/ by Michael Arthur


[Over the next several months leading up to the celebration of our 15th Anniversary in October, Joe’s Pub will be highlighting drawings from archival artist Michael Arthur who has captured the likes Amy WinehousePete TownshendAlicia KeysCarly Simon and many more on our stage. Read about Michael’s story, and stay tuned for details on how you might earn the opportunity to work with Joe’s Pub as an archival artist by submitting your artwork via Tumblr.]



At the end of a night during which Pete Townshend played a few songs each with Amos Lee, J Mascis, Jimmy Fallon, Rachael Yamagata, and his wife Rachel Fuller, Lou Reed joined him on stage and the two of them played some Velvet Underground covers. I’m pretty sure they had never played together before. Getting to sit in the booth and draw this moment was the coolest thing I had experienced to that point in my life.


I got to meet and experience Stew and Heidi’s collaboration first at the Pub—which makes sense since the Pub was instrumental in moving Stew and Heidi’s music to a larger audience. I’ve gotten to draw them a few times over the years. Stew might tell you—if he remembers—that he didn’t like a drawing I did of him one night. It happens. Sometimes you draw someone and they don’t like it. Still, I often get offers from folks who want to use that drawing Stew didn’t like. I always turn those folks down or steer them away from posting it. That said, I think this is my best drawing of Stew and Heidi.


Mike Viola’s live shows specifically and his music in general are the soundtrack to some of my favorite memories. Soon after I started drawing at the Pub, Mike had a weekly residency of late night shows with Kelly Jones that became legendary for those of us who were there for every one—I’m pretty sure that the above drawing was drawn during this residency. It was also during this residency that I heard Mike’s song Good Ideas Grow On Trees for the first time. For some reason the song stayed with me and—with his permission—I made my first music video for it. The video was a pretty low-budget affair—shot on one camera over my drawing pad in one take while the song played on a loop. It’s still one of my favorite things I’ve ever made.

When I want to show people what I do, I almost always show them this drawing of Lou Reed and Pete Townshend. Now THAT was a fun night.