Busy P Talks GFC

Last night I was invited to a cocktail party and dinner to kick off the GFC conference in New York — taking place today — bringing together some of the most up-and-coming DJs and creatives around the world. The conference’s purpose is to discuss the future of music and creative collaboration. One of the most interesting choices is Pedro Winter, a.k.a. Busy-P, as curator in addition to being a DJ, he’s also ex-manager of Daft Punk and founder of Ed Banger Records. Pedro selected several of the conference panel members — those he deems exceedingly relevant in each of their respective countries.

Coincidentally, before the night’s festivities I bumped into Senor Pedro on Lafayette Street — me in sweaty running gear, clenching iPod — only a few hours before the party. We exchanged hellos and planned to catch up later on in the evening. The cocktail party was held at the Thompson LES hotel, and over drinks, I was able to find out in a little more detail from Pedro about his involvement. “The main reason I’m involved and we’re having this conference is to find out what’s going on in other countries creatively and how we can work together to make things better.” How did he choose the invites? He responded in his elegant French accent, “Well, for example someone in South Korea was chosen because that area of the world, creatively, is on the rise and about to explode. Same is true in Russia and South Africa. It’s important to know what they and everyone globally is up to.”

After our chat, Pedro headed off to dinner. However, before he departed, I told him that our mutual friends Stretch Armstrong and The Glass were DJing and performing at Studio B in Brooklyn. He said, “Maybe, I’ll surprise Stretch and just show up!” I unfortunately didn’t make it across the bridge to Williamsburg last night, but hopefully the busy Frenchman did.

Terry Casey’s Le Royale: No Cheese

imageTerry Casey’s Le Royale is a serious attempt to have a club that’s both musically and socially relevant. If you start with the premise that a 1Oak or a Kiss & Fly or Tenjune cater to a mostly musically ignorant crowd, while the Santos’ Party House, Pacha, and Cielo seek musical nirvana, then Le Royale leans towards the latter. The DJs at the former clubs and their ilk offer up sets of music cloned from basically the same Serato. I just don’t think a really cool crowd wants to hear Kanye West, Beyonce, or crooker crap anymore.

There are some noticeable exceptions — i.e. Cassidy, Steve Aoki, and a few dozen others who have the political juice to play some of that while mixing enough of this to be really hip. Le Royale draws from its DJs, but its off-the-beaten path location draws a crowd seeking more of an edge socially as well. Where nearby Movida was cramped by a rough space and some bad breaks , Le Royale is thriving just enough under the radar. Terry Casey — one of those rare owners coming from a DJ background — is now expanding to Brooklyn and a venue big enough for his ambitions.

You own Le Royale, which is one of my favorite names for a place ever. Tell me where the name came from. It basically came from a trial of 500 different names when we just couldn’t make our minds up, and we finally had to leave it to our friends when we got to the desperate stage of “what name could we put up with?” It came down to three names, and one of them was Le Royale, which I told my friend was too short, and then weeks later after we named it, people are like “Ah, that’s so clever that you put Leroy and Ale together,” (because we’re on Leroy street). But I wish we were actually that clever because I didn’t realize it until people had said it a few times.

What are you trying to accomplish at Le Royale? I co-own it with David Baxley, who I’ve known for many years because I used to DJ and play pretty much all over the world. I met David at the club Centro Fly, and I would go in there, put events together, bring different artists, DJ, and bring different crowds than what they would have their normally. Through that we built a very good friendship because I would move my party around the city, and even if it was competing with him, he was still such a gentleman. After that I moved to London for two years and stopped DJing, and when I moved back to New York, the nightlife scene had changed. It had become pretty much all the people I would see in the music clubs doing bottles or growing up into that bottle life, and the music clubs became pretty much second rate.

So the music scene moved away from the clubs, and there really wasn’t anything happening where you had a social scene and a music scene together? Yeah, I felt like Centro Fly had a little of both, but even the clubs that were bottle-service oriented like Pangea would have decent DJs. I found that when I came back, there wasn’t really a good music scene with any kind of social aspect, and I was just waiting for it to change. I found myself spending all my time in social clubs because the music clubs were slightly boring, and they didn’t want to play the new music. After awhile, it just annoyed me enough to open a club pretty much.

So Le Royale is very music based? That’s very important to your formula? Very music based, but at the same time we invite lots of people from the social scenes also, and we think it’s a great combination. It’s just people with culture. There’s a lot of people who go to social clubs that want to listen to better music than what they hear on the radio, and they find that there’s not many options. So we took that little niche and built something.

A lot of the better clubs are moving away from hip-hop, and they’re mixing in a lot of electronic — is that what you did? Basically what happened is that I’ve always liked what people used to call underground music, which is really tracks, and I’ve also always liked song-written music. What happened — in my opinion — is that the music scene of tracks became a little bit irrelevant after 9/11. I didn’t realize right away, but I would just continue to DJ and see people acting very differently immediately, because I think people needed more, they needed something else. I think that the song-written music seemed to have more of a message, and it seemed to be more popular, and generally that is what was on the radio, and hip-hop was really popular. But now, there’s really good song-written electro-pop that’s actually edgy production but still song-written. So with the new club music in the last seven years, even with bands like LCD — they have real songs in their music, but it’s still for the clubs.

Can you explain the concept of song-written music? Lost of tracks will be instrumental, and they don’t have a start, middle, or end. They’re very repetitive. But a song-written track is something that can be played on the radio. Probably in the 60s, 70s, or 80s, Madonna’s tracks were played in the clubs, and they were song-written so they were on the radio, whereas a lot of house DJs tracks could never be played on American radio.

You’re opening a new space out in Brooklyn; tell me about it. David and I were booking huge acts at Le Royale and everyone was doing us a favor, doing it for really cheap to free. We wanted to book more acts, but we found that we had to compete with people with lots of money. The acts clearly wanted to play great crowds, but they also needed to get paid to make a living. We really liked Williamsburg because it has a lot of young people, and there’s no real club out there in my opinion. I think Studio B plays more tracks than song-written, so we found an amazing space that we’ve been building. We don’t have a name for it, and it should be ready in May — although we have been doing parties secretly for six months already.

Brooklyn is sort of raw; what’s the deign element to the space? I think Brooklyn has changed over the last ten years, and there are many different types of people now. When I first came to New York, Williamsburg and Greenpoint were very different places; now they have many different kinds of crowds, lots of international people coming from abroad and lots of people from the Midwest. I think even people who were living in the East Village or the LES think it’s kind of more refreshing at times. I think there are lots of band venues, but there aren’t too many clubs that have a full-on sound and lighting system. It takes a lot of more work and energy and production, and that’s what we’re pretty much doing. It has a courtyard, and we’re going to be building a rooftop. It’s a pretty ambitious project.

Do you have any neighbors? Amazingly there are actually no neighbors, which is unique in New York. And we are half a block from the Bedford Avenue train as well, so it’s eight minutes from Union Square.

Where did you come from — how did you end up in the New York music scene? I was basically a 16-year-old kid in London DJing, practicing 12 hours a day, and my family kept telling me to get a real job. When I first came to New York to DJ, I was 21 years old and worked for Masterworks, which was a dance label. I was playing trip-hop and Detroit techno because people didn’t really know what jungle music and the stuff I wanted to play was.

What are some of the places where you’ve DJed? My favorite places in New York were the World Trade Center, which was pretty well known — we did about ten film crews, and that was just to prove that you could do a massive event in a small venue. I also did Grand Central Station, but my favorite clubs were Shine, Centro Fly, and I even played at Life one night when Keith Richards played. It was a good club because it had many formats and different crowds on different nights. I don’t think there was anything else like it at the time. I’ve also played in New Zealand, Australia, Brazil, Europe … but in New York I think Pangea was a lot of fun.

Do you still DJ now? No … I did one party recently, and I just played a 60s psychedelic rock set, but I don’t want to DJ anymore. I love it, but for me its a perfectionism. I need to go back to practicing 12 hours a day, and I don’t have the energy.

But it’s a lot of easier to DJ now because of the software and the internet. That’s true, but there’s a problem — you can definitely become a DJ with a computer, but it’s really hard to become a good DJ, and it’s really hard to have a good DJ without actually sourcing your music and having some kind of history. The online music stores all have the same music, so you’ve lost the ability to buy interesting music. That means that whoever is good is really, really good, and there are very few great DJs because of that.

Who are the great ones right now? My favorite DJ at the moment is Diplo because he plays every style and he produces. But of the New York local DJs, I love Busy P, B-Roc, I think David Katz is great, Jesse Marco is really good, and DJ Mess Kid, who I’ve only recently heard, is fantastic because they all have unique styles. I also love SweatShop Labor because they play almost like a soul set with hip-hop, which is incredible — definitely unique and not selfish at DJing. They’re real DJs, and there’s just not enough of them. I wish I could find ten more who could make my life easier. A great DJ is someone who plays to crowds — they inspire and give the people what they want, but at the same time they bring them into a new world.

Photo: Brady Donnelly

New York: Top 5 Anti-Valentine’s Day Parties

imageFebruary 14 is coming. Hearts, candies, and overpriced prix-fixe menus, and lucky for you, several Anti-Valentine’s Day events to get sloshed at (and perhaps find a partner to take home to properly hate on the fake holiday). Here are five spots to take a piss on love.

1. Village Pourhouse (Greenwich Village) – There’s a party going on after 10 p.m. called the “Ex-orcism Party.” Bring a photo of your ex and take your turn taping their mug to the dart board. If you hit bull’s eye, you win an hour of free open bar. 2. The Sunburnt Cow (East Village) – The second annual “No Love at the Cow” kicks off at 6 p.m. $20 gets you two hours of an open bar, and plenty of chances to mingle with the other singles at the bar.

3. Bowlmor Lanes (Greenwich Village) – 42 lanes, drink specials all night, singles in bowling shoes — it’s a strike. 4. Studio B (Greenpoint) – Second Annual Valentine’s Death Prom, DJ’d by Trouble & Bass. Sounds gruesome, but also, awesome. 5. Absinthe Wine Bar (Lower East Side) – Chef Nelson German’s four-course $45 prix fixe includes a glass of champagne or glass of wine, and it emphasizes dishes that are “(bitter)sweet.”

Studio B: Dunzo for What’s Probably the Last Time, Maybe

imageServicey New York blog Gothamist reports today that the center of Greenpoint nightlife Studio B has finally, totally, completely called it quits. They received an email from a promoter who worked parties at the club, reading, “It is with deep regret that we have to announce that the owner of Studio B has decided to close it’s [sic] doors effective immediately.” Sad.

Studio B had several closings, for several different reasons — fire codes, neighborhood complaints, money problems — and several re-openings, one of which we celebrated on this here blog. All that being said, the market for the next new hipster hotspot should take one serious lesson from Studio B: If you can throw a solid party, people will actually get on the G-train to go to it. B, we hardly knew ye.

Update! Per Gothamist, Studio B still (predictably?) has some life it: Mr. Davis sent out an email seconds ago stating “due to contractual agreements Studio B will be operating this Saturday and also for NYE and New Years Day, after which time it will cease operations. Sorry for any confusion but the club just informed me of these updates.” So like three more shows, then closed forever!

Good Night Mr. Lewis: Shouting on Sunday

A few weeks back I spoke of the Haves and the Have-Nots. I tried to explain what the club market would be looking like as the now “official” recession sets in. The rich (or well-run clubs) are maintaining; they have tightened their belts and shed bottle promoters whose clients haven’t survived the crunch. With payrolls cut and a steady flow of people, they scoop from the Have-Not clubs which are dying — things aren’t so bad for them. On the other end, however, its bad news across the board. The C- and D-list clubs are swimming upstream, and they’re in a losing battle with the bad economic current.

It’s easy to figure out how much a club is making: you just ask a waitress at some joint what she made — say, Saturday and then do some math. A waitress gets 20 percent of her client’s bottle sales, and from that loot she pays out according to the joint, ranging anywhere from 43 percent to 47 percent. So after a little math and a little question — “How many waitresses were working?” — you know what sales were generated at the tables. Ask her if the place was crowded and you can guesstimate bar revenues, etc. It’s not entirely accurate, but you can get a good idea. My spies tell me that 1Oak, Tenjune, Greenhouse, Kiss & Fly, Mr. West, and Marquee are still selling bottles and feeding their staff. But after that it gets a bit thin.

Yesterday, I spoke of the return of the dance floor, and today I add the return of the cashier booth. For a long time, nobody had me building them — the bottle-service theory had eliminated the need to charge at the door. That’s going to change. Groups of guys who used to be hit with the obligatory two-bottle minimum will now be humbled with the $20 door admission — look for this everywhere, and real soon. The crowd that our hero-of-the-day, John Davis, attracts will become increasingly more important in the scheme of things because they are used to paying to hear good music. That club renaissance I’ve been chatting about for almost a year will rise out of this decaying scene. Phase two is here.

Without the boring bottle-monkeys, clubs are being forced — in an incredibly hostile and competitive market — to adjust. It becomes uber important for them to provide good music, dance floors, cater less to the yuppie scum, and finally welcome a more diverse crowd because it’s simply too hard to turn away those pays. Now, if we can get a few drag queens on the bar, I may whip out my last Halston suit and go out … and I might even smile.

Back to John Davis. I think the bottle service side is sliding as the stock market slides, and clubs that are music-based and giving a good bang-for-your-buck are where it’s at. Will the DJs now adjust to the worldwide recession? I’m doing bookings with Studio B over in Brooklyn, and a lot of the DJs are still trying to get their same fees. I don’t think they’ve felt the pinch of the economy yet.

But it’s inevitable that some of these prices have to come down. A lot of the clubs are moving away from strictly bottle service — Cain is an example … they’ve already approached me about doing Thursday nights there because they want a music-oriented crowd on Thursday. They know they’re not going to make as much money, but they want the credibility of having a music crowd and having a good sound. I think those clubs are starting to change, realizing that they need to have bottle service because it pays the bills, but also understanding that it’s good to have that music crowd too.

The club music scene used to be a very drug-oriented culture. When I talk to owners today a lot of them say they don’t want to bring that in. You operate and run your own party within the framework of a club. How do you deal with this problem? By the very nature of it, the crowd from the music events I do isn’t a hardcore drug crowd anymore. Because of what’s been going on in the Meatpacking District, a lot of that crowd now is very sensitive to that. And I always used to say this to people coming into the club — look, do what you need to do, just don’t do it at the risk of our business. If you want to do it, go outside, walk around the block, do what you have to do and come back. We were always very cool about it. Usually if you’re polite and very upfront with people, they’re respectful of that. Plus the crowd we had was a very cool crowd.

People don’t understand the subtleties of house music, but the Body&Soul crowd is highly intelligent. The thing about the Body&Soul crowd — which I think is our winning formula — is that it wasn’t ever any particular crowd; it was a mixture of everything, a real melting pot. It was a gay, straight, black, white. It’s so mixed that you have your floor-filling crowd, which is predominantly the non-drinkers, and then you have the people who want to stand at the bar, drink, and listen to the music. It’s that mixture of people that work.

Body&Soul is also not a night crowd. You start in the afternoon, which is an unusual approach. When I first started the concept of the Sunday day party, I had come from London where this big Sunday scene had just started. Clubs were opening up at 10 a.m. and going on till 6 or 7 p.m. on a Sunday. They were getting this crowd coming in that weren’t even going out on Saturdays; they were an older crowd, people who had jobs and kids and mortgages … it was perfect for them. They could get babysitters on a Sunday, come to the club, party, dance, then go home, go to bed, and get up for work on a Monday morning. And it’s a casino concept — you go into a club, with no windows, no clocks, so for all intents and purposes, it feels like nighttime.

But you also got a lot of the people who were up from the night before? That was the problem. When we started the party, we started at ten in the morning, and we were getting everyone coming out of the Palladium and the Tunnel. They were coming straight out of those clubs and coming to Body&Soul. I’d have people come to Body&Soul, they’d be there for an hour, full of energy, then all of a sudden everything started wearing off. And next thing you know, I had a room full of people fast asleep. So I changed the time to noon. At noon, we were getting the crowd coming out of Palladium from Junior Vasquez’s party, drag queens, etc. So we eventually moved the start time to 4 p.m., so when people came out of the clubs at 10 a.m. or noon, they had nowhere to go, so they had to go home.

So it was a public service thing too — you saved lives? Probably. I wanted people to come the same way you go to church every Sunday; I wanted them to come to Body&Soul fresh.

The music is like a religion with your crowd, isn’t it? Well, the music’s very diverse now; we play everything from electro to techno, reggae, and house. It’s so mixed up because we’ve got three guys who’ve collectively got over 100 years worth of musical experience between them. Francois plays predominantly electro and techno, Danny plays the old-school disco, classics, and house, and then Joe plays all the tribal and Latin music.

How do you mix them up? Are there rules? They just do their thing together, all three of them. And if you see it on, December 28, at Webster Hall, you see the crowd just loves it. The crowd is screaming. I’ve been doing this for 15 years now in New York, and everyone says to me that there’s no club that has the kind of energy that you see on a Body&Soul night.

You never made the step of being an owner … how many times did you think about that? I’ve been presented with offers many times, but for various reasons I never did it. My whole concept was — I saw this from being involved with a lot of owners and dealing with owners — that being tied to the real estate in a club that all of a sudden isn’t popular anymore can be like an albatross around your neck. For me, it was much better to come, do my party, make my money, and leave. I know now how fickle this industry is … your club is as hot as it is until the next hot place opens up, and then everyone moves there. Very few clubs have been able to keep it up. But honestly, I’m at the stage in my life where now I would be interested in becoming an owner.

Becoming an owner in New York? I’m involved with Studio B in Brooklyn now. We’re making a lot of changes there and it’s doing really well. We’ve only been open three weeks and already we’re doing over a 1,000 people every Friday night. It’s in that sort of semi-industrial neighborhood, but it’s still in an area where the cops drive by every night, and they never bother us. It has that old warehouse feel that I remember when I went to clubs. I didn’t go to velvet-rope, red carpet type places; I went to old dingy warehouses, where you had to make three phone calls just to find out where it was. I have a new party starting there on December 14 called Sunday Shoutin!

Since you now have experience doing both, how does DJing compare to being a promoter? The biggest difference being a DJ as opposed to being a promoter is the connection you have with your audience; to be able to take them on a musical journey and to see deep into their expressions. Their minds are taken to any place, and to be a part of creating that is nothing short of magic. Soulful house music, in my opinion, touches you in a way no other music does. It reaches deep into your soul and takes you to spiritual place that you have to experience to know what I mean. The DJ is the facilitator of that amazing ride. It is truly a blessing to be able to be in that position.

Moby: “I Don’t Advocate Sobriety for Anyone Who Can Drink Successfully”

Who would’ve thunk that demure electronic music superstar Moby was a self-proclaimed raging alcoholic? We spoke to him to talk about his Last Night Remixed album, but somehow talk degenerated into drunk Lower East Side tomfoolery, timing cocaine use just right, and why he’s just not that into the debauchery at the Box.

Can you tell me about the Last Night Remixed album? The original one is a very eclectic dance record that on one hand looks at my last 20 or 25 years in New York nightlife, and the new one is all remixes done of the songs from that album.

Why did you decide to remix it? When we were putting out singles, in order to make them more club friendly, we got different people to remix them. And the way I chose the people was by picking those whose records I was playing when I was DJing. We ended up with a lot of really good remixes, and rather than let them languish on the shelf, we decided to mix them together and put it out as one cohesive record.

Let’s talk about New York nightlife. What is a typical night out in the Lower East Side like for you? It depends on if I’m drinking or not. A sober night usually sees me home by midnight or 1, and a drunken night usually sees me getting home around 6 or 7.

How often do you go out? I’d say on average at least three times a week.

Is that three drunken nights a week or just three nights in general? I’m currently enjoying a period of sobriety, but for the last 15 years that hasn’t been the case. And so I guess, a night out — in a weird way they’re all kind of the same, but sort of slightly different. Max Fish has always been a standby since 1991, especially on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. And the Mars Bar, I really love Mars Bar, on the corner of 2nd and 1st.

Yeah, I’ve met some colorful characters there. It’s even better in the afternoon. I have a friend who was working at a strip club in midtown, and she would get off work at like 4 or 5, and we would meet for a drink, I mean an after-work drink. The LES north of Delancey is a little too overrun for me. It’s like spring break meets Mardi Gras. For a weekend, the only place north of Delancey that I would go to would probably be the Slipper Room. It’s sort of like a burlesque theater, but its just has really interesting shows, and the people who run it are really nice. I’m one of the owners of the Box, but I don’t really go there too often. I like degeneracy, but for the Box you really need to be in the right frame of mind. I’m pretty comfortable with debauchery and degeneracy, but the things that go on there don’t make sense to me.

What are some of the things that happen? The last time I was there, there were live sex acts on stage, and I don’t want to get anyone in trouble, but just suffice to say lots of crazy things. I’ve traveled around the world, and I’ve been to a lot of degenerate places, and rarely have I seen the level of degeneracy like I’ve seen at the Box.

How did you get involved with the Box? My old friend Simon [Hammerstein], well Simon and Richard [Kimmel] are the two main guys who own it, and when they were first renting the space they were looking for investors, so they went to old friends, and I thought to myself, it was right around the corner from where I live, it’s a place to go. And after I invested in it, I don’t actually go there that often.

Are you one a sobriety stint on purpose? If there were no consequences to drinking, I would drink all the time, but as you get older, the hangovers get worse, and I’m just tired of losing entire days to hangovers, so I’m enjoying some healthy sobriety for awhile to see how that works. I don’t advocate sobriety for anyone who can drink successfully.

Did you perform shows while being smashed? You know what’s funny? I started a rock band with some friends, and we’re all hardcore alcoholics, and whenever we play we all tend to get very drunk, and when I DJ I drink a lot, but whenever I do my own shows I never drink. Playing with the rock band, I just play bass and stand on the side, but with my own shows, there’s just too much going on, and if I was drinking I wouldn’t be able to do a good job.

What about other spots in the city? It sounds like a cliché, but going out in Williamsburg is still pretty fun. There’s Studio B, they have a lot of good shows there, and there’s a few new clubs in Manhattan that are pretty good, like Santos’ Party House where the DFA guys do parties, and there’s another one called Le Poisson Rouge. That’s put on by Justine D, who used to do the Motherfucker parties, which I think he’s involved it that.

Tell me about those. The Motherfuckers were started by Johnny Dynell and Chi Chi Valenti who are old old friends. He was DJing at Area in like 1982, 1983, and so they started this club called Mother. Mother was like this weird transgender thing, tons of drugs, and just craziness, and so the offshoot of that were like four times a year — these Motherfucker parties.

When you were younger, were you doing a lot of harder drugs? Everybody in this world dabbled. I have so many friends who were drug casualties. I knew people who were heroin addicts, people who smoked too much crack, people who did too much crystal meth. I mean you can’t swing a dead cat in New York without hitting someone who at one point wasn’t addicted to cocaine. I like drugs, but I never liked them enough to do that much. The main thing I liked about cocaine is that it made me want to drink more.

Would it sober you up? Yeah, so when I was doing coke, I would time it so that I would do the coke just when I wanted to start drinking more, which is not very healthy. But the opiates — I mean opiates are fun, but they’re not social. I’ve never really liked psychedelics and opiates, you don’t want to be on Vicodin in a nightclub.

So foodwise, what foods are good in NY? I think that the only reason I don’t look like I’m a 130 years old after a lifetime of touring so much and living in hotel rooms, and drinking too much, is that I’ve been a vegan now for 22 years. Normally friends of mine, when they wake up and they’re hungover, they go out and have bacon and eggs and smoke cigarettes. When I wake up, I have a smoothie and vegan burritos. So for anyone who plans on drinking a lot or taking drugs, I do advocate a vegan lifestyle to try and offset it a little bit.

Why did you first decide to become a vegan? I first became a vegan for the simple reason that I love animals and I just didn’t want to be involved in any process that made animals suffer. But then the more I found out about it, I realized it was good for my health, it’s good for the environment, and now at this point I don’t judge how anybody chooses to live.

Are you feeling healthy these days? When I’m on a serious drinking tear, my health kind of suffers, so that’s one of the reasons I’m enjoying this period of sobriety. But I have to say, New York is a difficult place to be sober. I walk from my studio to my apartment, and I literally pass 40 bars in a 10-minute walk, and they’re all open until 4 in the morning, and they’re all fun, and they’re all filled with interesting people. So I’m sure there are much easier places in the world to be sober

Are you able to go out sober at all? Sometimes it can be fun. When I’m drunk and I’m around other drunks, it’s the greatest thing around. But if I’m sober around other drunks, they’re just annoying. Drunk conversations when you’re drunk seem filled with realizations and epiphanies. Drunk conversations when you’re sober are just tedious.

Do you hate being be sober around drunk people? Yea, I just get home a lot earlier. I get home a lot earlier, and I don’t have nearly as much sex.

A hot sweaty club is completely different world when you’re sober as opposed to drunk. Well, it all depends. I went to a hardcore show, because I grew up in the hardcore punk scene, and it was hot and packed and sweaty, and everyone was beating the shit out of each other, and being sober for that actually was good. If someone took me to someplace like Marquee, if I was in there at 1 o’clock on a Friday morning, I’d just want to shoot myself in the face.

Would you go to Marquee if you were hammered? Oh, if I was hammered it would be the best place on the planet. If you’re drunk anything’s the best place. When I’m drunk, the only place I don’t like being is home.

Who are two people you would love collaborate with? My ultimate dream would’ve been to have been in Led Zeppelin in like 1973 when they were touring, and they had their own private plane, and they were making a million records, and they just really knew how to tour. In the world of dance music, I’m pretty content letting other people make their records, and I get to play them and take credit for them.

Touring must have been really fun for you. There was a period when it was amazing. There was a period around 2000, 2001, 2002, where I had an assistant on tour who’s sole job was throwing after-show parties. We would walk offstage, and every night there would be 100 people backstage getting fucked up, and every night was a party. And that was really fun, until the hangovers got so bad that I couldn’t do it anymore.

What’s your favorite city in Europe? If I’m going out, my favorite place is Scotland because in Edinburgh and Glasgow, people are out of their minds. I mean really, they eat ecstasy for breakfast. They go out the way New Yorkers go out, but even a little more hardcore. Like a good night in Edinburgh doesn’t end until 9 a.m. And I have to say that Los Angeles can also be really fun if you have friends that own bars and clubs.

What are some bars and clubs in Los Angeles that you like? My friend Anthony has a place called Dragonfly in Hollywood. It’s a rock and roll club. He and I have been friends for 25 years now, and so he keeps it open pretty late for his friends, and there’s this other place that his girlfriend works called the Burgundy Room, which I really like, that’s right around the corner in Hollywood as well. I like weird, sort of dirty degenerate rock n’ roll bars. I tend to not like bigger, slicker places. The moment I hear about a place having bottle service, that means I absolutely do not want to go there.

Have you ever been to Beatrice Inn? Yea, Paul [Sevigny] and Matt [Abramcyk], the two guys who own it — Paul and I grew up together, I had my birthday party at Beatrice a year ago, and I hear it was an amazing party.

What kind of drunk are you? I’m very gregarious. I’m just always the last person to leave the party, without question.

So you were blackout drunk at the Beatrice? Oh, sure. After my birthday party there, for the next two weeks I was getting emails from people saying what a good time they had, and God as my witness, I don’t remember any of them being there.

You grew up in the 1980s. How has New York nightlife changed? Well, it’s become bigger than it’s ever been. There are more bars, more clubs, more people going out. It’s a lot safer, that’s a huge part of it. In the late 1980s, because New Yorkers were ravaged by the crack epidemic, you took your life in your hands just walking down the street after midnight. In the early 1980s when I first started going out, you would not walk through Union Square after dark, and no one walked through Central Park. Tompkins Square Park was a homeless camp. Everyone would have all these locks on their doors to keep the drug addicts out, and then the drug addicts started cutting through the sheet rock next to the door.

People say they miss the old New York. Do you like it better now? Only the things that I miss. It was cheaper. When you went out, you never expected to spend a lot of money, so this whole bottle service thing — when someone goes out and has to spend $1,000 for a good night out, that’s just absurd. In the late 1980s and the early 1990s, everybody could afford to live in the East Village, so everybody lived and worked and went out in the same neighborhood, and it jus made everything a lot much nicer. So now, its almost like the New York diaspora has happened where some people live in Bushwick, some people live in Redhook, some people live in Jersey City, some people live in Inwood — so the good old days where everybody lives on top of each other, those are gone. New York is always going to be big enough to accommodate anyone who wants to live here. There’s always going to be some new derelict neighborhood where 20-year-old artists are going to move to. That’s what Soho was, that’s what the East Village was, that’s what Tribeca was, and that’s certainly what the Lower East Side was.

New York: Top 5 Spots to Hear Music Without an iPod

imageScrew the earphones, turn up the Marshalls. This one goes to 11.

1. Bowery Ballroom (Lower East Side) – Towering ceiling makes for great sound; great booking ensures its worth. 2. Music Hall of Williamsburg (Williamsburg) – Indie rockers expose themselves in this rejuvenated version of Northsix. 3. Studio B (Williamsburg) – Budding Brooklyn ironists get trashed to French electro.

4. Highline Ballroom (Chelsea) – 700-person space reminiscent of your junior high gym, but who cares when Ghostface Killah is rockin’ the stage. 5. Terminal 5 (Midtown West) – Airplane hangar-sized venue sports A-list acts (and best bathrooms).

Studio B, Back From the Dead

The reason I moved to New York is being brought back from venue purgatory. Back in Canada, photographic relics of Studio B madness , and video clips of batshit after parties, so I came here to be a part of it all, only to have Studio B shut down. So after a summer of not losing my shit, the Greenpoint locale seems to be opening its doors once more. A hardcore show was held there this past weekend, but the venue’s official site lists its grand re-opening (featuring DJ Derrick Carter) as October 17th.

Graydon Carter Monkeys Around

Yesterday came reports that famed Midtown eatery Monkey Bar (since 1932) had been sold. Foodies awaited the mystery buyer’s identity with baited garlic breath. Today, said identity has been revealed to all as Graydon Carter, editor of Vanity Fair, owner of The Waverly Inn. Carter’s spokesperson said the resto will reopen next summer after renovations and will be “small” and “low-key.” Kind of like The Waverly is “low-key.”Carter’s two partners include Jeff Klein of the City Club Hotel and Jeremy King of London restaurant The Wolseley. Hey Graydon, can you rescue Studio B now?