Today is all about the old school. It would have been the 64th birthday of club legend and dear friend Arthur Weinstein, and tonight a ton of people who are grayer than they ever thought possible will gather for a tribute for the dearly departed Don Hill. This benefit at Irving Plaza will start at 6:30, not only because these days many of us roll that way but also because of the amount of talent that will be hitting the stage to show love. Although this list is likely to be incomplete, the following artists are slated to perform: David Johansen, Richard Butler (Psychedelic Furs), Jesse Malin & the St. Marks Social, Manitoba, Royston Langdon (Spacehog), Lenny Kaye, The Toilet Boys, Daniel Rey, Triggers All-Star Band, Theo, Hired Killers INC., Bebe Buell Band, Adam Bomb, La Dolce Vita (Michael Imperioli), Brucifer & Bitch Band, At War With the 60’s, and Girl to Gorilla.
There will be walk-ons and all sorts of rock-and-roll hullabaloo as a celebration of the life of Mr. Don Hill will require a true to your school rock fest. The pain of our loss is still real. The man and the joint that bore his name will always be impossible to replace. I look forward to seeing faces I haven’t seen in years. Some fool once said "you can’t go home again," and some people believe that shit. Tonight those who were there will return home to gather with their extended NYC rock family. At one point all of us will look at the rafters and smile for Don. At one point all of us will gaze down at the ancient wood floor and drop a tear on it. Irving Plaza has the chops, the credibility to host this gala. We all have seen a lot of great shows in that room. We will all come to praise this Caesar of rock and roll. We buried him months ago. There will much love coming from the stage and around the bars for a man that everyone found easy to love.
After all the bands, speeches, and such, Michael Schmidt will recreate his Squeezebox club night which was as much as a part of Don Hill’s as the tattoo art that he adorned the walls with. That should begin around 1am. Mistress Formika of Squeezebox fame will also host, as will Johnny and Chi Chi of "Mother," Frankie Inglese of "Beahver," and Justine D and Nick Mark of "Tis Was." If you have no idea what I am talking about then I behoove you to come and find out. Don Hill touched and changed the lives of so many. Tonight’s gathering will be all about the love that will never fade.
As I said up top, my dear friend Arthur Weinstein would have been 64 today. I posted this Winnie the Pooh quote on his still very active Facebook page: “If there ever comes a day when we can’t be together keep me in your heart, I’ll stay there forever”. The first time I saw Arthur was at Danceteria. I was a pay-to-get-in patron of that great old club and I was sitting in the restaurant part of the joint with a couple of friends. Arthur walked in with his beautiful wife Colleen. I had no idea who he was but all eyes were transfixed on the white tux-wearing club mogul. One of the wise guys at my table said "it takes a lot of practice to walk that slow." "What do you mean?" I asked. He explained that Arthur was walking very slowly to make sure everyone saw him and to make sure he saw everyone seated at the tables, acknowledging with a smile or a nod anyone he felt was important. I was intrigued by these thoughts of someone working the room and endeavored to meet him. It took time and a lot of proving myself, but one day there we were constant friends and co workers. I named my dog after him and Arturo Vega. He was my go-to guy for advice when an honest voice was needed. He would never mince words. So often he would tell me I was fucking up just when I thought I was reaching Nirvana, and he’d be right. Sometimes when I was at my lowest, when the world was doing it’s best to beat me to a pulp he’d lift me to heaven. Not with words of encouragement, but with a couple tickets to a game or by introducing me to some unbelievable character that sold accordians or lived on the streets that he had befriended. When they came for me hard he was my backbone. He could see right through people, show me the worst in the best and the benefits of those I would otherwise ignore. Like Don Hill, we buried Arthur a while back but he still is in our hearts–forever