Jan 22, 2011

Hell in Paradise by Pat Ivers

After posting the above ad for the famous Hell In Paradise show (June 1978, Paradise Garage) last month, I invited Pat Ivers (of Nightclubbing video fame, along with Emily Armstrong) to write a remembrance of the night since I've never read, or heard, anything about the show. In fact, the only reason I know about it is because of Pat & Emily. I've been lucky enough to see some of their footage from this evening, and the idea of these acts playing in the hallowed disco ground of the Paradise Garage is reason enough to get the story...I hope you enjoy this, and a huge thank you to Pat! Be sure to visit their website - link below. Take it away, Pat:

Maybe it was just an idea whose time had not yet come, but I remember thinking at the time, "Wow! Punk at the Paradise Garage, our music taken to the next level of visibility. Maybe it really is going to be a viable thing , not exactly mainstream, but playing to a larger audience…people actually making money." ...It didn’t exactly work out that way.

The lineup was great: The Senders, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, the Contortions, and Richard Hell and the Voidoids. Great mix of styles, something for everyone. Emily Armstrong and I started negotiating with the guys who ran Paradise Garage to come in and videotape what we thought would be an historic night, which it was...for all the wrong reasons.

Paradise Garage exterior, 84 King Street
First, nobody came. There seemed to be maybe 100 or 150 people in attendance. In a space like the Paradise Garage, it looked like the worst prom ever. With the disco ball spinning in the darkened room, the space looked sinister and a little sleazy. And then as The Senders played, the electricity failed. This happened over and over again over the course of the evening.

Still, everyone soldiered on. Lydia played a short show. The Contortions roared through a set. James Chance left after his performance with some girl for a date in the cemetery on 2nd Street. Richard Hell, I seem to remember, threw beach balls or something into the audience while he played. It was grim.

At the end of the night, James returned to find Hell being told by management that no one was getting paid. Threats and counter threats ensued. James stopped them in their tracks, breaking a beer bottle and cutting himself with the words, “You can’t scare me”. The stunned management paid them.

I haven't seen most of the video from that night in years. It is one of the many tapes I can't wait to see, as Fales Library begins its restoration of our collection.

If you're as much of an ephemera or original source geek as me, you'll be happy to see this photo of the actual tapes from the Nightclubbing collection of that infamous show.

Nightclubbing - official website & Facebook


NYCDreamin said...


The Hound said...

I was there, I remember no one got paid and James Chance cut himself in front of the wiseguy owner in an attempt to get some cash out of him. Bradly Field of Teenage Jesus & the Jerks stole a case of liquor on the way out. Honestly, that's all I can remember.

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