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Reminiscences of the East Village

The neighborhood and my days passed by

Stocksnap — Pixabay

Forty years in the past I stop the highway band I’d been touring with to return again residence and pursue a extra significant music profession path! I knew nothing about The East Village — or the world of “escorts.” All I knew was I couldn’t stand staying with my mom. And on condition that I had just a few grand saved from the highway, it was time to get an house.

So I discovered a joint in The Village Voice flats to hire part and moved in for $160/month, figuring “this will do for the moment.” Yeah, proper! I’m nonetheless right here!

All I wanted was $320 to get the important thing. One month hire — and one month safety. That was it! I bear in mind taking my financial institution guide to the realtor to persuade her I used to be worthy. She stopped me earlier than I may even open it to point out her I used to be solvent.

“No problem,” mentioned she. “You have 320 bucks and you’re in. I don’t need to see your bank book.” Attempt that now!

Anyway, each prime flooring resident however me was burglarized within the first few months of my residence. And the man throughout the corridor obtained murdered by his homosexual lover 4 days after I moved in. Good neighborhood.

The upside? Floor zero for potheads! You could possibly purchase your weed from any one among 20 hustlers on the block.

The night time after the day I moved in, I used to be requested by a woman at third Avenue and eleventh Avenue if I wanted a date. I didn’t even know she was a hooker! I assumed it was only a neighborhood lady making an attempt to choose me up. Speak about a newjack!

My buddy Josh moved into an house on thirteenth St. between 2nd and third. I’d go go to and we’d watch a movie crew capturing some loopy film about pimps and whores and cabbies on his block. Fairly cool…positively totally different from taking part in Holidays and Ramadas in Pittsburgh and Terre Haute and Richmond and many others.

We had no thought the film we have been watching the crew movie would change into a basic. Anyone ever see “Taxi Driver?”

Within the meantime, I began writing songs with some loopy black dude who appeared and acted like Little Richard — besides he known as himself “Tantalizin’ Jones.”

He had a sizzling demo titled “Sinkin’ In The Middle Of An Earthquake,” and a tune (“This House Is Smokin’”) on the primary BT Specific album which was promoting large time.

So we sat down and wrote crap like “Troublemakers,” and “Walkin’ On a Highwire,” and “Move It,” all of which went nowhere besides — Chubby Checker recorded and launched “Move It.” I befriended Chubby’s supervisor and obtained a job taking part in guitar with one among his acts (“Buari”) who had an album that had simply been launched on RCA.

We solely did two gigs earlier than the label found out that Buari was tone deaf. However we obtained paid to rehearse that summer time for about 5 weeks. Our piano participant’s title was Nat Grant, a jive mom fucker if ever I met one.

Nat had performed with Wilson Pickett (who apparently beat the band frequently) and had nice tales about Pickett leaping over entice units to rumble with the drummer. He was a humorous man — however no one believed most of his bull shit as a result of he wasn’t an excellent pianist.

No matter…in the future Nat mentioned he simply couldn’t make rehearsal as a result of he had a film half and was getting paid a grand for the day. No one believed him. And Irving (the supervisor) virtually fired his ass behind the bull shit.

So Buari did the 2 gigs and pale away. Months later, I went to the flicks to take a look at “Taxi Driver.” I knew it was the movie Josh and I had watched the crew filming and straight away, it had created an enormous buzz not simply within the neighborhood — however in the whole movie enterprise. All people was going to see “Taxi Driver.”

So I’m doin’ the 2 greenback St. Marks matinee factor with my homey, a half-breed superintendent from down the block who was as soon as a bouncer at The Fillmore East — and right here comes the scene when Deniro walks in on a bodega stick-up. And who does Deniro cap within the film? Yup! Nat fucking Grant! That was Nat’s $1000 film half. And we thought he was bull shitting.

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