I’ve been listening to quite a bit of The Fall again recently, albeit for no readily apparent reason, although maybe it was prompted by news of the new Brix Smith memoir. Regardless, they’ve been all up in my headphones for weeks, now.
Given that it fit the tenor of my day, I slapped the video below of Mark E. Smith and the boys cranking through “Totally Wired” at some venue in New York City in 1981. If you’re a fan of the band, you’ve probably seen it, and it fucking cooks, accordingly. Here it is now. Enjoy…
Now, in 1981, I was all of 14 years old, and invariably not yet versed in the myriad joys of The Fall (I don’t think I’d really give them a proper listen until about the summer of `86). Moreover, as a 14 year old, while I was indeed getting well into all things Punk, I wasn’t yet hitting the clubs. As such, I don’t recognize the venue the band are seen sweatily performing in.
A quick glance at the official Fall gigography asserts that, in the balmy summer of 1981, The Fall came to New York City and played the following venues: Someplace called The Underground (with Fad Gadget opening … that’s quite a double bill), Maxwell’s in Hoboken, The Peppermint Lounge and Irving Plaza. After a few days in Canada and Boston, they came back to the New York area and played Bond’s Casino in Times Square (as one of many opening acts for the Clash during their fabled residency), the notorious City Gardens in Trenton, New Jersey, a club called Interferon here in NYC and then finally a gig at the Mudd Club at 77 White Street in TriBeca.
Taking those one at a time, I can’t say I recognize the Underground, although it might be that space on West Third Street (adjacent to what is now the Fat Black Pussycat, but that used to be Folk City). I suppose it could be Maxwell’s, but, technically, that’s New Jersey. There were two incarnations of the Peppermint Lounge, although I never made it to either of them. That said, I’ve seen footage of bands like Even Worse playing in same, and it seemed like a bigger room than the one featured above. Likewise, Irving Plaza is a much bigger space than this. I never made it to Bond’s, but clips I’ve seen of The Clash there during those gigs don’t seem to match up with this more intimate looking room either. It might have been City Gardens, but, like Maxwell’s that’s very much in New Jersey, and still seemingly roomier.
That leaves our contenders being the mysterious Underground, Interferon (which I’ve never heard of beyond it being the name of the band who sang “Get Outta London”) and, of course, the Mudd Club. My friend Lela suggested the Mudd Club as well. Let's go there now, shall we?
Now, I never made it to the Mudd Club either, sadly. But, on hunch, I dialed up this fabled clip of the Cramps playing there. Compare and contrast…
Could be the same room, no?
What say you? Anyone there and remember? Weigh in-uh.
Incidentally, today the Mudd Club is a pricey condo, and Bond's Casino, the Peppermint Lounge, Maxwell's and City Gardens are all closed. I have no idea whatever became of Interferon or Underground, other than that they're not here anymore. Both Irving Plaza and, for that matter, The Fall are still going.
Lux Interior of the Cramps, sadly, passed away in 2009.