Good Night Mr. Lewis: Coming Home for the First Time

Last night a DJ saved my life. Marky Ramone, my old friend, was kind enough to display his considerable skills at a party BlackBook threw me at Aspen Social. (Be sure to check out the video.) There were many reasons to be cheerful. First of all, I’m very comfortable with BlackBook. I have been treated like gold and, although the decision to leave JoonBug was difficult, I am very convinced it was the right move. When I asked Marky to deejay, it was because I didn’t want to forget where I came from and wanted him there spinning music that I love in a place my partner Marc Dizon and I created for our friend, Greg Brier. It was a two-and-a-half month build-out after a couple of months of prep — about half the minimum time usually allocated for such a gig. I’m exhausted and need to thank all the craftsmen and artists who made it possible. Marky pointed out to my beautiful young girlfriend that he’s known me for 30 years. I pointed to young Vance Brooking and Mey Bun, budding nightlife stars and funsters, that I was thin like them back then, around a buck thirty-five, and had my hair. Mey said I still got the hair, but I explained how the illusion works.

My favorite non-Ramone DJs, Miss Guy and Lily of the Valley, brought Debbie Harry with them. I chatted her up and talked about the times I booked her to play at clubs I ran. She was always great to me; always made it work. This gathering was the biggest flashback I’ve had since I licked that aluminum foil in the bathroom of Save the Robots. Funny thing about Marky Ramone is he can actually spin. I had my boy Tommy there ready to help, but Marky slayed them.

The first party I ever threw was Dee Dee Ramone’s birthday. It was in the back room of Max’s Kansas City, and I never looked back. I was friends with all four of the Ramones. Marky’s long-term better half, Marion, pointed out that, “it was not an easy task.” I learned my craft from these pro punks. With them, it was all about the crowd — giving them what they came for, making sure the experience was all that it could be. They were always true to their school. So there we were: Marky, Lily, Guy, Debbie, Studio 54 muse Edwige Belmore, and so many more denizens of another era which still seems to have so much relevance. The young ones came to shake hands, meet an icon.

I went to Butter to after party. I designed Butter and finished construction on the day I left for prison. I remember the crew saying loud and clear that there were other things I might be better off doing than working to get a joint open; they didn’t know me. I went in and I’ve come out, and now it’s many years later and it’s still there and doing real well. Butter was the first place I designed for someone else. In the joint with time to ponder, I decided I would design as a career. I’ve made that move and redefined my brand. Marky came by to keep it real for me. The fundamental things apply as time goes by. You can run clubs, you can build them, or even write about them, but whatever you do, it must be with passion and you must be true to your school. After a party with 30 years of friends, I’m going to crash. Thank you all for the support.