NYC VENUES WRAP-UP

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The main theme of my posts was to expose different venues in and around NYC that have/had a little something special that help them differentiate for other venues.

From special drinks to art galleries to darkrooms to catwalks each of the venues that I mention brought a little something special to the table.  It is more that just a place to go to see music, it is a creative experience, it is art, and it is exciting.

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I’ve mentioned some of my favorites, but there are still more worth learning about, mostly ones that died out in the early/mid 80’s. Below are a few of the forgotten venues that I did not get to blog about that are long gone, but still deserve the recognition:

TRAXX, GREAT GILDERSLEEVES, ONE’s, NOISE MUSIC, HEAT, NURSERY, LAIGHT STREET, WETLANDS, HURRAHS, LONE STAR CAFE, and BOTTOM LINE just to mention a few.

Mudd Club NYC

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“New York’s fly-by-night crowd of punks, posers and the ultra-hip has discovered new turf on which to flaunt its manic chic. It is the Mudd Club…. For sheer kinkiness, there has been nothing like it since the cabaret scene in 1920s Berlin.”-People, July 16, 1979. 

Named after Samuel Alexander Mudd, a physician who assisted in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, Mudd Club opened its doors on 77 White Street in TriBeCa, October 1978.

If you were elite enough, or at least up-and-coming enough to make it past the strict bouncer policy you would be able to find artist like Jean-Michel Basquiat and his girlfriend Madonna, and on the fourth floor a rotating gallery curated by artist Keith Harring.

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Mudd Clubb was the spot for punk, new wave, and experimental music (Johnny Thunders, Lou Reed, Debbie Harry, B52’s). Inside Mudd Club was also a catwalk, for up and coming designers to have fashion exhibits; icons such as Betsey Johnson and Maripol (responsible for Madonnas Mid-80’s look) were regulars.

Mudd Club closed in 1983, the original owner Steve Mass has since opened another Mudd Club in 2001, located at Grosse Hamburger Strasse 17 in Berlin.

” the Mudd Club was art it wasn’t rock n’ roll it was art.” Joey Kelly (BUDDY LOVE)

Below are some songs that mention the Mudd Club:

HANK’s SALOON

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Hank’s Saloon is a place I hold very dear to my heart, not just because it’s a great dive with strong drinks with but because most of they let some of the toughest bands like ANTiSEEN and THE MURDER JUNKIES that other venues won’t book for $10 or less.

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JEFF CLAYTON of ANTiSEEN @HANK’s SALOON 4/21/12

This little piece of honkey tonk heaven is located on the corner of 3rd Ave and Atlantic Ave in Brooklyn right next to just about every subway line that goes into Brooklyn. The property at Hank’s has recently been sold; although the owner John still has a 3 year lease with the new landlord came extensive unpaid water bills, and back taxes that the bar had been unaware of.

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Slowly but surely a lot of NYC treasured venues are dying off, lets try and keep this one around as long as we can. To find out how you can HELP Hank’s Saloon please check out HANK’s SALOON website.

OTTO’s SHRUNKEN HEAD

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Located on 14th street between avenues A and B is the little tiki oasis known as Otto’s Shrunken Head.

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Otto’s has two rooms the main bar, and the backroom where most of the events take place. Almost every night there is something going on over at the tiki lounge, so head on over and enjoy a flaming or Glow-in-the-dark cocktail with a little monkey in it!

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SUNDAYS you can catch FRANK WOOD’s WIND DOWN SUNDAYS where you wind down from a long week and prepare for another week IN HELL. Featuring original NYC acts and  to close the night the “SOFA KING” WILDE JAM.

WEDNESDAY afternoons 4pm-6pm are also a treat during happy hour with the filming of the REW & WHO? show. Rew features rising stars and living legends. Rew also has “Andy Warhol 15 minutes of Fame interviews”, live performances and usually, a surprise here and there.

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On the Third FRIDAY of the Month there is REBEL NIGHT at 10pm, NYC’s only rockabilly dance party where you can show off your vintage threads and jump and jive around the back room. Beginners are welcome and are encouraged to arrive early to learn some new moves.

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These are just a few of the events that go on at Ottos Shrunken Head to see more please check out Otto’s Shrunken Head’s events page.

ABC NO RIO

Located at 156 Rivington Street in New York City’s Lower East Side, ABC No Rio was founded in 1980 by artists/activist for a community where people can share culture, resources, ideas to impact society; they have stayed true to this even today.

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Once a week ABC No Rio has series of experimental and improvisational music called COMA (citizens ontological music agenda) almost every Sunday at 7pm.

ABC has been providing a Saturday Matinee show since the 1980’s all age shows dedicated to independent punk and hardcore. The 3pm-7pm matinee shows average price is an affordable $7.

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For booking they ask that you mail in a practice/recording/demo through “regular mail in an envelope”; the one thing they are strict on is that they DO NOT book any sexist racist or homophobic bands, and ask that you send a copy of the lyrics along with the demo. Hardcore is a scene that has a lot of trouble booking shows, due to the sometimes messy crowd dancing that goes on; none the less ABC No Rio give the space to let these artists express themselves.

ABC No Rio also provides a computer center, a darkroom, a silk screen printing facility and a zine library at free to very modest prices.

nyc_photo_blog_nat_ma-17It is great that a space like this is still around in Manhattan to help artist and activist perform, discover, and create freely.

For more info on ABC No Rio and to Donate to their Building Fund go to ABCNoRio.org

THE WOOD IS GOOD; FRANK WOOD

If you live in NYC and haven’t seen this little caricature in every venue you go to you’re going to the wrong clubs.

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Earlier this year I had the pleasure of assisting one the greatest most colorful independent promoter/manager/booking agent of New York City, MR. FRANK WOOD.

Frank began his career in the live music scene while still in high school, organizing the bands for school dances.“I found out my school had a budget! So, I could’ve booked Columbia recording artist Bruce Springsteen…My cousin played drums for him in the ‘70s. I’m like, fuck, I can get five bands to play instead of three! I’d tell the school I was giving them two hundred each but I was only giving them a hundred. I would print up like twelve hundred tickets and I’d tell the school I printed up a thousand. So we’d go out after the basketball games to a diner and I’d be like, ‘Hey, I’ve got this one. It’s on the school government.”

In the 80’s Frank worked security for many different bands; “I’ve done security for everyone, The (Grateful)Dead, The Who, the (Rolling) Stones, the (New York) Dolls. I did security at Shea Stadium with The Who, The Clash, and Davey Johansen…”

For over 30 years Frank has been booking bands from all over the USA, Europe and Japan, a growing list of 868 great bands. Special guests and legendary rock and rollers from bands like the NEW YORK DOLLS, MURPHY’S LAW, DAVID PEEL, TELEVISION, and THE HEARTBREAKERS can be seen making surprise appearances at many of his shows. Below is a picture of Frank Wood and Cheryl Wildcat with surprise guest Glen Matlock (Sex Pistols) at Frank Wood’s WIND DOWN SUNDAY at OTTO’s SHRUNKEN HEAD on July 8th 2012.  

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All in all going to a “Frank Wood presents” show is a guaranteed good time at an affordable price; as Frank would say “Unless you’re rich, getting laid or working, this is the best bang for your buck in NYC!”

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Upcoming shows and more info on FRANK WOOD can be found at http://www.MrFWOOD.com

Quotes taken from what Frank has told me and The Bowery Boys article on Frank Wood

THE LATE CBGB OMFUG

CBGB OMFUG opened by Hilly Kristal in 1974 on 315 Bowery in New York City.

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The acronym CBGB OMFUG stand for Country Blue-Grass and Blues and Other Music For Uplifting Gormandizers.

CBGB’s had a set price for every show, $8 no matter who was playing. Once again allowing anyone who wanted to see their favorite band had the chance to, and at a minimal cost to show goers.

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CBGB OMFUG would have one nighta week where the venue would have audition night, a sort of open mic night that would allow the venue to hire the band if they did well enough. Hilly made sure that audition night was always held, even if he had gotten an offer for a big name band to play, he would refuse and insist that audition night be held. The consistent-ness of audition night assisted in the growth of CBs reputation; every musician gets a fair chance.

CBGB’s was a refuge for Rock and Roll musicians durning the Disco-Era when all other venues where playing Disco.

CBGB’s closed it doors in October of 2006.

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Max’s Kansas City, The Legend in Our Time

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Max’s Kansas City

Max’s was located in NYC on 213 Park Avenue South. It opened in December 1965 by Mickey Ruskin. It was a popular hangout place for artist in NYC Andy Warhol was a local who was said to dominate the backroom with his entourage.

Max’s was the home of glam rock which included outrageous acts such as David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, Alice Cooper, the New York Dolls,  and Wayne County and the Electric Chairs.

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One of the great treats of going to Max’s was their drink menu, a special selection of cocktails named after different local bands.

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Unfortunately the venues in NYC have ben dying out one by one, beginning with Max’s in 1981 later CBGB’s in 2006 and finally the Continental located on St. Marks Place which is still open but without live music, they do however have a regular deal of 5 shots for $10.

Brief History of Punk Rock

Punk Rock started in NYC with the street rock band THE RAMONES in 1974. The main venues that allowed for this new music to be played was CBGB OMFUG and Max’s Kansas CIty. Punk stemmed from the Street Rock started as a branch off of the New Wave scene.

The 1975 Malcolm McLaren took what he saw in New York and formed the Sex Pistols in the UK. Creating a whole new hard image for the growing Punk Scene.

In 1976 the Clash broke into the punk scene incorporating a mix of reggae as the scene continued to grow.

Over the years it has one off and becomes many different strains of the original such as grunge, hardcore, pop punk.

Although there have been many different version of punk the message stays the same. Punk has always been a music of the people, it does not require much musical skills just the right amount of energy, shock and a DIY message.

DEATH MATCH ROCK AND ROLL

Wrestling and Rock and Roll always seemed to be a right match for each other, from CYNDI LAUPER as WENDI RICHTER’s WWF manager in the 1980’s to when GWAR’s lead singer, ODERUS URUNGUS jumped into the ring to fight TRACY SMOTHERS in 2009. More recently however bands have been incorporating pro wrestling into their live performances but taking it to new extremes.

EAT THE TURNBUCKLE is a band from Philadelphia, PA I caught opening for THE MENTORS (EL DUCE’S old band) on August 29th, 2012 at PORT 41 in Hell’s Kitchen. EAT THE TURNBUCKLE has six band members, two of which are singers; one is dressed as a bucher, the other has a chain and padlock around his neck and is armed with cheese graters on his forearms. EAT THE TURNBUCKLE began their set with the butcher pulling two ends of barbed wire across another band members head with his foot on his back, while the rest of the band built up the sound then broke into the first song.

All while they played things were flying around, trash can lids were getting smashed on band member’s heads, but my personal favorite was the fluorescent tube light bulbs that they would break over each others heads every now and then that would pop and shatter.

The energy at the show was great, and definitely an entertaining act, as long as you are not in the middle of the action… but is the world really ready for this extreme music sport? Maybe not your average top 40 listener, but there is definitely a home for “ULTRA-VIOLENT DEATH MATCH ROCK AND ROLL” the Hardcore Scene.

-AWFUL

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