Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Ken Compton

One man who succeeded in turning the tables on Madonna was artist-musician Ken Compton. Blond, blue-eyed and angular, Compton did not appear to be Madonna's type physically. "Madonna usually goes for Latin or light-skinned black men," Barbone said. "Kenny was very Aryan-looking, and very much in control of his feelings. He did the kind of number on Madonna that she did on everybody else - not returning phone calls, being late, cheating with other girls. She'd be on the phone to him screaming, crying. Ken drove her crazy."

march 1983

A video is also commissioned for "Burning Up" (although it doesn't debut on MTV until the following October) when interest for Madonna starts to build in the mainstream. Sire brings in designer Maripol to be the stylist for Madonna, while Madonna's close friend Debi Mazar does the make-up. One of Madonna's many on-again-off-again boyfriends, Ken Compton was cast as the love interest in the video. Steve Barron (who had just come off of directing Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" video) was hired as the director.

I had just introduced Madonna, who was not famous yet, to Jean-Michel at New York University’s Bowling Alley, in the Village. The bowling alley was a popular hang out on Monday nights and had a “retro rockabilly” feel to it. Our posse had more of a thrift shop Armani-style, a crossover Mudd Club punk genre with a Studio 54 arrogance. We flirted with danger by often visiting the Teddy-Boy crowd and their clubs. Some of the Teddy-Boys were actually very tough street fighters, which resulted in nightly brawls outside the bowling alley. We all knew most of them were just “posers” trying to hit on the cute women in their retro-bowling attire.

As the evening wore on, Madonna grabbed my hand and led me to a far corner just outside the men's room. She looked straight into my eyes and said how much she liked me and her lips headed towards mine. I was quite shocked by the way she kissed me with such passion. After about two minutes of gratuitous kissing and groping each other, I saw the men's room door open to reveal Kenny Compton, who had been Madonna's steady boyfriend for quite a while, frozen in astonishment at our actions. Kenny and I were always good friends and remain so to this day, but I will never forget the look on his face—probably exactly what Madonna had planned. She was quite the scene maker in those days, always pushing those around her to emotional extremes.

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