As the long-standing manager of the Ramones, Danny Fields was a legend of the New York punk scene. He was also the man responsible for signing the Stooges, MC5, and Nico, editor of the iconic 16 magazine, and the journalist who caused global hysteria when he quoted John Lennon saying he was “more famous than Jesus.” In the 90s, Fields catalogued the glory days with the release of Please Kill Me: an Oral History of Punk, but he’s yet to address his other passion from the era.
In the 1970s Danny Fields started making pornography. Production was straightforward: bringing back groups of boys to his apartment and giving scant direction, he captured whatever ensued on a simple Polaroid camera. Forty years later, his collection of images now reaches into the thousands. He keeps them in his closet, tucked safely away in a gigantic storage container, roomy enough to sleep two grown men with minimal discomfort.
“They were all prostitutes,” says Fields of the boys in the pictures. “Well, prostitutes sounds too glamorous; they were hustlers. I’d pick then up in the street or at prostitute bars, and then one always seemed to bring the others. You’d pay them forty dollars or something, and they’d pretty much do whatever you told them to. This was before AIDS and the internet, so people weren’t so paranoid. A lot of them are dead now, and a lot of them—I never even knew their names.”
Fields is less interested in the actual act of penetration and more interested in everything else—enemas, dildos, stretching, kissing, piss, etc. “You can see fucking in movies,” he explains, “so it’s not that exciting. I’d rather watch them play doctor.” As he reminiscences through a photo album, Fields points out a photo of two Native American boys sitting naked on a couch. “These two were brothers,” he says. “Well, one day they were brothers and then the next day they’d say, ‘Actually we’re not brothers, we’re just from the same tribe.’ And then the next day they’d be back to being brothers again. What was I supposed to do, give them a blood test? Either way, they made a great couple.”
When asked if he was ever in love with any of the boys in the pictures, Fields looks mildly disgusted. “I was never in love with any of these boys. Sure, I liked some of them more than others, but I’ve never been in love with anyone in my entire life. I believe that love exists—my God, I’ve read 800 pages of Proust on what it’s like to be in love—but I’ve never gotten there. I tried having a boyfriend once, but then he always wanted to talk when I was trying to read. It didn’t work out.”
Fields asserts that the photos are a testament to his belief that the best sex is the kind you pay for. “I just think it’s best to fuck whores,” he says. “I’ve never been in a situation where being emotionally involved with a person has made the sex better. While I’m fucking someone I care about them, and that’s enough for me—that’s where it means something. I want sex to be so intense that I’m not thinking about anything else. The loving part is distracting: who’s going to pay the rent, who didn’t clean the bathroom, that kind of stuff.” He shrugs, “After I cum I just want a trap door to open and whoever I’m with to fall through the floor.”