ORK Records: New York, New York Boxed Set

New York, New York Boxed Set (Numero Group)

Contact Jacob Daneman about ORK Records: New York, New York Boxed Set

Where in the mythos of punk is there room for a frizzy-haired cinephile San Diegan? How could the defining rock attitude and look of the late 1970s get brainstormed by two go-nowheres from a boarding school in Hockessin, Delaware—a D student and kid voted Most Unknown by his senior class?


Forget the worn-out yarns about London gobbers and safety-pin piercings—the true story of the birth of punk rock on 45 is the story of Ork Records, captured by Numero Group on four hefty LPs (or two shiny compact discs) and told across 120 high-gloss pages filled with insider photos and sordid details.


It is a story populated by iconic names like Television, Alex Chilton, Lester Bangs, Richard Hell, the Feelies, Patti Smith, Talking Heads, Brian Eno, Blondie and the Ramones. And it’s a tale told from the hallowed grounds of CBGB, Max’s Kansas City, and Ardent Studios. This is a story of dreamers, junkies and Lou Reed’s cock…lies told about Lou Reed’s cock, but still: it’s in there.


This a story so glorious and important that it’s shocking to think that it’s never been told until now. Only the Numero Group could properly tell it, as it is a tale of imploding ambitions and underdog hustlers with a litany of heartbreaks and financial straits—a tale of indispensable rock ‘n’ roll made by people unjustly dispensed by history and the masses.


For all the Record Geek Valhalla names mentioned earlier, there are even more forgotten heroes involved in this narrative that measure up to those Hall of Famers.


Chris Stamey, the Tar Heel new-waver who cut “The Summer Sun,” the greatest power-pop single of its time, a bittersweet strut that whips up a blissful breeze amid August heat. Mick Farren, the leather-clad fantasy novelist and former Deviants frontman from the UK who turned a Rolling Stones tune into disco-scuzz huffing motorcycle fumes. Jon Tiven, the Sarah Lawrence dropout who scraped Alex Chilton from the depths of his Memphis Quaalude pit and squeezed a few more drops of genius from the Big Star burnout. Student Teachers, the Revelons, the Erasers, Marbles, the Idols. All should’ve-beens, all gold.


The legend began on wax with Television’s “Little Johnny Jewel,” the poetic head-splitter spread across two sides of a 45 in 1975. But it all began, in fact, with Terry Ork, a Jewish SoCal film nerd enthralled by Andy Warhol’s posse as they made a transgressive surfing flick, who moves cross-country to manage a movie memorabilia shop on the grubby streets of the Lower East Side. Made in the shadows of disco and dereliction in late-‘70s Manhattan, Ork Records: New York, New York is not just the genesis of punk, it is the birth of the New York City scene and indie culture as we know it.