I’m very late today because I went to Long Island to pick up slate for the fireplace at The Elsinore, which is quickly approaching completion. I think it will be done the end of next week. On the way back, with literally a ton of stone in the truck, the truck konked out. Luckily, we were on a steep hill and spotted a gas station at the bottom. We just rolled into the place and they went to work right away to fix what was broke. Next door to the gas station was a Dunkin’ Donuts so it wasn’t a complete disaster.
Yesterday I took one of my first days off since ’03 and it was grand. Me and mine went to the Bronx Zoo which was a zoo. Apparently, Wednesdays are donation day with no fixed admission fee, which means approximately 1 billion people descend upon the zoo to enjoy the nice day with the pretty animals at no cost. We had a blast, completely captivated by the captivated lions and tigers and bears. ..oh my! Amongst the zillions of people, we somehow found Hotel Chantelle go-go dancer Nicky Delmonico and assured her tonight’s hot “Generation Wild” Rock Party at Chantelle would be cool. The joint fixed its air conditioning.
We got home, washed the day away, and headed to DBGB Kitchen & Bar for dinner with Marky Ramone and his Marion. We were joined by chef Daniel Boulud who bombarded us with funny tales and scrumptious deserts. Marky and I told and retold tales of yore. We talked of Dee Dee, Joey, CBGB, and Max’s Kansas City. I don’t desire to dwell too long in the past, preferring to keep looking forward, but sitting with an old war horse like Marky leads to inevitable digression. Eventually I’ll tell you all about it.
As he posed for photographs with giddy patrons – suburban people who now live in nearby condos and chic apartments where there once stood burnt-out buildings that punks, bums, dealers, and scum squatted in – we talked about the ghosts of Bowery past. It was inconceivable to us that such folk are now frolicking and enjoying such fine fare where we youthfully played amongst the ruins. Back then, a container topped with aluminum foil filled with chicken vindaloo and eaten with a plastic fork was fine dining.
Marky is still touring, still banging his drums not so slowly, and doing lots of other things I will, as I said, eventually talk about. At DBGB, his gravy… er sauce, is for sale and prominently on display up front. Marky Ramone’s Brooklyn’s Own Marinara Sauce is featured in delicious pasta dishes that we all shared prior to our entrees. We headed to Bantam, side-stepping homeless folks who haven’t quite heard the good news about how fabulous the neighborhood has become.
I saw a petition on Petitionbuzz that was under the banner "ALLOW WIP & GREENHOUSE to reopen.” When I clicked through, I read this:
"As many of you already know W.I.P & Greenhouse are still closed pending a scheduled hearing on Friday. I know that I can speak for many people when I say that this is a big blow to the people employed by the club, the nightlife community, as well as to the party goers themselves. We all loved hanging out and partying at W.I.P and are sad to see that the actions of 2 world renown hip hop artist acting like thugs shut down a place we all love and leave 300 people (including Greenhouse) out of jobs in this depressed economic state. I Emailed @NYNightlife asking him whether or not he thought this petition would even be worth while / effective. He replied saying that he would contact someone at WIP/Greenhouse and see what they think. 10 minutes later he Emailed me back saying that he was told "it would go a long way", which means that every "signature" counts. The hearing is scheduled for Friday, so until then lets all make it a point to get as many people to sign this petition as possible and to share it with everyone we know, thank you."
I have been pretty harsh on the players-to-be-named-later over there at W.i.P./Greenhouse, but anytime a club is closed because of the illegal actions of its patrons, I get confused. It’s like closing Kennedy Airport because the TSA caught some joker smuggling some blow or because a couple of schmoes duked it out on a long line. There were a lot of people making a living over there at those joints. I’m hoping that "were" gets changed to “are.”
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This Thursday, Sam Valentine and I will DJ at our weekly “Generation Wild” Rock Party at Hotel Chantelle. We will be joined by the legendary Lüc Carl. Luc is famous for lots of stuff and real good at things that get lost in the fluff that surrounds him. Although we have different approaches to life on this planet we are both grounded in rock. At Chantelle we play the stuff that makes them gag at most saloons. You won’t hear Blondie or the B-52s – not that those fantastic acts don’t have a place in my heart or my playlist… but they just don’t have a place on Thursdays, on the lobby level. Miss Guy and Michael Cavadias offer that downstairs and sometimes it can be mixed in on the glorious roof …but the lobby is rock and roll hoochie koo. If you, like my editor, don’t know what rock and roll hoochie koo is (editor’s note: watch it, Steve.), come by and ask one of us …although I think Nicky Delmonico, the tattooed go-go vixen will be better at explaining it.
In this photo by Eric T. White, Luc looks like the rock star that he is. I asked him to tell me all about it:
On Rock ‘n’ Roll
At the age of 8 I got my first drum set. That same year in my father’s Dodge I discovered Playboy, Peppermint Schnapps, and ZZ Top. That’s the day I became a rock ‘n’ roller and I’ll never go back.
On St. Jerome’s
At the age of 25, the woman I’d been working for handed me the keys to a brand new bar. A shitload of hard work and booze later, it became one of the world’s most significant rock ‘n’ roll bars. I left the bar just over a year ago, yet it remains the driving force of rock ‘n’ roll in New York City. It may be falling apart (good luck getting a cold beer or a working air conditioner) but they’re always fully stocked with Jameson and 20-somethings talking about decades they weren’t alive to experience.
On Lady Gaga
At the age of 25 a girl walked into my bar and we instantly fell in love. (I found out later that at the time, she was only 20 years old with a fake ID). We dated off and on for over six years. She wrote a bunch of catchy pop songs and realized that if she walked around in public with a potted plant on her head the world would say “who is that?” and the tabloids would write stories about her. Her life, needless to say, completely changed, and I’m not the type of guy who can sit on someone else’s yacht sipping champagne. Unfortunately, to date someone who is never in the same country, let alone zip code, you had better be rich or be willing to live off of their money. I was neither.
Unfortunately, I get a bum rap. I could write four bestsellers and have 100 radio shows per week and the general public will still be more interested in the ex-boyfriend title. (You already thought about skipping the rest of the article…see what I mean?).
She’s an amazing woman and I wish her all the best in the world. Although I think we all know she already has it.
I’ve been on-air there for nearly a year now. I love it. It’s the only place in the world where real-deal rock ‘n’ roll remains relevant. I can be found seven nights per week on either 38 Ozzy Osbourne’s Boneyard, or 39 Hair Nation.
On The Drunk Diet
Somehow between all the partying and working my ass off I found time to write a book. It’s in stores all over North America and in Europe. It’s been featured in The New York Times, Penthouse, Vanity Fair, USA Today, Fox and Friends, Mens Health, Runners World, Bicycling Magazine, Self, etc. I also have a blog that features my insanity on a daily basis and gets over a million hits per year. LucCarl.com
On Ludlow Manor/ The DL
Last summer my good friend and bandmate for nearly a decade, Georgie Seville, came to me about a business opportunity. The space was gorgeous and I was ready to get back into nightlife so it seemed like a win-win. I was hired to staff the second floor with bartenders and DJs and basically make sure no one was fucking up. A month later, I was in every local newspaper as the “owner” of Ludlow Manor with, of course, my ex-girlfriend’s name right next to mine because that’s the only way the publicists could sneak their way into the papers. I came to find out that the actual owners had lied to the entire staff, including myself, about having liquor licenses. It seems to me that if you want to open a club of that size in an old Jewish/Hispanic neighborhood and fill it full of uptown idiots listening to pop music, the first thing you should do is get all the proper permits. But what the hell do I know: I’ve only been in the business for 12 years.
On Hotel Chantelle
Recently I was approached by Hotel Chantelle to DJ their Thursday night party and I was instantly excited. They’re doing something real. There are very few places in the world where I can play the music I want to play and actually have someone want to come listen to it. That’s the beauty of this city. When one bar fucks you over, there’s always another one right across the street.
Onward and upward. This Thursday the bar will be packed full of beautiful people with nothing to lose but a few useless brain cells. I’ll be behind my Mac playing music that was written before anyone ever heard of the Internet, with a smile on my face as big as my hair.
If you see my Harley out front, please don’t sit on it.
I’m completely confused by this event over at DL‘s rooftop tonight. Starting at 7pm, Cara Quici is presenting a party for the video release of "Fight," which is "the official remake of the Beastie Boys’ ‘Fight For Your Right (To Party)’." Dennis Rodman–yes, that guy–is hosting the event. I was asked if I wanted to ask Mr. Rodman some questions and indeed I may, but I don’t know what to ask. I’m thinking about things like these: WTF?, How could you?, Seriously?, What were you thinking? and maybe What was the food like? I like Dennis Rodman. I liked him as a baller and I like and always chuckle at his post B-ball celebrity career. I am curious to see what the crowd will be like.
Mondays are a curious affair. They can be the best or the most desperately boring. For a million years the smart set gathered at Butter, but that passed and to some extent Catch answers all the questions. For the downtowners, Bingo at Chantelle provides reliable fun from all the unusual suspects.On Monday the 22nd I will surely pop over to Rockwood II (196 Allen Street @Houston) to catch Rudely Interrupted, featuring the glorious Lorraine Lackie and bon vivant, author, scholar, man about town Anthony Haden-Guest. They will be performing songs from their new album. I will be there as I am curious to see what the crowd will be like.
And yes… I must keep my posts short to ease the burden of those over at BlackBook covering for my editor Bonnie Gleicher, who is off somewhere in our world of wonder betraying our trust–probably editing someone else–in some sunny paradise surrounded by? … I’m curious to know what that crowd looks like.
There will be no napkins safe this weekend as the serviette-tossing Rocco Ancarola returns to Lavo, July 29, for Riviera Sundays starting at 9:30pm. It is a joyous occasion. The event, called a "Celebration of Life," is a reference to Rocco’s long recovery from a heart attack that almost ended his life. In a Facebook post, he offered, "Thank you to all my friends for all your Love. You all helped me to recover very well and I THANK YOU ALL !!!!” Rocco is one of the great gentlemen in this business and we can’t wait to see him.
While at BINGO at Hotel Chantelle Monday, tablemate Michael Cavadias informed us that he was going to miss a week, something we never do, because he was heading to London. "For the Olympics," someone exclaimed, and I imagined him in a leotard, pole vaulting or weight lifting. Actually, he and our dear friend and inspiration Kembra Pfahler (Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black) are performing at Antony’s (of Antony and the Johnsons) Meltdown Festival. Other performers include Lou Reed, Hercules and Love Affair, Joey Arias, Marc Almond, Laurie Anderson, and Diamonda Galas. The festival runs from August 1st to the12th, basically at the same time Olympians (sans the banned Greek racist track star) are running for the gold.
So I was so-so when Mayor Bloomberg led the charge in banning cigarette smoking in places where I eat and drink and dance and play and walk in. The downside at the time was the encroachment by government into our rights…or freedom of choice. The arguments about second-hand smoke hurting those around those evil smokers won the day and, in retrospect, the trade-off was OK.
Now comes a proposed ban on large containers of sodas that contain dreaded sugar at any place regulated by the Board of Health. It’s easy to spot those: they have a letter grade in their front window. I am a strictly-diet-soda guy, but this ban reeks of Big Brother. If they can ban sugar in soda, then they can ban butter on popcorn or lollipops or cracker jacks or hot dogs or liverwurst. The foods we eat are often only acceptable in moderation. I didn’t trust the cigarette ban because it seemed like a step 1. Now that step 2 is on the brink of enactment, I fear for step 3. Is step 100 a requirement for sensible shoes? A ban on ankle-breaking Louboutins? If a person wants to buy fattening soda, educate them, don’t regulate them.
Will drink maximums be considered by our Mayor? This won’t end until Bloomberg is put out to his billionaire pasture. He is so out of touch with the life of the regular guy that he thinks this might actually stop someone from consuming massive amounts of whatever. If they can’t buy a 32-ounce bottle, they’ll buy two 16-ouncers. Will New Yorkers eventually be fined for not wearing sunglasses on a sunny day?
We have to mention the passing of Sylvia Woods at 86, the legendary proprietor of Sylvia’s, Harlem’s soul food mecca. She was buried this morning. Reverend Al Sharpton performed the eulogy. I never met Sylvia, but was touched by her. When I was designing the Cherry Lounge for Timbaland and DJ Clue in Harlem, me and mine would stroll over to Sylvia’s for lunch and comfort. The walk over and the meal and the company at her restaurant washed away a myriad of stupid misconceptions we had about Harlem. She was a true ambassador for the neighborhood. It was wonderful. She will be missed.
The thing about Monday nights at Catch, that EMM Group staple in the Meatpacking District, is that you could cast your line anywhere in the joint and hook a gazillionaire or stooopid-hot hottie faster than you can say "I used to do this at Butter.” Last night I went to their Monday night shin-dig, the heir of the Butter Mondays that reliably entertained us for a decade. I know I’m a little late to the game but my Mondays are reserved for Bingo and bedroom. Armed with some well-heeled friends, we were treated to fine fare and conversation. Table-hopping is the norm. I noticed the cork and sound treatment on the low-ish ceilings, put there to keep the socializing bearable to those actually trying to eat. Every table was a scene to be seen. Celebrities dined with their posses while tycoons were tycooning. Tables of beautiful girls picked at the menu.
We had traveled in a chauffeured car from Bingo at Hotel Chantelle, and noticed how dead the streets were as Manhattan has already emptied out to the fantasy playgrounds of the last-gasping summer. The bon vivants at Catch were in no rush. They truly believe that the party always starts when they get there. Every table was a success story. Every table was offered food and drink suitable to worldly tastes. This crowd was in no hurry to get elsewhere as they all knew full well that they had already arrived.
We were whisked upstairs to the roof like we were Elvis by a staff who probably could handle even that. The place was crammed with the beautiful. I shook a lot of hands and kissed a lot of cheeks. It was deja vu…all over again. The never-ending party of the party set. The endless supply of luxury bottles. The eternal flames of the sparklers. The plush banquette, the music, the girls du jour and the girls of yore mixing it up with the swells who were spending the GNP of small countries for these females’ affections – or maybe just a minute, or three, of their time. All this while hipsters are starving in Bushwick.
It’s always the little things that tell you that management has shown the staff the way to this naughty nirvana. Like, an hour in, when I thought I had lost my jacket and a nearby security guard immediately noticed and helped me with a flashlight. He found it at the table next to mine, moved by a model type who wanted to get up there and dance and didn’t want to soil it. He assured me that I could put it down again and that he would be watching it. I believed him. I noticed a few promoter types keeping it on the low to help maintain the illusion that this was happening organically.
As the bottles popped, we were surrounded by the smiles of the party girls, the b for beautiful, but not quite campaign models so I-can-be-out-this-late girls, and the genuine grade-A bonafide girls. Our table was a spending table and I assume the one next door was an "image" table put there to assure us that we were indeed at the end of the rainbow. The six-foot Russian blond, possibly looking for that proverbial pot of gold often found at ends of rainbows, was apologizing to me for something she didn’t do. Amanda laughed at my naiveté. That girl or someone just like her is always there. She was there before she was born.
Bottle after bottle with their 4th of July-esque flares sizzled by. They moved through the crowds like Olympic torch bearers bringing expensive wheat juice to players who long ago earned their gold. Jeroboams of champagne and their beautiful, happy, delivery systems passed by every few minutes, The sparklers lit up the ceiling, a signal for one rich suit to show off to the next and buy yet another bottle for their table of worshippers. DJ Politick was taking us all to that mindless frenzy we need to justify the love. I was told he was a DJ AM protégé. I was told he’s a big deal in LA. He was a big deal last night in NYC. I don’t usually enjoy the style of music offered by mixed-format types, but he was real smooth,and his mixes of stuff I don’t like into stuff that I love made me enjoy it all. This guy is…superior.
Despite my big hoopla Tuesday night at Avenue, today/tonight is my real birthday. It is very common in clubland to celebrate your special day on another day. I remember, back in the day, every time a Quentin Crisp or another not-so-rich celebrity needed $500, we would throw them a birthday party and give them the loot and a phony club dinner. Sometimes six months separated the event and the reality. A rival club honcho asked me why I did my bash at Avenue and I referred to yesterday’s article and told them that "they asked." It was wonderful.
The birthday gala for man about town Matt DeMatt (pictured, with Eddie Murphy) will bring all the boys and girls to the bar. That bar is of course G2 Lounge, 39 Ninth Avenue at 14th Street. G2 is the extension of Gaslight right next door. I’ll host along with Village People cow poke Randy Jones, and Steven Zee, Peter Collins, Jay Sardo and Michael Feulner. I think G2/Gaslight are basically the best location in town. Matt is the owner/operator and has big plans.I’ll tell you all about it soon enough. The soiree is tomorrow night and I’ll be there early if you want to yell at me about something. I have to cut out to spin over at Hotel Chantelle‘s Thursday Rock ‘n’ Roll weekly.
Last night I missed the Fifth Annual Remember the Time Michael Jackson Tribute at 1OAK. 1OAK owner Richie Akiva hosted the event which featured the amazing DJ Cassidy. Of course I remember the time when Michael Jackson suddenly passed. I wound up at 1OAK in a state of shock and aww, gee wiz. DJ Cassidy played every MJ song imaginable and the crowd became fully aware of his legacy. The loss still haunts us.
Aaron James, a DJ of note and old friend, has returned to NYC. His Facebook page says he lives in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. I’ll buy that, although he seems to be everywhere. It’s a great bar rap anyway. He is being welcomed back by fellow DJ’s Kris Graham and Terry Casey at a party tomorrow night, Thursday, at Goldbar, 389 Broome Street. He’s been gone for 6 months. I asked him to tell me what he’s been up to and what he is doing and he sent me this.
I adore airports, train terminals, bus depots, hotels, and anything that embodies transition. I have longed for this nomadic wandering and endless adventure, all of my life. This last 6 months in India has been like all the rest of the time I’ve spent there over the years, eye-opening and intense, both challenging and rewarding … and always transformative. Every time I go and come back, I feel slightly larger in some way, more learned. Besides DJing in nearly every major Indian metro and breaking back into the Southeast Asia market, I did what I came to do, and that is to plant seeds and open up all the major markets in Asia.
In a few months when I go back I’ll be christening the next phase with events in Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Bali, and hopefully Hong Kong and more, before settling back into India and all the momentum I have built there. I’ve also been able to get myself into a position there where I can start to bring over some DJ’s for one-offs and shows, which is an exciting new prospect.
Essentially I came now for a very short time and for a few very specific reasons. I am here to collaborate with my friend and one of my all time favorite musicians – Vanessa Daou – who is getting set to release her new album ‘Light Sweet Crude’ in the coming weeks. She asked me before I left the country if I would join her on tour and collaborate with her and the visual artist on the shows. I’ve been such a big fan of hers for at least the last 15 years, so I’m feeling like such a big dream is coming true.
I’m also here to assist my dear friends Robert LaForce and Bella Saona (of The Fire and Reason) on getting their new TV project called ‘Little Wicked’ off the ground. One of the most meaningful aspects of my life thus far has been bringing like-minded people together with a common purpose and goals, and to witness the magic that they can create. I just knew Bella and Robert would hit it off, and am in awe of how well this has worked out, and with what they’ve come up with.
We will be working together on the screening party in early July for the pilot episode, and I’m helping to rope in a co-host for the event, preferably an edgy magazine that combines music, film, and nightlife. Hmmmm, any come to mind?
Steve, you have been a amazingly supportive over the years … and I really appreciate the interest you have taken in my development as a performer. I’ve known you since my very first residency in New York City–and perhaps the very best one–the Sullivan Room at Life. It feels like lifetimes ago, but I will never forget or take for granted my roots. Here’s hoping you can stop by tomorrow night (Thursday) for my Welcome Back Party at Goldbar along with fellow friends and DJ heavyweights Kris Graham and Terry Casey. They’ve been heading up the Deep House Thursdays for the last few weeks and evidently it’s been off the damn chain. I’m very grateful to them for bringing me in and providing such a perfect backdrop for what is to me a very meaningful occasion.
I truly miss all my family and friends in the Big Apple in a big way, and am eager to see all their friendly and familiar faces. For me, this return trip is like a refueling, a grand pitstop. New York has always been that way. It keeps me grounded, centered, focused, and fills me with all of its vibrating, bountiful, kaleidoscopic, and phantasmagorical energy for me to go out and see the world. New York, I truly love you.
It seems to be happening fast. Last night I felt comfortable going out in my leather jacket; the temperatures easily allowed it. There was a hint of cool air in the wind, and traffic was nonexistent. I could park anywhere in my ‘hood. I had a Kojak spot in front of the house. New Yorkers were off to elsewheres, grasping at the last straws of summer. Union Pool’s patrons included last-gasping college types partying hardy before they were off to dorms in exotic locales where they will surely party just as hardy. The small talk was all about "what are you doing for the weekend?" As for me, I’m headed out Monday to DJ poolside at The Montauk Beach House.
My plan (and I never plan) is to play all surf rock, from Jan and Dean to the Ventures to the Tandems, Beach Boys, and Dick Dale – heavy on the surf guitar instrumental tracks. I’m bringing along a bikini-clad go-go gal for effect. I might drive out on Sunday morning and crash at a friend’s. I want to catch the DJ setfrom Julio Santo Domingo. He is the founder of Sheik ‘n’ Beik parties and record label. They throw events in New York City as well as in Miami, London, Paris, and Barcelona. It’s going to be techno music for the socialites… not my usual cup of tea but since it is the end of summer… I may upgrade from that cup of tea. Besides, while not teetotaling, I get to hang with pal DJ and The Montauk Beach House booker Terry Casey, fast friend DJ Kris Graham, and the awesome DJ Brigitte Marie who, with a bunch of others, will be on before and after sir Julio. I’ll pop by Ditch Plains Beach, where surfers will be trying to catch that last wave of the season. The trip home should take about seven hours of bumper-to-bumper. Amanda will opt for singing “99 Barrels of Beer” rather than listen to my mixed tapes …again. Although it’s hard to have trouble in bumper-to-bumper please be aware that the roads are dangerously full of party animals who truly believe that they can
drink and drive.
Last night I dined with Marky Ramone, his lovely Marion, Jonny Lennon, and Adam Alpert at Gran Electrica, 5 Front Street, in Brooklyn. It was all fun and games ‘till the food came and then it was hard to concentrate on anything else. It was outside and wonderful and the war stories underneath the ivy were so much fun. Mark, the last of the Ramones as I knew them, is enjoying considerable success in his "post" career with his band Blitzkrieg and all sorts of other spin-offs and endeavors. The best benchmark for success, as I see it when I get to hang with him, is the all apparent love and respect and admiration he shares with Marion. I met them, we figured out last night, over 34 years ago. They have never wavered. He has never allowed the awe I have for his career interfere with our friendship. Jonny and Adam are my DJ agents and they must be good at it because I’m spinning three times this week…The Montauk Beach House on Monday, Hotel Chantelle tonight, and Bantam tomorrow. I will move off my usual rock offerings at all three gigs and serve up some Michael Jackson, who was born on August 29th, 1958. I read that, according to The Guinness Book of World Records, Michael Jackson was the most successful entertainer of all time. I guess that depends on how you define success.