Thursday, June 26, 2014

Pete Perrone and the legendary Mohawk Place.

This Blog has been absent for far too long and it took a rather tragc event for me to decide to revive it.  A few things to review:  We are fastly approaching our 6th year and we bow our heads to all of our supporters who make this dream reality much longer than we had expected.
A fire, a sketchy situation with a sketchy person, a br00tal winter and the understanding that we are doing business in a financially strapped town.  We are often strapped right with you, for we do no not have the luxury of ordering everything when we'd like to.  We are not snubbing you--we just have to make sure the bills (and BILL!) is paid first.  Ok, enough of that.

Pete Perrone

Longtime Mohawk Place owner (he had sold the bar several years before its nosedive and subsequent closing) passed away after battling illness. The Mohawk had long lost it's lustre around the time Pete let it go...and with it, the vibe went with it.  The booking braintrust of Marty Boratin, Bill Nehill and a few outside promoters had slowly either been pushed aside or left on their own accord.  Either way, the days of Mohawks legend had flown the place long before those final nights.   Perrone was called a father figure to so many, a supporter for underdog musicians--and he sure as hell was.  His policy of treating bands the way he did was and remains unheard of and very rare.  Like any businessman, Perrone didnt want to lose money...but he seemed to "get it".  He took some shows on the chin, but this is precisely why the Mohawk had the status it did.
Mohawk Place was the first time my "challenging" band set our feet on a stage.  We were rookies, we were older guys playing mid-paced punk rock (not a popular approach at the time) and we did it loudly without knowing our gear well enough ye to avoid the piercing room clearing feedback we became known for.  For one reason or another, we were embraced by Pete and always felt welcome (unless someone else was calling the shots).
Pete was a proud ex-serviceman of his country--he served in Vietnam and was in the Air National Guard for years, and he was proud and loved his country.  Not unlike my own father, he said the right things to keep us encouraged.  When i first opened Spiral Scratch, i;d get an occasional call from Perrone "checking in" om how my crazy idea was going, how his estranged manager Bill N. was doing, and general discussions.  I had recently lost my own father and support from those who knew better was minimal.  My father was one of the few who believed in it (it caused a major rift in my own family) and the words of encouragement i so desperately needed from my recently deceased father were coming from Pete.  Of course, my friends were there for me...but i was desperately seeking encouragement from an elder statesman.  Thank you, Peter were well loved outside what i'm sure was a great family of your own. 
A documentary on the Mohawk Place was made..but it would have had to be a Ken Burns-type series to touch on the importance of homeless bands like Baseball Furies and their Rustbelt Revolts really transformed the Mohawk for what it would become.  Those shows brought in traveling bands, travelling fans and Buffalo a taste of what was happening around the country.  No show before or after were more important than these weekend classics.  It became apparent, Mohawk was thee place for Buffalo's indie and older punk scenes (though i recall shows as diverse as Cash Only, Mockba, Robot Has Werewolf Hand, TPT AND Abusing the Word.   Young bands like the Dirtbombs, Jay Reatard & the Lost Sounds,  cult legends like Cheater Slicks and hardcore elders like Murphys Law all loved the treatment, the atmosphere and the owner. there were so many others, too. 
Eric G, Mikel Doktor and Pete Perrone. 
It's quite pathetic that clubs claiming "the next Mohawk" are totally out of any small time price range, or other similarly sized venues are taking huge sums of money for the "privilege" of playing their bullshit stage. Mistreating and disrespecting the performing bands.  There are a few exceptions, but dont think there will ever be another Pete Perrone-era Mohawk Place--there will not.  Thank you Pete--we will never forget you, your heart and pulling up and getting the obligatory "how the hell are ya?".   In those later years, you would pull up to the club and see a tour bus out front twice the size of the venue.  It was clear things had changed.    The staff was pretty much a decent and memorable cast of characters--always.  And dont forget Jack Hunter, who had an instrumental role in the history.  He booked before Boratin and Nehill.  Marty became (or has always been) legendary himself for treating bands he booked to a class - A meal and class-A accommodations.  Bill was just a classy dude.  True hearts of gold ran this joint.  Especially the owner. 
Get on down to the Town Ballroom this weekend for an evening of music and reflection on Pete's time here on this bitter earth. A celebration of Pete's life.   Mohawks heavyweight bands like Irving Klaws, Girlpope, Bill Nehill, longtime happy hour blues rockers Willie and the Reinharts (pete's musical love was the blues, but he accepted the evolution) and other surprises will be playing a few songs and i'm sure some R-rated stories will be retold.  Sometimes we didnt all wanna hug each other--but thats how big families can be.  At the end, those who were a part of it all along can appreciate each other in retrospect.  We were different in our approaches, but we were more alike than we realized at the time.  We have a common thread to thank for that.  Proceeds will benefit the Wounded warrior Project-- a charity focused on honoring and empowering our veterans returning from their service.  Knowing pete, this meant a lot to him.
No, your pre-planned evening is not anywhere close to as important as get there.
If you use INSTAGRAM to keep up on local happenings incoming stuff--please be aware our original INSTAGRAM (see for yourself!) page was kinda stolen and is used to re-direct internet traffic to a "thing" we are IN NO WAY affiliated with.  The real one, well, doesn't direct you to some drifter's "whatever".  think about that for a minute and draw your own conclusions.  spiralscratchrecords_ will bring you to the real thing. weak.  it was brought to our attention that this be addressed, and i am doing so as tactfully as possible.  thank you.
We would truly like to express our gratitude to BUFFALO SPREE magazine, who voted us 2014 Best Record Store.  We tend to agree with this and beats our 2012 Best Hipster Hangout award.  lets not alienate our wonderful customers...because in 2014, Hipster has become a dirty word.  I'd much rather be a Hipster, than a bitter SQUARE who steals instagram pages!  ha! 
We even went to the "par-tay" at Shea's and ate and drank and stuck out like the Beverly Hillbillies.  But again, we cannot express our appreciation at being noticed a magazine devoted to "pimping" our awesome city.  Thank You.

We'll be posting more about some new stock coming in and letting you know that we've had our largest incomig of quality used stuff coming in at a fever pitch.  Abundant classics from metal, grind, death metal, the Smiths, tons of new wave and post-punk stuff, classic punk titles  and loads of classic rock, prog and jazz records.
We'll also let you know we are having a cool contest to give away a pair of 2-day RIOT FEST passes.  Check our (the real0 INSTAGRAM or FACEBOOK pages for details...or if you like, just email us for details.  No purchase necessary, but it wouldn't hurt.

some current favorites of the newly released variety:

the FUZZ lp

more in-depth in-store coverage next post.

thanks for reading.

4:54 a.m.