February 19, 1950
|Died||August 12, 2004 54) (aged|
Monticello, New York, U.S.
Toots Deville (February 19, 1950 – August 19, 2004) was known as the wife of musician Willy Deville, and for her work as his personal manager and association with the band Mink DeVille during the 1970s. She was also a model and appeared in rock magazines like Creem. Her outlandish behavior and appearance made her a controversial figure in the music world for most of her life.
She was adopted and her birth name and family is unknown. She stated her birth family was of Pima descent. Her adoptive parents named her Susan Berle, and they were a wealthy Jewish couple from South Carolina; Harriet (née Harrison 1916-1987) and Maurice Berle (1916-2005). She was an only child and her parents later divorced. Her adoptive father's last name was originally "Berlinsky" which he shortened to "Berle". His father was Philip Berlinsky, an immigrant from Poland that started the Berle Apparel Group, which still operates today. Little is known about where her stage name "Toots" came from. Her family moved to Stamford, Connecticut. She attended Dolan Middle School in Stamford, and ran away from home to New York City, and became addicted to drugs. Her parents sent her to therapy and rehab, and eventually she was sent to boarding school at Windsor Mountain in Massachusetts. She dropped out of school and became pregnant at age 18 in 1968 by a man named Brian, with whom she had her son Sean. She was also briefly married to a man named Robert Martin during this time. Growing up she was influenced by artists like Édith Piaf and The Ronettes.
She met musician Willy Deville as a child while living in Stamford in the late 60s. They were separated when she was sent to boarding school, but they reconnected and later married in 1971 in Stamford.Willy's birth name was William Borsey, and he adopted her son and gave him his name, Sean Borsey. The couple then moved to New York City, living in the East Village, where the punk rock music scene was in full swing with clubs like the Fillmore East and CBGB. Mink DeVille became the house band for CBGB from 1975 to 1978, where Toots was seen often. The two had matching black panther tattoos on their shoulders. Toots posed for Mink Deville's Le Chat Bleu album cover in 1980. Some of the band's early songs mention a woman named "Sue" that was inspired by Toots. Toots is credited for managing her husband's early music career and influencing the punk rock era of music. She would go on tour with Mink DeVille in Europe, and is credited with creating their stage costumes. She was known for her outlandish behavior and drug use. She was very protective of her husband and various media reports stated how she would pull out knives on women if they flirted with him. Toots had jet black hair she would keep often in a beehive hairstyle, and had a nose ring and tattoos, which was still uncommon in the early 1970s. She posed as a model for rock magazines like Creem. Since her death some have compared her to Amy Winehouse.
She left the rock music scene behind her, divorced from Deville in 1984, and moved to upstate New York, where she stopped using drugs and became a health-care worker until she was diagnosed with cancer. She also re-married to Stephen Martincak, and she was known as Susan Martincak toward the end of her life. She died on August 19, 2004 at the age of 54 from cancer, in Monticello, New York.
Leslie Conway "Lester" Bangs was an American music journalist, critic, author, and musician. He wrote for Creem and Rolling Stone magazines, and was known for his leading influence in rock music criticism. The music critic Jim DeRogatis called him "America's greatest rock critic".
CBGB was a New York City music club opened in 1973 by Hilly Kristal in Manhattan's East Village.
Willy DeVille was an American singer and songwriter. During his thirty-five-year career, first with his band Mink DeVille (1974–1986) and later on his own, Deville created original songs rooted in traditional American musical styles. He worked with collaborators from across the spectrum of contemporary music, including Jack Nitzsche, Doc Pomus, Dr. John, Mark Knopfler, Allen Toussaint, and Eddie Bo. Latin rhythms, blues riffs, doo-wop, Cajun music, strains of French cabaret, and echoes of early-1960s uptown soul can be heard in DeVille's work.
A backup band or backing band is a musical ensemble that accompanies a lead singer at a live performance or on a recording. A backup band can also accompany an instrumental soloist, such as a lead guitarist or solo fiddler, though all-instrumental performances, with no singing, are not common in popular music and traditional music. This can either be an established, long-standing group that has little or no change in membership, or it may be an ad hoc group assembled for a single show or a single recording. Ad hoc or "pickup" groups are often made up of session musicians.
Deville, DeVille, De Ville, or de Vil may refer to:
Steve Douglas was an American saxophonist and flautist. As a Los Angeles session musician, he worked with Phil Spector, Bob Dylan, Brian Wilson, The Beach Boys and Ry Cooder.
Mink DeVille (1974–86) was a rock band known for its association with early punk rock bands at New York's CBGB nightclub and for being a showcase for the music of Willy DeVille. The band recorded six albums in the years 1977 to 1985. Except for frontman Willy DeVille, the original members of the band played only on the first two albums. For the remaining albums and for tours, Willy DeVille assembled musicians to play under the name Mink DeVille. After 1985, when Willy DeVille began recording and touring under his own name, his backup bands were sometimes called "The Mink DeVille Band," an allusion to the earlier Mink DeVille.
Coup de Grâce is the fourth album by the rock band Mink DeVille, released in 1981. The album represented a departure for the band, as frontman Willy DeVille dismissed the only other remaining original member of the band, guitarist Louis X. Erlanger, and hired Helen Schneider's backup band to record the album. Moreover, the album was recorded for Atlantic.
Cabretta, known as Mink DeVille in the United States, was the 1977 debut album by Mink DeVille. It peaked at number 186 on the Billboard 200 chart and was voted the 29th best album of 1977 in the Village Voice's Pazz & Jop critics' poll. A single from the album, "Spanish Stroll", was a top-20 hit in the UK.
Le Chat Bleu is the third album by the rock band Mink DeVille, released in 1980. The album received critical acclaim and elevated lead singer and composer Willy DeVille to star status. The Rolling Stone critics' poll ranked Le Chat Bleu the fifth best album of 1980, and music historian Glenn A. Baker declared it the tenth best rock album of all time. The album cover is a photo of Willy's first wife Toots Deville's tattoo on her shoulder.
Return to Magenta, issued in 1978, is the second album by the rock band Mink DeVille. The album was the last to feature all the original members of the band. For this album the band was joined by Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Steve Douglas on sax and Dr. John on piano, who would later collaborate with leadsinger Willy DeVille after his move to New Orleans.
Where Angels Fear to Tread is the fifth studio album by the rock band Mink DeVille. It was released in 1983, and was the second album Mink DeVille recorded for Atlantic Records, and Atlantic brought in two in-house producers, Howard Albert and Ron Albert, to produce the album.
Sportin’ Life is the sixth and final studio album by the rock band Mink DeVille, released in 1985. Since the band’s third album, 1981’s Le Chat Bleu, when the original members of the band departed, lead singer and composer Willy DeVille had been assembling musicians to record and tour under the name Mink DeVille. After Sportin’ Life, Willy DeVille began recording and touring under his own name.
Miracle is an album by Willy DeVille. Recorded in 1987, it was the first album that Willy DeVille recorded under his own name. Prior to Miracle, DeVille recorded six albums with the band Mink DeVille, the last four of which were really solo albums by Willy DeVille in that no members of the original band played on the four albums.
Victory Mixture is a 1990 album by Willy DeVille. The album consists of cover versions of New Orleans R&B and soul classics by DeVille’s musical idols. Trouser Press said about the album, “A rootsy covers collection, Victory Mixture provides a welcome antidote to Miracle's misguided modernity, making the most of the singer's relocation to New Orleans with backup from such local legends as Allen Toussaint, Eddie Bo and Dr. John.”
Willy DeVille Live is a live recording of Willy DeVille and the Mink DeVille Band. It was recorded on June 16–17, 1993 at The Bottom Line in Greenwich Village, New York City, and in October 1993, at the Olympia Theatre in Paris. It was released in Europe on December 1, 1993 in Europe by the French label Fnac Music.
Big Easy Fantasy is an album by Willy DeVille and the Mink DeVille Band. It was released in Europe on the French New Rose label in 1995. The album is a mixture of studio tracks and concert recordings made in New York and Paris. The "big easy" of the album's title refers to New Orleans. As the album cover says, the inspiration for the album was "Jump City, the Crescent City, the city that care forgot, New Orleans...The Big Easy!" All songs on the album are standards by New Orleans musicians or are original compositions by Willy DeVille about some aspect of New Orleans.
Acoustic Trio Live in Berlin is a 2002 album by Willy DeVille. The album consists of concert recordings made in Berlin to celebrate DeVille’s 25 years of performing, and concert recordings made in Stockholm. Buscadero, the Italian music magazine, named Acoustic Trio Live in Berlin one of the top-ten albums of 2002 in its critics' poll; its readers' poll named the album the 21st best album of 2002.
The discography of American singer and songwriter Willy DeVille includes, as well as his solo recordings, recordings released by his band Mink DeVille in the period from 1977 to 1985. It consists of fourteen studio albums, three live albums, fifteen compilation albums, twenty-two singles, and one extended play (EP).