Ronald "Nicky" Nicholson tells his tale of DJing throughout New York's West Village. Starting in 1973 as the door man at the Gallery working alongside Nicky Siano, Larry Levan and Frankie Knuckles...
Ronald Nicholson interview written By Bernard Lopez of DiscoMusic.com
The year is 1975 and you're flashing your membership card to the six-foot seven doormen as you enter the famed Gallery in New York City. Fast forward to 1979 and you are at The Anvil immersed in the sounds that the DJ is serving up that night. Two different places, two different job functions, but it's the same person at each club. That person is Ronald Nicholson better known to everyone as Nicky. The Nick part coming about as a result of the Air Force using half of his last name with the "y" added later upon his return to New York.
The Galery Days
Nicky began his stint as doorman and later DJ at various New York City clubs in October of 1973 after returning home from his duty with the Air Force. To leave a miserable position with the Postal Service he asked a friend who knew Joe Siano for a job. Joe just happened to be the owner of the Gallery and the older brother of yet another "Nicky," legendary New York DJ, Nicky Siano. He was initially hired as a floor-man to help set up the floor along with future stars Larry Levan and Frankie Knuckles. This involved anything from putting up balloons and decorations to sweeping up the floor, and keeping a vigilant eye on the barely lit dance floor during club hours or as Nicky puts it, "walk around and look nasty."
The original Gallery was in an upstairs loft on 22nd Street in Chelsea and despite serving no alcohol and requiring patrons to be members it didn't mean that Nicky could kick back and relax. The Siano brothers were always keen on keeping a certain level of decorum, and Nicky did his job so well that within three months he was elevated to the position of doorman making about $35.00 a night. Nicky says that he was so naïve that he didn't really know what it entailed until he started. Part of his routine was to keep out the drag queens, and they could be very vocal and pushy if they didn't get their way. Perhaps his scariest moment came when a non-member tried to brandish a gun on Nicky. Joe Siano quickly came downstairs with shotgun in hand to lay down the law.
Ronald "Nicky" Nicholson was born February 10, 1951 and raised in Brooklyn listening to Motown and R & B music and would save his allowance to buy the newest 45s each week. When asked about Nicky Siano's style of spinning music our Nicky remarks, "Nicky Siano was right up my alley because he was totally into R & B and the Philadelphia sound and all the other stuff I grew up with. ...I used to laugh 'cause this is a little Italian kid from Brooklyn and he is playing all my music...Nicky Siano was wonderful"
Working With Larry Levan
The Gallery would open at midnight, but Nicky along with Larry Levan and Frankie Knuckles would come in at around ten to start setting up. Nicky explains that Larry was very hyper. "Larry would be decorating while screaming and carrying on, but it's all friendly stuff like 'Girlfriend get your ass over here and do this for me.'" At the time Nicky jokingly says that he was just "coming out" and was pretty lost in the gay world so whenever he heard Larry say "girlfriend or girl" he was always looking for a real woman.
Nicky continued as the doorman with the Gallery when it moved to Houston Street around 1975 and remained there until the end sometime in 1976. By then Nicky Siano was dealing with personal demons while both Larry Levan and Frankie Knuckles had left to pursue other opportunities. Larry went on to open an after hours club called Reade Street which gave the Gallery a lot of competition while Frankie Knuckles went on to the Continental Baths.
Nicky & Nicky?
It was at this time as well that Nicky lined up his first stint as a DJ for $10.00 a night at a little club in the Village that lasted all but a few weeks. Nicky likes to say that he was, "in experimental mode as a DJ" since he was just starting out. His lover at the time, Jimmy Haynes, worked for a place called "Man's Country" and it was here that Nicky was allowed to try his hand at mixing before the place opened for business. In fact while doing lights for Jimmy one night at Man's Country, Nicky Siano came in and told Nicky, "I didn't know you could do lights." With that Nicky Siano took Nicky off the door to do lights for him because his main lighting guy had quit for about a month due to a dispute. In that brief period that the regular lighting guy was away the two Nickys were jokingly referred to as Nicky and Nicky Incorporated. I asked if anyone besides Nicky Siano was ever allowed to play the Gallery. Apparently, Nicky Siano rarely let anyone spin. The one exception was Walter Gibbons to which the crowd responded unfavorably. He was just too fast and different for them.
As for his influences Nicky says, "the person that taught me, was just listening to Nicky Siano." Nicky adds, "when we closed the doors to the Gallery at about 4:30 in the morning I was free. I would always end up on the dance floor in front of Nicky Siano's booth and I would watch him cue up things...watch him slip cue it back to catch a beat and watch him let it go. Okay, I know what he's doing. So, I got my technique from him even though he didn't teach me, but I was there so long that he did." So his time at the Gallery exposed to Nicky Siano's music on a regular basis is what really gave him his foundation in spinning music.
Nicky's First DJ Gig
With this foundation he became the DJ at a small bar named Peter Rabbit in the West Village. Peter Rabbit had a Sunday event called a Tea Dance, which ran from 4-9PM. It was during one of these events that Nicky casually said that he could do better than the current DJ. The assistant manager said, "prove it" to which Nicky accepted and was hired on the spot. The Sunday Tea Dance proved popular and before long Nicky was spinning until about midnight and also doing Friday and Saturday nights. Even with all his accomplishments Nicky was only making $25.00 a night. Nicky exclaims, "you don't know how bad DJs were treated back then... DJs were not given contracts... they knew that there were plenty of little boys who would do it. They had us by the nuts" In order for Nicky to finally make $60-65.00 he had to keep begging.
Around 1979 Nicky is invited to attend a birthday party for his friend Chico who was the DJ at a place called the Anvil in the meat packing district of Manhattan. It was while there that Nicky unknowingly auditioned for a spot at that club. He along with others was asked to simply hang out and play with Chico during his birthday bash. Nicky played about five mixes and was hired later that morning to spin Sunday nights!
The Anvil was located in Manhattan's West Village on 14th Street and the West Side Highway on a triangular shaped block situated smack in the middle of everything. It first started out as a trucker's bar, which wasn't making any money and later became a gay club, which never admitted woman. The atmosphere was according to Nicky; "definitely Sleaze City There was nothing glamorous about this place." Crowd-wise, it was very touristy on the weekends (Friday and Saturdays) while on Sundays, it catered more to a New York club industry crowd since many DJs from other clubs had off that night and would stop by. There was a downstairs section with caverns and passageways, which could be very raunchy. Nicky describes, "I think I walked down those stairs once, saw something I didn't want to see and turned right around." The upstairs had the bar and dance floor and was very crowded and usually exceeded the posted occupancy level of about 200 by twice that.
Nicky stayed with the Anvil up through 1982 eventually playing Saturday and Sunday nights. Nicky states that his longest night was spinning from midnight Saturday to 1:30 Sunday afternoon. As for his style of playing, Nicky was not into drugs and didn't care to try and get into the minds of his audience or find out what they were on. When others asked him what the crowd was on that night he would reply, "Don't know, don't care. Other DJs worried about getting into the crowd's head and not screwing it up, but because I wasn't doing drugs I didn't have to worry about that. I knew from my mixing if I was screwing it up or not."
Nicky's only vice was Scotch, which he admits partly did him in at the end. When asked about his most embarrassing DJ moment Nicky explains how he wanted to be a "super DJ" and do the entire weekend by himself at the Anvil. "I worked Friday and Saturday night at the Anvil, Sunday afternoon "Tea" down in Tribeca and Sunday night back at the Anvil." He says that he kept falling asleep and topped it off at around 5am by taking the needle off the record that was playing and then slamming it down at full volume in front of all his industry friends.
With other clubs nearby like 12 West and countless other after hours joints, there was fierce competition, but the Anvil only charged a paltry $5.00 cover charge unlike other private clubs which went up to $25.00. The Anvil also served liquor while many of the others didn't. There was even another sleazy bar nearby aptly named "The Toilet" which catered to a leather crowd. Also nearby was a leather bar called the "Eagle's Nest" at which Nicky appeared a few times.
Leaving Peter Rabbit which was predominantly more of an R & B type of place to the Anvil which was more Euro did present a challenge to Nicky since he wasn't really used to that style. Fortunately for Nicky one of his old friends from Peter Rabbit, Larry Rossiello, was now at the Anvil as well and took the time to turn Nicky on to some great Euro tracks. Nicky didn't exactly warm up to this new sound all that quickly. He recalls the first time he heard Costandinos ' "Romeo & Juliet" and said, "boring." What he did notice was that the crowd was eating this stuff up and Nicky says that he started to change his attitude when he heard Boris Midney's USA European Connection and the music of Voyage.
The Anvil was a well-known and respected club, which allowed Nicky access to more records by being allowed to join such prestigious record pools as Judy Wientstein's "For the Record." Although he was already a member of Eddie Rivera's IDRC record pool Nicky wasn't receiving from them the type and quality of product that Judy's organization afforded him. His playlist was quickly expanded and he was now covering more musical territory than ever before. Nicky averaged about 80 pieces of vinyl a week as a result of Judy's pool. Things don't come for free however since he had to provide feedback on all those records! Nicky says that perhaps no more than 20 of those records were worth playing. A lot of time was required to sift through all that vinyl.
Nicky and I go off on a tangent talking about celebrities he met while working, and it turns out that he met more than his fair share of them including such stars as Sylvester at a short-lived club he helped open on 23rd Street. He recalls Patrice Rushen used to bring her small daughter to a roller Disco called "Wheels" at Sheridan Square that he spun at. She asked him to not tell anyone who she was because she just wanted to be with her daughter. The worst was Gayle Adams, whom he says had "too much attitude for a one hit wonder." From the clubs and record pool he routinely ran into other DJs such as Richie Kaczar (Studio 54, Hollywood), François Kevorkian, John "Jellybean" Benitez with whom he did some vocal effects for the Dissconet remix of Easy Going's "Fear." He also met the producer of the Village People, Jacques Morali at a place called Kellers in the Village. Jacques walked in and asked Nicky and his friend Billy, "Would you like to make $50.00?" He gave them his business card and told them to be at the studio the next morning at 9am because he could use them on his album. They went in and played the tambourines on four tracks of the "Hollywood" album. His name appears misspelled in the credits as Ron "Nick" Nickolson. Nicky also recalls the time Roy Thode came in to Man's Country and did a set of five songs, which blew Nicky away.
Larry Levan and the Paradise Garage Experience
Nicky would routinely visit other clubs on his off nights and hang. He had been to the Paradise Garage on a few occasions and remarks; "I don't get it." One night Nicky and a friend walk in and hear Larry Levan lose a mix and upon their return from the Village four hours later heard Larry playing the exact same track and "he screwed it up again." At this point Nicky and I both concur that perhaps Larry is over-rated and that because of his untimely death nobody wants to say anything critical about him. Nicky recounts a time when Larry went in to hear him play at the Anvil. During the course of the night Nicky plays the B-side to Alec Costandinos' "Romeo & Juliet" and Larry mentions that he has never heard it before and asks who is it by. Nicky of course obliges only to discover about two weeks later that everyone is talking about this awesome new track that Larry is now playing at the Garage which was the B side to Romeo & Juliet! Nicky had already been playing the record for a few months. Nicky explains that, "it burned me up only when Kenny Morgan, who was at the record pool, started raving about Larry Levan and this new record he introduced. And when I showed Kenny the record and said, 'this is what Larry is playing' Kenny says, 'Larry doesn't play that type of music.'" Nicky tells Kenny to put on side B so he can hear it for himself to which Kenny replies; "Oh sh*t!"
The question as to whether other DJs were helpful or not was posed and Nicky explains to DiscoMusic.com that it was about 50/50. "Some great people who always lent a helping hand were Howard Merrit, who played at the Flamingo and would come to the Anvil with 'product in-hand' and Richie Rivera, who is best known for his 'Midnight Mix' remixes." In fact Richie was at the Anvil before Nicky arrived and turned him on to the music of Voyage and encouraged him to start buying and playing imports. On the other side of the token were people "who were just stuck on themselves" like Jimmy Burgess.
When asked what he thought of his career at the time and if it was just a job Nicky replies, " It's funny, I never looked at it retrospectively which is one of my downfalls. Frankie Knuckles and those guys had vision of what they wanted to do. To me I just thought, 'Gee I've got the sweetest job on the planet and loving every minute of it.' People would say to me, 'You don't know how lucky you are to be doing what you love' and I would go yeah...I just had this fire that I had to be playing the new music and playing on the weekends." Eventually Nicky's health (diabetes and high blood pressure) got to him so he bowed out of the scene around 1984 and moved out to New Jersey where he and his lover have remained. He's continued to do some gigs here and about though.
Part 1: DJ's and Industry People
Below is a list Nicky provided to DiscoMusic.com of some of the DJs and industry people Nicky met and dealt with over the years.
- JOHN 'JELLYBEAN' BENITEZ - Worked together on Disconet remix of Easy Going's FEAR. (I'm the 'dirty old man' groaning in the background.)
- JIMMY BURGESS
- WALTER GIBBONS - Met him when he did his guest spot at Nicky Siano's 'The Gallery'.
- ALAN DODD - Record Pool and he worked 12 West.
- WARREN GLUCK
- BOBBY 'DJ' GUTTADARO - Met him while I worked The Anvil. He would 'guest spot' alone or sometimes with me on Sundays.
- TOMMY JENKINS - Worked together at Peter Rabbit
- JIMMY HAINES - Worked together at Man's Country (My first lover --- allowed me to use the dj setup in the club for practice.)
- JIMMY JOHNSON - Record Pool and we both worked The Eagle's Nest (Leather Bar)
- RICHIE KACZOR - Met him while he worked Hollywood. I would hang out there as his mixing style was totally different from Nicky Siano's.
- François KERVORKIAN
- FRANKIE KNUCKLES - We worked together as 'floormen' at The Gallery. When he left to dj, I would visit him at The Continental Baths.
- LARRY LEVAN - We worked together as 'floormen' at The Gallery. He left to dj at Reade Street and then, of course, The Garage.
- ROBBIE LESLIE - He worked down the street at 12 West/The River Club. Also in the record pool. We would visit each other on play nights.
- JOHN LUONGO - Met him at a Motown party.
- DAVID MANCUSO - Larry Levan and Frankie Knuckles first took me to The Loft as I had never been. Met David there.
- JOHN MATTARAZO - He would hang at the Anvil, I would visit him in NJ
- HOWARD MERRIT - Met him when he distributed for Casablanca and later the record pool. One of the nicest guys you ever want to meet (plus being a stone fox!)
- KENNY MORGAN - Worked with me at Peter Rabbit. Also distributed product for Judy at For the Record.
- DIANE RHOADES - My lover introduced me to her. Diane worked the M&K and Atlantis in Asbury Park, NJ. We became good friends and I was a guest more than once at her clubs. I had two busloads of New Yorkers come in one night to Atlantis. What a night!!
- DOUG RIDDICK
- EDDIE RIVERA - Met Eddie when he worked The Bon Soir. He later invited me to join his record pool which I did before switching to Judy's.
- RICHIE RIVERA - The 'Midnight Mix' man. He worked The Anvil before me. Introduced me to the concept of buying imports.
- DAVID RODRIGUEZ - Met him when he worked The "Original" Limelight in Sheridan Square.
- LARRY ROSSIELLO - A good friend. Introduced me to Howard Merrit and pushed me to work at The Anvil. Always supportive. (Remixed Bloodstone's Just Want the Feel of It and Thelma Houston's Saturday Night, Sunday Morning.)
- LARRY SANDERS - Record Pool and Zanzibar in NJ. Great guy.
- NICKY SIANO - My "boss" while I worked The Gallery. Also my reason for becoming a DJ. He was awesome.
- TROIANO (TEE) SCOTT - Would visit Tee at Better Days and he was also a Gallery member.
- ROY THODE - Showed me how to be more aggressive on the turntables with his mix of EASE ON DOWN THE ROAD –> LOVE IS THE MESSAGE.
- SHARON WHITE - Record Pool and she guest spotted at 12 West.
Part 2: Artists...
Now for a list of artists and groups Nicky met during his DJ years.
- LEO GENESIS - From the group, Scandal, on SAM records. Leo hung out with Bill and I in the Village. He and his lover were good friends of ours and I remember how he couldn't wait to get a deal with a record company. In 1981 Scandal released "I Wanna Do It" b/w "Love Either Grows or Goes" on 12" single. Leo was the lead singer. Fate was not on their side, the record didn't do well and the group broke up. Scandal appeared shortly after as a rock group on the Columbia label without Leo.
- CHANSON / AMII STEWART - Industry people were invited to an Ariola label gathering. We dj's got to meet Amii and the group. They performed their hits, "Knock On Wood" and "Don't Hold Back".
- EVELYN THOMAS - Bill and I met her while she was in-between labels at one of the east side bars I sold tapes to. She was singing jazz here and actively looking for a label contract. Asked me if I could help out. Told her my name didn't actually carry a lot of weight but I would ask. Lucky for her she got signed to Record Shack (no thanks to me).
- PATRICE RUSHEN - In the midst of the eighties disco backlash which I wasn't paying attention to I was invited to open a roller disco called Wheels. It was right off the corner of 7th Avenue at the top of Christopher Street in the Village. I was still doing Sundays at The Anvil (which where the owners heard me) so I could do Friday, Saturday and some early evening gigs at Wheels. I was at one of these early sessions that I met Patrice and her daughter. She was actually coming to Wheels for some quality time with her daughter and asked me not to mention her name to the crowd. As I kept my promise, Patrice would come in regularly and say hello.
- RAY MARTINEZ (PRODUCER) - Ray was hanging out sometimes in the Village and he would come to Peter Rabbit and The Anvil. I have his autograph on my "Lady Of The Night" Importe 12 single.
- ULLANDA MCCULLOUGH - Remember "Bad Company" and "Rock Me" on Atlantic? This lady was just beautiful. She was going out with a friend of ours, Nathan, which is how we met. Nathan worked the door at Peter Rabbit part-time so sometimes Ullanda was just hangin' with him. She told Bill and I that, even though her career may never sky rocket, she was quite comfortable doing commercials. She made a damn good living at it. When Judy Weinstein threw an anniversary party for the record pool at The Garage, Bill and I hung out with Ullanda and her crew. Great time.
- BARBARA ROY - from Ecstasy, Passion & Pain. As doorman, I admitted her to The Gallery and asked that she sign our 'Wall of Stars'.
- MICK JAGGER and DAVID BOWIE - Again, as doorman I gave entrance to The Gallery. This was hysterical as Mick was so stoned he could barely walk. Bowie was doing his androgynous drag thing and every one around me was "oohing and aaahing". I was about to '86' Mick as he was just too sloppy but Joe, the owner, said don't worry about it. After they went in Joe asked me if I would have really told Mick Jagger he couldn't come in. My reply: In a heartbeat. I wasn't impressed, great music aside.
- SKYY - Like a lot of artists, Skyy came to the record pool one Friday to promote and say, 'thanks'. I don't remember too much about the guys but the ladies and I were getting along like old friends. They wanted to hang out with me that night as I told them I was going to The Anvil. Told them very frankly that they didn't want to go there and besides, at that time, The Anvil didn't allow women. I did invite them to Wheels and Peter Rabbit but their schedules were crazed. Nice, nice people.
- GAYLE ADAMS - Again, at the record pool. I'm not going to say a lot here because it wouldn't be kind. Let's just say Love Fever was a hit and she thought she was it!
- SYLVESTER - I guess he and his entourage were making the rounds one night in Manhattan and I happened to be working on 23rd Street. (Another club I guest-spotted where the name escapes me.) Nice time had by all except my lover, Bill. One of Sylvester's friends walked off with his new Lucite tambourine. Bill was pissed!
- FELIPE ROSE (The Indian in The Village People) - Felipe and I were friends before his career took off and my studio work on their first album. He used to dance at The Anvil which is where we met. We remain friends although I haven't seen him in quite some time. He used to come to our AIDS benefit functions if he happened to be in the City. Felipe was a perfect rep for The Village People as he and that costume were known to gay crowds everywhere.
- CERRONE - Save the best for last, right? Cerrone came to Judy's For the Record one Friday. I had mistakenly told Bill (I would invite him when I knew artists were coming) that Cerrone was French and to introduce himself as Guillaume (William 'en francais'). Well, Cerrone must have thought Bill was an idiot because he didn't understand a word he was saying. I did get an autograph on my Angelina/ Cerrone V LP jacket.
Part 3: Mix Tapes for Bars
Finally here is a list of some of the places Nicky spun at or made tapes for.
All of the following bars were in the heart of The Village, from the top of Christopher Street all the way down to the West Street (a/k/a/ West Side Hwy). If you drew a map it would look like an upside down "T". I was fortunate enough to be one of a few dj's asked to make tapes for the bars on "The Strip". The first bar I made a tape for was Kellers on West St. That was in 1976. The last would be Sneakers in 1996. After we moved to Jersey I joined NJADD (New Jersey Association of Discotheque DJ's). That's because I was still playing in clubs even in 1986.
- BOOTS & SADDLES - Top of Christopher St. (Sheridan Sq.) - 1976- 1979.
- TY's - A few steps below Boots... 77 -79.
- ONE POTATO - Bar & Restaurant on Hudson St. off Christopher - 77 - 80.
- TWO POTATO - Bar & dancing on weekends - 79 - 80. *I ALSO DID A SPECIAL NEW YEAR'S EVE PARTY "LIVE" HERE.*
- KELLERS - On the upside down "T", this would be the last bar on the right side of West St. - 1976 - 1985.
- SNEAKERS - On West St., a little bit left of center "T") - 1978 - 1996. This bar became home base for bill and i as our 'extended family' hung out here. I donated a lot of my equipment to this place and played many "live" parties here: birthdays for the manager, aids benefits, donations to meals on wheels or just an excuse for us to get together. Leo, our good friend and manager, passed away with more than 60 cassettes of my personal music.
- BADLANDS - Right on the corner of Christopher and West Streets - 79 - 83.
- THE DUGOUT - Christopher St., 1 block east of hwy - 90 - 91.
- RAMROD - Leather bar on corner of West and 10th Streets (across from Peter Rabbit) - 80 - 81.
- EAGLE'S NEST - This was a leather bar above 14th Street so not on the strip with the others - 81 - 82. I WAS HIRED TO PLAY LIVE HERE ALSO BUT SINCE THE OWNER DID NOT ALLOW THE LEATHER BOYS TO DANCE, I SAW NO POINT IN CONTINUING.
- During this same time frame I also made tapes for THE WAREHOUSE, an uptown (72nd St) bar, TJ's and SINGLES, two eastside bars, TOWN & COUNTRY, a midtown bar on the westside and for a bar/club in Amsterdam.
Part 4: Clubs
- PETER RABBIT - The Village, 10th & Christopher - 1975 - 1978, 1982.
- THE ANVIL - 14th & West Street - 1978 - 1983
*** These two clubs (Peter Rabbit and The Anvil) were my full-time gigs. If I consider any place my "Claim to fame" it would be the Anvil. Despite its sleazy attitude, and reputation, the people there, especially the New Yorkers, knew their music. Plus, since I worked Sundays, midnight to until... I played for a lot of industry people – DJ's, bartenders, promoters, you name it. Capt. Mike (Michael Wilkinson of Disconet) would bring his year-end medleys in for feedback, and review. He also trusted me enough to introduce Festival's Evita that he had on a reel-to-reel. He warned me the intro was mostly sound effects and asked how was I going to find the mix. I told him don't worry about it, just give it to me. Not to brag, but I killed. Other DJs in the room were screaming. Mike had the biggest grin on his face I've ever seen. God I loved this sh*t! ***
- ALEX IN WONDERLAND - 2 blocks south of The Anvil - sort of a regular T-Dance guest spot for me after I left The Anvil - 1983- 1985.
- MAGIQUE - Eastside Club - One-time guest spot.
- WHEELS - This was the roller disco I was hired to open on Christopher St in 1981 or 1982. I actually think it was 81 because that anti-disco thing was going on very strong. This place got me "back to my roots' so to speak as hi-nrg was not on tap here. I still refused to play any rap music but we had a couple there that would do it live against the instrumental versions I would play. Different but fun.
- MAN'S COUNTRY - Eight story bathhouse in Chelsea. My first lover was the dj there but allowed me to fool around with the equipment whenever I felt the need. 1974 - 1975.
- M & K and ATLANTIS - These were two gay clubs in Asbury Park, NJ, where a friend of Bill's, Diane Rhoades, was the dj. Bill introduced me to Diane when she worked the girls' bar at the M & K. (The men's bar was either upstairs or downstairs, I don't remember.) Diane and I hit it off right away and were always talking music. She routinely asked me to play with her whenever Bill and I went down there. I used to bring music with a more NY edge. I introduced her to the remix of Rapture by Blondie. She went crazy and her rival male counterpart got pissed and wanted to know why I was hanging out with the women. He got over it. When she eventually got her own place, ATLANTIS, she gave me a guest spot. This is when our friend Leo from Sneakers organized a bus trip for my NY friends down to Asbury. Can you imagine, two busloads of NYers in a town that closes down at 2AM. We raised hell! I was fooling around on the turntables when the owner/manager came over and said you're friends are outside. I mixed into Costandinos' "Winds of Change". Diane looked at me like, "Why that?" They started screaming at the door and she understood. They didn't stop until I ended the night with We Are Family. Fond memories for me. Diane's lover was very happy, too, as Leo directed all the drinkers to her (she was a bartender). Tips like you wouldn't believe. She talked about that night for years. I'll never forget Diane's disbelief at the reaction to Winds of Change. I remember her saying, they know THIS, and I said, THIS is New York. 1981 - 1986.
- TRIBECA - True to it's name, located in Tribeca in lower Manhattan at the time it was just starting to be built. A Peter Rabbit/Anvil fan of mine bought this place and asked me to be it's dj. I loved it but the club was opened in the wrong place at the wrong time. No one was traveling down there yet. 1981 or 1982.
- THE CAVE - 14th Street a block above The Anvil. I opened this place and they wanted me to stay but it was claustrophobic for me. It actually looked like a cave and the ceilings were low enough to prove it. (I knew this one wasn't going to work.) 1979 or 1980.
- 23rd STREET - I'm calling it this because that's where it was off 8th Avenue but I can't remember the name. This is where I met Sylvester. The year was 1981 and I remember because Don't You Want Me Baby by Human League was the hit at the time.
- LES MOUCHES - One of the westside's "chic" spots. Same club where Mel Cheren held his West End Records party. My guest spot - 1979
- TODD'S - New Brunswick, NJ - I did a private party for a corporate group entitled LEAGUE (LESBIAN AND GAY UNITED EMPLOYEES). The year was 1994.
Written by Bernard F. Lopez (April 3, 2001)
Copyright © 2001 by Bernard F. Lopez
All rights reserved