From Pretty Broken Punks: “The outside of Don’s was like a rusty, overpainted beer-joint-looking place your mother would never have allowed you to go for a pee in: ‘Let’s keep looking’ ‘But Mo-om, I ha-ve to go-oooo!’ The front glass door of the club creaked and pivoted on and off its hinges, which had probably been there since Don Hill’s was Munson’s Diner. An aluminum-cast 60s door frame held a thick piece of storefront glass littered with band stickers, ASCAP stickers and marker graffiti. The place looked different in the daytime than the palace of kitsch it became at night. Somehow, the filth seemed intentional.”

I think one of the things that made this place unique was its ‘diner + music’ heritage. So many other clubs were just these concrete-wall joints – nothing special at all. And I didn’t much like the inside of CBGB’s and places like that – just a super dive  – good for punk I guess. Yet, at Don’s you never forgot you were in what was once a diner. The menu press boards were even left in their place. Kinda’ like a party for one in your living room – big enough to get wild and let loose, yet also had a home-y, grounding effect. It was confortable, no matter how jam-packed it got. I like to be comfortable in a club.

It’s also wild to read in this NY Post piece, that “Friday nights from 11 on, they’ve been peeling them off the rafters…” Good Karma for what would become the night for Squeezebox!

Now that clubs are all corporate megastructures, I don’t think we’ll be seeing the charm of a Don Hill’s quite as often…


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Don Hill's

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From Pretty Broken Punks on Live @nd InConcert: “Optimism was in the air. We got a team of companies together, and put together one randy-dandy network of computers and engineers for one show, the likes of which the world had never seen. We gave the event a name: Live @nd InConcert. got Schmidt, who got Debbie and Don over to the crappy little internet company. She signed on to do the show. Then Schmidt got the Lunachicks and Joan Jett. Of course, Patrick was ready with Psychotica before we even got the ink dry on the proposals — which were easy, no money, just cool.

I was beside myself. I literally thought we were going to change the world and make our little corner of the society a global reality. I believed that people — you, me, us kind of people — could, for once, have their own way of getting out. Fuck the big conglomerates. Fuck the boardrooms full of record execs who sit in their fat chairs with their fat desks covered in pictures of their spoiled fat kids. Most of all fuck MTV and its faux pop culture — in my opinion all we were getting from them was a new and improved blackface Al Jolson show. Sad. Plenty of black, white and purple musicians, poets and writers were out there who actually had talent. I wanted to cut some of the middlemen and actually reach people.

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Sun Microsystems, Real Audio and companies from DC to LA signed up — refreshingly professional in the face of the ‘cons’ — and on January 6th, 1996 we shook, or more like, precociously pissed off, the online entertainment world. This was what I called fun. And on the night, one hour before, it didn’t work. Well, the computers worked. The people manning their stations in Washington worked. The network seemed to work. The microwave dish connecting the club to the office — the only link to put it out on the net — wasn’t working. I held the show, and decided if we’d waited for Green Day ‘til 5AM, The New York Times, CNN and Washington Post could wait too. The club was packed to the rafters, everyone a bit calmer than usual, checking out all the equipment, watching the geeks run around. The show had sold out in a matter of days. We all had press badges and walkie talkies, like a real gig. It only took about a few minutes and a few trips of me running back to the offices on Hudson Street and back down to the club to figure out and correct an encoding error on the main distribution computer. God bless the geeks — it’s a love hate thing, like all good affairs.”

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From Pretty Broken Punks, Squeezebox! at gunpoint: “Schisk-schisk. Gary and I turned around and stared up past the sights and the shiny barrel of a shotgun. I don’t know what is supposed to go through your mind at gunpoint. This is it? No music? No shrill sound of an orchestra? No. It’s how you know the shit is really happening.”

Yes, I’ve had a gun shoved in my face at Squeezebox!, by an insane, high as a loon freak (actually son of a high ranking NYPD official) because Tommy wouldn’t serve him a drink after closing.

imho: get in your kids’ business; lock up the guns; take the TVs out of their rooms; throw the mobile phones in the nearest lake; reclaim some of this…

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In response to the Newtown massacre — £1 from every sale through the holidays goes to GUN CONTROL in the US. THEY WERE CHILDREN FOR CHRISSAKES.

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From Pretty Broken Punks: “New Year’s Eve. Goodbye 1994. The second Debbie Harry show. SqueezeBox! had opened on the cool Friday night of April 15th — the day the US shot down its own helicopters over Iraq. Four months later, Rudolph Giuliani raised his iron fist to be sworn in as Mayor of New York City. Little did we realize that our ‘black outfits at midnight, guitars screeching ‘til dawn, and the glitter in our breakfast cereal’ was soon to be at the center of Rudy’s war on culture. But that was OK, second-class counter-culture became my career. In America, the back of the bus suited me just fine. ”

Ah! New Year’s Eve… I’ve always been perplexed by it. All the excitement, all the build up to…a clock ticking midnight. Nothing remotely spiritual about it. Time after time I’ve expected to be transformed, only to be left holding the same bag from one year to the next.

My dear friend from the Squeezebox! band Barb Morrison and I agreed, yet again: ‘If ya’ ain’t raking in the cash, stay at home!’

We did the 2-3 New Year’s eves at Squeezebox! and yes, they were lucrative…who were we to deny the general public their chance to throw money at us?

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