge" with a select group of Art students.
A scene that somehow -I followed -& became my destiny-in the years to follow.

  Keep in mind -by the time we arrived in NYC,
 Eric had starred in...
"Chelsea Girls" {9-15-66' NYC release}
{From which Warhol did a portrait of Eric some years later-
which I proudly own one today}
"Lonesome Cowboys" [1968}
{Billy Name: "I think Chelsea Girls and Lonesome Cowboys are the classic Warhol films. The previous movies are really art films."}
"Heat" filmed-released in NYC on
{Premiere 10-5-72}
{edited 8-71}
During the "Heat" debut & after party
 Attendance was:
Joe Dallesandro
Candy darling
Holly Woodlawn
Warren Beatty
Lauren Hutton
Jack Nicholson
Alice Cooper
Gerard Malanga
Jim Jacobs
Tally Brown
Paul Morrissey
Sylvia Miles who starred in the film was quoted as saying
"Eric can get an erection on a moments notice-
It was worth every bit of it ! "

Also- not to be forgotten
Sept. 3 & 4'th -1966
"The Exploding Plastic Inevitable" played in Provincetown, Massachusetts
 In addition to The Velvet Underground and EPI regulars Gerard Malanga, Ronnie Cutrone, Mary Woronov, road manager Faison, Warhol assistant Paul Morrissey and Andy Warhol, the group also now included International Velvet, her boyfriend, fashion illustrator David Croland - and Eric Emerson who stayed with Nico in Provincetown.
The police interrupted one of the performances and untied Eric Emerson from a post (which he was strapped to in preparation for being whipped by Mary Woronov) in order to retrieve some belts and whips that were stolen from a leather store in Provincetown.

Also-Spring of 1967

Eric -Warhol & the entourage took the film

"Chelsea Girls" to the "Cannes Film Festival"

not to be shown due to 10 seconds of male nudity

The group made a stop in London & had a private screening of the film at Warhol's friend & art dealer Robert Fraser.

I believe this is where he met his friend
Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones.
They struck up a friendship that lasted years.
Brian gave Eric his harlequin tights he wore in a section of the film
Rolling Stones
"Rock & Roll Circus" film.
Eric wore them often on stage & in Magic tramps photos
He gave them to me years later
& I gave them to Lary Tramp
who gave them to an auction for fund raising
They were yellow with reddish-orange diamonds.
Some of you might have seen them at our shows.
Point being-
life was very interesting for the lot of us & going to become more so.
Something had brought us all together at this point in time.
Eric was an entertainer
Now he could add being a singer to his list of talents.
If you want to know Eric-Listen to him sing
His voice is his mirror.
His antics fit the music & we combined forces to create a unique style of "Music Theater"
A blending of styles & sounds
"Life imitating Art ?"
"Art imitating Life ?"
We worked with the theatrics & he fit right in with his sound & style.
Moving on -within a couple days we had gotten the key from Mickey to play a showcase one day for the Warhol entourage and Max's locals
I remember it like it was yesterday.
We were called
Not quite ready to convert to the
"Magic Tramps" yet.
We hadn't quite gotten our NYC Street tattoo yet.
No one thought to record it.
{I don't think-If anyone did-Please let me know !!!}  
Here we are--full deck
Me-in my Indian attire -feathers in the hair
Arm bands
hair to the waist-
 face paint
Feathers hanging from my drums & stands
Lights in my drums
Lary decked out in classical attire
An electric violin
long red hair
Youngblood {AKA-"X"}
in his Neon look with skulls- candles -mirrors & flowers
And Eric
Hot pants-Tights
Arm bands
nail polish
We were quite a site.
Playing aggressive -progressive-classical-
primal-chanting- Rock & Roll -music
Mid-Evil sound
Unlike anything around.
Velvets retired
We had a stunned audience.
Jaws dropped
I don't know if anyone liked it but they knew Eric brought the boys back home to make a musical change in NYC.
A blank stare came over the room, except for Mickey Ruskin who had a big Cheshire grin.
At this time, rock wasn't happening much in NYC-It was Broadway Show Tunes. Lou Reed was writing for shows also.
Manhattan Transfer-Bette Midler
{Who we worked with both later}
There were a few groups getting together -but no "scene"
 The music scene had just been turned upside down !!!
In a couple days-if not before I recall we were at the Factory talking to Andy & Paul Morrissey.
Paul said to us
"Oh boys-Rock & Roll will never fly in NYC.-You need to do Cabaret.!!!
So- we worked on two shows-One Rock & one Cabaret
Hey-Us playing
"Would You Like To Swing On A Star"
Was classic.
"William Tell Overture"
Both shows
There was a fire upstairs fairly immediate & we lost some equipment which was a real drag
Both for gig's sake & equipment sake-We needed to get into something quick.
Around 5-26-71
Jackie Curtis organized an "Off- Broadway" play called
"Vain Victory"
"The Vicissitudes Of The Damned"

Jackie Curtis
Candy Darling
Eric Emerson
Paul Ambrose
Styles Caldwell
Agosto Machado
Dorrian Gray
Clarice Rivers
Mario Montel
Holly Woodlawn later joined
In some articles:
Lou Reed is credited to have written the music score.
Also some have documented that Paul Serrato wrote music for the play.
However for history sake ...
{which is what this website is designed to do-fill in some missing links}
I was there at the time and know for a fact that two important and less documented contributors to the music score also were
Richard Weinstock and "Messiah's"-Lary Chaplan
who was there every night playing as well
Actually we performed some of these original songs in our cabaret show outside of "Vain Victory"
I think many artists contributed to the success of the music score in the show but credit should be noted to
Richard and Lary as well...
At which time we {as Messiah} performed some musical parts in the show also.
It was a joint effort-always evolving.

Hanging at "Max's" &  the "Factory"
Dabbling in theater...
Life was interesting-exciting -the people were genuine and sincere
everyday conversations .
Hanging at the "Factory" watching Andy paint.
Ronnie Catrone work on watercolors
sound tracks for film scores
I later had a drum session, at The Factory, for a Warhol film score called "L'Amour" playing with a piano player for an ice skating rink scene. I don't know if it was ever used, but the piano player I worked with was a gentleman that was Elvis Presley's piano player for 17 years.
Quite a treat. Well worth lugging my drums down 14'th Street & through the Subway.
I still have my pay stub
At some point I had found an Apt. on 13'th Street-between First Ave. & Second Ave.
Another fifth floor in a five floor walkup.
We were very fortunate to have had our own full bathroom, as the rest of the floor had to share a toilet in the hallway that had an overhead watertank and a pull chain.
{ I "tinfoiled" the whole bathroom.}
Lary-Youngblood-& myself moved in,
& we were set.
You could hear Eric coming by every day-yodeling loudly and cracking his leather whip as he came closer to our building.
People knew we were in town.
He was friendly to the neighborhood & they enjoyed seeing him.
But again-anything went in the Big Apple...
Things were happening & we were part of it.
So many great events were to take place-
 Meeting Salvador Dali at the "St. Regis" hotel-

In the early 70's Salvador Dali had a small party with our music group Messiah/Magic Tramps at the Four Horses Room in the St. Regis Hotel in New York City. Lary recalls, at the time Messiah was the houseband at Max's Kansas City, and Dali was curious about their very individual but fully developed sound. Dali spoke with all the members individually, questioning them about their instruments and techniques, conversing in 4 languages yet always being clear, humorous and the perfect host.

As I {Sesu} met him & shook hand, suddenly the world went blank. As if I was in a blank Dali canvas. His touch zapped energy & clarity into my creative being. Passing on to me a magical moment of creativity. A moment I will never forget & still remains inside my artistic soul.

As Young Blood {Xavier} recalls:
"I reached out as if to touch Dali's mustache & Dali said: 'No touch Dali' in his native accent."

Young Blood humorously replied,
"I was looking for the Fly" As in Dali's famous painting.

Dali smiled as if to say "You know Dali."

We all had a great evening ...Eric was wandering the room & conversing with everyone as he frequently did.

Backing up "Vincent Price" at an annual film directors award show-
singing "You Gotta Have {Heart} Guts"
To attending Andy Warhol parties with Silver Helium Balloons floating in the air.
So many stories to tell as time goes on-
A special period in time-history & my life.
Bands were starting to form -a music scene had begun.
I feel as though we were pioneers and broke ground.
We had our history -our scene
Our spot at the crossroads of the universe.
We returned to "Max's"
At Mickey's request
 and became the house band -
mostly performing cabaret with piano-bringing on stage various Warhol celebrities
{IE:-Gerri Miller-"Mamma-Look At Me Now"-etc.}
Slowly working our Rock original material into the show -eventually it became it's own enitity
"A show into itself"
In attendance any given night would be
"Tennessee Williams"
"Miles Davis" musical producers
The town was buzzing ...

 A new music scene explodes in NYC starting now !!!
Things start taking shape & a new "cultural scene" is forming.
A new "Tribe" of musicians-poets-artists and bands is officially
reviving -restructuring-revamping-resurrecting-reinventing-reestablishing
And redefining the rules and the times.
It's happening -
The past -meets the present -and together creating momentum and synergy-
There is no stopping what is about to happen---
The Future.
"It's Showtime"
To be continued........

“Magic Tramps,” the “Magic Tramps” logo and “Moonlight Dust" {Music}  - are all trademarks owned by Moonlight Dust, Inc. All audio, video, photos, quotes, print material, and likeness are not to be reproduced without authorization by the author.
If we have missed a copyright or credit please let us know.
"Max's Kansas City" is a registered trademark. All rights reserved by Yvonne Sewall-Ruskin

Special thanks all to the photographers - Jack Mitchell, Anton Perich, Joanne Russo,
Billy Name, Craig Highberger, Allan Tannenbaum, and others who contributed to the viewing of a
time piece and music history through this site.