Gary Valentine Writes “(I’m Always Touched by Your) Presence, Dear”

Gary Valentine Writes “(I’m Always Touched by Your) Presence, Dear”

Another connector figure in the downtown scene was Benton Quin, an Off-Off-Broadway performer who rented Harry and Stein a loft on the Bowery where the couple lived and the band rehearsed. “Benton is the person who gets credit for all that,” Lisa Jane Persky said of the way he helped spark many artistic relationships. “He masterminded a lot of the stuff, even though he was a bit cuckoo in many ways.” Quin was also a very literal matchmaker for Persky and Gary Valentine. After Quin appeared with her in Harry Koutoukas’s Grandmother Is in the Strawberry Patch, they remained close; and when Valentine moved into the loft, he realized the bassist was perfect for Persky and insisted that the two should meet. “Benton must have been persuasive, and so she came over,” Valentine said. “We later consummated our first meeting after a Vain Victory performance, the one Blondie appeared in. There was a party in the Upper West Side somewhere, and so a lot of people from the theater scene—Divine and all that—were there. That was a special night for Lisa and I.” He later wrote the early Blondie hit, “(I’m Always Touched by Your) Presence, Dear,” about their relationship.

From Chapter 30 of The Downtown Pop Underground — order online, or from a local independent bookstore


Blondie's loft
266 Bowery, New York, NY 10012