Well, this is a bit of a surprise; but then again, maybe not so much. Less than a month after the death of its former owner, it’s been announced that live music and dance club Don Hill’s is officially bankrupt and will be closing, effective immediately. Current owners Nur Khan and Paul Sevigny were apparently overextended in the wallet area from running other restaurant and nightclub ventures here and in Los Angeles and couldn’t seem to get the rent check in the mail on time. You know how it is when you’re a wealthy, jet-setting hipster. Still, I’m not sure why club owners don’t seem to grok that this kind of thing happens when you don’t pay your rent. Sure, Don Hill’s was a legendary dive where everybody went do drugs and party with rock stars (I know I had many good times there), but who really gives a shit? Nostalgia goes right into the toilet when the landlord has bills to pay. The same exact thing happened when the late Hilly Kristal let the rent on CBGB lapse for a year and then had the nads to feed the public outrage over the place being shut down. It’s worth noting that the new tenant in the former CBGB’s space at Bowery and Bleecker, hot shot menswear designer John Varvatos, is also a hardcore rocker who turned his new boutique into a shrine to its former inhabitant, preserving many of the original walls and fixtures and selling vintage stereo equipment, vinyl LPS and coffee table books by Mick Rock. On the flipside, Nur Khan told Page Six that the building will be turned over to developers, noting that the property offered a “moneymaking opportunity unconcerned with preserving Don’s legacy.” Clearly, real estate owners aren’t very sentimental in New York City.
Photo By Mick Rock
The legendary Lou Reed was born on this day, March 2nd, in 1942! Favorite Lou Reed Song: “Satellite of Love.”
Outtake From Cover Shoot for Queen II, 1973, By Mick Rock
Anyone who grew up in the 70s, loving bands like Queen and David Bowie, knows the legacy of photographer Mick Rock. Along with the equally phenomenal Bob Gruen, Rock is a photographer whose skilled eye captured images – fleeting moments in rock history – that were every bit as important to the times as the music being made by those he was shooting. It is not at all surprising that Mick Rock is also known as “The Man Who Shot the 70s.” Mick Rocks!
Beginning October 27, 2010, the Morrison Hotel Gallery (located at 313 Bowery, the former home of CBGB Gallery and Lounge) will host an exhibit on the photography of Mick Rock that includes many of his most iconic music-star images of the era – the aforementioned Queen and Bowie plus Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Blondie, The Ramones and so many others – as well as today’s superstars such as Bono and Lady Gaga. I attended the opening party last night and it was total glorious chaos – just like the 70s!
Just three feet into the Morrison Hotel Gallery, I couldn’t help but notice a small sign, maybe eight inches square, blood red with white block lettering perched on the front desk, which declared to all who entered “NO PHOTOGRAPHY.” How hilarious. Not only were there cameras everywhere (from fans snapping shots on their cell phones to pros toting huge amounts of gear), but the friend I was with was actually physically lifted off the ground and smacked in the head with a camera when she got caught up in a swarm of overzealous photographers desperate to get the best access to Mick as he made his way through the crowd. It was insane. As difficult as it was to squeeze through the throng of local celebs, aging scenesters and others who, like me, go out of their way to live in the past, the photos – which ranged in size from 30”x40” to 8”x10” – are simply amazing. They just don’t make rock stars like they used to, but at least Mick Rock was there to document the glitter, the glam and the drunken debauchery, so that today we can look back on that time and wish it never had to end.
The Morrison Hotel show is basically just PR for Rock’s new coffee-table book, Exposed: The Faces of Rock n’ Roll which includes 200 of Rock’s iconic photos that were previously unreleased. I’ve seen the book and I would most definitely classify it as “Must Own,” dependent on whether or not you actually own a coffee table. Because NYC apartments, they are so small and short on storage space. Mick Rock!
This past Wednesday I had a total blast going out to a CD release party for Legendary Rock God Ian Hunter. I was invited to this hipster hang by my pal Katherine, who produces Alice Cooper’s nightly syndicated radio program, appropriately titled Nights with Alice Cooper — thanks Katherine! The party was held in the John Varvatos clothing boutique on Spring Street down in Soho, so it was very swanky. Right away I ran into my old sidekick Tommy Rocker and his lovely lady Leona, and we got caught up on each other’s lives as party goers sipped refreshing Greyhounds (vodka and grapefruit juice, so tasty) and ate delicious bite sized snacks amid racks of fragrant leather jackets and overpriced jeans.
Dennis Dunaway (bassist, original Alice Cooper band) was also there with his wife Cindy, and I spent some time hanging out with them since I sort of know them already. It feels kind of surreal to say that, because I had such a hard crush on Dennis when I was 12 years old and Billion Dollar Babies had just been released. But the hilarious thing is that when somebody asked Dennis, “Do you know anybody here?” He replied, “Well, I know the band, and I know Gail.” Seriously.
The similarly legendary rock photographer Bob Gruen was also there. He is impossible to miss even in a crowd of rabid scenesters, because he’s on TV all the time and has such a distinctive look. Bob (along with guys like Mick Rock) took a lot of the photos of all the classic rockers — too many to name — which have become icons of the era. I have a few of his shots of my friend Neal Smith on display in the Chickpad. Bob has the eye, as they say.
About an hour into this festive shindig, Ian performed a short set of tunes from his new CD, Shrunken Heads plus an awesome rendition of “All The Young Dudes,” which is my favorite song of all time. That song changed my life, and I was standing about five feet from Ian when he sang it that night. It was so cool. Ian is one-of-a-kind and I will adore him until I die.