Fashion Week Brings Alacran Mezcal, a Willyburg band, and the Cocktail Bodega

With every Tom, Dick, and Harry meeting up with every Betty, Veronica, and Sally to attend Fashion Week events in every club, bar, lounge, restaurant, or alley – the city is in a frenzy. Cabs are impossible to get, and fashion victims seeking out lattes have overrun my favorite coffee shops. I tried watching the Democratic convention for escapist purposes, as I decided long ago who I was voting for. My friend DJ Cassidy is DJing it. Now that’s a big gig. I saw him just a minute ago at Noah Tepperberg’s birthday bash and noticed that somehow his head can still fit into his trademark, seasonal boater (that’s a hat). The Democratic convention is some gig. I can’t complain, as my agency 4AM has me all over the place spewing out my brand of rock and roll. Tomorrow I will DJ at Empire Hotel Rooftop and next week at door-God/actor Wass Steven’s birthday at Avenue, and lots more. It’s so much fun.

They had me out at The Montauk Beach House for the Labor Day Weekend Monday pool party. I played classic surf music and end-of-summer fare while my friends sunbathed by the glorious pool. TMBH is wonderful. We stayed over and the rooms were luscious. I want back.

I attended the super hush-hush private performance by Gary Clark Jr. at The Electric Room. Nur Khan always delivers superb surprises for Fashion Week. Gary is a big deal and Nur was gushing all about him. I love The Electric Room and will attend again real soon for the super, hush-hush performance by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club which is coming up but I can’t tell you about. The Electric Room holds a couple hundred people, and seeing this kind of talent in such an intimate setting is amazing.

Obligations took me far away from the opening of Lil Charlie’s, the sweet spot underneath Ken & Cook. Artan and Karim gave me the $2-dollar tour last week and I was so impressed. They made the place more comfortable than its Travertine incarnation. It looks great and seems to be larger somehow than before. Little Charlie’s Clam Bar was for years the home of the locals of Little Italy. The gentrified neighborhood has lost its charms and has been replaced with high-end boutiques, salons, and restaurants. The use of the name in this context raised my eyebrow, but there isn’t anybody around anymore to understand why. So be it. I think the place is going to be a big hit and I’m going back next week.

I also missed the opening/friends and family of Cocktail Bodega on the corner of Stanton and Chrystie. This opening needs a lot of ink and I’m running out of room today, so I will revisit. I’ll just say it adds considerable light and charm to what was a very dark corner. That little area is becoming hot with The Box sill going strong, and Bantam and other venues developing their brands; I think we all will be spending more time nearby.

I will be at the Alacran Mezcal launch party at the Hotel Americano tonight. Alacran is all over Fashion Week and behind the events at The Out. In a very short time, Arty Dozortov and his team has established the Alacran brand. As avid readers know, I don’t drink…well, I do drink about twice a year, whenever I have sex, and nowadays I’ve forsaken the jamo for Alacran. It’s delicious.

Sunday I will check out Chris Anthony’s shindig at The Grand Victory. Chris was prominent in the nightlife world before he grew up. He has formed a small record label, Jump Ramp Records, and his first project is The Boogie Rock Boy’s, a Willyburg rock/blues/funk act. He has just wrapped their debut LP, a three-track album coming out in vinyl and digital, and this Sunday, in  live audio. The album release will be celebrated along with a couple of other noted local sounds…Delano Groove, Jawaad and Kiva, and DJ Prince Polo.  There’s going to be a BBQ and I’m going to be there. 

A Birthday, an Anniversary, and a Date With my Editor

I have decided to no longer call my dear friend Nur Khan. From now on he is NUR KHAN. Last night, Nur…er NUR, delivered big time…again. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (BRMC) put on a wonderful, intimate, driving rock and roll show at NUR’s Electric Room, which I suspect is the size of many of the dressing rooms this act has gotten used to. I last saw them a couple of Fashion Week’s ago when NUR showcased them at the now-defunct Don Hill’s. At the time, NUR insisted that BRMC was never again going to be seen in a room that small. He was wrong, but in such a good way.

The invite-only crowd was full of the beautiful and cool and all the usual and unusual suspects. There was enough sound in the small Electric Room to power a stadium and a big-time light show as well. Every time I write one of these, fans of the band chime in and get all upset that I don’t talk about what they sang or wore or said. This isn’t a review of the show, but merely a testimonial to NUR and BRMC and the effort put in to enlighten a select few. Electric Room’s Tuesday night DJs Justine Delaney and Nick Marc were on before and after the act. We chatted while Justine offered up sounds that unfortunately cannot be heard in most places. Tonight at Wass’ birthday bash at Avenue, I will be true to my school until they pry me from the booth. I want to say thank you, NUR KHAN.

After my DJ gig, I will be heading to Cielo, another little club that delivers big with a devotion to a purity in music. They are a house venue, and although I definitely rock and roll, I do love house when it isn’t being offered as a mindless medium to jug heads. Tonight is the eighth anniversary of Louie Vega and Kevin Hedge’s Roots NYC. Louie, just in from a seven-week tour of Europe, will spin from 10pm till 4am. He is so "one and only" that I have decided to no longer refer to him as Louie Vega. From now on he is LOUIE VEGA. One of the nicest guys in the biz and easily one of the most talented DJs to come from here. I look forward to his set.

Lastly, my editor Bonnie Gleicher, O.K. BONNIE GLEICHER, has put herself up for sale – or at least rent – in a silent auction win-a-date bidding thing. She will go out for a night on the town that I will arrange with the person who bids the most for her charming company. The loot will go to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. As of this writing she is up to $300 but I assure you she’s worth much more. I would walk a million miles for one of her smiles. I’ll write about this adventure and give you 15 minutes of fame (if you like) if you are the winning bidder. Find out more about this date with destiny here.

Peter Hayes Of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club Talks Rebellion, Rock, & Their New LP

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s Peter Hayes is no stranger to the turbulence synonymous with a long career in rock. The band’s 15-year run seems to have entertained an ever-shifting balance of the good and bad – from great reviews touring the world, to bored critics, substance abuse, and everything between. The band’s most recent hurdle came with the devastating loss of Michael Been, founder of The Call, father of bandmate Robert Levon, touring sound manager, and overall inspiration.

However, light shines in with Specter at the Feast, the band’s sixth studio LP and arguably best work since Howl. We were lucky enough to encounter the soft-spoken wisdom and unaffected perspective of front man Peter Hayes backstage before their show at Terminal 5 to talk about the new album, rebellion, his thoughts on American Idol and The Voice, and the current state of rock.

Specter at the Feast is a welcome departure from a sound beginning to get stuck in a genre that was no longer necessarily exciting, but this album still has those psychedelic and sentimental elements so essential to your sound. Was this shift intentional or part of a natural progression?
It’s always intentional to try and do something different. We don’t want to repeat ourselves, and at the same time don’t want to be too concerned with sounding new because that’s a whole other world of bullshit.

One thing I love about this album is it functions as a unit, like a journey, something commonly forgotten amidst a landscape of disjointed mp3s, Pandora, etc. Is the album as an art form dissolving?
All we’ve got, really, is an album. We don’t have singles that last for too long as far as radio goes. It’s something that you think about in the process. If you happen to have a single, it has to be a certain time, a certain length, blah blah. If that happens to happen, then great, if it doesn’t, you still just want to write a good song. As far as putting it in an album, that’s the fun part of it, to try to make it have a point and have a song movement rather than just slapping songs together. But I guess it doesn’t particularly matter anymore, I can see how people don’t give a shit about it. I guess it’s unfortunate, but that’s their choice. It’s not everybody’s cup of tea to want to get involved in music on another level. It’s not for everybody.

You were in the rock band Brian Jonestown Massacre. How did the transition happen from BJM to BRMC?
Well, we already had this band going. Rob and I were playing music together, and we were fans of that band. I was floating around and saw it as an opportunity to see if I wanted to see what could be done with music, to see if I really wanted to do it. I took it as an opportunity to try and learn a little bit. And I did; I learned a lot. I went on their first US tour, did a bit of studio stuff, and then left when I didn’t feel like I was learning anymore. The transition was really that they were moving to Los Angeles [from San Francisco] at the time and one of their guitar players wasn’t willing to move, so I tried out.

Is Anton [Newcomb] really as crazy as he’s portrayed in Dig!?
(Laughs) No, no. I’ve met a lot of weird people. He’s a lovely dude. I think the girl that made that movie got a little too personal. She wanted to be friends and she crossed that line a lot. Then when she’d get angry, she’d… I mean, the shit happened. It’s on tape. You can’t deny it. But she missed a lot. She missed a whole big portion of how that whole tour ended. She kind of had to piece that together in a whole different way because she wasn’t there.

The band suffered a devastating loss with the passing of Michael Been, father of Robert Levon Been and former front man of The Call. How did this shape the album?
It’s a life experience, really. That’s all. We’re all going to have it, if we haven’t already. We tend to come at it more talking to the listener, with the idea being that the listener has already had the experience or is having one similar. It’s not about “here is us and here are our woes,” or my woes. It’s more “here’s ours, so let’s talk about it together.” It’s not about specifics for us in terms of music. But shaping it, yeah. He’s been involved since the very beginning when we were playing in his living room.

It’s been three years since your last album. How much of that time was spent writing and recording, and has the band’s process evolved through the years?
I guess about a year and a half or two of writing and recording. It was off and on. We went from rehearsal to try and piece it all together, throwing around ideas for a long time. Then that turned into picking songs. From there, we went into the studio, put down a few songs, 10 or 12, pieced together another 13, went into the studio again, put those 13, 14 together. We usually just go into the studio to do drums and take it home and do the guitars and vocals. Studios are pretty expensive. So that was LA, then we went to Santa Cruz and did a bunch there. As far as the process evolving, not really. Hopefully we’ve gotten better at recording a little bit. Really, you’re just hoping to write a good song.

You guys experienced a more methodical rise to notoriety, the opposite of Internet where seemingly anyone can pop overnight. How do you feel the Internet has affected music?
It’s a little bit of a confusing mess. On the one hand, there’s a lot you can discover for free or not free, whatever, it’s all open. The reality is, as much as people say they love music, that version of love is very different from person to person. There’s a community thing about it too. Like when somebody says “I love this,” you think “oh, I love it too,” or “I don’t.”  When you’re looking at it from the perspective of fame, it’s great because that’s gone, and that’s a good thing to me. That’s where music, rock n’ roll or whatever, lost its point and credibility a long time ago. Now that that’s not there I think it’s a great thing, and the Internet has kind of made it that. There’s no latching on to one thing anymore.

Do you think rock is being created or appreciated anymore, now that rap and electronic are so dominant? Or is rock always going to be created because it can really only be defined as rebellion?
I don’t think it’s going to go away. I think it’s been a worry for a long time that it’s going to go away, or the hope of a bunch of people that it’s going to die out. It’s not going anywhere. But the culture – there are going to be less and less people that give a shit about it maybe, but that all depends on how it’s presented, and how the band presents itself too. I really believe that there’s a reason why it’s kept in a particular place. I subscribe to the following: if you control the arts you control the people. Rebellion is just fucking thought to me. So anything that’s sparking that is not wanted. It’s not going to help with what those folks want. So it’s nice to have things all scatterbrained on the Internet. Keep things this and that. And keep people away from it. Keep people voting for the next American Idol or whatever the fuck, Dancing with the fucking Stars, The Voice, you know. It’s all there for a purpose and its purpose is fucked. You just have to be aware of it and not support it.

Just don’t get cable.
(Laughs) Yeah.

So what’s next?
We’ve got another four weeks of a US tour and we got offered some festivals over in Europe, five or six. Then after that, who knows. We could be gone in a week, then have to figure out what to do with life after that. 

Listen to Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s music, & read more on Lindsay MaHarry here

Watch a New Music Video From The Hives

It’s been years since the New Rock Revolution hit and bands like The Hives (and The Strokes, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Interpol, et al) took the airwaves, bringing guitar rock back into vogue after the Ashanti-soaked early aughts.

The Hives, direct from Sweden, were one of the most successful of those groups, gaining serious traction thanks to songs like the undeniably catchy “Hate To Say I Told You So” and their habit of wearing matching black-and-white outfits.

And while the band has remained active, winning international awards and releasing albums, they’ve more or less dropped off the American rock radar. Until now. The video for “Go Right Ahead,” the first single off the forthcoming Lex Hives – out June 5 – was just released, and it showcases the Hives in very fine form.

The video was recorded live in the band’s studio (owned by ABBA’s Benny Andersson) on the Swedish island of Skeppsholmen and shows off a tight sound and not-at-all-diminished flair for foppery, thanks in part to the fancy camerawork of Travis Schneider.

Does this mean a revival for all of those bands that brought guitars back onto the radio in the early part of the millenium? Probably not, but once again The Hives are showing us they know better than anyone how to scratch our garage rock itch.

Agyness Deyn Moves to L.A., Talks 2012 Film Debut

New York has lost one of its most treasured model citizens to Los Angeles. Agyness Deyn’s Twitter bio may still list New York as her adopted hometown, but the Manchester-bred beauty has officially moved to L.A. On Monday night, the supermodel mixed it up at an All Saints charity event for Not For Sale at the Music Box in Hollywood, where she and friend Chris Bletzer played music before a Black Rebel Motorcycle Club concert.

“I’ve been in New York for years, but I just needed a change,” said Deyn. The model said she’s moved to the East side of L.A., so don’t expect to see her walking around the streets of Santa Monica. You’re better off stalking her in Silver Lake (although we in no way endorse stalking). Deyn has been back in the news lately, particularly for narrating the intro to Rihanna’s smash video “We Found Love.”

But on Monday night, the blonde was more about rock burners than pop anthems. “I remember watching them years ago in England,” Deyn said of BRMC. “I always get off on seeing a girl drummer.” Next year, Dyen makes her film debut in an English remake of the 1996 Danish Pusher trilogy, which was directed by Nicolas Winding Refn of Drive fame. “She’s a troubled soul,” Dyen says of her character. “Drugs are involved.”