Also during the blur of the summer of 1987 was the punk matinee at the Pyramid Club to see some some local boys play, but even though it was a matinee, we treated it like it was another Friday night and drank until we couldn’t see, then came the drive home.

So we were way downtown at the Pyramid Club in Alphabetland and the show gets over at around 4 in the afternoon and we are WASTED!  So I’m driving, and we pack Bobby Devlin, Jim Maddox and Jimmy Meyer into the car and head on up the FDR drive.

Now, Meyer wasn’t going back to the suburbs with us, he was headed back to West 189th St. or somewhere up there in Inwood where was living at the time.  I told him that I would get him as close as I could to Inwood, but that we were going out the East side and I couldn’t promise him anything.

He was just as drunk as the rest of us and just said OK, OK.  So up the FDR we go without too much trouble and we’re getting further and further north and closer and closer to the Third Avenue Bridge which will carry us off of Manhattan island and into the Bronx and I’m giving Jimmy periodic warnings about our location and I don’t know if he is paying attention or not, but so anyway, finally we get across the bridge and officially off of Manhattan island and we’re approaching the Major Deegan Expressway which is pretty much the point of no return between suburbs and city and I tell Meyer, hey Jimmy we’re not in Manhattan anymore, are you coming out to Westchester with us or what.

He snaps back to reality and all of a sudden says No wait! Let me out.  Right in the middle of the street in the Bronx, Meyer gets out of the car and starts to walk back across the bridge on his way back to the far northwestern tip of Manhattan island.  Now, I should point out for those unfamiliar with Manhattan geography that for my friend Jimmy the white boy to walk from the Bronx back to his apartment he had to walk almost directly east to west crossing Harlem, Spanish Harlem and Washington Heights before reaching his own neighborhood.

Besides this somewhat perilous journey, Jimmy was shitfaced beyond belief, but it was still light out he managed to make it home without incident.

Meanwhile, Bob, Jim Maddox and I continue on out to Westchester.

We get out there around six and I drop the boys off on our friend Alvin’s front lawn.  They roll out of the car (literally) and I jump back on the highway to go visit Kathleen as this was the last summer we would be together, and I still drove up to Connecticut to visit her occasionally although we both knew that things would be ending soon.

So, she’s working at a restaurant somewhere along the Merritt Parkway, and it turns out that she’s going to be working a little later that she expected, so she stashes me in the bar and tells her bartender to take good care of me, and I sit at the bar drinking Bailey’s and Jameson’s in rocks glasses and watch Oliver Stone’s Salvador beginning to end for the first time on the bar TV.

Later that evening we went to see some Connecticut Dead band.  There were too, too many experiences like this that summer, driving all over the New York metro for parties, concerts and who knows what, just keeping in motion.

Included in this were the Echo shows, one at the pier and one over at Jones Beach.  Again, these were driving experiences.  For Jones Beach, I drove into Manhattan to pick up Bobby at Madison Square Garden (as he was coming off of the subway at Penn Station from downtown where he was working the bond interest desk at Coleman Bierkhouse) then across town to the Queens Midtown tunnel and out to the Jones Beach Theater.

Then for the show at the Pier, we drove all the way down the FDR to Peter Stuyvesant Village the rent-controlled haven on 14th St. where Nik (Jim’s sister’s boyfriend and my older brother’s age, Taconic High Class of ’81) was living at the time.  Then it was over to West Side for the show.

Driving around in Manhattan in the summertime with a car full of drunks can be somewhat nervewracking.

Regarding the actual music at these concerts, suffice it to say that Echo and the Bunnymen are not the kind of band that should be seen outdoors.

But then, in November, it’s the Replacements at the Beacon Theater and we’re right down front and the show rocks except when they stop towards the end of “I Can’t Hardly Wait,” which is a favorite of mine (ashtray floors, dirty clothes and filthy jokes), they never start again, and I have to wait 16 months before I hear the end of that song at which time my 20 months of celibacy begins.

But anyway, in December of that same year (1987), we go to see The Butthole Surfers at the old Ritz down on 11th Street.  Now THIS is a concert experience.  Me, Jim, Bobby, several friends of mine from UVa. all book downtown for the show and what a show it is.

Gibby is insane, running all over the place and stirring up a crazy sound with a bullhorn and what seems like three or four drummers while a naked skinhead girl dances up front and movies of car wrecks, human cannonballs and penis reconstruction surgery are flashed on the screen behind the band (here’s someone else’s description).

Jim worms his way up to the very front to get a better look at the naked skinhead girl and manages to pass out in front of a speaker.

After the show, we are all separated and file out.  I get the car and pull up front and everyone gradually finds each other except for Jim, who is the very last person to walk out of the Ritz looking somewhat dazed, as though he had been asleep for several hours (which he has) and holding one of his shoes in his hand.

He gets in the car and explains that he passed out in front of one the speakers on the stage and didn’t wake up until every one in the place had left and some bouncer shook him awake and said, “Here’s your shoe – go home.”

So Jim wanders out, not really sure what’s going on or where we are (it’s around 3am) and he comes down to the front of the empty club and there we are parked right in front smoking cigs and waiting patiently for him!  (This very similar to when Dudley had been arrested at that beach in Ct. on July 4th 1986.  As he was being released, the cops wished him luck getting back to New York as there was no way we would be waiting for him.  As it turned out, the other ten of us who had made that unfortunate trip to Ct. were sunbathing on the front stoop of the police station waiting patiently for the Dudley to be free!)

Later that winter, we all go see Echo at Radio City in February of ’88, and that is the place to see Echo, right before they broke up and were rockin the night away with a stage set straight off the cover of Crocodiles (which I had bought at the FNAC in Chatelet-Les Halles, Paris in February of ’82 and then listened to ad infinitum for that whole spring of ’82) dancing up a storm just like we did for the Iggy Pop show in September of ’88 in Port Chester when Jane’s Addiction warmed up for them (we didn’t catch that opening act as we were busy drinking beer in the lobby).

In March of ’89, we catch up with the Replacements at the Beacon theater again, but this time the liquor license of the Beacon has been suspended for some reason so they are not selling beer and there is no re-entry.  However, some enterprising young usher has set up his own concession and has picked us out of the crowd as obvious alcoholics.

Bobby D. cuts the deal for us – at three dollars a beer, we can afford 17 of them and sit happily in our seats drinking our beers while the folks around us look on enviously or quietly enjoy their own bootleg budweiser.(And finally I get to hear the coda of “Can’t Hardly Wait” 16 months later).

For some reason there seemed to be a great difficulty with liquor licenses that year, as when the Ritz moved to Studio 54, they also were without a liquor license so that when we walked past one night and saw on the marquee that Sonic Youth were playing in support of Daydream Nation, I could not for the life of me get anyone to come inside to see them.

I was with Bobby D. and Jim and a group of five or six others.  We did not have any plans, and in fact were at that very moment right in the middle of trying to decide what to do with the rest of that evening, as I pointed at the sign and said, “These guys are great! – lets go inside,” but nobody would go because they were not serving beer.

I could not, at that point, break away from the crowd to go off on my own for something I knew was important, though I would later learn that this is exactly what I needed to do.

(Down East, Me., 1998-99)

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