Luc Carl on Rocking the Lower East Side

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.

On SiriusXM
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.

My Favorite Ed Koch Story

The passing of former mayor Ed Koch has me sad. I adored the man. Sometimes he was a little right of me and sometimes a little left, but he was – as Frank Sinatra and even Sid Vicious said – a man who did it "My Way." I mean, of course, their way. Mayor Koch was around. You could catch him squeezing peaches at Balducci’s or maybe the Jefferson Market. One day at Balducci’s, we ended up standing near Ed Koch himself. A fabulous friend of mine and I decided that if our significant others didn’t get it together, we would marry each other right there by the cheeses. "How would we do that?" she asked, and I replied "We’d get the mayor to do it." I shouted over to Mayor Koch, "Hey, Mayor Koch, will you marry us here a year from now?" and he replied, "I’ll do it," and the usual stuffy foodies applauded. He was big man, but never bigger than human. He had a street-level connection to those on the street level. He was one of us while our current guy is certainly one of them. I’m going to raise a glass tonight to Mayor Ed Koch, and thank him very much. You did great.

My 5,000 Facebook friends have begun to wish me Happy Birthdays. Tomorrow is the big day. This year, I am going to do it my way. I’ll probably do Lit Lounge and then St. Jerome’s. I am very thankful for Facebook. I don’t know what I would do without it; it keeps me close to friends in Germany and Japan and Finland and California and other far away, exotic lands like Astoria, Queens, and Jersey. I don’t have time to stay in the lives of the wonderful folks who have enriched mine, but Facebook allows me to say "hey!" and "how’s the kids?" and "you look great" and "congratulations!" to those I still love. If I don’t see you and you wish me a happy, then let me just say now, "thank you very much." I’ll leave you with my favorite Groucho quote. "You are only as young as the woman you feel."

Tao Team Opens Arlington Club, Hotel Chantelle is Starting Rumors…

Typically, the period between Labor Day and Halloween is slow in the club world. People are paying down credit card debt accumulated in a summer of WHEEE! Things like the Jewish holidays, flu season, back-to-school, and a dearth of tourists add to the red ink. The change of weather and the loss of daylight as we wind down to the Winter Solstice near Christmas are all negative factors. The season theoretically begins in earnest on Halloween. Sandy literally put a damp on those concepts, but building for an inevitable future is happening all around.

On a small renovation job, an electrician told me that getting even the most commonplace electrical supplies is becoming problematic as the post-Sandy rebuild is taking everything. I can only imagine what getting permits and inspections will be like from an over-tasked buildings department. Still, I hear of a Frank Roberts’ "mostly-a-restaurant project down in lower Little Italy.” I hear of a redux of GoldBar. Marquee nightclub, for a decade the "in" spot for the going-out crowd, is in renovations that will bring it up to speed with its Las Vegas incarnation.

Meanwhile, that Tao team is inviting peeps to the Thursday opening of their Arlington Club on Lexington between 73 and 74th Street.  St. Jerome’s has, of course, been sold to The Bowery Electric crew. That has left the St. Jerome’s "crowd" looking for a new home, and Hotel Chantelle grabbing for that gusto. Chantelle started its weekly Tuesday  “Rumors” party last night, going forward with famously ex-ex-St. Jerome’s honcho DJ Luc Carl joining DJ Ian El Dorado.

There’s all sorts of things happening over at Bantam where absolutely nothing to speak of has been happening. A re-thinking is occurring. Construction at EVR on 39th street between 5th and 6th is almost over – or is that ovr? I was there the other day checking out the progress and was very impressed.

On a final note: Friday I will be DJing the late set over at The Hanky Panky Club, up the side entrance of Webster Hall. It is a Sandy-related benefit called “Rock-N-Rebuild.” Acts/bands like Hits, Roma, Wild Yaks, The Netherlands, Outernational, and Kendra Morris will interrupt sets by Djs iDeath, Gavin Russom and, thankfully, Steve Lewis er …me. This shindig starts at 8pm. It’s hosted by man-about-town Terry Casey and the lovely Flutura Bardhi. Please help where you can. While people are ordering $1000 bottles of booze, many are still without basic necessities.

Dumps, Dives, & Holes: Not-So-Saintly St. Jerome’s

St. Jerome’s is an awesome gothy punk bar. Slightly removed from the Ludlow Street shit show, it sits off Clinton on Rivington just across from ABC No Rio. No matter when you go, as long as it’s dark, the music is always great, the projected porn is always vintage, and the disco ball is always turning. The best part: it’s completely filled with fog.

The block is particularly quiet, so the large window with the back of some DJ and swirling dots of disco light immediately draw you in. After pushing past the thick velvet curtains, you enter a haze, only able to see vaguely in front of you. On the left is the elevated DJ stage where they are always playing Danzig, The Cure, or punk leaning towards the more obscure. They don’t take requests, I’ve witnessed. A line of large semi-circular velvet booths and candle light lead you to the bar where the constant old fleshy movie is projected above.

Drink prices are normal, with the exception of the awesome happy hour ’til midnight where two dollars will get you a Bud and Bud Light. There’s also two specials — the Happy Meal (shot of Jameson and a Budweiser) and the Donkey Show (tequila and a Corona), which are both $7. As the bar’s owned by Lady Gaga’s ex-boyfriend Luc Carl. The small stage opposite the bar was her home before she hit it big, and it still hosts acts like her cool friend Breedlove, who used to do his Magic Monday party there (though now I believe it’s moved over the open-or-not Ludlow Manor).

Above all else, St. Jerome’s is just a gorgeous old space. The black ceiling is vaulted, thick and intensely ornate squares recede upwards, the intricately floral walls are broken up with diamond slabs of antique mirror, and the floor is cracked marble. Its effortless beauty makes you feel as though you’re transported back to a mid-century speakeasy, but then you open your eyes and half of some kid’s head is shaved. Go later. I’d imagine it’d be a good place to take a date, given it’s dark, cheap, atmospheric, and there’s constantly sex projected on the walls. I have no idea if people even date like that anymore, so maybe go with a friend and hit on people instead.
 

155 Rivington Street
Between Clinton and Suffolk

Celebrating My Lady’s Birthday at La Esquina, Kenmare & APL

It was the love of my life, Amanda Noa’s, birthday last night and due to circumstances beyond my control we were unable to consider dining until almost 11pm. But late night fare in this town is getting swankier, if not better, so I did have some choices. I wasn’t going to get away with our usual afterhours spots Veselka or Kellogg’s Diner. It came down to the recently opened Marble Lane at the Dream Hotel or La Esquina. She opted out on the steak-centric Marble and we scooted off to La Esquina.

A couple months ago Noah asked me to suggest a name for his new steak house, and I suggested one based on a tattoo on my lady’s back. In honor of our relationship, she has a couple of tats that sum things up. One is a set of teeth with a string tied to them because dealing with me is like pulling teeth. Another is a rib-eye with a pretty bow on top, which is supposed to be “miss steak” or mistake. My gal won’t settle for just a spat – she permanently marks herself with her misgivings about me. Anyway, I suggested the gal-friendly name Miss Steak for Noah’s new spot. Apparently cooler heads prevailed… Marble Lane seems better. I’ll be out late tonight and will pop in. La Esquina remains my favorite haunt. Everything about the place is cool, cool, cool and the food is constantly terrific. We had a blast. For people in the club world, having a relationship is often problematic. We’re surrounded by distractions, many of our own devices. I’m lucky to have someone who puts up with me.

We stopped by Kenmare to say hey to Paul and Nur and found Nur in the back with some other birthday boy. Megan escorted us to see my man and we enjoyed small and big talk before scooting off to APL to wish co-owner Joey Verdone a happy birthday as well. As I hopped, skipped, and jumped to the nearby restaurant, I tried to figure out what date it was 9 months ago. My fingers told me October. After APL we headed to St. Jerome’s, a good place to end a night. It was a going away party for Hotel Chantelle barkeep/manager Dave Coleman, who’s off to Panama to find fame and fortune. He says he’ll be back in no time but I’ve got a $2 bet he’ll be a little late. A coke and a Bud in this legendary LES dive bar came in at the cheap Williamsburg price of $6. We listened to rock staples and laughed and had fun. No attitude here, just good music, a friendly atmosphere and inexpensive solid drinks. Sometimes the business is as easy as that.

Tonight I will DJ rock ‘n roll hootchie coo as Gunbar launches its Wednesday night party. The affair is hosted by BlackBook, thus me getting the gig. I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow. Saturday I will go to another birthday bash at the newly opened Mother’s Ruin, next to Bread. Dana Dynamite, my favorite PR and marketing flack, will show us how she got her name. I’m sure client Sailor Jerry Rum will lend a hand. I had a few sips of that cheap beer so I’m a little out of it today – I’ll cut things short. As regular readers know, I only have a drink two or three times a year…whenever I have sex. So I guess the second half of 2011 will be…exciting