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Memories of a Seventies Punk Rock Tourist

Punk photos of Rikki Ercoli.

The Punk Rock Museum opened in 2023 in Las Vegas. We visited in June, a few months later. The collection is crammed with artifacts from 50 years of punk culture, filling every space with huge blow ups of concert photos, and thousands of images, art, posters, and zines.

The museum’s inaugural special exhibit features concert images by photographer Rikki Ercoli. We know Rikki from our college days on Venue Magazine (he was then called “Spacerick.”). In the 1970s he jumped into the Philadelphia and New York club scene with his 35mm camera and b/w film, following Patti Smith, Sex Pistols and the Ramones.

Now living in San Francisco, he recently talked about the exhibit, and how he “loved the sarcasm of the punk bands.” Fanatical in his desire to see every act that came to town, Rikki captured images of the early luminaries, such as Debbie Harry and Sid Vicious (framed prints are available for purchase in The Punk Rock Museum gift shop).

Rikki went to South London for a college semester via a student exchange program. “I wanted to see Generation X and X-Ray Specs. That’s why I went — not for school.”

As Spacerick, punk college student, 1979.

Ercoli’s work documents the excitement of that early era and freezes moments, from a music fan’s point of view, in small clubs and larger venues. “I was trying to capture the history of that time,” he said.

He was blown away when he made the connection with the Vegas museum and their enthusiasm for sharing his work (an earlier showing in a Washington DC gallery had been cancelled during the pandemic). Rikki joked, “They had to build a museum just to show my friggin stuff!”

Punk photos of Rikki Ercoli.

Rikki was in Las Vegas for the exhibit opening — and thrilled to see the breadth of punk across the years on display. “It is funny they have Joe Strummer’s last bag of weed.”

The Ercoli photographs are exhibited at The Punk Rock Museum until the end of 2023.

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RoadsideAmerica.com Team Field Report

Punk Rock Museum

The Punk Rock Museum

Address:
1422 Western Ave., Las Vegas, NV
Directions:
I-15 exit 41. Turn east onto NV-159/W. Charleston Blvd, then quickly bear right at the stoplight onto S. Industrial Rd, then immediately bear right onto Western Ave. Drive a quarter-mile to the museum, a black building on the right.
Hours:
M-F 12-8, Sa-Su 10-8 (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
Phone:
702-823-2983
Admission:
Adults $30; Tour $100
RA Rates:
Major Fun
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