If you enjoy our Storied Venue series of mini oral histories of clubs like the Five Spot and the Palladium, get thee to “If These Walls Could Talk,” a series where musicians who played the legendary Bottom Line club will be sharing their memories of the place.
The Bottom Line opened during the era of HBO’s The Deuce, in 1974, and closed in 2004 after a dispute with its landlord, NYU, which turned the place into classrooms. At the time, David Johansen of the New York Dolls told the Times that the 400-seat club was “essentially my living room,” and he wasn’t the only musician with fond memories of the Greenwich Village fixture. In 1975, way before he got rich enough to offer to pay the club’s back rent, Bruce Springsteen played 10 shows there, dancing on the tables in the lead-up to the release of Born to Run.
Lou Reed played over 50 shows there, one of which became his 1978 live album, Take No Prisoners. This week, the Bottom Line Archive Series will release a recording of Lou playing and bantering with Kris Kristofferson during a one-time-only 1994 show. In an acoustic rendition of “Sweet Jane,” below, you can hear Lou dueting with Lucinda Williams and brutally shutting down Kristofferson when he tries to whip out his harmonica.
Put together by Bottom Line co-owner Allan Pepper, “If These Walls Could Talk,” coming to Pace’s Schimmel Center on Oct. 13 and 14, promises just that kind of intimacy, as musicians like Johansen, David Bromberg, Garland Jeffreys (who, fun fact, wrote “Wild in the Streets” before the Circle Jerks made it a punk anthem), Marshall Chapman, Clint de Ganon, and many others play tunes and share stories. The evenings, put together by Bottom Line co-owner Allan Pepper, will be hosted by Paul Shaffer (yes, that Paul Shaffer), who played with legends like Coltrane pianist McCoy Tyner at the club.
Plus, there’ll be a pop-up gallery where you can admire, or even buy, prints from photographers Peter Cunningham, Bob Gruen and Ebet Roberts. Together, they shot the likes of Television, Billy Joel, Chris Isaak, Tom Petty, Ian Dury, Andy Warhol, and countless others there.
You can buy tickets, which start at $29, at Schimmel Center’s site. Here’s the rundown of guests:
Friday, October 13 at 7:30 p.m.
Featuring Sean Altman, David Bromberg, Marshall Chapman, Clint de Ganon, The GrooveBarbers, David Johansen, Will Lee, Darlene Love with Ula Hedwig and Curtis King, Terre Roche with Feifei Yang and Garry Dial, Uptown Horns, and Jimmy Vivino
Saturday, October 14 at 7:30 p.m.
Featuring Sean Altman, Marshall Chapman, Clint de Ganon, The GrooveBarbers, Garland Jeffreys, David Johansen, Christine Lavin, Will Lee, Darlene Love with Ula Hedwig and Curtis King, Uptown Horns, and Jimmy Vivino