Today, in the course of doing an interview for the Athens Voice, I was asked “what is the most bizarre story from the early days of Tuxedomoon?” Of course there are many such, very many, but I decided it was time to tell “The Bob Story”. I tell this story to Maria’s friends and anyone else who will listen, but I think this is the first time I have written it down.
In 1980, Tuxedomoon was booked to play at a club called the Ritz in New York as part of a big bill of New Wave acts, including Suicide, Indoor Life, all sorts. The club, pretty much a mafia front had double booked the stage, so there were two complete sets of bands supposed to be on stage at the same time. We sat around for hours and hours, it grew late and we still had not played. No one from our bill had. At one point, John Belushi and his crew poked his head into our dressing room “Got any drugs in here?” he asked “No.” “Ok. Bye.”
I asked Alan Vega what time he was going onstage. “Onstage? I already got paid. I’m leaving.” When Tuxedomoon finally took the stage at about 5 am I said into the microphone “This club has been treating us like animals all day long. You should all go somewhere else in the future…” and they cut off our power. A Rolling Stone journalist offered to escort me out of the building, since he didn’t think the Mafia goons from the club would beat me up if he was with me. When I went to an after-hours basement club later they asked “Are you the guy who told the Ritz to fuck off? You drink free tonight!!” and the drinks kept coming.
After the after hours place, my wife, JJ and I put on our trusty Ray Bans and went out into the morning light. We needed another drink. I saw a place just ahead. The door seemed closed, so I went and knocked. A window in the door slid up. “Who sent you” asked the man.
“Uh….Bob. Bob sent me” I replied, giving the first name that popped into my mind, not really believing anyone would ask me such a thing.
“Ok. If Bob sent you, then you must be all right! Come on in.”
We went in and found ourselves in a coke dealers’ party. People offered us lines out of 100 dollar bills. We drank champagne. We left about 4 in the afternoon, unable to believe our night out in New York.
The next day, we went looking for that place. Almost needless to say, it had vanished without a trace.